Jeff Thunder de cloaked and emerged from deep lurk mode to send me
this stab from the past, in response to the recent Cubbie thread.
He graciously gave me permission to re-post it on the Wreck.
Cub Scout Krenovs
And yes, it does involve woodworking/wrecking!
As some of you may know, I was diagnosed a little over 10 years ago
with . . . children. Yes, it's terminal. At any rate, in an effort to
mold (rot and decay) young minds and do my part for the community, I
consented to be a den leader for my two sons' Cub Scout pack. I
took "basic training", aka "six hours on a folding chair", in order
to learn the ropes (sort of a scout joke, there) and to get that
spiffy "trained" badge on my uniform.
Four years and many grey hairs
later, I realize that I've been had. Just "an hour a week"? Yeah,
Those kids they had on the instructional videos resemble the ones in
my dens only in that they were also young, carbon based life forms.
And that "discipline candle" idea? About as effective as a scraper
turned by one of Daktari's simean pals.
So now I'm den leader for my second son, and they're a "wolves"
(second graders). One of the things I like to do is introduce
simple building and tool notions, like which end of the hammer to
pound with, the difference between a phillips head screwdriver and
a nail set, etc. Also included at no extra charge are some more
"advanced" notions, like when you drill all the way through a
piece of wood, you end up drilling some into the table beneath. We end
up building a couple things, with the ubiquitous birdhouse being
the pinacle of our craftsmanship.
In a momentary lapse of reason, I decided to have the little
build their birdhouses in my basement shop. Now I did take the usual
(wrote a last will and testament, contacted my insurance agent, etc.),
so I initially felt well prepared, though I'm sure wisened veterans of
these things are just sitting there shaking their heads. I also had
help of an assistant, whose duties up to that point consisted mainly
providing the snacks. (In hindsight, I'd have been better off with
Corporal Punishment, rather that General Foods.)
On first entering the shop, I'm hit by a barrage of questions.
"It's a morticing machine."
"What does it do?"
"It drills square holes."
"It, like, you know, does this." (I speak fluent kid.)
"Is this sharp?"
"Yes. General, will you get us some bandaids, please?"
"How do you turn this on?"
"You don't. It's a tape measure."
Kid lifting down heavy object off shelf: "Hey, Mr. Thunder, what's
this funny looking thing?"
Me bounding across shop to grab object before it's dropped: "That's
a Norris infill plane. General, take over for a minute while I change
Upon entering the shop minutes later, I see the General and scouts
hovering around the table saw, wondering why it won't turn on. I look
over towards the panel box with the previously flipped breakers and
a smile comes over my face as I bask in the brilliance of my
Actually, after that things calmed down "to a dull roar", as they
I've already taxed your patience, I fear, so I'll bring this to an
Suffice it to say that
the brace and bit was a huge success, eight year olds can have lots
of fun cutting with a coping saw (and a guiding hand behind them), and
putting in screws with the electric drill can make their day (a more
jaded man would have titled this "Cub Scout Camouts").
My son has since finished his project, and the pride felt in his
accomplishment far outweighs the jeers from our neighbors. ("What the
hell is that monstrosity hanging in your tree? It's not Halloween for
two more months.") A flourescent green, lopsided birdhouse with
flames and racing stripes? Hey, the birds don't care. It gives
them something else to crap all over instead of the car. :)
Yours from Hell,
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