by W. L. Elliott
I was never a boy scout.
Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that I was never a boy. That’s an entirely different subject, best left for a different day.
No, my current train of thought has nothing to do with gender confusion or identity crises, or issues involving my horrid childhood—which was actually quite nice as childhoods go. I mention the Boy Scouts only to point out that I obviously never had the Boy Scout motto ingrained into my psyche.
And what motto is that, you ask?
Why, I’ll tell you! It is the famous Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.
The other night, for example, I had a bit of writing to do, and a deadline to keep. As per my usual manner, I left the task until the last possible moment. (However, as the Boy Scouts say nothing at all about procrastination, that shall go, for the moment, unexplored.)
As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself—after settling on the location in which to install myself that most comfortably suited my pursuit (or suited the fact that I was stuck in town for three hours waiting for my husband to get off work), I reached for my trusty notebook and pen that accompany me everywhere I go.
After scouring the car, my purse, and the lobby I was waiting in, it became quite obvious that I had taken my notebook home and apparently left it there. Of course, there was the reassuring knowledge that I always keep a spare notebook just for such an occasion in my locker at work. My place of business, however, was several miles away and locked tight for the night, therefore rendering my spare notebook completely useless.
At last I was able to acquire several odd-sized sheets of scratch paper which were blank on one side. Not trendy, but useful enough to scratch out a rough draft, despite the fact that the sentence length on this size paper averaged a whopping four words per line. Nevertheless, in an emergency one must make the best of any situation.
I next reached for my pen, at which point it became apparent that there was no pen to be found in my purse, any of my pockets, nor in the immediate surrounding area. The next several minutes were spent sprinting across the parking lot to my car and engaging in an exhaustive search for a writing instrument of some sort which would not require the piercing of any part of my body to allow writing in blood. Finally, I located a ball point. An obvious spot, really, it lay under the back seat, enmeshed in car wiring in such a manner that only a pygmy could comfortably reach it. Since it was either that or the pencil stub that fell down the dashboard vents several months earlier, I soldiered on, surviving the ordeal with only minor scrapes and a few moments anguish when I became stuck and wondered if I’d ever make it out from under the back seat alive.
I arrived back at my designated writing area in time for my cell phone to ring. A further ten minutes were spent establishing the already known fact that my husband would be off soon and we were to carpool home together.
By the time I folded up my phone, arranged my disarrayed paper, and clicked the pen only to find it had no ink, I intrepidly uttered aloud that heartfelt two-word phrase that so aptly befitted my evenings ordeal –
I have a new appreciation for the Boy Scouts. As I stated earlier, I never was one, and I obviously never learned the motto by heart. After the other night, I might just smack the next scout I see out of spite and frustration. (Okay, okay! I wouldn't really!)
So, let us learn from my experience, or more aptly put, from my tribulation. I may not be a boy scout, but I’m stealing their catch-phrase.
“Be Prepared” is my motto now. I’ve earned it!