Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lord Baden-Powell's Finishing School for Young Men

A hive of scum and villany
I was re-reading A Girl Named Rose the other day, a book suitable to almost all moods and seasons, when I ran across a bit that made me laugh:
Him: What did you have for lunch? Beans on toast? (he asks her of her date with an oily, Brighton-bound houseman)
Her: Yes, and a cup of coffee...
Him: I've never liked beans since I ate them out of a tin when I was a scout.
Her: You were a scout?
She looked so surprised that he laughed.
Him: It keeps little boys out of mischief.

My boy is in scouts.  He's about to earn his Tenderfoot rank.  I was his Cub Scout leader for several years several years ago.  I wrote on my mommy-blog at the time:  
The way to the heart of an 8-year-old boy lies through projectiles and food...but mostly projectiles.

and in another entry:
Scouts, scouts, scouts...(head cradled in hands) Can't live with 'em, can't legally trebuchet them off a ravine cliff...

After a very difficult den meeting (tears were shed, egos were bruised, mothers were called) I was packing up to go (baby on hip, toddler in hand and shepherding three cubbies out the door) and heard the fire alarm. All I could hear was a drumbeat of Yoda in my head: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the Dark Side.

Oh for the love of Jane Wyman!
Arg. Cubbies. The story is that it was mostly an accident--if hanging on the plastic box covering the fire alarm is ever an accident. But I was a little too soul destroyed to dredge up den motherly kindness. That's right. I went there. I recounted the plot of Magnificent Obsession.
--which is just what this situation was like if you see the Cubs as cavalier, playboy Rock Hudson who crashes his speedboat doing something silly and reckless (something suspiciously like hanging from a fire alarm box), keeping life saving equipment from Sexy Jane Wyman's husband who subsequently dies. I only hope that when Jane Wyman looses her eyesight and needs restorative surgery she will be helped by those same Cubbies who have fallen in love with the widow and also (freakishly fast, pre-internet) gotten to be expert eye surgeons all in the name of Christian charity (which is what Magnificent Obsession refers to although I'm pretty sure the movie makers wanted you to think that it was Sexy Jane Wyman).

And let that be a lesson to you.

So, no, I'm not really sure if it does keep young boys out of mischief.  I'm pretty sure it was invented to get young boys to want to adventure to the Antarctic for King and country.  (Non sequiter-ly speaking, my Canadian brother-in-law was a Queen's Venturer.)

I was massively pregnant with my latest pledge of affection while I had this job which I thought was bad enough  (those scout shirts are as unflattering as possible) and then I had the Pledge.
Hey Sister van Voorhees...Where did the baby go?  What's he doing under that blanket?

No, I'm not sure I can agree with Professor Sybren Werdmer ter Sane on this one.