The Radio 4 PM programme this week talked about the Scout’s oath and plans to make a version for republicans and/or atheists.
I was an Cub Scout for two weeks. I had friends who were Cubs and, always aware that I had never fitted in with any club even at age 7, I wanted to join. So I signed up and went along.
A couple of things went wrong for me. First of all, I’m not a natural joiner and that means I don’t fit in well with any club that will have me as a member.
Then there was a dominant male in the group. He was too old to be a Cub and should’ve been shunted to the Scouts, but he was also an idiot who was better suited to being “king of the shits” and hanging about with boys 5 years younger rather than being “shit of the kings” in an older group. I bridled at being led by someone who was in charge because he was next in line: for that reason, I’m now a republican.
The group leader, ludicrously known as Akela, was a hard-faced bitch who hated children. That didn’t help.
And I had real problems with the rituals. Whenever I see a mob forming, I back off: I’m not a mob person. Rituals are a Bad Thing – nothing ever good comes from them and many, many bad things do.
One ritual was to get in a circle and chant the Scout’s oath. Something about doing my duty to god and the queen and so forth. This only came up on the second week and I was terribly, terribly uncomfortable.
It was made worse when everyone else put their arm in the air with three fingers hoisted. I did so too. Dominant Male was appalled. He spent the entire chant mouthing at me that I should put my arm down and should shut up. As it went on, he got more hopping mad. When it ended, he shot over to tell me I was a disgrace. I hadn’t been invested as a Cub and had NO RIGHT AT ALL to do what everyone else was doing.
I never went back.