I saw a news story about a man arrested in Rochester for stealing over 20 cases of Girl Scout Cookies. I wondered if he was booked under the Controlled Substances statutes.

Wouldn't this be a perfect opportunity for the authorities to send the cookies to the lab and see whether they contain some perniciously addictive chemicals? You'd expect an announcement like this:

"Upon careful study of the chemicals that make up the Slender Mint, the Snickerbuddies or Koalas or whatever they're called, we find no evidence of illegal additives that might compel someone to consume adverse quantities. It seems that the main components responsible for the cookies' popularity remain sugar and guilt."

Yes, guilt. Whenever I pass a Girl Scout cookie setup in the grocery store and don't buy any, I feel as if I've said, "Just give up on any hopes of making a go in this capitalist society, kids. If you can't sell cookies with your surefire combo of winsomeness and philanthropy, you're not cut out for the raw combat of the marketplace."

Because you don't want to say that, you buy some. For a while I had a good excuse: "My daughter's in Girl Scouts, we have plenty! Good luck!" My daughter was in Girl Scouts for three years, but I used that line for two decades.

It was different at the office. You cannot refuse the co-worker who comes around with the order form, because you've done it yourself. You have sympathy: They have to move the product, or the troop will declare bankruptcy, and the head Scoutess or whatever will come to town, line them up and rip off their merit badges as if they're disgraced French Foreign Legion soldiers.

Of course, it's been a while since anyone came around with the order form. Part of that whole plague thing. I do go to the office, though. Most days, I'm alone. If someone came by with a cookie order form, I would quaver like Scrooge confronted by the ghost Jacob Marley, moaning, trailing boxes of cookies tied together with jump ropes. "Before the day is out, you will be visited by three parents."

Back to the Rochester guy who stole the cookies. The mug shot does not show a proud man. I mean, it's not like taking candy from a baby, but it's an adjacent genre. He said he was "dumpster diving" near a warehouse when he saw an open door, and you can presume that simple human curiosity led him to explore what items might be liberated. Imagine his surprise when he saw Girl Scout Cookies: They're like currency. In fact, the official order of currency goes like this:


U.S. dollars

Girl Scout Cookies


I'm surprised the bank doesn't list the exchange rate in the lobby. I'm surprised I can't invest in Girl Scout Cookie Futures. I'm even more surprised I haven't thought about them until I read about the theft. After all, the snow is gone and the tulips are due, and that means uniformed children pushing circular confections. It was the order of things, once, and let's applaud the day it's the order of things again.

Emphasis on the order part.

james.lileks@startribune.com Twitter: @Lileks • facebook.com/james.lileks