Along about the 6th grade I accepted a Girl Scout's offer to meet her at a Friday night school sock hop. I felt queasy about it without knowing why, but now, thanks to the good offices of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis, I realize there was good reason to worry.
Something by the "Platters" was echoing in the little school gym when she asked me something that sounded pretty whacko at the time: "If you had a quarter would you give it to help get someone out of jail in Hungary?" I brushed it off with one of my patented wisecracks: "I wouldn't want anybody to go hungry." Now I know she must have been slyly recruiting me for Amnesty International to spring a "prisoner of conscience" from solitary confinement. Nice try.
As the archbishop points out rather heroically, I'd say, Girl Scouts have for decades been cats' paws for subversive causes. Jackie was a brown eyed pigtailed vixen in sheep's clothing. If a measles outbreak hadn't kept us apart for the next few weeks I might have been lured into other subterfuges including Oxfam, with its showcase appearance of "aiding the poor," ploys to give gays a good name or picketing for uppity women.
Lifelong habits of procrastination and indolence kept me from checking out the hints that Jackie was mixed up in foul play. Thankfully, Archbishop Carlson has not only spared me the trouble but done a lot better than my poor powers could have turned up. Because of him it's blazingly clear that Jackie's carefully crafted scheme had started when she casually offered me a sugar cookie out of a -- you guessed it -- Girl Scout sale box. I remember feeling a little light headed after munching on it and then, when my will power must have been ebbing,she popped the sock hop question. I fell for it like a ton of mint wafers.
It's taken a brave soul to uncover this trickery and someone will probably make a searing documentary about how duped I and millions like me have been. They looked for all the world like earth bound angels clad in green, but in reality they were agents of nefarious causes. How could I have been so naive!
The archbishop has wasted no time righting a wrong. The demure look has been shown to be the deception that it is and Archbishop Carlson has consigned it to the dumpster which it will share with other groups deemed unworthy to ply their plots in parish halls, including Dignity and Pax Christi. Keep your daughters and, for that matter, your sons out of their clutches, he has advised his archdiocese, and resist those wicked cookie surrogates with all your might.
And, oh, if you're a Girl Scout, don't go to Maundy Thursday services expecting to get your feet washed.