On a recent drive home I heard a story about smoking on the local NPR affiliate, (KUAF. While the story wasn’t too memorable, it got me thinking about some of my time in the Boy Scouts. I was sill involved in my troop when I was 16. By that age I was one of the older scouts, so there were a lot of younger boys to make fun of and taunt. Often they didn’t deserve the mockery, but there were times when their actions introduced them to well-deserved rounds of derisive laughter.
Now, after hearing the article about teen smoking, I remembered one camp out in particular. One Saturday afternoon, after the lunch had been scarfed, the troop split up to go explore our surroundings. Well, some of us went back to our tent to relax and plan that night’s game of capture the flag. A small triad of younger scouts decided to explore their surroundings. As they grew closer to nature by hiking through the woods they came upon a small, round can of tobacco. A helluva find to say the least. They decided to sneak off somewhere to try it out, well away from us older scouts, and as far from the adults as possible.
After a bit of time our little group of older scouts decided that we should probably find out what the young’uns were doing. We were supposed to be leading them, right? Right. It didn’t take too long to follow the sounds of nervous laughter and paranoid hisses to keep the noise down. My grin was returned by my compatriots as we quietly crept up behind the boys. But for all of our well-practiced silence, we weren’t able to scare them as we had intended. You see, we busted out in laughter. The kind of laughter that literally knocks you to your knees and makes it hard to breath.
In front of us were the three boys, an empty can of Skoal and a notebook. In the hands of one of the boys was their ‘cigarette’. They had decided to roll the chewing tobacco in notebook paper so they could smoke it. One of them, who shall remain nameless was turning quite green, apparently he had been the first to take the first puff of the monster smoke.
That still make me laugh.
I wonder if any of them smoke now…