The rumors are true: I hid from the Boy Scouts. And also the Jehovah’s Witnesses. And the guy selling meat out of his broken-down truck. I don’t feel that guilty about the last two, but the Boy Scouts episode sometimes keeps me up at night.
Let me back up. We were living in our last house, the house before this one. A sweet little neighborhood Cub Scout and his dad knocked on our door selling popcorn (I guess those Girls Scouts had already cornered the market on cookies). When I opened the door as a preemptive strike against them ringing the doorbell and waking up my sleeping toddler (this was a couple of years ago when Short was a toddler, now he is a runner), the scout immediately walked into my living room and started his speech.
I did not want any popcorn, but I felt sorry for him having to sell stuff. I remembered back to my junior high days where we were forced to sell donuts door-to-door, and I instantly felt sorry for my former self … although I do remember the donuts being quite tasty.
I politely listened to his speech, culminating in a chipper, “So, Mrs. MOV, how many boxes of popcorn can I put you down for?” while his father beamed from the comfort of my living room sofa, like a paid studio-audience-member (I thought he might break into a round of applause at any moment).
“Uh, boxes?” I asked, confused. Shouldn’t caramel popcorn come in canisters?
He handed me the order form and I signed up for three boxes, for a grand total of $45. Conveniently, the Boy Scouts accept all major credit cards and personal checks.
A few months later when I had completely forgotten why my checking account was overdrawn and what the heck “B.S.— $45” stood for, I almost tripped on three tiny boxes (think the size of a can of tuna, maybe smaller) outside my front door. There was a cheery note in childish scrawl that read,
I felt good about sending him to the Grande canyon, and I hoped his trip might include some spelling lessons. I did not feel so good, however, about the doll-sized tuna boxes by my feet. How were three large canisters of caramel popcorn (“Perfect For Any Gift-Giving Occasion!”) supposed to fit in these boxes of Lilliputian proportions?
I picked them up and brought them inside. When I opened them, I was dismayed to see microwave popcorn, like the generic kind you buy at the grocery store. I had overdrawn my checking account and paid $45 for microwave popcorn, and we don’t even own a microwave?
I was livid.
But I couldn’t take it out on anyone, like, say, an unsuspecting Cub Scout, because the cowardly cub had (wisely) abandoned the grasshopper size popcorn boxes at my front steps (most likely so he wouldn’t have to deal with the fall-out of my disappointment and Popcorn Rage).
When The Husband came home that evening, I shoved the little boxes at him by way of greeting.
“What’s this?” he asked. “Did you order some eye-drops from Amazon again?”
“Open it,” I sulked. “Go ahead.”
He peered in the boxes. “Popcorn. Oh, hon, you got the wrong kind. We don’t have a micro—”
“Duh, I know,” I glared at him, as if he were the reason for this mistake instead of my own impulsiveness and inability to waste time reading fine-print.
“Uh, well, why don’t you return them?” he offered helpfully.
“They are from the stupid Boy Scouts! You can’t return charity!”
The Husband was used to my kooky moods by now; we’d been married several years, some of them happy.
“You know what?” he started. “I will take them to the office. We have a microwave there. Then they won’t be wasted.”
“Okay,” I pouted.
When the next selling spree commenced a few months later and I happened to notice the uniform-clad boys walking up my block yet again, I quickly turned off the lights and closed the plantation shutters so that they couldn't tell we were home. They knocked anyway (I guess the car in the driveway tipped them off). I decided I would rather have a woken-up, cranky toddler than overpriced, microwave popcorn.
The Boy Scouts have followed me to my new house as well, where they stalk me and pester me to buy stuff. Religious zealots join in the fun, as do wannabe lawn-care professionals.
I draw the blinds and ignore them all. I might crack open the door if someone comes up with a fundraiser involving Chardonnay.