Midlife Scout, bro.

Computers Merit Badge Requirement 7c

Christ alive. Now it’s been two months since the last posting, but I’m getting back to it. And I’m cashing in one of the few easy topics for this post, in hopes that it can get me moving again:

Create a blog and use it as an online journal of your Scouting activities, including group discussions and meetings, campouts, and other events. Your blog should have at least five entries and two photographs or illustrations. You need not post the blog to the Internet, but you will need to share it with your counselor. If you decide to go live with your blog, you must first share it with your parents AND counselor and get their approval.

Boom. Done. I created this blog. It was extremely easy, partially because I already had some computer merit coming into the project. Did you know that? Do you want to see a list of the cool things I’ve done to get it off the ground?

  • I set up a hosting account and registered this domain with GoDaddy. Also, when the SOPA cause was getting a little trendy traction, I seriously considered leaving GoDaddy due to their stance on a free internet. I spent a lot of time looking into getting a VPS. Ultimately, I didn’t do it, because I embody my low self-image by inaction rather than selflessness, as more dedicated causekids might. In any case, I know what a VPS is and feel confident I could administer one without having to call tech support for a fresh Debian install more than two or three times. How’d I get so confident?
  • I set up a development environment in a virtual machine. I have Ubuntu running in VMWare Fusion right here on my MacBook. I installed Apache, MySQL, PHP and WordPress. I shoehorned rsync onto my crappy GoDaddy hosting plan, pulled all my files down and dumped the database to go with it. I installed AFP on the virtual machine, so I could mount my home directory in OS X and edit my code with TextMate. Don’t understand what any of that means or why it’s impressive?1 Type this into your terminal:
    $ sudo apt-get install a_fucking_clue

    …you blogspot.com subdomain-having, writing-about-how-happy-and-fulfilled-you-are son of a bitch.

  • Better yet, write another email to the support department at Tumblr, citing zero examples:

    it still look’s weird. please just fix it

    Sent From My iPhone

  • Just like all the clueless, arrogant, unappreciative complaint zombies I deal with at work EVERY goddamn DAY.
  • These people — these half-human fucks don’t appreciate anything I do.
  • ISN’T IT WEIRD THAT EVAN RESPONDS TO MY EMAILS ON WEEKENDS AND LATE AT NIGHT AND MAYBE I SHOULD SHOW SOME DEGREE OF HUMAN DECENCY BECAUSE MAYBE I’M HAMMERING SOMEONE WHO ALREADY HAS IT COMING FROM ALL SIDES AND MAYBE I AM JUST ANOTHER SET OF FEET INFLICTING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EQUIVALENT OF A CONCERT TRAMPLING
  • I am often upset about how my life has turned out.

Anyways:

  • I did a little dicking around with the stock WordPress code. I didn’t write a theme from scratch2 , but I added that little social media component in the upper right that nobody clicks on. That space in the header that shows a new joke with each page load? I wrote the code that drives that. I had never written any PHP before, but I made that component in my own image: it tells odd jokes, and some are funnier than others. And because I’d set up my development machine, there was no time where the site looked half-done and crappy because I didn’t know what I was doing and hosed my CSS. I did my work and published my changes when they were ready, because I’m a serious dude with aspirations to program computers for money.3
  • I came up with an idea, and at one point, I wrote a bunch of content.

I’d consider that plenty good enough to satisfy requirement 7c. This site has 5+ postings and 2+ illustrations. I didn’t ask my Mom for permission to publish it, however she is aware of its existence and approves of it enough to not sound sickened when I mention that I’ve been spending time on it. She’s just glad I don’t come home looking hungover every Easter anymore.

So, yeah, that should be it, right? I’m done? No.

I feel obligated to tell you guys what’s up. The dudes over at failblog, or whatever you read, don’t drop off the face of the innahnet for two months. However, for me, it requires motivation to attend a town meeting, listen with a Scoutly degree of attention, and blog about it. For those kids, it takes almost no motivation to post an animated GIF some dipshit sent in of another dipshit eating a pepper and falling off the porch.

Here are some things I’ve done in the past month to live up to the promise and premise of the blog, while the little hater had me under his spell:

  • I spent a period of time commanding a similar amount of spending money as an adolescent boy. Despite my advanced age, I have almost no savings or financial cushion whatsoever. This is the case not because I work a minimum wage job and have a family to support, but because I am more similar to a child than an adult, and when I do have some spare money, I funnel it into things I can just barely afford and totally don’t need, like an iPad. Or a pack of cigarettes every day for 15 years. As a result, when my car or my teeth break and I need to come up with $800 real fast, I end up a 30 year-old man with $68.97 to last him until next Friday.
  • I saw Kyle Kinane perform live. He did a great deal to help me see that there is humor to be found in a life lived this short-sightedly. I just realized I may’ve ripped the above bullet off from him a little bit, but trust me, I’ve been living like this for long enough to predate his joke. Anyways, he’s great. I used my Google Maps app to get to the show, so that’s a tiny taste of my Orienteering Merit Badge. I also used a taxi.
  • I mimicked the woodsman lifestyle by not getting a haircut for about two solid months and wearing a winter hat all the time. I’m going to file this personal grooming strike under “Odes to A Simpler Life”, instead of “Things I Could Have Afforded If I Didn’t Believe That Gin Is Bowling Fuel.” In any case, my girlfriend lost her sense of humor about it, and so I’ve since taken care of it.
  • I viewed this picture of a bearded scout that my cousin sent me.

That’s it really. I had intended this return to be a little bit more triumphant, but I suppose this is what I get for setting out to skate by on this post. But at least I have the car out of park and can hopefully keep the momentum up. No promises, however. I have found that promises imply a modicum of responsibility, which usually ends up coming back to bite me. But I will try to buy an electronics hobby kit from RadioShack and bring 9 volts worth of fun to my next post.

  1. It’s not really that impressive. []
  2. Yet. Doing so is not outside my wheelhouse of ways to waste my time. []
  3. Which I act on when I’m not watching movies or muttering to myself. []

Electricity Merit Badge Requirement 1

Bwuhhhhhh. Another month between posts. This is getting a little more than unacceptable and starting to border on totally ineffective. However, I’m just out of a therapist session where the (not actually a) doc and I reviewed how my parents stole the joy I once felt for writing by converting it into to a life goal. So, now that I’m fully entrenched in disappointed acceptance, let’s take a little joy back.

Demonstrate that you know how to respond to electrical emergencies by doing the following:

a. Show how to rescue a person touching a live wire in the home.

Since it would be less/no fun to immediately set about Googling this to merely retype it spun sarcastic, as I am wont to do, let’s guess first.

