May 26

I just noticed on a recent edition of the local newspaper an article.  “United Way in need of volunteers”, the headline proclaimed.  Ahh, volunteering!  What a wonderful way to give back to your community.  I’ve been volunteering for the past several years, and it is a great way to give of yourself when giving a lot of money is not an option… unless you are a volunteer for Boy Scouts of America, in which you can give your time and lots of money, ’cause, you know, there’s actually people who make money doing this scout stuff for a living, and we gotta get their salaries paid somehow.

I volunteer as an adult leader for both Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.  I started with my oldest son’s cub scout den, and progressed with him to Boy Scouts.  Now, my youngest has started Cub Scouts, so I’m helping there too.  I am also a deacon at the church I attend.  I have a little under a year left on a four-year term, then I have to take a couple of years off.  I enjoy all of the positions to which I volunteer my time, but one thing I’ve learned about volunteering is that sometimes, you need a break.

I am looking forward to the completion of my term as a deacon.  I have really enjoyed serving the members of our church and getting to know them better, but it is a time commitment that will be nice to see go away for awhile.

I was really hoping that I was about done with scouts.  I always figured that if I could get my oldest son through Cub Scouts and into Boy Scouts, he could take it from there.  I was wrong.  Some how I was conned into helping there too.  Come on!  Can’t I finally be one of the parents who always just drops the kids off for someone else to entertain?  And I did everything I could think of to keep the younger son from wanting to join scouts.

“They eat puppy dogs on camp outs,” I said to the little guy.

“But Brother did it, so I want to too,” he replied.

“Yep, barbecued puppy dog with fried spiders,” I said.  “It’s pretty gross, and you have to eat it really fast so the smell doesn’t attract the vampires.  You can hear the vampires searching for blood outside your tent at night.”

“But, I really want to be a scout like Brother, Dad,” he said, crying now but trying to be brave and hold back the tears.

I really think I could have talked him out of it.  I was about to go into the poisonous snakes that like to crawl into the sleeping bags with the scouts at night when the wife walked in and put a stop to it.  She then proceeded to lecture me on the fact that it is only fair that we support the younger son’s decision to participate in an activity that has been such a big part of his older brother’s life.

Crap.

So, I agreed if the wife agreed to be the den leader… at least to start.  She agreed, if I agreed to be involved and do the camping thing.  I reluctantly agreed.  I love camping… in a camper with heat and air conditioning and a refrigerator and a toilet and a BED.  Any form of camping that involves a tent and sleeping on the ground is for those fortunate enough to be under the age of 40.

The wife volunteers even more than me.  She is more active in the younger son’s Cub Scout pack, serving as den leader and holding a position or two on the board.  She is also active on our younger son’s elementary school booster club.  She has volunteered for other organizations in the past, including a local MOPS chapter, our church’s AWANA club, serving on the board of a local investment club.  She is also volunteering for stuff any time the schools ask for parents to help with this or that.

Volunteering can be very fulfilling… or so I’m told.  One thing that volunteering has taught me personally is that if you aren’t willing to donate your time to a worthwhile cause, you have no right to complain about much of ANYTHING!

“But I’m just way too busy.”

What a load of CRAP!  Every single person that I know has enough free time to volunteer for something.  If someone tells you that they are to busy to volunteer, what they are really saying is, “I am very selfish and my free time means way too much to me to give it up for something bigger than my own life.”  I really want to believe that there is some sort of cosmic feng shui crap that is going to bite these selfish bastards in the ass some day, but I don’t think there is.

What really twists my tighty whiteys all up-in-a-knot is those who don’t volunteer, but who somehow think they have some sort of right to complain about how those who do volunteer are doing things.   You know, like the parent who never comes to the planning meetings and then throws a hissy fit because we planned the scout banquet for a night her son can’t come.  Or the parent who is torked off that we aren’t having the scouts participate in some parade or another, but wasn’t willing to help as an adult leader at the parade… and the only reason we didn’t do it is because we couldn’t get enough adult volunteers.

