And, of course, her name is Karen Karen
So in late 2019, I teased my travel blog subscribers about a confession that I planned to reveal in the new year. The new year of 2020.
I planned to time the release of my confession on March 12, 2020.
Why March 12? That’s the date the Girl Scouts organization was founded in 1912 (my confession is related). How do I know this? I was a Girl Scout for six years. And how do I remember this particular founder’s day? I have no idea as I have difficulty remembering where I put my reading glasses or why I walked into a room.
So why didn’t I make my confession when promised?
Because 2020 happened.
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An abbreviated 2020 timeline that conflicted with planned travel blog editorial calendar
March 11, 2020
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) made this statement about the coronavirus, “…we are deeply concerned both by the levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction…”
And declared that the coronavirus was not just a global health emergency…”COVID-19 could be characterized as a pandemic…” Source: WHO website
At the time, the United States had nearly 1,300 COVID-19 cases. Minnesota (where I live) only had one publicly confirmed case of COVID-19 (that was reported on March 1). A couple of states put some stay-at-home protocols in place a few days prior due to the pandemic. But the general public still didn’t know at that time how the pandemic would soon disrupt all our lives throughout the world.
I had recently partnered with the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. and was in the process of updating my blog series on the best things to do at the Mall of America. The Mall of America attracts millions of visitors every year from around the world. It is also a popular spring break destination for family vacations and staycations – and it was spring break season. So I reached out to my contact at Mall of America asking if they had a COVID-19 safety protocol statement for guests so I could include in my blog and social posts.
My email started, “I know Minnesota hasn’t had an outbreak yet…”
That did not age well.
March 12, 2020
The very next day, on March 12, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency. And a few days later, the entire state of Minnesota shut down (with the exception of essential businesses) to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Well, we all pretty much know how the rest of the days, weeks and months played out in 2020.
So that is why I did not make my confession as originally planned on March 12, 2020 – the Girl Scouts’ 108th birthday. It was not a good time to make light of 2020. March 2020 truly was a precarious time for many people with so many unknowns and with the number of COVID-19 cases escalating so quickly.
Fast forward to December 2020
While the scientific and medical communities know a lot more now (December 2020 when I originally wrote this post and now December 2021 as I revisit this post), we’re certainly not back to normal as we enter what appears to be another wave of COVID-19 and variations hitting us across the United States and other countries throughout the world.
What’s different now is that while we are all becoming pandemic-fatigued, we still need to remain vigilant in staying healthy, getting vaccinated (including boosters…I got mine), practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask and washing our hands, it feels okay – in fact, encouraged by health professionals – to add a little levity at this time without feeling or appearing disrespectful. Humor provides health benefits – even during a pandemic.
I mean, many of you are not having a problem making fun of my name during this pandemic (please stop).
So this is me making fun of me – a different kind of Karen.
A Girl Scout’s confession of breaking the law after 45 years of silence
When I was 9, I told all the Camp L-Kee-Ta Girl Scout campers in rural Danville, Iowa that I was from the future and that my real name was Karen Karen from the year 2020.
I don’t know why. I was nine?
What a freak. I’m surprised I had any friends growing up. I still make up stories today and even get paid for some of them (available for hire); but why tell that kind of story (aka lie)?
Well, another confession. I may have been 10 years old and not nine. I actually don’t recall for sure. But if I were 10 when I said I was a time traveler, I couldn’t really blame or explain away my creative license on a couple of traumas that occurred in 1975 when I was nine years old.
In early May of 1975, our Girl Scout troop was earning our cycling badge and we were all out on a bike ride on a gravel road out by Waterworks pond in my hometown of Fairfield, Iowa. I loved that bike with its purple banana seat and matching purple handlebar streamers.
I grew up in Iowa so I knew my way around gravel roads. I lived on one and I learned how to ride my bike in our back alley – also gravel. Well, that day, I don’t know what happened, but I lost control on some loose gravel and bit the dust.
Now, that would be bad enough with the skinned-up knees and dusty gravel embedded in my mouth and face, but the Girl Scout behind me – Mary Ann – rode over my head with her bicycle. The road-bump collision knocked out part of my front tooth (a permanent one – an outcome that would plague me for decades).
So that kind of sucked. Getting run over by a Girl Scout and all.
But May of 1975 wasn’t done. About two weeks later, our home was destroyed by fire. We pretty much lost everything (the blue dress I’m wearing in the photo above was what I was wearing on the day of the fire). It was pretty traumatic, but what I remember most is the generosity of my hometown. So many people helped us during this time – with food, money, clothing, furniture, books, toys, appliances and even a temporary house.
And an anonymous donor paid for my Girl Scout camping fees at Camp L-Kee-Ta.
And how did I repay that generosity?
By breaking the law.
The Girl Scout Law – the first line even!
I will do my best to be honest.
Although to be fair, the Girl Scout law does say, “…do my best…”
Maybe that’s the best I could do at that time.
A Girl Scout confession explained: Time traveler blogger apologizes to campers nearly five decades later
Other than saying I was Karen Karen from the Year 2020, I don’t really remember much else or if anyone believed me. Did I even have a backstory? And I don’t remember if I said anything to support my claim that I was a time traveler from the future or how long I continued the charade (or if I turned back into just regular Karen the next day).
It’s not like I planned to lie to my fellow Girl Scout campers. There was no strategy, no goal, no outline. No talking points. No key messages. Somehow it just came out of my mouth. It’s these types of experiences where I’m so grateful there was no social media back in the day.
