Thursday, 7 January 2010

mr kipling! where for art thou?

Hmmm. A change a blogdentity to herald the new decade? The Grumpy Old Man at the Pub perhaps?

You see my Grandmother was a religious lass until she was about 70 and saw the light. The eighth child of a Methodist Minister and his tormented wife, she played organ at the Bright Uniting Church on Sundays while I played in the yellow autumn leaves out the back. My Mum and Dad weren't the religious type, but Nanna could be a real pain in the arse, so I was sent to Sunday School. My other Grandparents (the cool ones from Sydney) gave me large, hauntingly illustrated books on the evolution of Homo sapiens from an early age, and I was soon asked to leave Sunday School because I kept asking "when do the monkeys come into it?". So I was sent to Boys Club *shudder*.

Boys Club *shudder* was run by the Uniting Church and consisted of a dozen or so boys, hair parted in an appropriate fashion, wearing white runners with white knee-high socks, white footy shorts and a snug white tshirt with a little Uniting Church logo printed on it. We said the Lord's Prayer and then pranced around in circles and jumped on mini-trampolines and over vaulting horses and did dive rolls and star jumps then we went home to read books on evolution. Mum would pick me up and say "How was Boy's Club?" and I couldn't answer because I still didn't actually know what Boy's Club *shudder* was. That lasted a few more weeks and then they sent me to Cubs.

Cubs was better than Boy's Club, but still a bit weird. All that flag raising, anthem singing and chanting, uniform wearing, saluting, dib-dib-dibbing and dob-dob-dobbing, six-foot lesbians from the suburbs suspiciously named 'Akela' when all the other women were named Jenny or Pat, woggles, knots and mottos - so many formalities and protocols for a little boy to remember! By the time you got organised with your ironed uniform, correctly folded scarf and thoughtfully placed woggle, 'Be Prepared' belt, hat, socks and polished boots, memorised chants and salutes, newly acquired shirt patches, knot book and other instructional pamphlets, pocket knife (it was the 80's), hanky, spare hanky and 20 cents for a phone call, you'd have missed Cubs and it was time for bed. But we did get to run around in the bush a bit, and played some fun games so if I had to ask God to save the Queen every week (as if she were about to be hit by a bus or something) I guess it was worth it. And I still know how to tie a reef knot.

But while I fart in the general direction of tradition and formality, I think things have swung too far the other way. I saw a report on the modern scouting movement the other day and it showed the ins and outs of a modern scout camp. Gone are the uniforms and gender segregation. But the camp had an internet tent! Kids were lining up to sit slumped in front of a computer surfing the net and checking bloody emails, like they probably do every other day! Where have the bush survival skills gone? What is going on? The erroneously titled 'Camp Leader' said "We pretty much let the kids decide what they do these days". So in a few years I assume they'll have the Bong and PS3 tent right across from the Maccas tent. Maybe they can hold the camp at Chadstone Shopping Centre at the back of Toys'R'Us.

sup bro got mah bronze badge in mad skillz, going 4 silver badge in drunken knife fightin next week. next year mayb doin camp at big TV and KFC gonna b sweeeet! mmyah crazeee mofos

Marge Simpson: Grandpa! Are you sitting on a warm apple pie?

Grandpa Simpson: I sure hope so.

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