Monday, February 11, 2008

No, I Do Not Know the Muffin Man

The weekend got off to an odd start Saturday morning at Scout Leader training. First a little background. I’ve decided to step up to the plate and become Den Leader for the Dude’s Cub Scout Den. The current leader has announced his intention to step down. No one else is stepping forward. The Dude has become less interested in certain parts of the Cub Scout experience, so I thought that if I were leader I could create the sort of experience that would help the Dude stay in scouting.

Why even try? Good question. The Dude loves the big scouting activities – especially the traditional scouting stuff like camp, outdoor nature stuff, etc. We haven’t been doing much of that lately, and I think I can help jazz up his Cub Scout experience. At least I hope I can. So it’s really mostly about him and making his Scouting experience better – though I suggest others will appreciate the changes.

Anyway – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30, in some church basement. The church must save money by turning down the furnace after Sunday services and not turning it up until Saturday morning, because the morning started out cold! The first two hours were relatively interesting, PowerPoints and videos about scouting. The sort of thing you would expect. After a short break, we begin hour 3. Two presenters up front when someone shouts from the back of the room, “Hey Sue (not her real name), do you know the muffin man?”

Sue replies, “Yes, I know the muffin man,” and begins singing the familiar muffin man song while hopping up and down. As she is hopping up and down she hops over to her co-presenter and stands about two feet away from him. He then starts hopping in time with her – face-to-face. When she completes the song, he keeps hopping and starts singing the muffin man. There’s a twist – when he gets to the end he adds the street he lives on in place of Drury Lane.

Then – the co-presenter turns to me (that’s what I get for sitting in the front row), and starts singing the Muffin Man song. OK – I’m pretty bright – I know where this is going. They obviously expect me to hop and sing with him, just like he did with Sue.

At this point I do something totally out of character. I stand up, say “No, I don’t do that,” pick up my training materials and leave the room. He’s a pro. He doesn’t miss a beat – just keeps on singing the Muffin Man to the next guy down the line.

I walk out – along with a few other guys who had the brains to sit in back so they didn’t have to make a scene. I don’t know what to do. I see that one of the Scout Leaders who organized the training has followed me out and asks what’s wrong. I grab my cell phone and say, “Nothing, just need to call my wife and have her convince me that I should stay.” Very lame – I know – but at least I didn’t grab my coat and just leave – which was what I really wanted to do.

Don’t get me wrong – if the kids were there and this was a real Cub Scouting event I would have hopped and sang along with the Muffin Man. I’m not above humiliating myself in front of small children – but I draw the line at adults. Perhaps this was an icebreaker, but I didn’t need my ice broken. In fact, it took me about 20 minutes to calm down enough to tuck my tail between my legs and return to the blasted training. I couldn’t really concentrate for the next two hours – until lunch break – so I don’t even remember what the Muffing guys were even presenting on.

I spent the rest of the day flip-flopping between paying attention to the trainings, and brooding over whether I’d made the right choice to walk out in the first place, or whether I should have just kept walking.

The Hobbled Wife for her part was great. She talked me off the ledge, got me back into the meeting, and even suggested some nice strategies for peaceful confrontation should I ever be asked again, “Do you know the Muffin Man?”

3 comments:

amy said...

OH MY GOODNESS...I don't blame you for not wanting to sing along. Not only is "Do you know the muffin man" one of the most annoying songs....it is a song for TODDLERS, not for Boy Scouts. And to expect a group of Minnesotans to sing along??? I think I probably would have just responded with "NO, I do not know the muffin man" . I think I would go ahead and stick with being a leader (since you get to now chose the activities for the group) and start feeling ok about making your opinion known about things in the Scouts that seem dumb or stupid. I'm sure you are not the only one who thought that was pretty lame. I remembering commenting at one of my first Res board meetings how I was against ANOTHER structure being built in the woods. I quickly learned that this was the "culture" of the Scout troops around here--to BUILD something for their Eagle scout badge...but I think I made a point that PERHAPS this was a policy that should be discussed. Anyway...it's hard for us Minnesotans to speak up....

Suefunky said...

I agree! That just sounds like so many levels of inappropriate that it would be hard to count. I know a certain scout who probably would have a similar opinion.

Good for you for stepping up to the job and speaking up for your boundary. Go with your gut, and know who to avoid in future Scout leader meetings. So sorry this had to happen so early in the venture.

John said...

Man - that is just too creepy. No way would I have stayed.