Scripps College Problem #253: The Last Cookie on the Tray

By Earnest Eleanor, Staff Satirist

Last week, like any other Scrippsie, I walked into Malott Commons for dinner after a long day of classes, homework and studying. I put my bag down, found my friends, waited patiently in line for my plate (okay, two plates) of food and tried to untangle my brain after a couple of solid hours in the library.

I enjoyed my meal (slightly less than I’d enjoyed last year’s meals at Malott) but I was really just biding my time for those fresh Scripps cookies. I know they’re not really homemade, but I pretend those Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are homemade too, and those don’t come out of an oven right in front of me. They taste better that way.

I waited patiently in line, tapping my foot as the smell of fresh cookies tormented me from my abject position near the back of the line. I stood on my tiptoes to see to the front of the line, and caught a glimpse of that lovely tray of cookies...slowly disappearing. I watched in disbelief as other dining hall patrons took two, even three cookies! I was stuck in the back of the line...cookie-less. And devastated.

I won’t lie: I got discouraged. I went back to my table, sat down with my friends and rallied my spirits as I waited for the line to die down a little. This was my tragic mistake.

By the time I got back to the tray, I was greeted by a lone cookie. A rejected, slightly misshapen little fellow, but a Scripps cookie nonetheless. I took the sad little cookie and got some milk so I could savor my victory.

Upon my triumphant return to my table, I gave that freshly baked cookie a once-over. Yeah, I’ve waited all day for your deliciousness, Scripps Cookie. I’m coming for you.

I bit into that cookie, expecting gooey chocolate heaven. Instead, my mouth met only bitter (okay, still sweet...) disappointment. That tragic mistake of waiting for the line to die down had caught up with me: I had waited too long. My freshly baked cookie had gone from gooey deliciousness to hard and crunchy disappointment in the 10 minutes I had left it waiting on that tray.

I looked to my friend for comfort in my defeat, but she shook her head sadly. “That’s what happens when you take the last cookie on the tray,” she sagely intoned.

I told myself not to let the less-than-gooey cookie ruin my evening. I tried to think of other devastating fates I could be facing. There were worse fates out there, certainly. But I couldn’t get the phantom of that gooey chocolate chip cookie out of my mind.

How am I supposed to concentrate on my studies, let alone find the free time to worry about the transition to democracy in India from British Colonial rule, when all I can think about is how I missed out on enjoying my soft, fresh chocolate chip cookie at dinner?

It’s a tough life at Scripps. It really is.