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?