7/12/2011

When I am King: Demerit Badges

When I am King...

Scouting achievements will be more realistic.

My son is a Boy Scout, following in the great family tradition of - wait, I wasn’t a Boy Scout. No, he's obviously interested in camping and the outdoors because his family - wait, we hate camping (somehow the combination of sleeping outdoors, in the cold, near either people that are too loud or animals that are too hungry has never appealed to us). Perhaps he's just attracted to the open and liberal social attitude of the Boy Scout organization, a bastion of openness and acceptance in the reality of today's evolving societal and family norms. Or perhaps not.

Okay, search me why he's doing it.

One of the thing that drives the scouts is the skills that they acquire as part of advancing rank, in the form of “merit badges.” This badges are awarded to scouts that learn particular skills and can demonstrate their proficiency to the troop leaders. There are merit badges that range from First Aid to Nuclear Science. You can learn about animals in Mammal Study and then learn how to hunt them down in Rifles.

But I feel, looking through the list of badges, that they are all rather dated. Sure, there are badges on Computers and Robotics, and the traditional Hoop and Stick Games badge was finally retired in 2007. But the current badges do not represent those characteristics of our society which we hold most dear. Where is the Shopping badge? Or the Wasting Time Online badge? And without badges such as these, how can a scout hope to succeed in a society that has come to expect such behavior?

When I am King, Boy Scout merit badges will better reflect the attitudes, values, and achievements of our society. No longer will the scouts produce men of quaint but dated character. Scouts will become shining examples of all that we respect in the world.

Here are a couple of badges that I’m working on:


Television Watching


The Television Watching merit badge introduces a boy scout to this core activity of our society, where he will learn to lose his time, his mind, and his life.

Requirements:
1. Watch television non-stop for 10 days.
2. Describe absolutely nothing that happened in the world during that period.
3. Name three ways in which commercials benefit society. [Retracted]
4. Meet with a merit badge counselor during a commercial break. Fail to meet their eyes, staring instead into the distance with a listless, glazed expression.
5. Be able to hum at least 15 theme show songs and 35 ad jingles.

Related awards:
Couch Potato, Obesity, Teenager


Couch Potato



Taking the time to relax is an important element in a fulfilling life. Extending that time to the exclusion of all productive activity is an art form that can only be appreciated by its active pursuit.

Requirements:
1. Do nothing
2. Get nothing accomplished.
3. Don’t meet with your merit badge counselor. Doing so would prove that you have not yet mastered this skill.

Related awards:
Television Watching, Eating, Sleeping
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