Tears at half mast

When I was younger, probably 8 (maybe 9), I was in Cubs (the junior version of the Boy Scouts). I am pretty sure it was not my idea to go since none of my friends went. I suppose it was my dad's idea.

I loved my Cub book. I still have it. It is full of fun things to do (of course, maybe my idea of fun differs from most).

However, I found Cubs to be nothing like the book. The book was interesting, Cubs was not. I don't recall much of the year (maybe two) that I went (I only have a handful of specific memories).


  • Meetings were held in the gymnasium of my elementary school.

  • Cub leaders were named after characters from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book.

  • As a requirement for some star, one of the tasks was to draw a Canadian flag. I did so, using a pencil. The flag was grey and white. I was told the flag should be read and white. I pointed out that in the Cub book, the flag was green and white (the Cub book was printed using two colours - black and green). I asked if colouring the flag as illustrated in the Cub book was acceptable. I was told no. What was the point of insisting I colour the flag red and white when the book clearly had it green and white? Like so many things In life, I didn't get it.

  • We sold light bulbs door to door, one weekend, to raise money for something.

  • I was (and still am) temporally challenged. I remember arguing that there was no difference if I brought next week's craft / project / assignment this week and brought this week's craft / project / assignment next week. As far as I was concerned there was no chronological dependency between them, so their order was irrelevant. Any attempt at imposing order was simply arbitrary.

  • At the end of the evening, we would gather round the flag and sing a rather melancholic song as the flag was lowered and reverently folded and put away. I always thought it was unbelievably absurd to stand around the flag and sing so solemnly. Not only that, but some even had a tear in their eyes (Baloo was one of them). This is my strongest memory and, like so much of human behaviour, a little more than slightly mad to me. I always hoped they would decide to omit it.



[update 03-August-2007 @ 11:45, fix plural weeks into possessive week's]

Comments

b said…
Further evidence that you are a nonconformist. Some people love that sense of blindly embracing what they are told. There is undeniably an easiness to that way of life, but the nonconformists are those that challenge the status quo and embrace differences.

I can just envision you as a young boy challenging your cub scout leader about the crafts project issue...with much conviction and clear arguments. :)
tin-tin said…
my brother is a member of scouting also when he was younger.

sometimes adults don't listen. they're too rigid with rules and stuff. and trying to accept everything and feeling that they understand stuff but really don't. unlike with children who are more reasonable at times
My husband was in cubs for 10 months and then refused to go anymore! He marches to his own drum and won't join in the songs etc. just because someone says this is the somg we sing now. His poor mom saved his little uniform and gave it to us years ago...which he said he didn't want. I gave it away. He felt the same way about The Kinsmen Club in town here, although he did a lot of community work through it. He'd go to the meetings late, just in time for the meal, but to miss the song where they cross over arms and link hands..he hates that stuff. He's perfect for what he does..runs, bikes and skis long distances alone, works one-on-one with his chiropractic practice.

I am totally opposite! The eternal summer camper!
Richard said…
breal: it is not deliberately being non-conformist (which is why I ask the question, am I non-conforming or non-conformant?). It is not so much about challenging as just trying to understand why things are the way they are.

tin-tin: ha, ha, you obviously don't have kids if you think they are reasonable. They are cute, they are sweet, but not reasonable. The only difference with adults is that they are usually not cute or sweet.

MOI: was it because he doesn’t like it or because he doesn't see the point of it? Does he remember standing around a flag and singing?

I find most group behaviour arcane and I suspect this is because, in some way, I fail to connect with them. I suspect most people are conversing on a dozen different channels, but I am only plugged into one of them and totally unaware of the other conversations.
Coffee fairy said…
light bulbs!? im amused :) i used to be a girl scout when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, but i have vague memories about it, although i remember well that it was the wearing of the girlscout uniform and pins that thrilled me.
Ha! He just came in from his office and I shared your comment and he says he agrees with you and thinks those ritual things are dumb! See? You're not totally alone!
He always has a bit of difficulty doing the group thing, although he has played rugby and joined in the group party drinking beer afterwards! I guess there doesn't have to be a point to that whereas I think some of that and their songs etc. is dumb. In those situations, he floats with the wind and blends in quietly with others. Strange combo of being very different and then a little conservative too.
Get this..he loves Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings books/movies! Interesting blend, that guy.
Richard said…
coffee fairy: hey! this was back in the 70s before chocolate was invented. I don't know why they chose to sell light bulbs. I have to say, I have never gotten a thrill from wearing clothes - they just keep me from being unclothed.

MOI: it is not just the rituals, but the apparent emotional involvement. Of course, people are passionate about their sports team or TV show (something I don't get either). I have never read Harry Potter. I started reading Lord of The Rings, but found it dreadfully dull and never finished even one volume (I can't say the movies were that great either. I watched the first two on DVD with subtitles at double speed. I think the trilogy would have been better served as a single 3 hour movie, instead of three 3 hour movies. Of course, this view makes me anathema to friends who rather like the LOTR).
He has little emotional involvement with this type of group thing...not even for sports..none that he displays anyway. He loves sports that he plays/does for the pure exercise of the body and challenging himself against the elements, not to be competitive and win, although he likes to do well to have a bearing on his rigid training. He goes late to some races and doesn't even mind..he just races against his own clock.

He watches sports probably from a "Game strategy-physical" perspectivesince he studied Human Kinetics extensively. As a special sport to learn at university, he chose the unicycle and syncro swimming! A little different than most people I think. He doesn't really fit into any category so surprises me sometimes with his interests..like harry and LOTR. I found that sort of complicated to read. He'd stay up all night reading it until he finished it and can tell you everything that happened! He just amazes me...and then have to see his first patient at 8:15 a.m.!!

I suspect that you also have a category of your own..a true defintion of "cool" I have always thought...the opposite of what most people think cool is.
Richard said…
MOI: I am not much for sports. I am not really a kinesthetic sort of person; words and ideas are what inspire me.

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