Monday, December 17, 2007

Scouts Honor

Horatio writes: The modern scout movement is all about inculcating a generation of American youths with what is referred to as "character development." Thanks to Theo Katz from Los Angeles for providing the insight into how this is done.

Scouting was my everything. I loved the feeling of being a member of a collective. Growing up in LA, I guess the need for community is pretty self-evident. I was 13 when we left for an overnight trip out into the country. It was 1983. On the way out of the city, our bus stopped in Pasadena which provided a bunch of us with just enough time to drop into one of those head shop/porn stores where I was able to procure a pack of nude playing cards which featured an array of naked Mexican ladies. The Scout Movement was all about respecting the group and helping others, so although I cannot remember my precise motivations, I am pretty sure that without thinking, I felt duty bound to share the joy by giving out the cards on the bus so that every member of my pack could experience the thrill of holding a butt nekkid senorita in their sweaty little palms. The cards progressed around the bus, but I realized my error before they had made it almost half way round. The energy level on the bus surged to electric all the while the noise level dropped to almost nothing. Two tell tale signs which even the most distracted and incompetent Scout Master knows spells one thing and one thing only. Porn on the bus. I was quickly turned in, busted, and sent home.

My parents were mortified. Both about the fact that their son was a petty thief ("You are worse than a murder!") and that the object of my affection were cheap Mexicans in maid outfits. I should add that my father considered himself to be a proper gentleman in the My Fair Lady mode. So this was one of the greatest ethical dilemmas he faced as a parent. Had I stolen a record, he would have taught me a lesson by marching me me right back to Tower Records and forcing me to face the justice of the authorities. But this was cheap and dirty porn and he was too embarrassed to actually go to the store and ally himself with the owner, a purveyor of smut. Even Dr. Benjamin Spock neglected to cover this parenting challenge. A manila envelope was found. An anonymous note of apology was written and mailed unsigned back to the sore o'porn. And I was never allowed to attend a scouting affair, or make the scout salute, again.

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