Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Newsday Tuesday

Scout Soars Far Beyond Eagle

It's not easy making Eagle, the highest honor in Boy Scouts. You need at least 21 merit badges . . . [James Calderwood] has every badge available, from American business to woodwork. He even has one they don't give out anymore, so make it 122.

This is a very remarkable feat, though tragically it will not translate directly into a marketable skill or reward (see also, a perfect score on the SATs). I know this from personal experience -- being a very short Boy Scout who was once almost denied entrance to a weeklong leadership camp because my backpack was larger than I was, I had to compensate by extending the length of my sash.

By the time I left Scouts, my merit badge sash had 43 badges, which (while nowhere near the full 121) was far above the national average. Yet putting this information onto my resumé garnered me no multi-year scholarships or product endorsement deals and I even had to go out on my own to find a girlfriend.

Every Boy Scout merit badge has a rigid pedantic set of requirements that must be checked off by a qualified merit badge counselor. Judging from the sheer number of merit badges, and the rather lame descriptions the article provides depicting what Calderwood did to complete them ("I played slapjack with an Indian"), I'm betting he didn't literally fulfill every requirement for every merit badge. Instead, he probably employed a little-used loophole that says you can dub your good friend, Bob, a merit badge counselor if there are no other qualified counselors in the area (see also, marriage on the Internet).

By doing this for some of the more archaic badges, he could get the substitute counselor to sign off on the badge without really following the letter of the requirements. This is also how I got the Farm Mechanics, Rabbit Raising, and Animal Husbandry merit badges (the non-city-slicker half of the URI! clan in Nevada owned a ranch). However, it looks like Calderwood is still missing one badge that I have -- Beekeeping! You can see the photographic evidence to the right, although some cynics might claim it's just a picture of me in my indigenous village trying to outrun the Agent Orange.

Here are the 43 merit badges I earned. How many of them can you recognize? (answers below)

Things You Put In Your EarSquirrel HuntingFirst Aid for the Colour-blindDolphin HuntingConnecting FlightsButterfly HuntingWatermelon StandsCreating Bad Clipart
Buying a CarDramatic AnimalsMatingThe NumbersGoing to HeavenHow to Hang Chili PeppersAerial PhotographyPitching a Tent
John Deere MerchandiseCow HuntingPositions in the ClergyBook Burning60s HairstylesBeing a ToolPanhandlingBee Hunting
Towns in Zelda 2VandalismPlaying RISKCrafts You Can Make from a TurtleVisiting New HampshireInvisible HorsesWater Moccasins (LOL)Homemade Bombs
Swimming with HandcuffsFirst Aid for AlbinosPetitioning your Representative to Keep from Getting Shot Out of a CannonLoggingSnakes on a PlainWetland Oil DrillingThings that Blow in the WindGiving Good Directions
Global NeedlepointNegativityThor Study

Happy Birthday Mom!

Australians wonder if sink-peeing dentist is clean
Credit Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally with saving the leader of the free world from self-immolation.
Seven year old finds offensive couch label

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