Posted by: Andrew | April 15, 2010

day ninety-nine: karma’s on a wheel

DAY NINETY-EIGHT was one of the Senior Patrol Leaders of my Boy Scout troop.  He was the highest ranked non-adult leader and a genuinely nice guy who always put the troop first.  For example, one campout he organized a midnight sabotage.

There was this guy in our troop – let’s call him Arnie – who was a little bit slower than everyone else.  Arnie was a brilliant kid, but he was less secure in social interactions and common sense situations.  There was another guy in our troop – let’s call him Steven – who was a little more of a punk than everyone else.  Steven was a brilliant kid, but he was less secure in kindness and social graces.

During a campout at Caddo Lake, Steven decided to play a horrible “prank” on Arnie.  After the adults had gone to bed and we were sitting around the campfire, Steven asked Arnie to take a tent pole from him that he had been using to poke the fire.  Arnie, trusting and unaware that the pole was red hot, grabbed the pole and immediately threw it down as it burned his hand.  The rest of us jumped up, half tending to Arnie (thank goodness for first aid merit badges!) and half scolding Steven down for what he had done.  Luckily, the burn wasn’t too bad and it was dressed quickly.  Arnie and Steven both went to sleep.  The former because he needed rest and the latter because he needed protective isolation.

As the rest of us were sitting around the campfire criticizing Steven, DAY NINETY-EIGHT decided to funnel our energy into a lesson.  Since Steven wanted Arnie to take the tent pole off of his hands, we should oblige him and finish the job.  We all snuck up to Steven’s tent and stealthily started taking all of the tent poles out with a couple of the Scouts holding up the fabric so that it would maintain some sort of structural integrity.  After the all of the supports were removed, we began a silent countdown and dropped the tent onto a sleeping and unsuspecting Steven who immediately started to yell and thrash about.  We didn’t beat him with a socks full of soap.  We just let him stumble around (for a long time) looking for a way out of the tent.

Was it wrong?  Perhaps.  Was it funny?  Of course.  Was a lesson learned?  Ask Steven.

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