We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges ~ Or Do We
When parents get involved in their children’s projects, a great inequity is born. I remember my friends’ middle school-aged kids’ projects for Science Fairs. They looked, by God, these trifold standup posters explaining the experiment, as if they’d been published by Random House. The other kids’ looked like, well, coloring books. Except for the ones made by their parents.
Girl Scouting was no different. In the 70s you had the laissez-faire parents like mine, God love ‘em, then you had the competitive superparents. They were troop leaders, usually, and their daughters had 200 merit badges on their sashes. My mom was a troop leader, but not the superparenting kind; more the “Look it up” kind. We had to earn our own merit badges, meaning do the work ourselves. Imagine that! We had to actually read the instructions and carry them out. If you didn’t understand something, in your Girl Scout Handbook or math book, a parent would bark, “Look it up!” without glancing up from the stovetop, martini, or newspaper. None of this coddly, “Let’s get going on it, honey … together!” None of this everything-at-your-fingertips Internet business, no sir, not for us.
What if we had to walk around today with sashes pictographically representing our accomplishments? Rich concept, that. Some people would have lots and lots of badges, some would have a few, and some would turn their nose at the “charade” even if they’d accomplished much. The highly competitive would have extra-long sashes trailing behind them like a royal brides’s train, or folded over repeatedly back and forth like ribbon candy, loaded down with those little embroidered circles of merit (crafted by … the children of the fine sweat shops of Indonesia?) The rest of us could fit our sash under a slender coat.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved earning those badges and sewing them by hand (myself! With the skills acquired in Brownies!) to my sash. I feel for the poor troop leader who ordered them, probably with 27-character alphanumeric codes they had to enter on a form and mail in (CANOE999 … FIRSTAID2704 … ETIQUETTE5328 — wait, did the Boys Scouts have Etiquette??? Certainly not HOUSEKEEPING like the early Girl Scout badge).
I could see this being of societal benefit in modern tymes. Like last spring when the months-old layer of snow melted and there was dog do all over town. It was a minefield out there. Maybe if there had been merit badges involved, people would have been more diligent about poopingscooping (gotta be a great German word for that). This got me — and the crazed nutters I call friends — thinking of incentive-based or generally perverse applications of such badges.
Proposed Merit Badges for Adults in Modern Tymes:
Recycling. Putting The Seat Down. Turning In Lost Objects. Moderation in Facebook Posting. Echolocation. Hoarding. Closet Organizing. Image Consulting. Photo Bombing. Comparative Shopping. Lawn Care. Adult Hygiene. Cell Phone Videography. Social Climbing. Commuting. Unfriending. Rabble Rousing. Lamprophony (look it up). Little Sister of the Moon (Stevie Nicks-esque Wicca skills). Little Brother Annoying. Patent Leather Appreciation. Cyber Stalking. Fast Texting. 50 Shading. Hermitude. Internet Bullying. Cellphone Minute Conservation. Hair Extension Weaving. Sleepover Safety. Bad Boy Dating. Texting Shorthand (u 2 want 1). Throning.
A friend asks, “What about a merit badge called Olive Loaf for those of us in the “sandwich” stage, caring for both children and aging parents?” Another writes: “OMG. I’m going to get a good picture of my sash. I GLUED the SEWING badge on the sash. I think I fibbed to ACHIEVE this number of badges … all glued on for speedy sense of ACCOMPLISHMENT and ACHIEVEMENT.
Others suggested: “How about the Aria Stark badge for when you kill an adversary?” Or “The Donald Trump badge for the girl who sells the most cookies? The theme would be twisted of course to emphasize greed rather than ‘do-gooding’ for a cause. The recipient would be all about the prize she wins.”
Feel free to create your own. Achieve! Good day.
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ann.aikens.7 on Facebook. Twitter handle: @uvgvt.