Youth baseball is one of the areas where non-volunteering parents seem to think that because they were born with a mouth, they are entitled to open it without first engaging their brains.  At my 7-year-old’s first game, the coaches were pitching.  It is supposed to be a pitching-machine league, but somebody forgot to unlock the shed with the machines before the game.  I’m not going to bitch, however, because I’m sure the person who forgot was a volunteer.  Anyway, coaches aren’t always exactly the best pitchers.  Not a big deal.  These guys volunteer their time to teach our sons how to play a fun game.  some of them take 7 and 8-year-old baseball a little too serious, and some of them take it not serious enough.  I figure, as long as the kids learn something and have a good time, it’s all good.  One of the boy’s dad on the opposite team apparently didn’t agree with me.  His kid got up to bat and the coach started throwing balls to him.  The pitches weren’t perfect.  The coach kept trying and the kid kept swinging.  Finally, the dad started to let his frustration show.  He started hollering.

“C’mon, Timmy,” he yelled after his kid once again missed the ball.  “Don’t worry about it.”

This parent and his kid were on my son’s t-ball team last year, and I remember this particular dad being overly vocal.

“Maybe if the coach could actually get one across the plate, you could hit it,” the red-faced father yelled.  “Sooner or later he’s got to throw you one you can actually hit!”

Seriously?!?  The coach is looking embarrassed and a little upset.   Finally, little Timmy connects, and his dinkweed-of-a-father erupts into cheers and applause.  Jackwads like this dad are one of the reasons I don’t volunteer for sports.  There are too many parents who I would end up telling to “go to hell” in front of a bunch of kids, and that’s not pleasant for anyone.  Meanwhile Mr. I-like-to-degrade-the-coach-in-front-of-all-the-kids-and-their-parents: why don’t you shut your pie hole and volunteer your time?  I’m guessing because you think your “too busy” and you have too many other “very important things” to do that prevent you from putting your actions where your mouth is rampantly running.  It’s just to bad that “business” and those “important things” don’t keep you away from the games as well…

So yes, in the world of volunteering (just like in the work-a-day world), you are going to be confronted with morons.  The world is full of them.

To all of you who volunteer… thank you.  Your sacrifice is not unappreciated, although at times it feels like it is :)

To all you too indifferent or selfish (I just don’t have the time) to volunteer… grow up and grow a set.  As much as I bitch about it, volunteering is worthwhile, fulfilling, and proves to the world that you are not a vain, self-serving idiot.

To all of you who refuse to volunteer but like to complain when a volunteer organization doesn’t do exactly what you want when you want it… go suck a lemon, jerkwad!

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Sep 28

Alrighty, kiddos, Adventurer Rich is looking for some help.  I have the gall to call myself “Adventurer” when I rarely, if ever, actually “adventure”.  Oh sure, I have my little adventures with Boy Scouts… and I consider my time spent amongst trailer folk at Walmart a semi-adventure… even daily life could be considered an “adventure (in “adventure’s” mildest form), but I never really truly “adventure”.  All of that is about to change…

I’m looking for your favorite websites.  You know, those wacky pages on the Internet that you visit on occasion (or daily… or every fifteen minutes…) looking for humor or advice or just a little escape.  I am not looking for social networking sites like Facebook or your E*Trade account or any site that requires a login to access.  I am looking for blogs and advice columns and fun places you like to visit.  I will visit these sites, pick the ones I like, chose random information from these sites, compile a list of links, post the links on this blog… and let the scavenger hunt begin!  It will be up to my loyal readers to follow the links, search the sites, find the information I am looking for, and return your answers to me  (seriously… this is gonna be a blast for all ten of you!)  There’s gonna be a prize and everything… don’t know what it will be yet, but I’m sure it will be relatively cheap and stupid… but YOU COULD WIN IT!!!  I won’t even charge you shipping to get it to you :)

So you’re wondering, “How can I help Adventurer Rich and submit my favorite website?”  Well, it’s all really easy.  Just comment on this post with a link to your favorite site.

1. At the top of the blog post, where it says “No Comments” or “6 Comments” or whatever, click on that link; this should automatically take you to the comments section of this post.  Under the incredibly long list of comments, you will find the section where you can “Leave a Reply”.