The verb tense of the sentence seems to imply that you’re catching this person mid-touch. We’re not dealing with someone in the immediate aftermath of electric shock, or a Jurassic Park scenario where a little kid and his crabby archaeologist caretaker are trapped on an electrified fence, in need of a fast solution, but not yet electrocuted. We’re dealing with your friend or partner, with whom you share your home, and they have their fist wrapped around a live wire they’ve found somehow. You might wonder, “How did this happen?” or “Why are we even still together?”

But: THERE’S NO TIME. You have to rescue your friend now, or electricity will finish cooking him or her.

Anyways, my guess would be you grab something non-conductive, like a log or a broom and try to whack the wire out of their hand, with as little brutality as is possible while being appropriately quick about it. After that, I don’t really know. I’d check in with the person and see if they’re conscious and can talk. If they’re basically alright and start talking about how weird it felt, I’d definitely convert the terror I felt into a tirade and make them feel as stupid as I could. If they’re unconscious or not lucid, I’d call 911 and sit on the other side of the room.

Some rescue, right? Let’s see how I did.

According to this unsourced answers.com article, I was pretty much right: use some something non-conductive to separate the person from the current. They initially mention turning off the power supplying the live wire, which does seem like a good idea, too. However, I’m thinking that it might take too long to bolt downstairs and get frantic on the breaker box, and maybe the lesson learned takes firmer root if you club your dumb friend with a skateboard.

b. Show how to render first aid to a person who is unconscious from electrical shock.

I have no idea, so I won’t guess; will just get right to the fruits of my research:

Turns out my instincts, after separating the person from the current, were totally off base. Apparently if a person is still conscious after a shock, could have cardiac rhythm disturbances and could go into cardiac arrest. I doubt as if the best thing for me would be to belittle my recently shocked friend for a few minutes before they have a few quick arrhythmias and shuffle off. I still ruminate on insensitive ways I sometimes treated girls when I was 19. I’m the last dude who could deal with the memory of sending a friend into the beyond with a few withering, dickish jabs.

Anyways, for unconscious people, one should actually try to give them a hand. None of my source material indicates that there’s any risk of shock once they’re separated from the current. You should check their “ABCs”, which I’ve learned means Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Cute. Electrocution can cause constricting of the airway, so you have to check those, and the pulse is just as important. If they’re not breathing, begin CPR. Don’t know CPR, yet. Crap. Writing this is really bringing my uselessness to the front of my mind: if you’re seriously hurt and looking for me to help, sure seems like you’re screwed. The last picture your eyes paint will be one of me, standing a few steps back, panicked over how your death will affect my self-esteem.

Finally, it’s best not to move the recently electrocuted and unconscious: they could have totally hosed their whole spine/back with all the twitching and seizing up.

c. Show how to treat an electrical burn.

Apparently, electrical burns are a like third degree burns, except they’re not surrounded by first and third degree burns, and they always come in pairs: a smaller burn where the zap entered the body and a larger one where it exited. The entry burn would probably be on or near the hand, and from all of the seriously gross pictures I’ve seen in researching this, the exit wound is usually near the heel. This is because you make the electric mistakes by touching things you’re not supposed to1, and then the electricity rips through your body seeking a ground and blows a giant hole in your flesh when it gets close. If you’ve seen Fast Five, the process is not unlike the climactic chase scene: your body is Rio di Janero and electricity is a pimped out Toyota Supra, tearing through it without regard. The Laws of Physics are Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, but don’t tell Georg Ohm.

d. Explain what to do in an electrical storm.

You do the same things you always do: Watch movies, drink pathetic, hastily mixed cocktails and eat cheese until you can’t do it anymore and have to sleep. Except you also make sure that you’re charging your devices and have them pre-loaded with some more movies, so that a power outage won’t become a party outage.

Oh wait. I made a few assumptions above that I shouldn’t have.

I guess there’s the possibility that one would be outside when they’re set upon by the lightning, etc. In which case, lose the waterskis, get inside and stop trying so hard. You’re not impressing anyone.

There’s also the possibility that one would be at work when the storm hit. If this is the case, you can only hope and wish and pray that it’s the fucking mother-of-all and will destroy everything.

e. Explain what to do in the event of an electrical fire.

My guess was that once you remove the electricity from the equation the electrical fire turns back into a regular fire and you can proceed to dealing with it in a regular way, and my research tells me I’m pretty much right. Unless you knocked the toaster into the deep fryer and started an electrical grease fire((I am disappointed, almost heart-broken, to discover that this is not on YouTube.)), you can pretty much proceed in the same manner that you did when you started your last accidental fire: just pour your drink on it.

I suppose that you could reach for that Class C fire extinguisher you don’t have, but I think in this instance it would actually be best to reach for the breaker box instead of making a quick Home Depot run while your stuff burns.

Ok, so we good here? Everybody’s cool with me handling a lantern battery by myself now?

Alright, good.

  1. A common cause of mistakes of all sorts. []

Personal Management Merit Badge – Requirement 7

Well, wouldn’t you know it? I finally get the gumption to start telling everybody about my blog and promptly go into a near three-week moment of silence. So typical of the half-assed blogger; I’m embarrassed. However, I won’t let a holiday, a string of 12 hour work days and a medium-to-severe case of clobbered-speechless-by-life derail me entirely. I’m still here, readers.

Anyways.

Now that I’ve satisfied all the requirements to actually join Scouting, I figure I can get back to knocking out a few of these Merit Badge requirements. I’m honestly not sure how one is supposed to pace himself with the Merit Badges vs. the Rank Requirements. From what I can tell, a Scout doesn’t actually have to do any Merit Badge-related work until he begins work towards the Star Scout rank, but what can I say? I am a motivated self-starter and an achiever, and I like to get and stay ahead of the game. Or I’m totally disorganized and have trouble focusing, prioritizing and structuring my workflow logically. Whichever.

Anyways, today I’ll take a look at the Personal Management Merit Badge. This badge is one of those required to become an Eagle Scout, and also an area in which my character has glaring deficiencies. I figure it can’t hurt to be a little pro-active here. Check the description of the concept of Personal Management:

Personal management is about mapping a plan for your life that will involve setting short-range and long-range goals and investigating different ways to reach those goals. Education, training, and experience all help make your goals become a reality. To achieve your goals, you will choose the best path and make a commitment to it, while remaining flexible enough to deal with changes and new opportunities.

Whooboy. It doesn’t seem like it leaves much time to watch movies or sit around. Who thinks and lives like that?

(Evan quickly checks Facebook to see what his peers from high school are doing with their lives.)

Ok, so everyone except me, I guess. It actually seems like, for most people, goals are specific personal advancements that they strive for and eventually achieve, not vague concepts that they avoid thinking about because it makes them sad. Darn.

