Sunday, March 08, 2009

Boy Scouts of America

Well, I'm going to break my cardinal rule.  I'm going back a bit in time so I can talk about something I forgot.  I talked a bit about this in an earlier post but realized that I had much more to say.  I forgot that in the fall of 1964 I joined the Boy Scouts.  I'd been a Cub Scout and a Webelo (how's that for a weird name) and it was my goal to become a Boy Scout.  So I joined Troop 50.  I was happy as a clam.  We met every Thursday (I think) in the Methodist Church.  There'd be a reading of the minutes, some discussion of various upcoming events, talk about camping trips, a bit of Scout lore and then we'd play various physical games.  Chief among them was British Bulldog.  I have no memory of what this game consisted of; only that it involved mashing into each other very hard.  There must have been rules but who knows.
Our Scout Leader was (and I could be wrong here) Ralph Leeds father and the senior leaders were guys like Kingsley Lentz.  What a great name.  Kingsley.  It was all about the outdoors.  I couldn't wait to go on my first camping trip.  I was excited and happy.
I forgot one minor thing.  I wet the bed.  So we decamped to Elk Neck, Maryland and on the first night I wet my sleeping bag.  You can imagine this might have been a tad embarrassing.  It was.  In fact it was humiliating and then I got to do it again the next night.
I'd wet the bed for my whole life up until then.  My parents took me to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia looking for help, we tried various homemade cures and strategies but nothing worked.  Like clockwork each evening I pissed in my pants.  This was only pleasurable for about two minutes.  Then it was cold and wet.
My bed had plastic sheets.  I couldn't sleep over at other friend's houses. I told no one about my problem.  It was my little secret.
Then my little secret was hanging on a rope in the middle of our camp site.  My soaked sleeping bag.  
I quit the Boy Scouts after that.  I did rejoin several years later but we'll get to that.  Later in the year or perhaps it was Fall of 8th grade my parents found my cure.  It was a rubber mat that they put under the sheets.  When liquids hit the mat it set off a loud, loud alarm.  I would wake up.  Pretty soon I would wake up before the alarm went off.  I was Pavlov's dog.  It worked.  Within a week or two I stopped wetting the bed.  But I've never forgotten the alarm.  I can't stand a bell that rings for more than a moment or two.  I pick up calls before everyone at every job I've ever had.  I've never forgotten my sleeping bag.  Isn't it odd how secrets come back to haunt you?

4 comments:

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

My mother and Mrs. Lentz were good friends - I think they grew up together or went to college together or something, I'm not sure. Maybe they went to the Episcopal Church with us. Anyway that's not the point. The point is I know how the Lentz boys got their names. Kirby was Mrs. Lentz's maiden name, hence Kirby Lentz and Kingsley (I swear to God) was named because his parents opened a phone book and randomly pointed at a name and the name was Kingsley.

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