Lake Oswego’s Favorite Son

17 Oct

Though I am not given to pandering or following already trod paths(or so I would like to think) I could not help but notice the excess of readers drawn to this small backwater web journal by my recent publication of one of Brian Doyle’s literary bon bons. Which is a long winded way of saying that I am pleased to offer up another of Doyle’s delectables. Here’s

Feral Boy Scouts: a Note

The ballots are all counted, the results are in, the pundits have pundered all over the floor, but one item remains unsolved – feral Boy Scouts. They are rife among us, with their tattered merit badges and snarling attacks on cherub-cheeked toddlers for the maple bars we have “borrowed” from the vestry after church, and if we do not address this problem, the terrorists will have won.

First, we must all admit, in public, in a circle, with our index fingers touching in a friendly but non-intimate manner, that we have all seen feral Boy Scouts, every evening at dusk when they come out of the hedges to feed, and we have egregiously ignored them, we have pretended not to hear their gnashing teeth and fluttering woolen vests, and for this we beg forgiveness of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, from whom all blessings flow. We have seen them, catching carp with their bare hands, and building little tent cities out of carp skins, and teaching minnows to swim in arrow-shaped formations, and wearing their ceremonial masks made from raccoon pelts and police parade tape. We have seen them lurking in the thickets outside firehouses, hoping for a scrap of baby-back rib with a honey sauce with just a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg for a sort of sugary nutty flavor that really elevates the meat. We have heard their eerie wailing from the ridges at night, where they gather in small packs and worship the relentless life force that is Joyce Carol Oates. We have found their tiny arrows embedded in our house cats, which made us want to leave handguns on the porch so the feral Scouts could just for heaven’s sake finish the job, as we cannot stand cats, and have many times surreptitiously urinated on them on ethical grounds.

Second, we must confront the true source of the problem, and not spend all our dwindling resources on mere culling of the herds, and empty and shallow public relations gestures like scattering fresh redolent merit badges along their game trails, or leaving mounds of almond-paste croissants in snowy fields, and spending inordinate amounts of hard-earned tax dollars on such ludicrous projects as remote-sensor cameras and trip wires to obtain photographs for the usual bleeding-heart photopornography journals that some readers like to get in their homes, or the homes of their mistresses, specifically 254 Knox Street in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Third, we should honestly face the immorality of the ankle trap, and recall that they wear those excellent tough little hiking boots, the ones that lace up high above the ankle and can repel rocket attacks, like Johnny Unitas used to wear, and if we are going to use humane traps, we should design roomy traps papered with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and equipped with natty little badge sashes, and excellent walking sticks cut from hickory and ash, and the cool things that hold neckerchiefs together, and little folding chairs like the ones found in the basement of the minister’s home, whether he is home or on Knox Street in Fort Lee, ostensibly visiting the sick and bereaved, which if that’s what comforting the bereaved is like, I am so there.

In conclusion, the problem of feral Boy Scouts is one that neither major party has addressed, and it is the one subject on this green earth that Joyce Carol Oates has not written a novel about. Therefore it devolves to each of us, in our innermost soul and conscience, to reach out, in a friendly and non-intimate manner, for our fellow citizens, small and vicious though they be, and give them easier access to the heavy-gauge weaponry promised and protected by the foundational documents of these United States. The time for false cooperation and lip service has passed, and the moment of honest cooperation across the aisle is upon us. We can solve the twin problems of feral Boy Scouts and cats in general – but we must act now, before the minister gets back across the George Washington Bridge.

Let me also point out or remind you that I commended Brian Doyle’s recent short story collection Bin Laden’s Bald Spot (Red Hen Press) and I am aghast that other so called literary gatekeepers continue to be blinded by scales before their eyes.

Currently Reading The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak (Bellevue Literary Press)

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