My daughter is a Brownie. Every other week she goes to the meeting in the art room of her school. I always figured that they did shit like I used to do in the Cub Scouts: make wooden phalluses on wheels and have competitions to see whose could go down the plywood ramp fastest, pretend to learn how to tie knots, drink fruit punch, stuff that eight year olds could do when dressed in fruity little uniforms and left under the supervision of someone who likes the company of children enough to seek out a way to be around them in closed quarters. That’s usually one of three types of people: pretty young women with high-pitched voices who like to make popcorn ball Christmas tree ornaments and wear long flowing skirts, perverts, or soccer moms under some kind of social pressure to give back to the childrens despite their hatred for their own offspring. My daughter is stuck with the latter, just slightly more preferable than the perverts because the after-effects could be washed away with a little bit of TLC.
These two haggard women hated their children for making them big and fat, as if the prettiness of their high school years fled out of their vaginas with the amniotic fluids and placentas, and not through the self administered Twinkies and Big Macs (just a number one. No, maybe a super-sized number one, and plus a cheeseburger because the number one just isn’t filling enough. I swear for dinner tonight I’m going to eat a Weight Watchers. Isn’t The Biggest Loser on tonight? I’m going to join that show and lose a bunch of weight, and all the guys are going to want to eat me out just like in high school. How come we never go out to dinner anymore or have sex? Is it because I’m fat? Well, you’re not exactly Tom Selleck yourself. SHUT UP AND CLEAN YOUR GODDAMN ROOM! I’m making a kielbasa. You want a kielbasa?). The taller of the two was a stout blonde woman with the type of pretty face tainted with the ugliness of being a bitch, while the shorter one (more of a Brownie sidekick) was a pork-nosed brunette who brought her younger child (maybe 5) to the meetings and could be heard yelling “Shut up, Katie! Leave me alone!” at constant intervals throughout.
I sat on a table in the room. It was my wife’s turn to bring the snacks and stay for the meeting (all the parents take turns. Molester proofing, I think), but she was at work earning the money that I’m not man enough to earn for her. So there I sat, Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Starry Night” painted onto a tile on the ceiling next to the flat fluorescents. Drawings of insects and birds were taped to the walls and three large tables stood in the middle of the room, all of them covered in speckles of paint and magic marker. A stack of papers were next to me and I looked over at them. They were disciplinary reports meant to be filled out by the child gone wild. They said something to the effect of:
“While I was sent to another place (I’m guessing this meant time out or sitting in the corner) and reflected on what I did, I realized that___________”
and a bunch of other foofoo questions that no kid in their right mind would answer honestly. Then I heard the door open accompanied by the march of little feet, the clamber of little voices. The Brownies had entered the room dressed in their brown vests and followed by Bitchface and Porknose. I sat on the table, trying to remain low-key, but my daughter saw me and smiled. I smiled back, and wasn’t offended when her attention was diverted. She had business to take care of.
“Okay, everybody circle up into The Triad,” said Bitchface through a heavy breath.
What’s I triad, I thought to myself, worried about the cultish name of the circle they formed. Maybe it was in some ancient secret Brownie lore that a circling of little girls was to be called a triad. Still, it wasn’t a triangle, and there weren’t three of anything, so what did it all mean?
The little girls circled around Bitchface and Porknose, throwing their bags and jackets onto one of the tables beforehand. I remained the silent observer atop my table. When all the girls were seated, Bitchface addressed them with a scowl across her heavily made up kisser. “I want you all to say the Brownies credo, both aloud and in sign language.”
Sign language? My daughter knows no sign language.
But what I did not know would shock me. All of the girls, in a drab and possessed monotone, joined in a unison chorus of sign language and chanting. “I promise to serve the
A chill ran down my spine. The
“Katie, shut up and sit down,” Porknose yelled over the chant when her little daughter tugged on her shirt and asked for a piece of paper to color on.
“Okay,” said Bitchface when the kids were done, empowered by the chant as if she had just sipped on the blood of those she had killed. “Now,” what did we talk about last week?”
One of the little Brownies raised her hand, and in a voice that I can only relate to that of a robot ninja, said, “Nutrition.”