2. You will need to enter your name (please do not enter your real full name… ’cause it will be available to anyone and everyone on the Internet who ever happens to stumble across my site… enter your first name or a nickname or make up a really “cool” Internet name… like “Adventurer Rich”, but that’s already taken…)

3. You will have to enter your email address.  Please do enter your real, legitimate email address.  I will not sell or give away your address, but I may at some point use it to notify you of contest dates and such.  Your email address will only be accessible to me… and I’m relatively harmless…

4. Enter the website address of the site you would like me to check out.  If it’s your own site, SUPER COOL!  If it is the site of someone else, that’s pretty cool too:)

5. Please re-enter the address of the site you would like me to check out in the “message” section (this is the big box under the “website” box).  By putting this information in the message section of the site, everyone who visits my comments will be able to know your favorite site!  Also, please give me a very brief description of why I should visit the site (i.e. why you like it).

I have a few of my favorite sites in mind that I already plan on using for my scavenger hunt, but I need many more to make this challenging and fun :)  I have very few restrictions as to which sites I will or will not use, I just have to like it.  I do ask that the content of the site be PG-13 or cleaner.  There are a few young people who stumble across my site, and I don’t want to lead them into the world of porn and obscenity… I’ll leave that to Google.

I would like to have all recommendations entered by Saturday, October 2, 2010 at noon.  I will not consider any sites submitted after that date and time for this scavenger hunt.

One final way you can help out old Adventurer Rich is to hit the “Like” button at the bottom of this post if you have a Facebook account.  This will let all of your Facebook friends who are not my Facebook friends see this post and they too can contribute their sites!  I guess if you know how to “Digg This”, you could do that as well; I’ve just been too lazy to research a good plugin to add that feature to my site :)

Thanks for visiting my site… thanks for taking the time to read this post… and thanks for helping me start a true adventure :)

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Aug 08

I work for a wireless Internet service provider.  What exactly is a wireless Internet service provider, you may ask?  Well, a wireless Internet service provider (WISP for short… which I could have notated a couple of “wireless Internet service provider” mentions ago… but I’m a sucker for the want to hunt and peck out extremely long, tedious sentences… which is why, I figure, most people who visit my blog stay less than 53 seconds…  a person can’t read one of my posts in less than 5 minutes, ’cause I’m way to wordy and I take WAY to long to get to my point… as the current sentence proves… and if you are still reading this far into the sentence, you have my eternal debt:) )  is a person or company that provides Internet to people who cannot get (or are sick of dealing with) cable and DSL Internet.

Anyway, back to the whole wireless Internet provider (WISP) thingie.  Three years ago, I had very little idea what a WISP was.  I knew my wife did the finances for one, but I was still clueless.  And then, out of nowhere and thanks to the urging of my wife, the owner of this WISP approaches me and says, “How’d you like to work for me?”  Well, at the time, I was working for Alltel… which sucked… and I really liked the way the guy combined “how” and “would” into “how’d”… ’cause that shows a laid-back persona, as far as I’m concerned.  Now, I was making fairly good money at Allhell… er… Alltel, and I would be taking a pretty significant cut in pay to work for this “WISP”… but I figured with the approaching-forty thing and the high blood pressure and the inability to deal with stress and/or pissed-off customers, how could I say no.  So, I said yes and the rest is history.  Now, I deal with the stress of pissed-off customers every day and I get to make less money.  YEAH ME!  Of course, I’m kidding (i.e. my boss reads this blog).  In all seriousness, although not perfect, I don’t hate my current job.  It frustrates me at times and there is stress (I don’t think the stress-free job exists because there is not a job where you do not have to have any contact with another person… and people cause stress… period).  But, the lack of the corporate rules and rigidity and BS makes this job much preferable to the hack job I held at Alltel.

My boss is very active in an organization called WISPA.  WISPA is the Wireless Internet Providers’ Association.  WISPA is also Womens International Squash Players Association, but that may or may not be the topic of a future post.
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WISPA,Womens International Squash Players Association
WISPA, the one with sweaty chicks.

WISPA,Wireless Internet Service Providers Association,geeks,techies,nerds
Founding members of WISPA, the one without with less sweaty chicks… or maybe this is Microsoft… who knows.  All them tech people look the same to me.

WISPA,Cadbury
WISPA, a candy bar from Cadbury containing no known sweaty chicks.

WISPA is a non-profit organization that serves the interests of WISPs not only in the US but around the world.  So still, you’re saying, “I still don’t understand what a WISP is.”

