Badges that were hard to earn

I’m having a week off. Well, of sorts.

The difference between Smithery and PHD, perhaps, is that what I did, for a job, and now this is just what I do.

Jobs you start and stop, usually framed around hours and weekends. A digital on-off switch.

This is more of an analogue dial, turned down when you’re more off, turned all the way up when you need.

Anyway, I’m off, but I saw these today in a hall where we took the wee man for a children’s music thing.

They’re cub scout badges, if you don’t know.


Now, I was in the cubs, and the beavers before that and the scouts afterwards.

These badges were hard to get. You had to do work every week for a few months, learn to swim faster for longer, learn every silhouette of contemporary aircraft of the time, plan and cook a three course meal (difficult now, more so when 12 years old), learn a LOT of knots, they tie them blindfolded.

But if you got them, well, you’d spend have an hour drawing blood from fingers in order to sew them on, but once those badges were on, they became a corporeal part of you when in cub form… The badge and you were inseparable.

Every time I see an online badge scheme thing, it never fails to amaze me how easy the badges are to get.

You’d have to literally do nothing, not even breath, to fail to get one.

And then you get them, and they live in a little corner of the Internet nobody you know ever visits.

No wonder they’re so easy not to care about.

Nobody will ever put the Foursquare badges in a display case for future generations.