Anyways, let’s dig in here. I am to explain to my Merit Badge counselor the following. As I don’t have a Merit Badge counselor, you will be filling that role. I am hopeful that this helps you to feel engaged as a reader and prompts you to tell all of your friends to read my blog so that I can transition out of my pathetic non-career and start living on snarky t-shirts and Google Adsense.

What a loan is, what interest is, and how the annual percentage rate (APR) measures the true cost of a loan.

A loan is borrowed money. Interest is basically a fee that you pay to take the money that you’ve borrowed; a percentage of the money you still owe, even if you spent it long ago on something you didn’t need or can’t use. The APR is the interest rate as factored for an entire year, and is helpful in envisioning how much a long-term loan is costing and will continue to cost you, though it is entirely deficient in how it measures the cost in terms of feelings of personal freedom and self-respect.

The different ways to borrow money.

I have known several types of loans in my lifetime.

  • The friendly loan, where my friends and I loan each other money to buy things like cigarettes, little snack treats and seabreeze cocktails. These loans typically do not incur interest and are transacted out of laziness and poor planning, where one among us will have neglected to visit the ATM before a meal or adventure. The term of the loan is undefined and is seldom repaid precisely. In my early 20s, a typical example would be that a friend of mine would have fronted me a little bit of weed so that I could get through an evening without going crazy, and I would have bought them a six-pack of Miller High Life 3 days later. A more current example would be that a friend would buy for me some french fries with duck gravy and fine cheese crumbles and I would buy them a six-pack of Miller High Life 3 days later and they would say to me, “I don’t want that.”
  • The parental loan, where my mother has loaned me money and I have made a sincere promise to pay her back, but have been unable to do so, because all of my income is tied up in cigarettes, little snack treats and seabreeze cocktails. I am not sure whether such a loan incurs interest, and to find out would require raising the subject, which I definitely don’t want to be doing. I have not required or had one of these loans extended to me in quite some time, but I’m quite sure that I still owe my Mom three grand for the 1994 Volvo she gave me in 2003.
  • The student loan, which most definitely incurs interest of some sort; perhaps several types. This interest is tax-deductible, even if you haven’t made any payments in the fiscal year.1 In my experience, the best way to pay back this loan is to pretend it doesn’t exist for a decade or so and then hastily sign up for some sort of loan rehabilitation when they call you at work and threaten to garnish your wages. Fair warning: you’ll have to start opening your mail in order to use this method.

The differences between a charge card, debit card, and credit card. What are the costs and pitfalls of using these financial tools? Explain why it is unwise to make only the minimum payment on your credit card.

Charge card: I had to consult Wikipedia on this one, because as far as a I knew “charge card” was a synonymous with “credit card”, but was an antiquated term that my grandmother used, or perhaps a charge card was associated with a specific store, like Filene’s or Jordan Marsh, or some other place my grandmother shops. Turns out a charge card is similar to a credit card in that it’s a substitute to cash, but dissimilar in that the user is required to pay the amount due in full by the due date or they will face severe penalties and restrictions on card use. If I somehow ended up with one of these, it would get real horrible, real fast.

Debit card: A debit card is a card tied to one’s checking account. When the user has money, the debit card is accepted and can be used to procure goods and services, or money out of the ATM. When the user has no money, the card will be declined and the user will feel shame, rub their cheeks and forehead, and mutter “Goddamnit” to an empty parking lot. One needs only a checking account to have a debit card, and while the costs and pitfalls are minimal, it does not imply a credit line of any kind. I have a debit card, and the ruin in which my credit resides can only be described using words typically reserved for serious historical tragedies and the apartments of truly warped animal hoarders.

Credit card: A credit card is something that Capital One issues you when you go to college. It is reserved for emergencies for the first 2 to 6 weeks you’re away from home, after which it is used to buy Pop Tarts and Camel cigarettes at the 7-11 on the corner of Tremont and Stuart in Boston. You then delude yourself into thinking that they level of fiscal responsibility you exercise in your day-to-day will turn around, and you will pay down the balance. This does not happen, however, and the card eventually ceases to function as a viable method of payment. The interest piles up, reaching $700+ dollars despite a $250 spending limit (and probably $90 actually spent). However, this story has a happy ending, because eventually the feelings of shame are overcome by a bumbling but earnest desire to take control of your life and you get your free credit report from the three major credit bureaus…

Credit reports and how personal responsibility can affect your credit report.

…and as you slowly separate the fingers on each hand, held tight and trembling over your eyes, you are surprised to see that there is no mention whatsoever of this, and decide it’s best not to question why this might be. Could be some statute of limitation, that your mother secretly paid it off so they’d stop calling her house in 2003, or that after a string of failed attempts to collect, Capital One worked out that they’d already spent several times the principal on Admin time trying and simply dropped the matter altogether. However, any celebration that might ensue is squelched by the old gas bills, cell phone bills and of course the student loan, with the line item for each collector that has tried their hand at it. It’s hard to pause and recognize the small victory while being simultaneously and exhaustively reminded that all of the bills are in your girlfriend’s name for a reason.

Ways to reduce or eliminate debt.

  • Know in your heart that you are an irresponsible person and be fearful of making promises, especially financial promises.
  • Retrieve your mail from the mailbox and open it. Do not spill anything on it, or allow it to become wet.
  • Graduate from college and get a job with the potential to inspire you to succeed, both financially (so that the loan had purpose and you have the ability to pay it down) and personally (so that failing to do so would feel uncharacteristic, and not like another in a long line of very familiar and predictable screw-ups).
  • Be able to locate your checkbook within 20 minutes of realizing you need it.
  • Practice preventative health maintenance, so that your money isn’t tied up in things like $3000 root canals.
  • Setup automatic payments and keep a change jar. The change jar will provide a useful financial boon when you spend $300 on a home theater PC 2 days before the automatic payments are processed, but 11 days from when you are next paid.
Jesus.
  1. I hope. []

Scout Rank Requirements 3 & 10

Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.

Participate in a Scoutmaster conference. Turn in your Boy Scout application and health history form signed by your parent or guardian, then participate in a Scoutmaster conference

So, this post completes my pre-Scout requirements, and as soon as its done, I will be as fully fledged of a Scout as I’m going to allow myself to be. Let’s see how it goes. Together.

