The Boy Scouts of America is probably one of the most revered organizations in the world, at least by those that have never actually been a Boy Scout. For some strange reason, being an Eagle Scout is considered tantamount to being given the Congressional Medal of Honor. Many great and notable men have been Eagle Scouts, including Don Rumsfeld, Michael Moore, Rick Perry, L. Ron Hubbard, and John Ehrlichman as well as a couple of serial killers, rapists, and child molesters.
Now I can honestly say that I have no association with the BSA, but I can state with great confidence that I once was a scout. My old man, who apparently had a great time in the scouts, decided that I needed to “man up” and become a member of this esteemed organization. He hauled me over to the basement of the Methodist Church, and placed me in the competent hands of one Dick Howser. Now Dick was a fine fellow, who had the unfortunate defect of placing way too much trust in his subordinates, a gang of teenagers who had been the model for the leadership team in Lord of the Flies.
I vaguely remember the leadership team in Dick’s scout group. One guy was named Fred and seemed to get a Hannibal Lecter-esque joy out of tormenting small children. Apparently, there were no flies to pull the wings off from, so Fred would usher various choice children into a nearby closet and pummel them. He must have taken lessons from the KGB, because I don’t remember any bruising.
Another fellow seemed to take greater joy in tormenting us mentally. He would drill us incessantly regarding the nuances of Gordian Knots, forcing us to reconstruct these knots using a prickly rope, whilst blind folded. He also took great joy in having us recite the Boy Scout Motto, Boy Scout Law and the Boy Scout Oath backwards, forwards, standing on one foot, and blindfolded. I guess reciting the oath blindfolded made us all better prepared, on the off chance that we were being chased by a bear on a moonless night.
Later in life, I would be at a High School reunion in which one of the previous graduates, who was now a grand high exalted leader in the Boy Scouts of America, would lead us all in a prayer. I think his name was Fred.