Lisa Kern

Lisa Kern
Pennsylvania, US
March 28
I'm a mom of three boys, a needy dog, and an insolent cat. When I'm not writing, vacuuming up pet hair, or cleaning pee off the toilet seat, I like to fantasize about jeans that actually fit and an all-you-can-eat-chocolate-and-cheese diet. Welcome to my party.


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Editor’s Pick
MARCH 10, 2011 6:47AM

For better or for worse, as long as cookies aren't involved

Rate: 32 Flag

(excuse me, would you like to buy a box of evil?)

When I married my husband twenty-five years ago, we made all sorts of promises to one another.  Basically, we agreed to tolerate each other when we’re cranky, not bail on the marriage when one person fails at using the laundry hamper or driving a stick-shift, and not embarrass one another during parent-teacher conferences or in front of the in-laws.  He promised to remember to put the toilet seat down, and I promised not to hack him into little pieces if he forgot.


Of course I’m paraphrasing the actual marriage vows but you get the idea.


As seemingly complete as those marital promises were, they were mute on one important situation.  In fact, if I’d known then what I know now, I would have written an additional vow into the mix:  the pledge to never, ever, bring Girl Scout cookies into the house.


It’s not that I have anything against Girl Scouts.  I don’t.  In fact, I was almost a Girl Scout myself once.  If it weren’t for that unfortunate incident involving tomato soup and a stomach virus at the Brownie orientation meeting, I’m sure I, too, would have enjoyed a promising Scout career. 


The cookies, however, are a different story.  In fact, I’m absolutely certain that Girl Scout cookies are tools of the devil.  Not only are they packaged in deceptively wholesome packaging, but they’re given cutesy names like Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, and Tagalongs.  Don’t be fooled by their innocent appearance though.  It’s all part of their master plan to infiltrate your home and make you eat them.


As if the cookies themselves weren’t irresistible enough, every Girl Scout cookie table is manned with at least one achingly adorable Cindy Lou Who look-a-like.  Cindy Lou Who is the ultimate in Girl Scout cookie weaponry.  Who can resist her soft, sweet voice, dimpled cheeks, and missing front teeth?  It’s nearly impossible to walk past this doe-eyed creature without feeling compelled to buy all of her remaining inventory. 


Through the years, I’ve learned that the trick to being able to pass by Cindy Lou Who without incident is to avoid eye contact.   I just pretend that she’s not even there.   My husband Dan is much kinder than I am and can never, ever, ever say no to Cindy Lou or her cookies.    Invariably, their seductive sugary siren call will weaken his resolve, and before you can say Thin Mints, he’s agreed to buy four boxes of them.


This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that, at any given time, Dan and I exist in one of three states of being:  on a diet, thinking about going on a diet, or feeling guilty for just having fallen off a diet.  Once those demon confections are in the house, Dan will abandon all reason and kick his diet to the curb.   Seeing him ditch his diet makes it especially tough for me to stick with mine.  It’s not that I’m weak-willed; it’s just that if I have to suffer, I’m bringing him along with me.


Last week, Dan and I went to our local hardware store.  As we were checking out, I caught a glimpse of The Enemy.  Right next to the exit door, there was a strategically placed table loaded with Girl Scout cookies and manned by three impossibly cute little sugar pushers and their adult chaperone.  Their eyes locked onto their prey as soon as they saw my husband.   “Excuse me, sir,” the one girl asked in a sweet, sing-song voice.  Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”


Of course, this request came from the smallest, most adorable little girl among them.  I could see Dan weakening.  No way would this encounter end well.


I sent thoughts of reinforcement and good judgment to him telepathically, just as I do when he’s about to wear muddy shoes inside the house or volunteer our house for family gatherings:  just say no thank you, just say no thank you...  


Despite my best psychic efforts, he headed over to the table.   I felt the sting of defeat as I watched Dan pull out his wallet.  Visions of yet another failed diet clouded my brain and sank my willpower battleship.


But then, this man, to whom I’ve been married for a quarter of a century and who I know better than anyone else in my life, did not buy any cookies.  Instead, he handed a $5.00 bill to the littlest girl and said, “I don’t want any cookies, but can I give you a few bucks as a donation?” 


Something about an old dog and new tricks came to mind as I thought about what had just happened.  Even after all these years, he’s still capable of wholly and superbly surprising me. 


Maybe there’s still hope for the laundry hamper.


**image courtesy of the talents of my son, Ryan Kern, the greatest model ever,  Alice Moore, and Alice's photographer mom, Melissa.

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They're awfully expensive. I remember when they were 45 cents!
Your husband's stratgey was brilliant. I'll have to remember that one.
I will never, ever open a box of GS cookies again without seeing those evil eyes! I do like the idea
Ha! my husband always buys them too, he becomes a deer in the headlights in front of the table. Funny post Lisa, good to see you again. EP and cover, YAY!
Oh that was so great. How come I never thought about that! My husband would be devistated if he new I gave a donation and didn't bring home the cookies. Love the Picture too.r
They are just full of high fructose corn syrup and presevatives; that's how I finally kicked the buying habit. I tell myself that if I'm going to cheat, at least it'll be with something containing real butter and real sugar. Hope for the laundry hamper: now that's optimistic!
What a fun read! I'm so delighted to find this post today! Dieting is hard, isn't it? :(

So lovely to start the day with your post.
I have to agree: to eat one thin mint is to polish off a bag - if not the entire box.
I'm glad your hubby supports you in your sensible eating struggles.
Lately I am being solicited from eager parents (mostly female) on Facebook to buy from their little darlings. Cookie enablers: will pay for shipping.
The Dulce de Leche are, however, divine.
Nice to see you!
Evil is right . . . the cookie-pushers must be stopped!
A story from Lisa Kern - this just makes my day! And that husband, he's a keeper.
A fun read, Lisa. Kudos to your husband. I have to admit, I'm usually the one who caves in to the allure of the Girl Scout cookies... they're for a good cause!
Great post. I love the line about the willpower battleship!
yay Dan!

fortunately, I'm allergic to corn, so I just tell the little demons that I am allergic and that usually confounds them enough to give up.
I -- who normally don't have much of a sweet tooth -- become helpless in the face of Samoas. I am soooooooo glad they are only available for two months out of the year . . . just as I am grateful that eggnog is only sold during the holiday season.