A WISP provides an alternative to the crappy, government-subsidized telephone company DSL and dial-up Internet services provided around the country.  WISPs also compete against outrageously-priced cable and satellite Internet providers.  A WISP does not need telephone lines or fiber-optic cables  to bring the Internet to your home or business.  WISPs mount radio equipment on towers and broadcast the Internet through microwaves to a receiver on your property that gives you the Internet.  In other words, WISPs provide Internet in rural and hard-to-reach areas that cable providers and DSL providers are not willing to spend the money to service.  WISPs are the cowboys of the modern age; they go into uncharted territory and do whatever it takes to bring civilization (i.e. high speed Internet) to the wastelands.  I am, of course, stealing from my boss with the whole cowboy analogy.  If you are at all technically savy and want to learn more about this industry, check out the boss’s blog at Wireless Cowboys .

Long-story short (I know… too late), the boss is active in WISPA, so somehow I end up handling a large portion of the billing and member-support responsibilities for WISPA as part of my job responsibilities.  Normally, these responsibilities are a breeze and take little of my time.  Then, all of a sudden, the WISPA people decide they need to hold a regional meeting.  “Regional meeting” means that there are registrations and tickets and confirmations and whatnot and, somehow, a large portion of the dealing with this stuff gets thrown in my lap.  All of a sudden the easy and somewhat fun WISPA responsibilities become a several-hour-a-day monstrosity that consumes much of the time I am supposed to be spending on my real job.  This goes on for well over a month.  This would probably not have been that big of a deal… except for the facts that I took a week off for scout camp with my son, and the family and I took our week-long family vacation, all during this registration period for the WISPA Regional Conference.  It was kind of like ‘take some time off’ and then ‘really bust your ass’… then ‘take some more time off’ and then ‘really bust your ass’.  I’m feeling like I am not meant to come back from these vacations.  Then, the boss says, “I know you’ve been working hard, so I’d like to bring you to St. Louis to help with the conference.”  I’m thinking he’s kind of blowing smoke up my rear to keep me from freaking out.  Then, the president of WISPA calls me and says, “We know how much time you’ve put into this, and we are trying to talk the board into allowing you to help at the conference.”  Well, all of a sudden I feel appreciated.  All of a sudden, I’m potentially going to be rewarded for all of my hard work with a trip to St. Louis.  I’ve never been to St. Louis, and I’m getting kind of excited.

As the conference approaches, the board decided to allow me to help at the conference… and I’m thinking, “Hey, St. Louis, here I come!”  Bright lights, big city, right?  Fast living and good-ol’  St. Louis style pizza right?  Blues and a trip to the Arch, you know?  There is an airplane flight that will be involved… and I hate flying… but I’m excited!  This is going to be a great time.  St. Louis, HERE I COME!!!

Gateway Arch,St Louis

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Jul 16

I recently spent a week with my 12-year-old son at Camp Laramie Peak Boy Scout Camp in Wyoming.

Laramie Peak, WY

This is the second summer that my son and I have attended a scout camp.  Last summer, we enjoyed a week in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota at Medicine Mountain (I say “enjoyed” only because it didn’t suck as much as Camp Laramie Peak).

Dead Dudes

(at Medicine Mountain, we actually set our tents right inside Washington’s nostril… who knew there was an entire scout camp inside the heads of the dead presidents?!?)

Ahh… sleeping on the ground in a tent as the rain pounds down and the winds gust up to 90 MPH, what could be more fun?

I am an Assistant Scoutmaster.  This means that I don’t want (and am far from qualified for) the position of Scoutmaster, but I like helping the kids reach their goals.  I am not an utterly complete pessimist (although I am within spitting distance), and I really do believe in trying to help young people find a measure of success.  I have been a leader in scouts since my son was a tiger cub and he is now a Second Class Boy Scout.  This means I have been involved in scouting for around six years.  Six years is far longer than I have held any single job with any single employer.  Let’s face it… I’m a quiter.  When life throws an obstacle or stress my way, I quit.  Quitting is easy, and starting something new is exciting, so there you have it.  When something starts sucking, I quit; but I have never quit scouting (although, trust me, I have been very tempted).

Camp overall was pretty good (the food kind of sucked and there wasn’t enough of it, the weather was horrible,  getting up early bites, etc.etc.etc. and all the other stuff I could go on and on bitching about) considering these camps are meant to build character in boys.  I’m old and my crappy character is beyond help, so I tend to look at these camps as a chore and not a vacation (even though I have to use up precious vacation to attend).

