Monday, 3 May 2010

be prepared

What comes to mind when you think boy scout? A neckerchiefed, good-conduct-badged apple-seller? The old-lady-helper-across-the-street? All I recall from my own experience with the organization (I was a scout for three weeks) is standing in the gym, holding out my hands for a fingernail check. (Yup, a middle aged guy inspecting a hundred boys' fingernails. Creepy even for a scoutmaster. And that's saying something.)

Don't worry -- I have nothing sordid to reveal. My point was that our scoutmaster was very keen on cleanliness not for its own sake but because it meant you were prepared. He shouted that motto out at us every week after inspection. Be prepared! he said. With clean hands you can take on the world! (I know. I know.) Later, when I had kids of my own, I heard an echo of my scoutmaster in my son Ed. It took me approximately skady-eight trips to load the van for a simple weekend vacation. Then I kept having to run back into the house for stuff I had forgot. When we were finally ready to go, and I couldn't start the van because the keys were sitting on my dresser, I started to laugh. Ed frowned at me from his booster seat. Dad, he said, I have three words for you: Plan. A. Head.

So yesterday I saw a kid roller blading down Division Street in Cobourg, and wanted to applaud. Talk about planning a head. The kid -- he would have been fourteen, I guess -- carried a hockey stick and a baseball bat, and had a skateboard sticking out of his backpack. Be prepared for fun! I wasn't close enough to check the state of his fingernails, but I felt sure that my old scoutmaster would approve.


Marilyn said...

There is something to be said for "be prepared".
Lately I've been wondering if I should destroy all of my old journals. What if I die and someone reads them? OMG!!! I need to be prepared for that.

But then today, since the weather sucks, I started reading one of them and it was hilarious. And I don't think I'm going to die soon, so maybe I could save them for awhile longer. That's not really being prepared though, is it?

Richard Scrimger said...

What are you preparing for? Dying? Don't bother. But isn't it great when you read old stuff and find that it doesn't stink? ...

Anonymous said...

My old journal involved buying my first bra AND David Cassidy concert tickets on the same day. Believe it or not -- the universe didn't implode.


Anonymous said...

I quit Brownies when I learned camping meant sleeping in a cabin instead of a tent (now I'd prefer the cabin--how times have changed). I always had dirt under my nails from hunting for rocks back then. But I did manage to get my knitting badge and am prepared to knit gloves that warm up friends' hands (manicured or not).


Richard Scrimger said...

I am SO impressed at anyone who can knit. A badge for it is in fact seriously retro-cool. As for bras and David Cassidy ... he was my and every other guy's nemesis in Grade Six. Sigh.