This is my application for the Boy Scouts of America. I filled it out on a Sunday, in a coffee shop without Internet. A friend of mine and I went in there expecting to be able to explore the webs, but they were running some sort of wack WiFi setup. A local IT company had set them up with some low-rent Starbucks-style network, where you have to agree to terms and conditions before you can use the network. It was apparently down and one of the IT guys was in there troubleshooting. When I went to 192.168.100.1, I got an Open-WRT password prompt. Maybe I can find room in my Computers Merit Badge to teach somebody over there how to administer their own router.1

Anyways, we didn’t find out about the outage until we’d ordered coffee, which turned out to be pretty awful. It kinda tasted like a raspberry pissed in it. I’m not sure if a little bit of that disappointment crept into the application, or I just can’t think nice things, but it’s a little sad, I guess. Check it out:

Boy Scouts of America Application

Boy Scouts of America Application

Also required is a health history form. I actually filled it out in pretty good spirits, but I had to re-copy it a few times, because OS X Preview wasn’t orienting the text correctly in the PDF form fields, and Adobe seems dead-set paving their way to bankruptcy by making unusable, bloated crapware. Anyways, check that out too. It only took four more hours than it should have

BSA Health History Page 1
BSA Health History Page 1
BSA Health History Page 2
BSA Health History Page 2

As for the Scoutmaster Conference, I don’t plan on doing one, because as I’ve explained, I’m not sure it’s such a great idea for the blog for me to go around messing with actual Scouts, but here’s how I’d imagine it would go.

INT -- OFFICE -- EARLY EVENING

The rec center office is obviously a shared one, both in purpose and with other youth organizations. It doubles as a storage room, and the Boy Scout tents and Coleman gear mingle with tee-ball equipment and frisbees. In the middle of it all is a shabby desk, its angles less than perfect and its surface worn off by the elbows of a hundred exhausted Dads reviewing permission slips, who wanted to be more involved in their children’s lives, but ended up with more paperwork than activities. The SCOUTMASTER is sitting at the desk.

There is a knock at the door.

SCOUTMASTER

Come in...?

EVAN

Hi. I’m Evan. I’m here for my entry Scoutmaster Conference, in order to join your Boy Scout Troop.

SCOUTMASTER

(confused)

Son...or Sir, or whatever you are, I think that you’re a little old for Scouting.

EVAN

I know. This is for a blog that I’m writing. I’ve done my research and I believe that you’ll find that everything is in order. Take a look...

EVAN pulls out laptop and faces it to SCOUTMASTER who peers up at EVAN, then reluctantly at the screen. EVAN points at the screen as he talks, scrolling and clicking around the page.

EVAN

You’ll see here that I’ve read the sexual abuse pamphlet and made a bunch of inappropriate and distasteful rape jokes...

SCOUTMASTER

(confusion turning offended)

What?

EVAN

And here, I made a YouTube video where I recite the Pledge of Allegiance, except I auto-tuned it over the DMX song “Up In Here” --

SCOUTMASTER

I’m not sure any of this is appropriate for children or Scouting...we’re a service organization.

EVAN

Well, I think you could call my writing a service to young men in transition...who haven’t really figured out what they want to do with themselves, but are starting to feel the passage of time in a more realistic --

SCOUTMASTER

That’s exactly the type of life we hope to teach these kids to avoid, sir.

EVAN

Well, maybe I could serve as a living reminder to stay driven and --

SCOUTMASTER

You smell and look like you were just assaulted with an ashtray. I think that you’re a borderline terrorist. Please leave.

EVAN

Okay, well, I was also going to ask about maybe borrowing a canoe when it gets warm...

SCOUTMASTER becomes angry and chases EVAN from the office with a piece of firewood.

Alright.  So, that’s that.  I’m have attained the rank of Scout.  Hopefully this gets a lot easier.

  1. Or maybe a way to charge know-nothings for open source software and not setup a DDNS solution, requiring me to send a lackey over troubleshoot. []

Scout Requirement 5 – Sign, Salute, Shake

Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake.

Getting close to being full-fledged here, everyone.  Just one more joining requirement after this one.

The Scout Sign, before I Photoshopped it.

Above is the Scout Sign. I think that I’m supposed to do it with my arm straight off my shoulder and my elbow at a right angle, like these kids. I also think that I’m supposed to stand up straight and not chew on my beard while I do it. In fact, I don’t think I’m supposed have a beard at all.

The Scout Sign

Given that I didn’t get the opportunity to do any Photoshop flexing in the previous post, I thought I’d try to inject some in here. I did this about a week ago, so I’m not sure of the combo of filters I applied, but I do look like Jesus, as seen through the eyes of a man drunk enough to think he sees Jesus.

The Scout Gang Sign

One last time with the Scout Sign. It was considerably more gangsta when I did it on Crenshaw Blvd, without the Lifecycle and sedate lizard in the background.

Scout Salute

That’s the Scout Salute. “A Scout is cheerful.” This Scout can barely get out of bed.

The Scout Handshake

The Scout handshake is made with the hand nearest the heart and is offered as a token of friendship. Extend your left hand to another Scout and firmly grasp his left hand.

This is what I’m doing in the above picture. It may appear as though I am extending my hand to grasp the adderall I just bought from you, but this is a sincere attempt to get some friendship going, dear reader.

Only use this handshake when both people are in uniform.

I got news for you: that blazer-hoodie combo is basically a uniform for me, these days. I bought the jacket for a wedding and don’t think I’ve left the house without it since. I won’t be ironing any goddamn badges on it, though.

Scout Rank Requirement 6: Square Knot

Demonstrate tying the square knot (a joining knot).

Square knot, player.

Above is a square knot that I tied. I absolutely promise that I did it on my own.

I took this picture at work on my lunch break, alone in the office. I spent a lot of time thinking about how best to style it. Should I run it through some quick Photoshop filters? Drop a quick “Desaturate” on it, followed by some “Dust & Scratches” and “Film Grain”? Mess with the “Brightness/Contrast” slider until it looked like a frame lifted out of Pi. Or eschew that, and retake it with Hipstamatic like a modern-day scout: totally checked out and messing with his phone instead of breathing in all the nature?

I thought about this for awhile and my eyes bounced back and forth from my work computer to the Photoshop document on my laptop, and eventually my attention shifted away from the touch-up work and back to my paid duties. The feelings of hate that go with that quickly trampled my creative impulses, as they so often do. I answered a few client emails, checked the real mail, and put together a deposit to take to the bank. I printed out the slip, paperclipped it to the checks and started my walk.

I was listening to some podcasts at work at the time and continued to do so on my walk to the bank. As you can see above, my headphones were already on. When I got to the bank, I went to take them off, along with my hood, so as not to look like a man about to rob the place (not for the money, but as a desperate method of escape from a life gone stale). As I was removing these things, I noticed that the drawstrings of my hoodie were still twirled into a square knot and that I’d walked to the bank that way, in broad daylight: an angry-looking dude with a twice-worn-since-washing, barely-trying button-down shirt and a rudimentary knot across his chest for no apparent reason.

It was at that point that I decided that I should abandon any attempts to make above photo look at all cool. Instead, I present it to you as taken by my iSight camera. Look at me smirking, throwing it up like a gang sign. It’d take more than a little Lens Flare to save that.

Scout Rank Requirement 9 (The Rape Pamphlet) – Section 2

Complete the pamphlet exercises. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide (Click here to download and shake your belief in humanity.)

