I don’t know how I got in the Boy Scouts. I am pretty sure I was not consulted, and when the old man got involved so he could go hang out with other adult males on the camping trips, doing whatever the hell they did in their big tent, I was stuck.
The high light of the camping trips—aside from getting to crap in the great outdoors which brought back fond memories for me—was somebody or other beating up on Richie White. Like the whole Troop or maybe it was Pack took turns at beating him up. He was short and scrawny and wore glasses and had a greasy lank of black hair that flopped across his forehead that made me wonder if Hitler as a kid had looked like that. Also he was constantly snorting, with snot running from his nose, and when he talked he sprayed.
And he was sneaky and perverse. In Boy Scouts you get merit badges for doing things like tying knots or cooking a meal; getting those badges is how you move up in the organization. So one time Richie’s turn to get his cooking merit badge came around, and somehow he managed to cook up green eggs. So first, Richie denied they were green; they were maybe a little “greenish.” So kids started like yelling look at the fucking things. Greenish! My ass.
And then he said it wasn’t his fault something must have been wrong with the eggs. And then people said like fuck it man you cooked the fucking eggs and they came out green. And then he said they were good to eat even if they were green. And people said, well, fuck it, then, you eat them. Go ahead and eat. So Richie stuck his fork in them but he couldn’t eat them he said with everybody looking at him.
A couple minutes later you hear this screaming and yelling out in the bushes. Somebody is beating up Richie. And there was one of my Patrol, I guess it was, sitting on Richie’s chest and beating him about the head and shoulders because, the guy said, Richie had said he had eaten the eggs and then the guy saw the eggs lying right there in the bushes. So he had decided to beat on the lying mother fucker.
I was the leader of my Patrol, a smaller group within the Troop; every Patrol had its own name, like Wolfs, or Bears, or something. I don’t remember the name of my Patrol but I was the leader of it. So I said, we can eat cereal instead because I knew we had those little boxes of cereal and I knew we had milk. So we sat around in the dirt and ate cereal; that calmed down things a bit. But they decided that since Richie had eaten all the eggs himself that he wouldn’t get any cereal. So Richie sat there and started to holding his stomach and groaning that he had a stomach ache. I really understood why the guys wanted to beat on him.
Richie was the kind of kid you catch with his arm in the cookie jar, and he would say, you were mistaken. His arm was not in the cookie jar, even though he was standing there plain as day with his arm in the cookie jar. But you play that game too often and you can start believing it yourself.