If I lived in a world where I could get Samoas and eggnog year-round, I'd be fat(ter), happy and probably dead.
Your husband is a prince! By donating money instead of buying cookies, the troop will actually do better - they don't have to send any of that cash in to the council!!!
Great post. Your husband is a classy guy.
I can totally relate. For the past couple of years I either send the cookies to work with my husband or give them back to the girl scout herself.
No wonder it's 25 years! Wonderful post.
You're back!! And with pitch perfect, dead on accurate hilarity. Thank you for much needed laughs.

Bonus, Ryan has superior photography talent and Emily is clearly an exceptional agent of evil. Think she'd sell me a couple boxes of Thin Mints?
Great to read from you again. What a pitch perfect account of those adorable girl scouts and the way they do make us fall for their cookies. I like Dan's resolution - very wise. To another quarter of a century, cheers !
Man I miss your funny, Lisa, and I really do appreciate the warning here. I hadn't realized GSC season was upon us, so it's time to disconnect the door bell and the car battery and hunker down for a couple of weeks to run silent until it passes. Thanks! (I had already jumped ahead of you wondering if I'd be capable of offering a donation without walking off with booty)(No).
agreed pitch perfect piece. DoseyDo's could have cost me my marriage too, early on, cause my will power is so much weaker than my partner's and my foolish notions about dieting inversely stronger. Happy to say, I can now buy girlscout cookies for the kids we had when we didn't split up over the cookies. Next line or inquiry, where does all that girlscout cookie money go, and how do we over look all the free child labor that goes into their sales. hmmm?
You need to move to Connecticut. Two winters and no GS solicitations. I miss the thin mint cookies, but you can't have everything.
From the Midwest - It's so nice to see you here! And yeah...45 cents times TEN will now buy a lesser quantity of cookies.

Eva - I agree. I'm a little embarrassed that I never thought to simply make a donation.

mamoore - I know! And Alice peddles it well, doesn't she?

Rita - Someone once told me that all men are the same, they just have different names. This is probably true when it comes to food products. Thanks so much for stopping by with such nice words.

hugs, me - Thank you for your compliment on the picture. It was a combined effort: my son Ryan hatched the idea, my friend Melissa (four states away!) took the photograph, her daughter Alice posed with the cookies, and then Ryan photoshopped the store in the background and added the demon eyes.

Blue in TX - I know...the laundry hamper is an ambitious goal. :)

patricia - Thanks so much! Yes, "diet" is a four-letter word for sure.

Diana - Hello my friend! It's a treat to see you here. And you know as well as anyone, if there were a degree in dieting, I'd definitely have earned one.

aim - "Cookie enablers!" I may have to borrow that one.
Naomi - Tiffany, huh? Not a bad trade-off for Thin Mints!

Owl - Why do the cookie-pushers have to be so darn cute?

Lucy - Aw, thank you! XOXO

Grace - Thanks for stopping by with such nice words.

Yserba - Thank you! That particular line was revised more times than you can imagine, so I'm happy to hear that someone likes it.

marcelle - Isn't corn in EVERYTHING these days? At least it's an excuse over which cuteness has no power.

montanarose - Eggnog! I thought I was the only person who loves the stuff.

bluesurly - I know! I thought the same thing, that the troop could keep 100% of the money he gave. He's a good guy. :)

Steven - I'm thrilled to see you here. Thanks for the kind words about Dan.

Cedar - What a great idea: buy the cookies but leave them with the girl scout. I'm not going to have to sneak out the back of the store any more to avoid the cookie table with a strategy like that.

Maria - Thank you! :)
A well told story, had me smiling throughout. And suddenly craving "Thin Mints".
Sally - Thank you! Ryan wasn't the photographer (Alice's mom, Melissa, was) but he photoshopped the store onto the background, added various special effects, and of course, the demon eyes in the box. Alice really had a knack for the cookie-pusher pose, didn't she?

Fusun - Thank you! If we mastered Girl Scout cookies in this quarter-century, maybe we'll be successful with the laundry hamper and stick-shift driving in our next 25 years.

Gabby - Thank you - you're always so supportive of me. :) Our cookie season is finishing up so you'd better hurry (or hide!)

Meredith - Oh, you made me laugh with this: " I can now buy girlscout cookies for the kids we had when we didn't split up over the cookies." Too funny! Thanks for stopping by.

Sheepy - You don't have any Girl Scouts where you live because they're all HERE. You can swing a cat and hit eight of them. Next year, I'll have to send you a care package of Thin Mints.
Mary - Thank you! I totally hear you on the Thin Mint craving, although I swear I've gained five pounds just mentioning them.
I refer to my consumption of Thin Mints as "doing a line of cookies."
Susan - Bwahaha! I love it!