“Free Cookies for Kids”
Publix grocery stores have a bowl with chocolate chip and sugar cookies labeled “FREE COOKIE FOR KIDS!” Most people ignore it, while some think, “Oh, that’s nice,”and if they have kids, might partake in the fun, and if not, they go buy their paper towels and broccoli and die. Others, however who are old enough to know that cookies are reason enough to live, go and ask for a free cookie regardless of their age.
I am Cookie Monster’s maniacal twin, and ME LOVE COOKIES. (You can witness this by watching the video titled Let Yourself Out To Play on my website where I channel C.M. and teach an unusual etiquette lesson on the proper way to eat a cookie.) I wondered silently why the sign doesn’t just say, “Free cookie!” Why place an age limit on this simple pleasure all could enjoy?
Does the store fear EVERYONE will claim their cookie and put them out of business? Or that they’ll create an epidemic of diabetic customers who then ironically can’t purchase the very same cookie these sugar pushers used to bait and hook them?
Most likely, some dude in corporate just sent out a memo telling their bakeries to lure customers over to the carbs section by empowering the most vulnerable sugar minions, their customers’ kids.
Their system was simple, but flawed, until I came along. While I didn’t pull a “Karen,” I did pull a Shannon and do something I’ve done well since I was a kid- challenge authority on which rules are for the greater good, and which ones are plain stupid and need to be eaten.
I approached the counter with a deliriously hangry smile and politely asked, ‘May I have a cookie, please?” Before I’d opened my mouth, the dyed, hairspray-ed human with a hairnet and scowl had already anticipated my question and prepared her border protection protocol.
“These are for kids,” she smirked. “Yes, and I am still a cookie lover too. Cookies aren’t something we outgrow, although my cavity-ridden mouth would disagree. Still, I’d rather enjoy life than worry about a cookie killing me. Actually, that would be kind of funny! Obituary says: Reasonably responsible adult dies demanding she’s not too old for a free cookie…and when she finally gets the cookie, the sheer joy she experienced caused her to implode with the magic of reliving childhood! So, really, I could die from the sadness of not having a cookie…or the joy of eating one.”
The cookie hoarder and I were at an impasse. She was a hardened cafeteria lady who’d seen too many troublemakers in her day, and my smile made her joyless spirit irritated. She was growing exhausted by the energy it was taking to frown. (It takes more muscles to frown than smile.) She relented, “Fine, which one?”
“A sugar cookie, please. Although chocolate chip cookies are a gift from the gods. Can you believe I have a friend who prefers oatmeal raisin cookies over chocolate chip? And he even likes carrot cake? Now that’s weird!” Cookie lady sensed I had nothing to lose and nowhere to be, and that I wasn’t trying to be difficult, this is just my personality. She quickly handed me my bad-girl-biscuit, not wanting to suffer every cookie story and philosophy I’d stored for decades for these moments.
“All right,” she growled. “But, these are supposed to be for KIDS!” I maintained eye contact like a Golden retriever waiting for her ball to be thrown. “Yes, I see that, and what a shame,” I replied. “Cookies make people happy, and what if you could make someone’e day just by smiling and handing them a cookie? Wouldn’t that feel great- to have the power to see the child in every customer and reward them with a treat? Being fun-inspired brings joy to both people and ripples onto more.”
The teacher in me never stops teaching (or learning). There’s a Cookie Monster in all of us, one that playfully gobbles them up, and one that doesn’t wish to share her cookies. I hope to be the former, and when I’m the latter, I hope I have a sensible, non-crummy reason to deny someone a cookie because it’s for the greater good, not because I’ve stopped being a kid-at-heart.