Something that really struck me with camp this year was the way the counselors were “looking out” for the scouts.  If you’ve ever been to a scout camp, you know that the majority of the counselors are not that much older than the scouts.  Many of the counselors are high school and college kids just pulling a summer gig.  It was easy to tell these counselors had been trained on how to make sure a kid isn’t being abused.

During this camp, many of us adult leaders went through “safety training”, which is little more than “how to cover your ass as an adult male when working with young boys”.  I’d like to throw a big thanks out to all of the stupid pedophiles and the Catholic Church for making this stinking training necessary.  Never be alone with a scout; never touch a scout; if you suspect a scout is being abused in any way, shape or form inside or outside of scouting, let the district council know (not the police, not the boy’s parents, not any kind of authoritative figure in the boy’s life whatsoever… the disctrict council; all of this is to cover your and BSA’s asses).  The training really didn’t make it seem like we volunteer our time to help the boys succeed.  The training really focused on how not to get Boy Scouts of America sued.  Ah… what a wonderful world we live in.

Anyway, back to the counselors.  Anyone who has spent a week with boys ranging in age from 17-years-old all the way down to 11-years-old knows that an 11 and 12-year-olds who are away from their mothers can have, well, to put it politely, mild emotional breakdowns.  These vary from slight bouts of teary-eyed whininess to full-blown tantrums.  On this trip, I got to deal with a couple of full blown tantrums, and during each tantrum, a counselor happened to walk by right smack in the middle of each.

When a young boy throws a tantrum, one of the first things he tends to do is try to stomp off on his own to show how mad he is.  Of course, at scout camp, the boys are required to use the buddy system.  There is to be no stomping off.  A boy eaten by a mountain lion wouldn’t be good for BSA’s image.  So when the boy with the attitude starts stomping off, you must stop him.  Of course, you can’t touch the boy, so, at times, you have to raise your voice to get the boy to understand that he seriously can’t stomp off by himself.  This is exactly what was happening with the first instance.  A group of scouts was heading to a merit badge class for the afternoon and I was escorting them.  One of the boys started getting, well, kind of tantrumy, because he wanted to hang around camp instead of going to the merit badge counseling.  The more I told him he needed to go to his counseling, the less he wanted to go… until he got pissed-off and started stomping off.  Of course, I couldn’t let him stomp off by himself, so I told him to get back with the group.  He kept walking and the further he got away, the more I had to raise my voice.  Finally, I ran to the boy and stood in front of him.  “C’mon, man, get back with the group,” I told him.  At this point is when the teen-aged counselor was walking by.  The counselor stopped right beside us and looked straight at the scout.

“Are you okay?” the counselor asked.

“He’s fine,” I responded.  “He’s just doesn’t want to go to his counseling and he thinks he needs to stomp off by himself.”

The counselor completely ignored me.  He continued to look at the scout, “Are you okay?”

The scout finally responded, “Yeah, I’m fine,” to which the counselor simply turned and continued on his way.

As I watched the teen get farther and farther away, it popped into my head to yell, “Thanks for the help; couldn’t have done it without you,” but I thought better of it.  It still took some time and effort to get the upset scout to rejoin our group, with no help from the interfering counselor.   I figured that the counselors were trained to do exactly what this one had just done, which made me feel a little like a turd clinging to the side of the toilet bowl of scouting… but that’s why I volunteer my time, right?

Second instance was similar.  One of the scouts wanted to borrow some money from me to buy some crap at the trading post.  I have made it an official rule of mine that I do not lend money to scouts for unnecessary items.  I have seen other leaders get burned in the past by lending scouts money and never receiving that money back.  I volunteer my time… because time is more precious than money (and I have more time than I do money).  Well, the fact that I wouldn’t lend the scout cash so he could buy an energy drink (yeah, just what I needed was a hopped-up 11-year-old to watch after for the afternoon), apparently was enough to send him into a stomping-away tantrum.

Right, crap, here we go again.  I start hollering for the boy to rejoin the group right as a counselor is walking by.  The scout is crying and whatnot because that stupid energy drink is so flipping important to him at that moment in time.  I jog up to the scout right as the counselor is asking “Are you okay?”