This is Section 2 of 2. Click here for Section 1.

Oh jesus, we’re back here again. The anticipation of and hard relaxation during Labor Day weekend derailed my ambitions towards a stringent posting schedule.1 My motivation really bubbled over just now, and perusing my remaining Scout Rank requirements revealed that most will require me to take a picture of myself, and I’m alone and in my apartment. I’ll need someone to take the picture and a nutty backdrop to make it interesting, so really my only option is to finish up my examination of How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide. The primary goal of this document is to educate parents and Scouts-to-be on how to stay out of rape’s way, unless the parent is already raping the kid, in which case, some gentle encouragement to the parent to stop. Anyways.

Section 2 kicks off with some odd formatting choices that make it difficult to parse the information as you’re reading. I’ll try to make it flow and make it easier to understand.2 For example, the first page discusses the “three R’s” of Youth Protection, but it’s oddly interrupted by a large bulleted list labeled, “Child’s Bill of Rights”, which isn’t referenced anywhere else in the pamphlet and pushes the three R’s to the next page. So we’ll get the Bill of Rights of out the way first:

When feeling threatened, you have the right to:
  • Trust your instincts or feelings.
  • Expect privacy.
  • Say no to unwanted touching or affection.
  • Say no to an adult’s inappropriate demands and requests.
  • Withhold information that could jeopardize your safety.
  • Refuse Gifts.
  • Be rude or unhelpful if the situation warrants.
  • Run, scream, and make a scene.
  • Physically fight off unwanted advances.
  • Ask for help.

So, all of that sounds great. However, if I were the parent in this situation, I would be sure to couch the explanation of these rights in a little bit of restraint. Not too much, as we still need the child to have a healthy sense of fear and paranoia, if we’re doing our jobs as mentors. However, maybe make it clear that some of this stuff is acceptable if you’re being assaulted, but could be a bit over the top for general use. When I was a teenager, just about every request, suggestion and gesture made to me by an adult came off as threatening and inappropriate. I’m not sure I’d be authorizing kids to be rude and unhelpful or run away screaming and making a scene without being pretty explicit with the disclaimer, “This is for when you’re being attacked or pursued by a molester, not in Pre-Algebra.  Stop screaming.”

Also, I think I’d take out the “refuse gifts” right. I suppose it is a dude’s right, but the better idea is to accept the gift, kick the molester and run. An iPod Touch is still an iPod touch, and it’s not like he’s going to come looking for it.

On to the three R’s of Youth Protection:
  • Recognize situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
  • Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  • Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the Scout know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.

These concepts come up throughout the rest of the PDF. Pretty grim stuff, though. “Anyone could be a molester.” Reminds me of the scene in the first Matrix movie, where Lawrence Fishburne is leading Keanu through the training program and uses the pretty lady in the red dress to demonstrate that anyone could be an agent. After ogling the girl, Keanu turns for a second glance to find that she has been body-snatched and is now Agent Smith, pointing a gun in his face. Scouts: navigating your childhood is like that, except instead of a well-coifed English guy, you will find only half-shaven rapists, stain-shirted and rubbing themselves, standing where your friends just were.

Next up, we’re in the “Personal Protection Rules for Computer Online Services” section of the handout. The first line is:

“When you’re online, you’re in a public place, among thousands of people who are online at the same time.”

Mind you, this is the 2005 printing of this pamphlet. In 1999 everyone was worried that the world might end if Y2K broke the internet, but six years later, Scouting is still telling kids that there are “thousands of people online” like it’s 1993 and one kid in every town has Prodigy. Meanwhile, the rest of the pamphlet tells it like there’s a rapist hiding in every bus driver and gym attendant. It is staggering to me that this outfit was able to create a PDF at all.3

Anyways, they advise you not to enter conversations with strangers in a private chat or email. They advise you not to give out your real last name, contact info, school info or your parents contact info at work. We wouldn’t want your Dad raped at work. They also remind you not to give out your password to anyone but a parent or “another adult in your family”, which sounds to me like the most rape-suspicious person they’ve brought up so far.

Another chestnut:

“If someone shows you an email with sayings that make you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts. You are probably right to be wary.”

Very awkwardly worded. Did they send me the email, or are they showing me the email? Did they forward it to me? And what do they mean by “sayings”? Well-traveled, but still filthy and inappropriate, words of wisdom? “A bird in the hand is worth two in your little pink butthole. Here. Drink this.” I get what they’re saying, but this is some cumbersome language.

A little further down, they warn that anyone who starts talking about subjects that make you uncomfortable is probably an adult posing as a kid. There is little probability that it could be a regular person exposing you to new ideas and ways of thinking, a natural part of growing up. It is an adult trying to take your innocence away.

After that, they warn you never to talk to anyone on the phone unless you know them in real life as well, even if it’s a toll-free 800 number. That’s a professional molester right there. “My name is Clyde, errr, Timmy and I’m 12 and my number is 1-800-DEFLOWERS.” Their reasoning is that the owner of a toll-free number can get your number from their bill, but, c’mon.  Has this ever happened?

Amid all this nastiness, they transition to cautioning young scouts against online friends who talk about hacking, phreaking or virii. Not that there’s anything wrong with steering a kid clear of this stuff (we wouldn’t want him to transition to a high-paying coding/security job, like all of my ex-hacker friends did), but I seriously doubt that anyone in the Cult of the Dead Cow is going to try to touch any goddamn 12-year-old, unless he’s got some extra Cheeto dust on his fingers.

The next page is a lesson on how to honor the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto without getting raped or putting yourself in a potential rapezone. Condensed: a Scout is supposed to be helpful, but should know not to help a stranger carry his gym bag through his house and into his custom rape basement, etc.

The next, and thankfully final, section of the pamphlet is entitled “Practicing the Three R’s of Youth Protection”, and it is dreadful and terrifying and upsetting in its plain realism. I haven’t been looking forward to writing about it because I’m not sure there’s a ton of funny within it. It really just wads up all of the foul and filth from the preceding pages and tosses it in your face, in the form of three different short stories of fictional scouts and how they were touched, grabbed, shamed and laughed at. Also, they’re told in the first person and without epilogue, like you’re reading the last entry in a dead kid’s diary.

Oh god.

Jeff’s Story: I’ll paraphrase for you. Jeff is 12 and he hangs out at the rec center everyday until his Mom, doing everything she can to give her son a good life and a chance to not hate himself forever, gets home from work. He’s been spending a lot of time working with a nice guy who works there, who suggests wrestling as an good sport for Jeff, noting that “it has different weight classes and [he's] so small”.

Did you need to go puke violently and cry into the toilet? You should wait. Just for a second.

