You know those obnoxious little kids who line up when they're supposed to after recess, who always throw their garbage in the trash and who feel the need to follow their teachers' instructions to the letter?
I was one of those kids (with a surprisingly low wedgie ratio).
I was also a Boy Scout (and I probably would have made a great Hall Monitor if I'd been given the opportunity).
I was a Boy Scout, not because I love camping or can't wait to skin a rattlesnake.
I was a Boy Scout because all my brothers were Boy Scouts, my dad and his brothers were Boy Scouts and my grandpa was a Boy Scout.
My grandma had a great sense of humor. She kept all the Eagle mother's pins from her grandsons' Eagle ranks on a charm bracelet. There was one grandson who didn't get his Eagle, and every time he came over, she would feel the weight of the charm bracelet on her wrist and say, "Hmm, something's missing ... I wonder what it is ..."
I got my Eagle out of duty. But for the record, I'm still glad I did. One of the things I tried to do during those years of itchy, puke-colored socks and short shorts was to tailor the entire process to my own interests. Since I liked music, I made sure to get the Music Merit Badge.
Since I liked to read, I wanted my Eagle Project to involve getting a bunch of book donations for the local library. While everyone else was digging ditches in the desert and maintaining hiking trails, I wanted to be different.
I went to the library and spoke with a lady who assured me they would love to receive book donations, either for inclusion on their shelves or to sell at the next book sale. Then I went to work organizing the project.
I selected a grid of the city in which to work, and on one Saturday, we passed out fliers. The next Saturday, we went around to collect all the books from those willing to donate.
One house had 20 file boxes full of romance novels. 20. Boxes.
The kicker was that they were all organized, not by author, but by publisher.
It was a rousing success, and we had tons of books to take down to the library loading dock.
(By the way, if you're still reading this, I owe you a candy bar.)
When I got to the dock, the guy at the door said, "Oh, we don't accept book donations."
I was dumbfounded. He got his manager, and when she came to the door, she repeated their policy. I replied, "But I spoke with someone a couple months ago who said you would be happy to take them if I organized it for my Eagle Project.
"Who did you speak with?" she asked.
When I gave her the woman's name, she let out an exasperated sigh and told me just to leave the books on the loading dock, and they would take care of it.
And that is the way I ended my career as a Boy Scout, knowing that the 100+ hours I spent working on a project was completely wasted and that the 60 boxes of books we collected probably ended up in the dumpster.