Thursday, September 15, 2005

"Strength in the Things that Remain" - Bob Dylan

I have been pondering many small absurdities, lately. I just finished reading a post at,, that describes the (previously unkown to me) practice of intentional fakery in reference works to identify copyright theft. How ingeniously incongruous!

Labor Day Weekend was spent on a Cub Scout campout with Sam. It was somewhat of a milestone for old Dad, because it was now time to actually commit to the purchase of the required equipment – tent, sleeping bags, camp stove, etc. – I’m still working on the “Happy” part of “Happy Camper.” I managed to think of all but three items – sugar, for my tea (haven’t invested in the percolator for coffee, yet), bug spray (our camp was about 200 yards from the “lake” – I think “pond” when I see green water, blue means “lake” to me), and a fishing pole for Sam. I personally prefer dentistry to fishing but hey, it’s not about me. Unless, of course, you’re a mosquito. My legs and arms still look like I’ve been well, part of a control group in an experiment gone horribly wrong. Little Man Sam bore not one welt. I’m not sure what I was exuding, pheromonically I must have been either alluring or argumentative. Sam was just happy to be there, and I think the blood suckers honored that. Of particular note were the little flies that have an affinity for hovering near the opening to one’s ear canals – you know, the ones that send any sentient being screaming into the woods, which of course is quite counterproductive.
All of the requisite Boy Scout charms were evident – campfires, BB guns, archery, hiking in the dark. One of the things that the BSA is still allowed to do by our government is to “retire”, to ceremonially and respectfully burn a worn-out American Flag. It was no small measure of the caliber of the men at this evening campfire to see half of them come out of the audience when the call for veterans, active military, and Eagle Scouts to join the ceremony. These are all good fathers, and many have served us, as well. I’m not altogether sure I’m in the same category. I was humbled, just the same. To me, the Boy Scouts is pretty anachronistic, an institutional holdout against the onslaught of modern life in many of its forms. It is also, in my opinion, something not to be dismissed, either, a glimpse into some truths that will be eventually lost. There is much that I disagree with in the organization I’ve seen, but that, like fishing, is not what it’s about. It’s about providing time and life lessons for tomorrow’s Men. I’m most pleased when I see these guys teaching Sam about things I wasn’t exposed to, like fishing and using a compass, but otherwise just doing things in a way that doesn’t happen in suburban America. I remember my Grandfather teaching me how to bundle up twigs one day; in his brusque manner and insistence that I do such a small task well conveyed values that were both consistent with who he was, as well as an unspoken love in the investment of his attention that have obviously impacted me forever. These are the moments that make the itching, backaches and body odor worthwhile. Not my Grandpa’s, mine, that is.
Speaking of absurdities, the bathrooms/showers (I’m told they were cold showers, which to me are mutually exclusive terms) were divided into three sections. Boys 18 and under, Women, and Men 18 and older. It was just a reminder that nothing’s what it used to be, or should be, for that matter.Anyone got any used fishing gear for sale?