Jeff really likes wrestling, but he’s bothered because this rec center employee wants him to come in on Sundays when the place is empty, and some real teaching could go down4. However, to Jeff, said instruction seems less like teaching and exactly like being occasionally held down and having his crotch grabbed while the teacher “makes like it’s a real funny joke.”

Okay. Now you can puke.

BSA has some questions for the Scout. Remember, this isn’t actually torture porn, but a teaching tool.

What is risky about this situation?

Boy Scouts list:

  • History of unwanted touching of private parts.
  • Touching will probably get more serious if allowed to continue.
  • Individual coaching would put Jeff alone at the center with a possible molester.

…but I would just go ahead and say that EVERYTHING is “risky” about this situation.  Way beyond risky, in fact.  It was risky, now it’s traumatic. I would also ask them, when revising this pamphlet, to consider that:

  1. …a groin-grab is really serious enough. That’s some therapy and sexual dysfunction right there. Could it be more serious? Yes, certainly. Should we really be measuring the severity of the violation when it’s come this far? I’m not so sure this is the place for a could-be-worse attitude.
  2. …this rec center employee is a no-doubt molester. Right? Grabs a 12-year-old’s nuts and laughs in his face? Safe to just go ahead and get him on familywatchdog.us? Is there something else we’re waiting for to reclassify him from possible to practicing molester? If there is, I don’t want to know.

How would you resist?

Boy Scouts suggest that you tell the guy to stop grabbing you and refuse to wrestle with him any longer, and also to yell “Stop that!” loud enough, so that everyone will hear. Unfortunately, they forgot that their story was so bleak and hopeless that Jeff is being held down and the rec center is empty. So, the correct answer is: you are too small to resist and no one will hear your cries.

How would you report the situation?

One of the BSA suggestions is that you report the individual to his supervisor and ask that someone else help you wrestle, which seems a little optimistic in evaluating Jeff’s potential for continued enthusiasm towards wrestling and rec centers in general. I think the more realistic outcome would be that Jeff quits wrestling immediately, then asks a homeless guy to buy his 12-year-old self some booze, because it’s going to be a long life.

Mario’s Story: Mario is a “13-year-old boy with a problem”. His 17-year-old uncle Joe watches him when his parents go out of town, and the last time around, Joe insisted that he be allowed to supervise Mario while he was taking a shower, perhaps even photographing the event. Joe followed that up by coaxing Mario into watching a little porno with him and implying “trouble” for the both of them if Mario ever told.

Does the fact that is a member of Mario’s family and only 17 years old mean that he could not be a possible child molester?

Usually, this would be a good couple of vital stats to indicate that a person isn’t a child molester, or at least that he isn’t out to molest you, personally. However, most 17-year-old dudes are typically more focused on never hanging out with 12-year-olds than photographing them in the buff, so I guess anything’s possible here.

Does the fact that Joe never touched Mario mean that sexual abuse never happened?

No, but the fact that Mario’s never going to tell anybody is just as good.

Should Mario get into trouble if he tells on Joe?

Well, he’ll definitely get kicked out of Scouting for being gay.

Steven’s Story: Steven is in junior high and gets really good grades. Recently, a group of guys told him they were starting a secret club. It’s a very exclusive club: you have to be invited by a current member. One of Steven’s friends, a member, asked him to join, which flattered him very much, because he really wanted to be a member. The friend told Steven that the first meeting was to be held in a storage shed at school, where they would get high and have some fun. Finally, the friend grabbed Steven’s crotch and laughed. Apparently, 2 out 3 molesters love that joke.

What do you suppose Steven’s friend meant when he said, “We could get high and have some fun,” then grabbed Steven’s crotch?

Honestly: no idea. I’m getting a very molester-y implication off of the BSA here, but it could be any in a myriad of awful things, ranging from some god-awful gang-rape scenario to merely ending up friends with a bunch of stoner Jackass wannabes, from whom this type of thing is totally non-sexual. I’d definitely be having second thoughts about joining up after getting my crank grabbed by some dude, but I do still think I’d be asking myself, “What the hell was that supposed to mean?”

Suppose that Steven went to the club meeting and ended up being sexually molested by one of the other guys there. How do you think he would feel?

Per Boy Scouts, “a lot of boys feel very embarrassed when they realized they’ve been fooled “and this embarrassment might cause Steven and other boys to not report their abuse.” That sounds about right. I think he might feel sadness, soreness, irritation, anger and crushing shame, extending well beyond embarrassment. I feel those things and I only read about Steven’s ordeal.

And that basically concludes the pamphlet.  There’s a section about a family meeting, but it’s not part of the rank requirement, so the hell with it.  My Mom doesn’t want to pow-wow on this.

As I said last time I wrote about this harrowing crap, if you ended up on my blog looking for some help coping or understanding, I’m sorry you didn’t find it.  I’m not the guy.  Tell your mom.  Talk to your kid.  If you’re a victim, get some help and don’t let it sink to the bottom of your brain, because it’ll really start screwing you up when you’re trying to have a healthy relationship some day.  Jesus fucking christ.

  1. For a whole goddamn month, apparently. []
  2. …while also taking things far less seriously than they ought to be taken, essentially nullifying the work I’ve done to improve clarity by injecting inappropriate humor and an unhealthy attitude. []
  3. By the way, this whole pamphlet looks like it was laid out in Aldus Pagemaker on a donated 486DX with a three button mouse. Way shoddy. []
  4. Get it? Bah. []

Scout Rank Requirement 7

Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath or Promise, Law, motto, and slogan, and the Outdoor Code.

We’ll jump right in here with the Scout Oath:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

Seems easy enough to grasp, and I’ll agree to live by it in order to move on to the knots and recreational boating. As I interpret this, they’re telling me to be a god-fearing, upright citizen who doesn’t break rules or get drunk and isn’t gay. If I’m going to have to adhere to this really, then this project is dead in the water. So, rather than help you understand what the above means, I’ll help you understand just how much my belief structure and lifestyle fly directly in the face of most of that.

