Jewish World Review March 24, 2004 / 2 Nissan, 5764

Bernadette Malone

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Consumer Reports

Is March depressing, or is it just me? | Bring on that last sleeve of Thin Mints. March is simply too depressing to bear without that annual delivery of Girl Scout cookies, which always comes just when Lent starts and you've resolved to give up sweets. And thus begins the cycle of depression that sucks women in.

I ordered four boxes of Girl Scout cookies, and ate four boxes in the same week. It was the very same week the Department of Health and Human Services announced that one third of Americans are overweight, and another third are obese. I watched this report on the news while I sat on the couch eating my four boxes of Girl Scout cookies. It was such depressing news because Weight Watchers tells me that I, too, am overweight for my height. So much for my "I'm just tall/big boned/the descendant of Irish potato farmers" excuse.

It was so depressing I almost got off the couch and took a walk around the block to earn an "activity point," (which probably would have burned off one thin mint), but I looked outside the window: a mid-March wintry mix was hailing down. Snow, rain, sleet. It was too gross to go outside and exercise, so I put it off and ate more cookies.

This was a bad idea because the worst thing about March is not the mid-month wintry mix that makes fun of you for wishing spring were right around the corner, but that spring actually is right around the corner. There's no more time to shed those cookies you ate all winter. Soon it will be time for shorts - don't even speak of bathing suits, please - and everyone will see the Girl Scout cookies' new home in its full glory.

I suppose I could have eaten just one or two, like Weight Watchers says, but it's hard to re-close an opened sleeve of thin mints. They slide out so easily. And because the plastic tray they come in is so flimsy and there are so few of them per carton, I ate a whole box of "Samoans," too. I told a girlfriend this and she said, "You didn't eat a whole box of Samoans. You ate a whole box of Samoas."

Thank Heaven for that, because actual Samoans are more fattening. They are the most obese people in the world, with something like 70 percent of urban men suffering from the problem. They're much worse than Americans. Always look on the bright side of life, Monty Python says.

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If I insist on eating cookies, I suppose it would be healthier to actually bake them myself, because I'd get some exercise while I was mixing the batter (maybe do some upper arm toning?). And I could use healthy low-fat substitutes such as apple sauce instead of shortening. But what normal girl can bring herself to bake when Martha Stewart may be on her way to jail? It's so depressing. We're going to miss her so much.

My girlfriends and I hashed this out over a dinner of high-calorie risotto and yet more cookies: We didn't like Martha before she was convicted because she made us feel inferior. But in a typically female turn-about, we've stopped being jealous once the male-dominated law and media jumped her, and now we're on her side.

The final straw in the news this month: The New York Times reported that scientists have found a genetic basis for why women are twice as likely as men to have bouts of depression. While there's not exactly one "depression gene" that haunts women more than men, a combination of genes, and reproductive hormones, gives us the blues more often.

Also, the article says, women have a tendency to overthink things more than men, which makes them depressed. So wait: Do I have the blahs because I ate four boxes of Girl Scout cookies, it's still snowing, and Martha's going to jail? Or do those things only get to me so much because of my genes and hormones? Break out the last sleeve of Thin Mints while I ponder this on the couch, dazed, in a cookie-stupor.

Comment on JWR contributor Bernadette Malone's column by clicking here.


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© 2003, Bernadette Malone