Nutrition? Was my daughter learning about nutrition from a woman that seemed to force feed herself Doritos and Hohos? That’s why I swear no allegiances: hypocrisy and misinformation. Plus, I hate being told what to do.
“Nutrition. Right. Now, what I want you to do this week is to cook a healthy meal for your family. Can you tell me what’s in a healthy meal?”
I pulled myself away, fished out my Moleskine and began to take well detailed notes of what had gone on thus far, just in case I had to take action, or at the very least forewarn as I am now. Bitchface saw me take out my notebook and shot me a dirty glance, as if I was bootlegging her movie. I did not back down, though. I kept scribbling within the black confines of my notebook. I knew my daughter would not be completing that homework assignment, as she was eight and did not know how to cook. But then, she didn’t know sign language last time I checked and there she was, not 5 minutes ago, signing away. I will teach my daughter how to cook so that she will be able to feed herself without relying on anyone to do it for her, and I will be more than happy to teach her how to cook well if she shows the love for the craft that I have. I will not, though, let her cook because some piece of shit Bitchface Brownie head molester thinks that little girls should learn how to cook nutritious food for their family. That’s the exact kind of bullshit that I am trying to help my daughter avoid. I do not want her falling into any kind of stupid shit gender role. If she is a fuck up, I want it to be her fault, not the world’s. If that means that my daughter may turn out to be a dyke, at least I can be assured that she will live a dick-free life, which is perfectly fine with me.
“Katie, shut up!” yelled Porknose as Katie stood and whispered in her ear.
Anyways, The Triad broke up and Bitchface had them all go to a table and make coupons promising to clean some shit for their family members. Fuck that. I can clean up after myself if I wanted to. I don’t want my daughter learning how to clean for other people, to become a cog in the white man’s socialization machine, damned forever to work as a teacher or at a customer service job and never knowing the what it feels like to tell somebody to fuck off and have them wonder whether or not you’re all business or just another poser, but not willing to risk it because you have something a little bit off in your eyes and your clothes are kind of ratty. I want her to have that. All of it. All of the shits that I get to do because I’m a guy. If someone ever looks at her tits, I want her to tell him to get his bitch eyes off of them or else she’ll fuck him up. I don’t want her to grin and bare it. Fuck that.
The little girls sat around the table making coupons out of precut construction paper. They chatted it up about the things they were going to promise to do, and about how the lunch lady was a total bitch that day, and about how the latest episode of iCarly was so funny. Bitchface and Porknose were off to the side talking about how great the new BJ’s was, and how Porknose bought a whole case of Slim Fast on the super cheap. Then Bitchface left the conversation to check on the girls, asking them what they were making coupons for.
“I’m gonna clean up the guest room where my daddy sleeps,” said the little red haired Irish girl.
“I’m gonna promise not to fight with my sisters,” said the girl with long brown hair and
I had brought in some Capri Suns and Chips Ahoy for snack. I was amazed that the little girl found a way to get
“And what are you doing,” Bitchface asked her daughter who seemed exuberantly proud to be a Brownie.
“I’m going to clean up my sister’s room every day for a week,” she said with glee.
“How are you going to do that when you can’t even keep your own room clean,” snapped Bitchface, contempt all over her face.
Sick burn. She put her daughter on front street while her little Brownie friends watched. Bitchface’s Karma was soaked with the frustration of her lot as a housewife, surely engrained in her as a child, probably when she was a Brownie herself. I could hear it in Porknose’s voice every time she told her daughter to shut the fuck up, as well. I wanted none of that for my daughter.
The meeting eventually came to a close. The cookie sales slips were handed out so that my daughter could be whored out by the Girl Scouts. I took them, and we left, me all the wiser.
On the way home my daughter looked at me, her blonde hair falling in her face, unable to hide the wry smile that I gave her from my DNA, and showed me the coupons. My daughter knows to question shit, and she knows that most things are pretty much bullshit. She still has the unabashed optimism of childhood, but she is not one to be duped. I was happy to see that she promised nothing more than was expected of her. She would clean her room. She would feed her cats. She would take care of the shit she had to take care of anyways. I was proud. I don’t know why I worry.