For crying-out-flipping loud!  These guys probably report all of this crap back to the “district council” and I’m gonna look like a child beater or something.  “He’s just mad because I wouldn’t lend him money to buy a stupid energy drink,:” I explain, feeling a little stupid for having to explain the situation to an acne-faced teenager.

The counselor doesn’t acknowledge me at all, never taking his eyes of the boy.  “Is there anything I can do?” the counselor asks the scout.

By this time, I’m getting to the verge of throwing a tantrum.  I feel like I’m very discreetly being accused of doing something wrong.  I spent my own money to “volunteer” my time to go to camp and help BSA accomplish it’s mission.  I was not spending my time and money to be ignored and accused.  I’m getting pissed.

I sooo wanted to say, “I’m glad your offering assistance, ’cause it’s so much easier to smack them silly if someone holds them… can you grab his arms?” just to see what kind of response I could get out of the counselor, but I didn’t.  The scout finally shaped up and we all went our separate ways.

So, I guess the moral of the story is counselors at scout camps are trained to cover the ass of the camp, adult leaders are trained to cover not only their own asses but the ass of BSA, and the whole stupid thing makes me wonder if it’s really worth having to cover my ass to volunteer my time and money to an organization that apparently a lot of people want to sue.

You know, maybe I’m looking at this from the wrong angle.  Maybe I should be looking for a reason to sue.  You know, all of the stupid bagels they served at the mess hall did tend to go straight to my ass… making it that much harder to cover.

barf
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I could sue for that, couldn’t I?

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Sep 20

I have been my oldest son’s Scout leader since he was a Tiger Cub. He is now in his first year of Boy Scouts working on his Tenderfoot.  I have been a Scout leader for about 5 years, which is almost a year longer than I have held any single employment with any single employer in my almost 40 years of existence… how pathetic am I?  Needless to say, the time of the annual “Popcorn Sales” is upon us. Oh, and how Boy Scouts of America (BSA) wants you to sell that popcorn! My oh my, it seems that perhaps the entire reason for Scouting’s existence is to sell that stinking Trail’s End popcorn!

I don’t get it… Girl Scouts sell those delicious little cookies for less than $5.00 a box. So, even if someone has already bought from a Girl Scout, they may be willing to buy a little more from another Scout; after all, who doesn’t love Thin Mints? In the past, when we have actually tried to sell this stinking popcorn, the biggest door-in-the-face we would get was, “Oh, I already bought from so-and-so,” or “my boss’s niece’s son is in Scouts and we always buy from him.” I think BSA needs to find a fundraiser where the garbage the Scouts sell isn’t so outrageously priced. I mean seriously, $15 for a box of microwave popcorn that (the last couple of years we have purchased and it) pops up like crap… seriously, there are always dozens of unpopped kernels and old maids in each and every bag; what a selling point.

After doing a little research, I have discovered why the higher-ups in BSA push for the popcorn sales. When a Scout goes out and sells (or, in many cases, the parents go out and sell) the – seriously – ridiculously priced popcorn and related crap, 30% of those sales go to the Scout’s troop, 30% goes to the Scout’s council, and 10% go to the Scout (in the form of worthless pieces of carnival-type trinket crap) .  Seriously, the council gets 30%? For what… to maintain the summer camps that cost $200 or $300 per Scout to attend (and that doesn’t include all of the extra crap the Scouts have to buy at the camp to get their merit badges).  Scouting is run by (I am under the impression) volunteers.  I volunteer my time to Scouting… and I have never spent more of my own money “volunteering” for any other cause at any time in my life!  I have to pay to go to the summer camp… and sleep in a stinking tent… and eat crappy food… and share a disgusting shower-type complex and filthy, falling apart toilet facilities with tons of other males (and there is something about many males that prevents them from being able to lift up a toilet seat when peeing… so if you have to go “#2”, which on a week-long campout, you will have to go “#2”, you are most likely going to be sitting in someone else’s pee… and when I actually catch one of these idiots peeing on the toilet seat, I will spend an undefined amount of time in a correctional facility for assault after rubbing said moron’s face on said toilet seat)… having a curfew at night of around 10:00 pm and getting up in the stinking morning at 5:30 or 6:00 am… all to help the camp manage the kids!!!  And they have the stinking audacity to charge me!?!  I should be charging them!

