Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Colorado Cubs 

I was a Cub Scout. When I was younger, I was inducted into the weird-ass cult that was 'scouting.' Mostly, I wanted to become a scout because, Hell, all the kids were doin' it and because it meant I got to go downtown to 'Hibbard's' which was a cool-ass department store. And by cool-ass I mean old school. By old school, I mean like various floor and a real old cage elevator. I loved that elevator. If I had to join a cult to have my Mom take me to Hibbards, so be it. Sign me up.

So anyway, I was a Cub Scout. Curiously, this didn't mean I went scouting for bear cubs, or anything for that matter. It mostly meant that I had a book to read, meetings to attend and various menial chores to complete, much like a scavenger hunt, but far less enjoyable.

I tried to compete in the big Games® Magazine Scavenger Hunt in 1983. I was 9. It didn't work out. I'm still a little bitter.

Anyway, Scouting. I did rise quickly through the proverbial ranks, attaining my Wolf, Bobcat and Bear badges, (replete with numerous arrowheads) in what I considered record time. I was also a member of Den 1, Pack 1. Seriously. Not the first den or pack in the country, or in the world, just perhaps in my small pocket of the world. It was easy to remember and that's a good thing. Remind me to tell you the story of my high school JV football team...It's funny.

Sorry, got off track for a second. For those of you who were Cub Scouts, you know that mostly, there's just meetings, various sporadic charity events, the occasional away camp, which lasts for no more than 2 days and JUBILEE! That's right. I said Jubilee.

Jubilee, if my memory serves me, is an annual get-together for Scouts from all over your region. These Jubilees are held in conjunction with the national Jubilee, blah blah blah. Basically, you had to be seen in public and do various things that would suggest you're learning to be a productive member of society through scouting. I still have a gold-plated coin from the Diamond Jubilee. We were at the Air Force Academy that time. I remember making little trinkety things with popsicle sticks and colorful yarn. Apparently I was pretty good at this, I ended up with a metric assload of these little shit-crafts. (they weren't totally useless. I had to bury a lot of pet hamsters. The popsicle crosses, sans colorful yarn, make great grave markers.)

The progression in Scouting is Cub Scout to Webelo to Boy Scout to Eagle Scout. Our little scout heads had been filled with stories from Boy's Life® magazine and tales apparently from the lexicon of Scouting lore of the legendary folks who attained the mythical rank of EAGLE SCOUT. Sure, it was easy enough to get that stupid wolf badge, even the bobcat badge. So, you got your bear badge...Got some arrowheads...Good for you. You got your little epaulet thingy and became a webelo..(I know, I know. I've heard it. We blow, alright, I said it). Now, you'll be a Boy Scout and you can get little merit badges and tie knots and camp and shit, but DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A SHOT AT EAGLE!? You got another thing comin', boy...

My favorite shit story about Eagle Scout attainment made the rank sound so unattainable, it ultimately ended my scouting career. Synopsis: anemic scout does well, strives for Eagle Scout, knows that he'll have to GIVE BLOOD to attain the rank, but GIVING BLOOD will surely kill him. Like a good scout, he gives the blood, gets the Eagle, loses his life. Took one for the team. Died a proud hero. See what I mean about cult?

I certainly wasn't going to give more than the requisite hour a week in meetings, let alone my life to be a scout, not that I was anemic...Just as well, I decided it was a good time to pull out of this cult just as I became a Boy Scout. Besides, i was entering the magical phase of my life known as "Junior High." You wear your Cub Scout uniform to school in 3rd grade, you're kinda cool. You wear your Boy Scout Uniform to school in 7th grade, kiss your ass goodbye. Discretion IS the better part of valor, after all.

My Mom was our Den mother for a while, too. Basically, all that meant was that den meetings were held at my house, baby. I didn't have to go anywhere but home after school. Of course, that was when we lived farther away from school than at any time during my school career. There is a give and take, after all...not like I had to walk. My Mom would come pick me up in our old Dodge Coronet. I loved that car. I loved our Gremlin, too but Dad wrecked it. The Dodge, we traded for a set of golf clubs that I used maybe twice. I still suck at golf. And I miss the Dodge. (sigh)

I miss Hibbards, too. It's long gone, It's a Chipotle® now, so it brings me SOME joy. I just don't get to ride the elevator anymore, which was the only motivation I had to become a scout in the first place. Scouting still haunts me, however. We have family reunions every summer at a Kiwanis camp that's used by the Boy Scouts on Grand Mesa. Every time I'm there I can feel the spectre of mr. Baden-Powell looming, chastising me for not attaining Eagle. He also plays tricks on me like making me spend 4 days with my extended family and letting the air out of my air mattress. Also, I've concluded that the camp is left in a state of constant disrepair at his behest, simply to annoy me. Damn him...

Labels: , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?