I hate Boy Scouts, the obsequious little do-gooders. You want a reason not to vote for Mitt Romney besides what a phony grinning mannequin he is? Forget his Mormonism: he and all 28 of his fucking sons are Eagle Scouts. They’re a plague, they’re a blight, they’re a boil on America’s ass. I hate Boy Scouts.
This being Sharpsburg, the town practically crawls with them all summer. I’ve never seen them help an elderly person cross a street, or pick up a single piece of trash, but they do eat their fill and then some of ice cream from Nutter’s. Then they march up to the battlefield, no doubt to learn how knowledge of tree species and the ability to tie complex knots turned the tide for the Union that bloody September day. Maybe at some point they also get a brief lesson on why gay people are the only category of humanity whom it’s okay to discriminate against.
Ashley deals with Boy Scouts all the time at the library, and her stories about them are never very flattering. Most of them seem to be self-centered, spoiled little mama’s boys who naturally expect to get their way 100% of the time. She told me about this little prick who came in with a Boy Scout group the other day. He walked up to the desk while Ashley was dealing with another patron, put down the books he wanted to check out, and started waving around what must have been his mother’s car keys, saying, “Excuse me, can you check these out? I’m in a hurry!” Ashley, who is awesome, ignored the little prick until she was done with the patron already there, then turned to him and said, “You need to learn to wait your turn.” I said she should’ve told him to go fold a flag into a triangle, you little shithead, but then he would’ve run and told his mom that the librarian cussed at him, putting Ashley into a jackpot, and earning his snitching merit badge, I’m sure.
Chillingly, there is actually a group called Caravan that promotes “Christ-centered scouting” through local churches. That’s enough to send a chill up your back, knowing that there are parents out there thinking, “I’d like my kid to be a Boy Scout, but I’m worried it might be too secular.” In this case, “too secular” describes any activity not devised and executed for the sole purpose of ramming Christianity down a young child’s gullet. The whole thing was probably Ron Luce’s idea.
To be candid, I must disclose that my father was a Boy Scout, and my Pap was his scout leader. There’s a story to go with it: Once, before his troop was to leave for a camping trip, the mother of one of the scouts told Pap that her son was a sleepwalker, and she feared him getting up in the middle of the night and wandering off into the woods or into a lake. Pap promised her he would take care of it, and off they went on their camping trip. There was a cabin where they stayed, with bunk beds. The sleepwalker took a bottom bunk. That night, after everyone was asleep, Pap quietly tied a rope around the ankle of the sleepwalker. The other end he tied to the bedpost. Several hours later, Pap and everyone else in the cabin woke to the sound of someone crying. Pap turned on the light and found the sleepwalker on the floor by his bunk, at the end of the rope. He’d gotten out of bed and tripped himself. His mother wasn’t too pleased when she found out, but, as Pap explained to her, sleepwalking a few feet and feeling down beside your bed was a lot better than sleepwalking into a lake and drowning.
There’s no logical reason for me to believe this, but I like to think Pap’s heart was never really in the scout leader gig. I’d rather believe he infiltrated the organization intending to wreak havoc from within. It’s one of my private, happy thoughts.
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