At least our troop doesn’t keep the whole 30% that is designated to the troop (at least they better not, because they don’t pay for squat).  I  believe the troop gives part of the troop’s profits back to the Scouts.  The troop’s contribution, along with the 10% earned by the Scout, go into a fund that the Scout can use to pay for all of the camps and camping (our troop has come to the realization that the overpriced crappy trinkets that BSA tries to con the Scouts into redeeming their earnings for… which I’m sure is just one more way that BSA is trying to pilfer funds for unknown purposes; maybe BSA is building a secret underground facility for a refuge for all Scouts for during the 2012 phenomenon… are garbage)  which are required for advancement in Scouting.  At least, I’m assuming that our troop is giving a large percentage of their cut to the individual Scouts, because our troop seriously doesn’t pay for squat!  All expenses for any activity that we do as Scouts are split evenly and paid by the Scouts and participating volunteer leaders… well, except for gas which is apparently solely the responsibility of the volunteer leaders.  I’ve started charging every kid that needs a ride in my vehicle to any function a small fee (that never comes close to covering the cost of actual fuel used), which I feel is looked down on by the other leaders, but if they don’t like it, they can fire me.  Seriously, I have no idea what our troop pays for, except, of course, helping those “down on their luck” pay for all the Scouting crap that the rest of us can barely afford (seriously, if my wife quit her job… and she ain’t making a physician’s salary… our family would qualify for all kinds of free crap: we’d get free school lunches for our kids, we’d get food stamps, we’d get free medical care at the “community service” clinic, we’d get scholarships to the YMCA [among many other places, I’m sure], and we’d get all of our Scouting costs paid for by the troop… and we wouldn’t have to sell a single canister of $50 chocolate popcorn that offers like 5 servings).  Wow, I just really thought about what I wrote.  Maybe my wife should quit her job… we’d be money ahead.  Either my wife needs to quit her job… or she needs to leave my sorry rear-end and find a guy who makes above a free-school-lunch income :)

I am formulating a new life-philosophy.  My new philosophy is: “If you can’t afford to pay for it completely out-of-(your)pocket, you shouldn’t assume that anyone else gives enough of a crap about it to help you out through fundraisers, so you probably shouldn’t do it.”   I don’t mean to sound cynical or anything (yeah right, me not cynical :) ) , but seriously, $25 for an 18oz bag of stinking trail mix?!? How are we supposed to sell this crap? And you want me to buy what: $15 for some sub-par enchiladas and crappy, Play Doh – tasting cookie dough to help send your kid to the private school that I can’t afford?!?  Well, I guess if you buy mine, I’ll buy yours… but if you show up at my door trying to sell me some worthless crap, you had better be willing to buy some worthless crap in return!

If I could actually sell stuff that I thought was a complete screw-job without any sense of remorse, I’d probably be a successful Schwan’s Man or be selling endless amounts of Kirby vacuum cleaners.  Is this what BSA really wants us to prepare our boys for: tedious, non-gratifying jobs in door-to-door sales?  I don’t have the courage or confidence to sell crap door-to-door; how in the name of everything sacred and holy can I expect my 11-year old to do something that the thought of which makes me nauseous?  I can’t… so it falls on my and my wife’s shoulders to help our son sell this garbage to people we know.  Needless to say, a large portion of the people we know either have health conditions that prevent them from enjoying the benefits of ridiculously-overpriced popcorn products (diabetes and the like), moral stances against eating anything animal-related (and in their obscured minds, popcorn is not a vegetarian treat but an unholy monstrosity concocted of various animal fats and pelts… yes, these friends did far to much “experimenting” in their youths), have sons of their own in our troop, or know those friends of ours who have sons in our troop and have already purchased from those sons!  Once again, if stinking BSA would find a fundraiser that wasn’t outrageously priced… you know, like Girl Scout cookies, where people are willing to buy more than one… it might not be quite so difficult for an average dude with an aversion to selling door-to-door to sell the stuff and save money on all of the crap BSA charges to be in Scouting!

Wow, now that I am almost done with my rant, I would like to say that, overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with my son in the Boy Scout program.  After all, I don’t want anyone to assume that I’m not appreciative of the spot reserved for us when meteors strike the earth and Yellowstone explodes in December of 2012 :)

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