I didn't take this picture, I Binged it.
When I was in the third grade there was a meeting just for the girls of the class which resulted in me bringing home a note on pink paper and telling my mama that I had to be in Girl Scouts.
My mama paid the required $7 to join (was it really just seven dollars?) and schlepped me to all the meetings.
We got the big fat handbook (maybe that's what the 7 bucks was for) and started trying to earn badges right away.
There were so many things that just weren't feasible to do in my mind.
Like spend a day in a soup kitchen.
I'm pretty sure there was no soup kitchen in my hometown.
Or learn to make a campfire.
Why did I need to know how to do that when my daddy made all the fires when we went camping?
We sold cookies, of course, and I'm pretty sure that this was the beginning of my disdain for all things fund-raiserish.
I really dislike fund-raisers.
So I did a few things, I don't remember what, out of the book and got a few badges for my mom to sew on my bright green vest.
The best thing about Girl Scouts was the trip we took to the Children's Hands On Museum.
It is what the name says it is, a museum for kids to touch everything.
I don't think places like this are very conducive to teaching kids the right way to attend a real museum, but whatever, it was fun.
The exhibit was on China and everything was decorated all China-ish right down to the paper doors and the sandboxes filled with rice.
We arranged flowers on green metal frogs and I thought that was pretty lame.
Maybe that's where my flower complex stemmed (haha!) from.
I quit Girl Scouts a few months later (I forget why) and have since then resolved myself to learning things that help you out in life that don't earn you badges.
I still can't sew on a button properly though.
Some time after the Girl Scout era, a year or so maybe, I was looking through my old handbook and I came across a page with instructions and pictures on how to make an origami swan.
There was a small origami swan with orange tips stuck in the crease of the page.
My mama made the swan just for the fun of it when I was in Girl Scouts and left it in the book.
The orange tips were dots she had drawn on the paper as linear guides.
I forgot about the origami swan and Girl Scouts for a long time.
I don't even know where that book is now but I think my vest is still in a closet at my dad's house.
In my second semester of mortuary college I had to take Restorative Art.
"Had to take" and not "took" because it was not a fun class or an elective.
Maybe you're not familiar with Restorative Art.
To put it simply, RA, as we liked to call it, is the way of taking something ugly and messed up and making it pretty and whole again, usually the face.
We had to learn all the bones of the skull and face, all the muscles of the face, as well as all the facial wrinkles, make a head with wax to match a picture of someone (living, not dead!), and learn lots of crap about color and what matches with what and what doesn't match with what.
Our first test covered the bones, muscles, and wrinkles.
We were all pretty stressed and trying really hard to make a good grade because there were only two tests in RA besides the final.
I'm usually a pretty fast test taker so most of the time I finish second.
(I have a thing about finishing first. But that's another story.)
I finished my test and asked to go to the bathroom.
On my way back to the classroom, the sunlight was shining through the glass doors so bright, it made the waxed linoleum look like a mirror.
I saw a tiny shadow in the sun-mirror, the shadow of an origami swan!
I bent down to pick the origami swan up, but it wasn't a swan, just a crumpled up ball of paper with words scrawled all over it.
I unfolded a paper and my eyes read the answers to questions that were on the test I had just finished.
Right when I stood back up, a classmate of mine walked out of the room and was standing in front of me.
I didn't want her to think that it was my cheatsheet and get me in trouble when it was my wild imagination that found it in the first place!
"Look what I found," and I shoved it at her.
"What are you going to do with it?" she asked me after she read it.
I decided that the only thing I could do was give it to our teacher, what she chose to do after that was up to her, not me.
I did not know how much grief an innocent origami swan could get me.
My classmates were furious that I had ruined the afternoon by getting us all an hour long lecture about cheating and put the teacher in a bad mood by turning in some dummy's cheatsheet.
I told myself that a smart cheat wouldn't have dropped it and if they were smart they wouldn't have had to cheat in the first place.
Or if they had any scruples.
I had scruples.
That's why I turned it in.
Turning in the origami swan/cheatsheet and sitting through the Cheating Gripe Fest of '08 did not even the playing field between us at all.
After that episode, the cheaters had to figure out new ways to get the right answers.
Our teacher was wizened to their game although she never did figure out who the cheat sheet belonged to.
I have my theories but, theories are just that--theories.
I haven't seen an origami swan since then.
Here's what we started with.
Here's what I made.