  • As far as my “honor” goes, it’s a lot like my credit. It’s getting better, but it’s still basically for shit after some pretty irresponsible living during my early 20s.
  • Ditto goes for my “best”.
  • I don’t believe in God, so I see my duty to him as basically equivalent to my duty to The Terminator.
  • I pay my taxes (except for automobile excise, until they make me) and manage to hastily formulate an opinion when it’s time to vote in a national election. In 2008, I stayed up all night to watch the USA Men’s Basketball team play Spain in the Gold Medal Game, and even set aside my antipathy towards Kobe Bryant to root for him as he closed out the Spaniards. That’s plenty of duty-doing, America.
  • I’ll definitely obey the Scout Law. I haven’t read it just yet, but I plan on writing about it in the next section and fully intend on pretending to be down with whatever it says. So, yeah, no problem.
  • I do help other people at all times. Seriously, it’s an issue, nay, a personality disorder. Last week, I read the Wikipedia article on codependency and freaked myself all the way out. I hate my job and feel trapped by my own life. Thanks, Boy Scouts, for reinforcing this. I’m sure my therapist will love that.
  • I promise to keep myself as physically strong as a young boy. You can count on me.
  • Staying mentally awake should be no problem. I average about 5 hours of sleep a night and 20 hours in front of the TV per week. I never get anything right on the first try and constantly zone out when people are talking to me. Oh, and I drink. But, for real, I’ve been cultivating a really excessive iced coffee habit, and it’s been helping a lot. We’re fine here. I’m fine. What?
  • I am morally straight, as I understand the meaning of these words. This is the phrase that puts the BSA at odds with gays and atheists, though, so I’ll quickly address that: I won’t believe in God, and I am straight, but I might not be forever if these bitches keep fucking with me. I will still build a fire, or at least learn to.
Alright: Scout Law, what’s up with you, bro?
A Scout is:
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful,
Friendly, Courteous, Kind,
Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty,
Brave, Clean, Reverent
Again, pretty simple. Lots of common words in there, and I think I may have to do less lying. Let’s review:
  • I am pretty trustworthy. I have poor time management skills, so if you’re trusting me to meet a deadline, you may be disappointed, but I’m good at keeping secrets and won’t steal your stuff.
  • I am also loyal. I have like six friends, and I’ve known them all since I was like 19.
  • I would say that I am fairly helpful. I will fix your computer for you and have proven useful on pub trivia teams in the past.
  • As a customer service team member, I am very friendly, even if meeting you makes me die a little bit. As a stranger you’re being introduced to, I’m probably not the friendliest. I wouldn’t say I’m mean, but I don’t really get too psyched to meet new people and it probably shows in the half-hearted “How’s it going? Nice to meet you” I give, before drifting away mentally and looking around while you finish talking to one of my real friends.
  • I am very courteous and kind. Really. For sure.
  • I guess I can be obedient. I do tend to drive too fast and have been known to sneak a cigarette in a non-smoking area if I absolutely need to, but I’ll sit and stand when asked.
  • I struggle with cheerfulness, but could be that way when on Boy Scout’s time. I can knock back a dirty chai and be okay for a few hours, I suppose.
  • I’m not very brave, at least not socially. In eighth grade, I called a girl my girlfriend for almost two years and never kissed her, despite hormones churning inside me with the fury of a corked volcano. However, I showed little to no hesitation during the high adventure portion of gym class. So yeah, I’m a pussy, but I don’t think it should interfere with my Scouthood, which seems more adventure focused, and my fellow Scouts can be depended upon to initiate the physical love when the time comes.
  • I’ll illustrate how clean I am with a photo of the scene laid out before me:
Current level of cleanliness in my Scout lair.
I’m going to clean all this up in a little while.
  • According to Google, reverent is defined as “feeling or showing a deep and solemn respect”, which seems unrealistic to ask of an eleven year-old. Before we get to how I embody reverence, what does a little kid show a deep and solemn respect for? Fireworks? Older kids with dirtbikes? Large knives? I can’t imagine that any kid joining Scouting really lives up to this when first arriving on the BSA scene. More than likely he’s still giggling like a jackass during the flag opening ceremony, getting glared at by the patrol leader and getting into trouble for bouncing a tennis ball. Anyways, I think I can be as reverent as a 12-year-old, so I think I get a pass here.
In the Ukraine, the Scout Motto is “With Strength! With Beauty! With Care! With Speed!”, which sounds awesome. I would love to be part of a group that would turn me into a beautiful, strong man who shows care while racing around and getting things done. However, the American version may be easier to live up to: “Be prepared.” I definitely understand this already, and live by it to the best of my ability. Whenever I leave the house, I always have the following:
  • An open pack of cigarettes, an unopened backup, and a working knowledge of where I will be able to smoke at my destination, and with what frequency. This prepares me not to be intolerable and also to supply my moocher friends, who identify as non-smokers, but smoke every time they hang out with me.
  • A lighter. This further prepares me to smoke and to light candles when the ladies complain about the smoky smell.
  • My iPhone. This prepares to me to send and receive text messages, entertain myself for brief periods when standing in line to buy cigarettes, and to screen the phone calls I don’t want to answer.
  • My keys, caribiner’d to my belt loop. This prepares me to look like a rugged person who needs his keys at the ready, while also preparing me not to lose my keys, as I am more absent-minded than rugged. It also toughens my scrotum, because whenever I am required to break into even a light jog, the keys swing back and forth, bouncing off my groin repeatedly.
  • My wallet, which prepares my to buy coffees, pizza and drinks.
  • A 8 GB flash drive, which I never use for anything, because I already have all the coolest data, but prepares me just in case that changes.

The Scout slogan is “Do a Good Turn Daily”, which is easy. I’m a nice, reasonably socialized person. I hold doors and say “Thank you.” I don’t usually help people cross the street or repaint urban playgrounds, but it’s not like I just wander around scowling at people and littering. This is probably more crucial information to a young dude who, if left to his own devices, would fill his day riding his bike recklessly and being loud in stores.

Finally, the Outdoor Code:
As an American, I will do my best to—
Be clean in my outdoor manners
Be careful with fire
Be considerate in the outdoors
Be conservation-minded

The first thing I notice here is that this assumes you’re an American. I’ve done some quick perusing of the rest of the joining requirements of Boy Scouts, there is no requirement of American citizenship. They don’t require a social security number, just a phone number and address, which means anyone with a PO Box and a Tracfone is pretty much good to go. This is opens Scouting to the children of a shady drifters and off-the-grid contract criminals, which is cool.

Anyways, yeah, I’m an American and I’ll do my best.

I can definitely be clean in my outdoor manners, at least as far as trash and litter go. As you saw in my preparedness gear list, there is very little potential for mess making. Really the only item of concern would be the cigarette butts, but I bury those and leave a note to the forest spirit. However, it’s rare that I enter the woods without unapologetically pissing all over it.

I am careful with fire. If I drop my lighter in the stream, we’re all going to have to hike back into town for another one.

I will be considerate in the outdoors. I was a little unclear as to what exactly this meant, and some research suggests that this is mostly related to delineating between public and private property, which I can handle. I’m not trying to get a quick fire going in Best Buy or in the designated smoking area behind an office park. I know where it’s cool to camp.

Finally, I can be conservation minded. As I type this, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the region and threatening to interrupt power and internet, so conservation is actually at the front of my mind. Both my laptop and phone batteries will be fully charged up until the moment these services cut out, at which point I’ll impose severe restrictions on screen brightness and utilize airplane mode in order to conserve juice when not actively browsing. Also, I’ve heard I may not be able to flush my toilet, but have not filled up my bathtub to allow me to flush in the event that water pressure fails. In this case, the upside to the grossness will be some pretty nice water conservation.

