As a child I attended an institution known as Badgers. It’s sort of like Cub Scouts, but it’s connected to the St John’s Ambulance. It’s social interaction via learning and team building for kids who want to remain indoors, with an emphasis on medical training.
My parents enrolled me in this programme without my permission, which I protested in the moment, as even at this age I didn’t enjoy hearing “Surprise! You now have to have two extra social interactions a week, and guess what? Most of them are strangers! Yay!”
Fortunately they only remained strangers for a week or two, and soon my close friends and I became kings of Badgers. Whatever they are, whatever the badger king is called. Probably that one from The Wind in the Willows, right? Yeah, I bet he’s their king.
Badgers had clearly struggled to retain members aged nine and ten, as by the time we reached the age of nine we were running the joint. Well, the adult volunteers were running everything, but we felt as though we were, and that’s probably what matters in the long run.
At Badgers the main goal was to collect badges. This was extremely confusing and not something the organisers had thought about too clearly. Many conversations like the following one were had during my two years as a Badger:
“So what are you doing?”
“I’m a Badger.”
“And what do you do as a Badger?”
“We collected badges.”
“You collected badgers!?”
“Oh, so you’re a Badge-er? One who collects badges.”
“No, we’re Badgers, but we collect badges, as a badge-er would.”
“I should’ve joined the scouts.”
Don’t name the institution after the reward you’re planning to hand out, or vice-versa. If you’re dead-sett (that’s a badger joke there) on calling the group ‘Badgers’, then you should have to collect truffles. It’s really quite simple.
We had to wear these weird uniforms that looked way more formal than the teen and adult versions of St John’s Ambulance, who got to wear cool green coats. We wore these black tabard-like things over the top of a white polo shirt.
Polo shirt to a nine year old means school and school is bore–ring, so they weren’t too up to date on the connotations of their branding for a nine year old.
Although, because Badgers was for all genders, and we all wore these lengthly tabards, we all looked like androgynous kids, and that was pretty cool. I’d go as far as to say that I lean towards wearing tight jeans and long flowing shirts because of my time spent in Badgers. My former religious leaders now know who to blame.
I remember working my way through the different six-week courses in order to earn my various badges. One of them was just playing football, so that was pretty fun. This was before I realised that I wasn’t very good at sports, but still enjoyed playing them for the exercise.
The most coveted badge of all was the First Aid Badge. That’s what we were all here for, right? Well, some of us were here because our parents signed us up without asking, but for the majority of people that badge was the ticket to the cool green jacket of the adult world.
The problem was that only four Badgers could take this course at a time, as the leaders wanted to make sure that everyone understood the first-aid training clearly. So my friends and I waited our turn.
Some other kid we knew (I’ll call him Andy) came back from his first-aid training, just before we began ours. Andy bragged about how he could now save any life at any time, anywhere.
After he explained that all you have to do is get-off with a dummy (“really waggle your tongue around in there”), we decided that we didn’t want Andy around us should we ever need any medical assistance.
When it was finally our turn to learn all about First Aid, we were ready. I expected that we would be picked up in an ambulance and immediately thrown into the crux of an emergency.
“She’s crashing, get me ten CCs of metamorphosis, stat. Damn! It’s no good, we’re going to have to bring out the electric paddles that look like telephones but don’t put them to your ears because that would hurt. You! Badger! Can you handle this?”
“I was born ready.”
I snapped out of my daydream just as we were shuffled into a slightly different back room of the community building where Badgers was held. Sure enough, there was a plastic head and torso on the floor and we were encouraged to sit around it.
None of us could believe that Andy, who thought you had to grope a patient in order to treat them effectively, had been right about the exact nature of first-aid training.
I raised my hand and asked if I could spend the next six weeks getting my Arts and Crafts badge (truffle) because this looks boring. Another one of my friends raised his hand too, as he shared the same opinion. We weren’t at Badgers to fondle a plastic human. No! We were here to save lives dammit! And maybe explore our encroaching puberty by hanging out with hot doctors and nurses.
We were escorted back into the main hall by one of the volunteers, who announced that two slots were now open in first-aid training. Andy leapt to his feet and began puckering his lips as he sprinted for the door.
“Veronica has missed me, I just know it!”
I left Badgers a few months later, as I realised there was nothing left for me to do here. No more worlds to conquer. I’d collected all of the badges apart from the boring first-aid one, and because of that I could never posses one of the cool green jackets.
No green jacket, no point in continuing — A motto that sounds good, but doesn’t make for excellent life advice.
Our rascal-like crew left Badgers by performing a gig (we were also a band, did I not mention that?), despite the fact that only one of us could play their instrument (which was the drums, and he was incredible, but you sort-of need some tune or melody for a casual music performance).
We all just mimed along to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers CD, and in my head I’ll maintain that we were doing a meta-textual comedic performance in order to satirise the lack of talent displayed in modern pop music.
Either that or we were a group of dumb kids who possessed inflated egos, due to the fact that 50% of us had just had their first kiss with a lifeless dummy, and the rest had confidently turned her down because we could still see Andy’s spit congealed in her mouth opening.
Today is Wednesday, January 9th and I wonder if Andy is the kind of guy who owns a sex doll now.