Tonight was the kickoff of the new Cub Scouting season in town. My wife signed our two older sons up for Scouts, and I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand, I was pretty active in Scouting when I was a kid. I remember the Pinewood Derby, tying knots, camping trips, Tote ‘n Chip, canoeing and D-Bar-A. I also remember some of the, uh, “other” things – like the chubby kids wearing their Scouts uniforms to school and getting teased, the “tent-mate” whose turned-out underwear on the floor revealed his major skid marks, losing a corner of your Fireman Chip card for burning things and quitting because your Scoutmaster was a former drill sergeant a-hole who wouldn’t advance you past Star because you didn’t want to sit in his non-air conditioned house in the Summer and listen to war stories. But I’m not bitter.
All that being said, there were some really good times in there, and more important – it kept me busy and with everything going on in our crazy lives it means I’ll actually spend time with my older boys.
So as I mentioned, my wife signed the boys up for Cub Scouts and Webelos and tonight was their inaugural bonfire. It was a pretty standard evening with the new guy leading the kids through a series of sketches, that to be honest I could only remember one because I was busy cracking jokes with a few other dads in the back. Some things never change. Here are a few lines that I recall…
Dad #1: “I’m going to wear my old uniform in to work for my performance review. I figure it’s gotta impress them somehow.”
Dad #2: “I went on a few camping trips. It’s not bad. The kids all stay up until 11 and the dads sit around the campfire and pound beers.”
Which then lead us into a discussion about merit badges. I posed the question: “Shouldn’t us Dads get merit badges for going camping with the kids?”
This spiraled out of control fast:
“There should be a merit badge with a picture of a flask on it. You know, for the Dad smart enough to sneak some booze.”
“It could be a Jaeger badge, with one antler on it.”
“I could see a keg badge for the Dad that brings that along.”
“What about one for the Dad that pukes but keeps drinking? Not everyone could earn that one.”
After several laughs and “SHHHHHs!” from the front it dawned on me — regardless of age, hairline, income or background that boys will be boys. I just hope mine aren’t the ones with the crusty underwear.