If my time-traveling tall tale happened when I was nine, then maybe I could explain it away. Something like it was an escape from my reality and that I was trying to reinvent myself after getting run over by a Girl Scout and losing my house to a fire.
Or maybe, just maybe, I was trying to escape from my reality of 2020.
Regardless, I owe an apology to all the Girl Scouts at Camp L-Kee-Ta in Danville, Iowa from the summer of 1975 (or 1976).
I’m truly sorry for not doing my best to be honest.
I’m truly sorry for not warning you about 2020.
I’m truly sorry for not coming up with a better name x2 that will forever represent the meme of 2020 (and unfortunately carried over to 2021).
The burden of the Karen meme: Why my granddaughter and generations of descendants will not be named after me
Fast forward to 2020-2021 and Karen is kind of a popular name right now. But not in a good way. While I find many of the Karen memes funny, I’m not a fan of the derogatory memes where my name is associated with entitlement, white privilege and racism. I really need to speak to the manager about this.
Most (third) popular baby girls name of 1965: Karen
I’m all about history so did a little research and learned that my name, Karen, peaked as the third most popular girls name in the U.S. the year I was born (1965). However, it kind of tanked after that.
Last year, the U.S. Social Security Administration reported that the name Karen fell to its lowest ranking ever. Only 438 girls in the United States were named Karen in 2019 – and I don’t have to be a time traveler to predict that the name Karen will not make the most popular baby names list in 2020 (update: I was correct. Only 325 newborns were named Karen in 2020 – the lowest ranking since 1929). But, hey, even Damian is making a comeback (more than 3,300 newborn boys were named Damian in 2020).
Karen memes explained
And here’s an interesting article I found that explains a few theories on how the Karen meme evolved. I also learned there are helpful pins out there with “hundreds of funny and the best Karen meme ideas.” And lots of the best Karen meme Halloween costumes and funny Karen memes, Karen cat memes, Karen haircut memes, dammit Karen memes and the Karen memes list goes on and on – endless possibilities when it comes to the best Karen memes.
On a related note: If you don’t know much about Karen memes or any other memes, here’s a website that explains popular and viral memes: Know Your Meme.
It actually doesn’t bother me much that Karen is a pejorative for some really ignorant and entitled women (but the actions of those people do). That’s because people call me kmf and I don’t know any real Karens that act like Karens.
Rather than dwell on the whole Karen meme fad, I’ll focus my energy on something more positive, like: “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.”
The best Girl Scout camp singalong songs
Hard segue here. Okay, this post is kinda all over the place – a little unpredictable and disjointed – kind of like 2020.
So while my Girl Scouts days were on my mind, several camp songs popped up in my head. Seriously, where is this stuff hiding that it just shows up 45 years later?
Since I was reminiscing about my childhood days, here are several of the best Girl Scout camp songs that created a strong earworm hold on me over the past week or so. Do you recognize any of these songs from when you went to Girl Scout camp or Boy Scout camp or church camp or band camp?
Best singalong camp songs: Roll Me Over the River…I mean Roll Me Over the Ocean
I discovered that I sang this song, Roll Me over the Ocean, wrong back in the day. For some reason, I thought it was river. It’s the camp song that goes, “It’s cheese. It’s cheese. It’s cheese that makes the mice go round. It’s cheese. It’s cheese. It’s cheese that makes the mice go round…”
And then you put your arms around the people sitting next to you and sway back and forth and sing the chorus loud and clear for all to hear – and really, really, fast. “Roll me over the ocean, Roll me over the sea. Roll me over the ocean and the deep blue sea.”
Best singalong camp songs: Watermelon camp song
I loved the Watermelon Song. Seriously? Plant a watermelon on my grave and let the juice (slurp, slurp) soak through. Who was watching us kids?
Best singalong camp songs: The Billboard Song
Another song I loved with really strange lyrics was The Billboard Song. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, someone obviously did. Credit goes to Homer Haynes and Jethro Burns – take a listen and see if you remember it.
I’m surprised I remember all the lyrics to The Billboard Song. Here’s just one verse of this fun and odd song. They lyrics sound like they were put together with predictive text.
Smoke Coca-Cola cigarettes. Drink Wrigley’s Spearmint beer.
Ken-L-Ration dog food makes your wife’s complexion clear.
Chew chocolate-covered mothballs – they’re sure to satisfy.
Brush your teeth with Lifebuoy soap and watch the suds go by.
Best singalong camp songs: Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree
I was this many years old when I learned a kookaburra was a bird. I thought it was something similar to a koala. Maybe because Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree is an old Australian nursery rhyme written by Marion Sinclair? And the gum drops mentioned in the song lyrics are not really candy, but rather what they call the copious kino (sap) that forms on the bark of eucalyptus trees. Oh, those assumptions I always fail to question.
Best singalong camp songs: Kum ba yah
And who doesn’t remember the feel-good classic, Kum Ba Ya?
Best singalong camp songs: Make new friends
I loved the song Make New Friends, which we always sang in a round.
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”
Best singalong camp songs: Taps
And, of course, to end the day with the flag-lowering and folding ceremony, we sang the Taps song. Officially, Taps does not have any song lyrics, but here’s what we sang in Girl Scouts.
Day is done. Gone the sun.
From the lake. To the hills.
From the sky.
All is well. Safely rest.
God is nigh.
And on that note…leave a comment if you were in Scouts and/or share your favorite camp song. Or your favorite Karen meme. Or any elaborate stories you told as a child. No judgment here.
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