REVISION 17.2 TO THE BOY SCOUT MERIT BADGE MANUAL

The badges for Speaking to Animals, Rhythm and Blues Music, and Facebook have been withdrawn.

The badge for Dijon Mustard was incorporated into the General Mustard badge.

The following new badges have been added:

Tables

1. Correctly identify a table in your home or school.

2. Draw a picture of a table.

3. Speculate as to how to construct a table.

4. Have a dream about tables and record that dream in your dream journal.

5. Do TWO of the following:

a) Rest an object on a table.

b) Invite someone to take an object from a table.

c) Define "table" using a dictionary. (The dictionary may be resting on a table.)

Having a Brother

1. Make a diagram or crude drawing of your immediate family.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a) Identify your brother in the diagram or crude drawing that you have just made.

b) Realize that you do not have a brother and accept that you will never get this merit badge.

c) Find out what your brother's name is, and submit a report on your findings to your troop leader.

d) Hold your breath underwater for a period of 10 to 15 seconds.

Adventure Archaeology

1. Rent "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on VHS.

2. Do TWO of the following:

a) Travel to Central America and steal a priceless cultural artifact from a native community.

b) Locate Central America on a map.

c) Say the words "Central America."

3. What is adventure? What is archaeology? What is adventure archaeology? Write a play that answers all three of these questions by way of an extended metaphor.

4. Locate and retrieve the Adventure Archaeology merit badge.

Understanding

1. Learn something and don't be confused.

2. Come to understand the meaning of the word "understanding."

3. Demonstrate excessively literal thinking by standing under something.

4. Don't be upset when you don't get your merit badge.

The Lottery

1. Calculate the odds of winning the lottery. Then calculate the odds that you have made an error in your calculation.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a) Win the lottery.

b) Build a campfire using only firewood, tinder, kindling, a lighter and a fire-starting instruction manual.

Comfortable Clothing

1. Make a personal list of your favourite kinds of clothing.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a) Wear comfortable clothing.

b) Draw a picture of someone who you think may be wearing comfortable clothing.

c) Talk to a friend or loved one about comfortable clothing.

3. Attempt to define "comfort." What makes a piece of clothing comfortable? Is it the softness of the fabric? The looseness of the fit? The design on the front? The brand on the label? Or is it something less definable, like the coming of spring, or the cry of a newborn infant? Write poetry about this. Pages upon pages of beautiful, soul-shaking poetry.

4. Wear a comfortable scarf.

Time Travel

1. Using a time machine of your own construction, assassinate Adolf Hitler and prevent World War II. Then return to the changed present and see the horrible alternate timeline that has emerged as a result of your meddling. Observe how the mighty Soviet Union has conquered the whole of the world, including the United States. There is no freedom, no hope, and worst of all, no Boy Scouts of America.

2. Do ONE of the following:

a) Attempt to undo what you've done and succeed.

b) Attempt to undo what you've done and realize that it can't be stopped and that history is forever changed because of your actions.

c) Pledge undying allegiance to your local Soviet governor.

3. Write a short story about a talking dog who builds a time machine. What sort of adventures would he get into?

Al Gore

1. Be, or convincingly pretend to be, former Vice President of the United States Al Gore.

Cemeteries

1. Using a map and compass, find a local cemetery.

2. Wait until nightfall and then enter the cemetery.

3. Begin to desecrate a grave. Desecrate grave after grave until you stumble upon one which contains a vengeful ghost or spirit.

4. Using your Supernatural Entity Classification Manual, determine the nature of the ghost or spirit.

5. Sight SIX or more of the following:

a) A werewolf (or wolfman)

b) A zombie

c) A dark lizard

d) A ghost (traditional)

e) A ghost (modern)

f) An evil crow

g) Frankenstein

h) A gargoyle

i) Count Dracula

6. Think about what sort of grave you'd like to be buried in. Draw a picture of it, and then give it to all your loved ones.

Space

1. Locate space on a map of the universe.

2. Write an essay on how things would be different if people lived in space instead of on Earth. Make specific reference to the lack of oxygen, the lack of ground, and the preponderance of dark matter.

Potatoes

1. Spend three years as an apprentice on a potato farm.

2. Learn the ins and outs of potato farming. Become well versed in the principles of planting, ploughing, potato alignment, potato recognition, potato harvesting, potato collection, potato selling, and general potato appreciation.

3. Using your newfound expertise, spell "potato." Do not cheat by examining any of the instances of potato spelled here.

Birdwatching

1. Cage a bird of any variety.

2. Stare at the bird. Do not move your eyes from the bird. Do not at any time cease to watch the bird.

Every time you blink, restart the challenge.

3. Having completed the above challenge, do any TWO of the following:

a) Tell all your friends what a great birdwatcher you are.

b) Tell a crowd of strangers what a great birdwatcher you are.

c) Tell a flock of birds what a great birdwatcher you are.

d) Create a sculpture which you think best represents the idea of birdwatching.

Butling

1. Come to the country estate of a wealthy heiress and dispose of her current butler by any means necessary. Remember: you are a Boy Scout. You must get the job done. There is no room for fear or doubt.

2. Deal with the body in an appropriate manner.

3. Do ONE of the following:

a) Ingrain yourself with the heiress by pretending to be her old butler. This option will require top acting skills, so those Boy Scouts who lack the Acting Like a Butler merit badge (see Revision 11.6) are strongly discouraged from attempting it.

b) Show up at the door as a new butler, fresh out of Butler College and looking to start a career in butling. Present a false résumé that confirms this story, and arrange for fake references if necessary.

4. Once you have earned the heiress's trust, rob her blind. Go from room to room and take all the valuables located within. Go to the China Room and steal all her priceless Ming vases and lacquerware. Go to the Cutlery Room and steal all of her silver forks and golden spoons. Go to the Car Room (or Garage, as the situation may dictate) and steal all of her priceless automobiles. Go to the Conservatory and steal all the priceless art. You must even go to the Space Shuttle room and steal her working life-size replica of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

5. Once all has been stolen, pay one last visit to the sleeping heiress and notice that her grandmother's priceless emerald amulet still lies unstolen around her delicate neck.

6. Do ONE of the following:

a) Be consumed by greed and steal the amulet.

7. Your theft of the amulet will trigger both the silent alarm and the loud alarm.

8. Within seconds, dozens of armed death guards will come streaming into the Master Bedroom. They have you totally surrounded. There is no escape.

9. Suddenly, the heiress will enter from the adjoining room, wearing the real amulet around her neck. You will come to the terrible realization that it was not even her in the bed. It was one of her doubles.

10. Gaze on in terror as the heiress takes a rifle from one of her guards and points it at you. "Any last words?" she will ask.

11. Try to come up with something fitting to say. The words will not come. "I thought not," the heiress will say.

12. Get shot.

13. As the last trace of life escapes from your lips, look into the heiress's eyes and whisper, "I love you."

14. "I know," she will say, wiping away a single tear. "I've always known."

15. Die.


Brendan Patrick Hennessy, 26 March 2008