Jesus, that was exhausting, but I think it’s close enough. Consider me committed to the cause.

Scout Rank Requirement 4

Repeat the pledge of allegiance.

This turned out way more creepy than I’d initially intended, but I’m fine with it.

First Aid Merit Badge Requirement 5F – Burns

Describe the symptoms, proper first aid procedures, and possible prevention measures for burns.

CVS Pain Relieving LiquidConveniently enough, I recently burned myself with a cigarette. A friend and I were pulling up to Captain Jack’s in Easthampton, MA when it happened. It was a Sunday afternoon and I’d spent most of the previous night getting weepy, watching romantic comedies from the 90s and drinking Svedka and Cokes. Since I’d been up so late mourning the loss of vitality and interpersonal discovery in my life, I hadn’t had much sleep and my dexterity was not what it might’ve been, and so I bobbled the flick as we were arriving. Instead of sailing clean off my index fingernail and out the car window, the butt slid in between my first two fingers and I squeezed in an attempt to catch it and keep it from falling in my lap or down my sleeve. When I closed my fingers, I caught the coal and not the filter, and thus burned the hell out of myself. To make things worse, the hot tip clung to the inside of my finger for a moment, using my gelatinous skin as adhesive. When it did dislodge, it fell under the passenger seat, and when my friend shut his car off, I was on my hands and knees in the gravel parking lot trying to fish it out. I was able to do so successfully and an embarrassing roadside car fire was averted.

My Symptoms:

  • Finger really hurt bad
  • Little white skin bubble on finger
  • Involuntary grunting and hissing noises from mouth
  • Feelings of anger/rage

First Aid Rendered:

The very first thing I did was to shake my hand a bunch and curse while deciding on my lunch order. This proved to be mostly useless. When I did decide on my order (a BBQ burger with fries), I also ordered an Arnold Palmer, which came in a plastic to-go cup. The drink was ice-cold and the cup quickly became cold and sweaty in my hand. Holding it against the burn dulled the pain pretty effectively, but removing it, even momentarily, brought the pain back as though I were mashing a second Camel into my hand. At this point, I decided I needed to step up the treatment regimen and we headed to CVS after finishing our meals, which were delicious.

At CVS, I bought some more cigarettes and a small bottle of store brand “Pain Relieving Antiseptic Liquid”, which seemed to fit the bill, as I was in pain and couldn’t imagine some antiseptic would be a bad idea, given that I’d ground a lit cigarette into my finger and then immediately shoved my hand under a car seat. Upon completing my purchase, I soaked a biodegradable brown napkin in the stuff and held it against my finger. I was amazed by its effectiveness. I did have to repeat this several times over the remainder of the day, but it did its job very well before it dried out. Any Scout or clumsy moron would do well to keep some in his trunk, glovebox or tackle box.

Possible Prevention Measures:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Address psychological problems that kept me up all night drinking and trying to recall my youth, preventing the hampered physical acuity that caused the misflick.
  • Practice flicking things more often and develop muscle memory less susceptible to fatigue.

What I Should Have Done:

Per Boy Scouts, I should have first assessed the severity of the burn, classifying it as either 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree.

1st degree burns result in reddened skin. I was going to use “Indian Sunburn” as an example here, but that’s really not a burn at all, if you think about it for more than two seconds1, and I am a little bit fearful that it is totally racist. I haven’t really thought about this prank, or it’s name since I was 12. Did a Google search to get some perspective and discovered that it is not based on anything literal and definitely racist, as the same technique is also called a “Chinese Burn” and a “French Cuff” in other cultures.2 Canadians call it an “Indian Rub”, I guess, which is still racist, but also sounds more sketchy than painful. Anyways, if I had this, I’d have hit it with some cold water until the pain went away, and then put it in a wet, loose dressing. They are careful to note that, were water unavailable, I should use a dry dressing.

2nd degree burns result in blistered skin. I think the white skin bubble counts as a blister, so I guess that’s what I had. The recommended treatment is the same as for a first degree burn, except with two cautions.

  1. Do not break the blisters. No worries here. Despite my naturally curious Scout nature, I’ll not be experimenting with concepts like, “What would happen if I combined a burn AND a cut?”
  2. Do not apply creams, ointments or sprays. I think the CVS liquid falls into this category. I can’t be certain, as it’s perhaps the rough application of a cream or the jarring puff of an aerosol that is dangerous, but I’m thinking that Boy Scouts don’t actually roll with any four dollar Antiseptic Liquid.

3rd degree burns result in charred or cooked skin. In more severe cases, skin or appendages may be burned off. Jesus christ. Fat, muscle and bones could be “affected”, or burnt as all hell, in other words. Again, Jesus Christ. Something like this is a high-level disaster event for a Boy Scout troop, like when a kid trips into the fire pit and his clothes and hair catch fire. Outside of yanking the bro out of the fire, putting him out, and calling 911, here are things you should and shouldn’t do:

  1. Don’t try to remove any burnt clothing. The inference here, I think, it’s that you will yank off sheets of your fellow scout’s skin with his shorts.
  2. Don’t immerse large severe burns in water, because the victim may go into shock, or get hypothermia, and you’d feel like a dick.
  3. Check for signs of life: breathing (coughing counts), pulse or movement. If these signs are non-existent, begin CPR, which I can’t do, yet. I would probably just cave in somebody’s chest trying.
  4. Elevate the burned area above the heart, if possible.
  5. Cover the area of the burn with a clean, moist cloth or towel.

Beyond that, I think you just wait for 911 to arrive, because your friend will still need that. Nothing I read indicated that Timmy could drop a sparkler down the front of his shirt and be back to tetherball with a wet-nap and some quick CPR. Especially not with said shirt still fused to his chest.

Also, a tetanus shot is recommended, but I don’t think that should be included among the first response, and I certainly hope the Boy Scouts don’t endorse scouts jabbing fellow scouts in the abdomen3, or carrying any sort of medicine administered in that manner.

Possible Ways to Prevent Legitimate Burns:

  • Do not piss on the campfire. Scouts hate that and will tackle you.
  • Do not throw a can of Off! into the campfire.
  • Do not, in the night, sneak into the tent of a fellow scout who has been teasing you and burn his face with a hot tent post while he sleeps.
  • Stop playing with the fire. It’s going good. You don’t need to poke at it every five seconds. Just sit down and enjoy the woods, or go in your tent if you can’t control yourself.
  1. A practice I’m really working on for this blog, and in life. []
  2. Source: Wikipedia. This whole entry may come in handy for this project, actually. []
  3. Too easy. []