Monday, July 25, 2005

How Many Boyscouts in a Jamboree

The weekend began in earnest with a trip to RFK. After trying to cajole numerous friends into joining me for a Nationals game, I was briefly set up on a blind date. This marks the second time I’ve been set up on a blind date with the friend of a very new friend/glorified acquaintance. While in Oberlin I met the friend of a friend and was instructed that upon moving to DC I should go on a date/meeting with their friend. Friday’s momentary date scenario was also with a lawyer or at least law student. I’m not sure what it says about me that acquaintances and new friends want me to date their legal eagle friends. It’s like saying, you’re interesting…not to me, of course, but maybe to my friend. But I guess it’s flattering. Well, either way that set up failed to take root as other plans interceded. In the end my friend Amanda whom I’d had to stand up for lunch earlier in the day (work crisis) and I went to the game.

Game summary: The Nationals are bad. They seem to be playing as if they feel some overwhelming obligation to regress to the mean. Much like nature, I abhor a vacuum…and the Nationals have taken to sucking in such a fashion. I watched Roger Clemens dismantle the routinely feeble Nationals’ hitters. Final score 14-1. Still despite being hotter than blazes and watching the Nationals’ play poorly, it was a great time. Live baseball is just pleasant, and certainly well worth the 10 bucks for tickets.

Midway through the 6th inning I noticed a mass of brown and peach about ¾ of the way across the stadium. It took a while for an image to settle out of the chaos…it was an entire section filled with Boyscouts. Thousands of white 11 year olds wearing their “oh-to-be-a-UPS-man” scout uniforms, each earnestly hopping for a Norman Rockwell moment. It was impressive if nothing else. I believe I may have seen more boyscouts on Friday than I’d seen in all the years previously. Turns out the Boyscout Jamboree was in DC this weekend. I’m not exactly certain how many Boyscouts it takes to make a Jamboree. Presumably it’s somewhere between a minion, a quorum and the number required for electoral representation in Congress. Though, truth be told, I saw enough wholesome, acne ridden faces wearing badges and buttons to justify a Congress person. Maybe that could be the trade off, DC gets Congressional Representation but so does the Jamboree. They could pass knot tying legislation. I pledge to do my best to do my duty to reward the interests to whom I am beholden. They could get their backroom deal merit badge, maybe a killed in committee merit badge. Granted I imagine that a lot of constituent services would just be providing copies of Victoria Secret catalogues to one another, but you know you gotta give your voters what they want, what they need.

Navigating the Metro on the way home was made even more challenging with thousands of boyscouts and their diligent and humourless leaders trying to shoehorn them into subway cars. There is something truly odd about watching hundreds of boyscouts mill around aimlessly only to realize that they were struggling to read the Metro maps and were in point of fact: lost. I guess orienteering isn’t routinely conducted along the Orange line. I for one have nothing against the boyscouts, and should make that clear here. I don’t like a lot of the policies, but the idea of kids wanting to serve their community and learn to camp and take blocks of wood and fashion them into faulty cars—this doesn’t bother me in the least. In the interest of journalistic (when this became a concern, I don’t recall) objectivity, your author was for about 7 months a Cub Scout. I was abysmal. I quickly earned a couple of the sissy badges (the ones that other kids thought were for girls) I think I got a sewing badge, and a cooking badge. I never learned to tie a single knot, and my pine wood derby car made the designers of mid-80s Volvos feel pretty fucking smug. I believe after 10 hours of work with my father on the car it was somehow blockier in appearance than the original rectangle of wood from which it came, it was as if we’d found a truer core of aerodynamic opposition. Oh, and my car listed to the right aimlessly as it tried and failed to transverse the little course. I lost, and badly. It was soon there after that I bid my farewell to the regimented masculinity of the boyscouts. I never made it to the next stage of Scoutdom--Weblow. Yes, that's right it's a good thing to call awkward boys under the tutelage of some Mark Trail idolizing nut the Weblows. There's no way that'll warp your understanding of your role in the universe. Maybe I'm just bitter that I couldn't ever earn any cool badges. A final side note, there is a theory that every man looks good in a uniform. I'm here to tell you this doesn't extend to 8 year olds in Cub Scout outfits, I can assure you of this.

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