Out of Uniform

May 22, 2015
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Transcript

GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:

OK, so in fifth grade in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., all my friends - Danny Walters (ph), Cory Nelson (ph), Jimmy Heigel (ph) - they were in the Boy Scouts, right? And they were always talking about Boy Scouts and archery and making knots and camping and merit badges and fun Boy Scout stuff. I wanted to be in the Boy Scouts and do that stuff. Every Thursday, everyone wore their Boy Scout uniforms to school before going over to Danny Walters's house. So I asked Danny's pop if I could be a Boy Scout, too. He said, of course you can. All you got to do is go down to the place on University Avenue, get your Boy Scout uniform and you're in. So I told my buddies I was a Boy Scout, too. And they said it was about time 'cause it was crazy fun.

That Thursday, everybody wore their uniforms, but I didn't have mine yet. And Mr. Walters said it was OK this time, but he needed me to go down to University Avenue and pick it up. I promised him I would. But next Thursday, I told Mr. Walters they're waiting for a new shipment of uniforms or whatever. All right, but you got to get that taken care of. The next week, I told him that I had it, I just forgot we were supposed to wear it on Thursday. And the way he looked at me, I knew my time was running out 'cause you know I hadn't asked my parents to buy me a Boy Scouts uniform. I hadn't asked them to buy me jack. Our house wasn't in a buying-people-stuff kind of situation. I thought maybe if I waited it out, sometimes things got better for a while. If I timed it just right, you never know.

So after school that day, I just walked around - walked around for a long time planning what I was going to say, how I was going to say it, you know, 'cause I just need the uniform and I don't think it's that expensive. Maybe we can put on layaway. And it's good being in the Boy Scouts 'cause they do lots of educational stuff with the reading and the museums. And I finally got home. I opened the door, and I just listened. It didn't take but a few moments before my Spidey (ph) senses told me that this, too, was a bad day.

So the next day, I told Mr. Walters I wasn't going to be able to participate in Boy Scouts that year because I already had a full activity calendar. And he told me to let him know if I change my mind. I promised I would. And that Thursday when everyone showed up with their Boy Scout uniforms on, I actually breathed easier 'cause, you know, like I said before, I really didn't want to be in the Boy Scouts anyway.

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WASHINGTON: Today on SNAP JUDGMENT, from PRX and NPR, we proudly present "The Weight Of The World," stories from real people carrying around more than you know. My name's Glynn Washington. Please award yourself a merit badge. You've earned it 'cause you're listening to SNAP JUDGMENT.

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