Cub Scout: (n) a member of the junior division (ages 8–10) of the Boy Scouts.
It was supposed to be a weekend trip to see if I liked it.
“It” referring to an outing with the Cub Scouts.
I was nine years old but much larger than the other boys. Actually, I was much larger than my dad. So when I asked to sign up for the troop, there was a hesitation I had not seen when the other boys expressed curiosity.
Here is what they told me:
- We’re not so sure you’ll like it.
- There’s a lot of walking and hiking.
- The tents are small.
- We checked. They don’t have a Cub Scout uniform in your size.
Much to the chagrin of the Scout leader, his wife offered to sew me one, so that I could be part of the troop. After he gave her a sour look, we proceeded on to plan a trial excursion, where I would join the Cub Scouts—uniformless—for a weekend, to see if it was (pardon the expression) a good fit.
Even though I was young, I realized quickly that the leader was so reluctant to have me join his little conclave of Cubbies that he found it difficult to converse with me, and was a bit bitter when he attempted to answer questions.
I tried my hardest—and when that was not good enough, I tried my damndest.
I thought I had some moments where I sort of resembled one of the guys doing guy things out beneath the pines.
But I was slower in the walking.
I was stuffed into a tent instead of placed there.
And it was obvious that for me, bending and crawling were not fluid endeavors.
At the end of the weekend I decided to drop my application. It was obvious to me—and probably the other dudes—that our leader was relieved and thankful to return to fearless.
I will never know whether I quit because of the strain or because I felt unwanted.
Unwanted is more than a feeling.
It’s a sentence—a punishment.
And if you’re a young, fat boy, it can be a demand to eat more, to escape the condemnation of having eaten too much.