Boys’ Life Magazine Ads.

Boys’ Life is the official magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. It ruled my childhood.

I was in the Scouts, but that had nothing to do with it. All of my grade school buddies were in the Scouts. It was just kind of a given that we would be.

For us, it was essentially an afterschool “latchkey” program, held at a nearby church, with a few of our mothers rotating in and out of “den leader” roles. We wore the uniforms and we had the books, but it was more or less just playtime. Actual scout-like activities were few and far between. I didn’t mind going and neither did my friends, but we’d have just as soon stayed home.

Only one of my friends stayed in for the long haul. He seemed embarrassed whenever we brought it up, but his bedroom was full of Boy Scout things, including the fabled Webelos uniform that none of the rest of us achieved.

He’s the one who introduced me to Boys’ Life Magazine. In his room was a pile of them, nearly half as tall as I was. I don’t know what compelled me to begin thumbing through them, but once I did, something magical happened.

The articles in each issue were what you’d expect. Sugary stories about being a better person, or about making things out of egg cartons, or maybe about the logistics of rain.

I wasn’t enthralled until I got to the last few pages. The “GIFTS & GIMMICKS” section. At that moment, something clicked, and nothing would ever be the same.

I’ve written about old comic book ads a hundred times, but the truth is, I rarely ordered things from comic books. When I’ve alluded to a past filled with mail order madness, it was chiefly because of Boys’ Life Magazine.

The “Gifts & Gimmicks” section was typically 5 or 6 pages, very close to the end of each issue. It became as important to my childhood years as nearly anything else, and I can’t mean that more sincerely. With oodles of vague ads for oodles of vague things, it kicked off an obsession with mail order goodies that I still haven’t completely kicked.

I never subscribed to Boys’ Life Magazine, and it wasn’t the kind of thing that you could just buy anywhere. Instead, I’d visit my still-a-scout friend’s house every month, and rip the pages from his magazines. Sometimes he charged me a token fee; other times I just tore them up when he wasn’t looking.

I protected those pages like they were the most important things in the universe. I even went to the local pharmacy to make photocopies, so I could safely cut out offers without decimating whatever was on the flipsides of the pages. I was nuts.

I didn’t buy everything from those ads, but I sure ordered a lot. Anything in the realm of “pranks and gags” was my chief interest, in part because I was an idiot, but mostly because those were the cheapest things.

There was almost never a time when I wasn’t expecting a package to arrive. I think I enjoyed the anticipation more than anything, and I’d fall into a deep sulk if there were no postal miracles to look forward to.

For some reason, I’d always bring my purchases to school, still safely protected in their bubble mailers. For a few years, that was “my thing.” When we were getting our yearbooks signed by all of the teachers in the fifth grade, most of the ones I’d had penned thoughtful wishes for “good mail to come.”

I can’t say that these passions brought me much kinship or camaraderie.

The scans above come from a 1989 issue of Boys’ Life, but the “Gifts & Gimmicks” section looked very similar to that for many years, before and after. Below are closer inspections of several specific ads that piqued my interest back then…

Crazy knives! How were ads like this legal? They can’t still be legal, right?

The knife on the left doubled as a survival kit, with a bunch of random tools shoved into its hollow shaft. The “Action Knife,” shown right, was like the super mega version of a Swiss Army Knife. (Actually, that exact ad inspired me to request a Swiss Army Knife for some long ago Christmas. Its most useful tool was a slide-out plastic toothpick.)

I fell for Badge A Minit’s pitch, hook, line and sinker. Though the $33 price tag precluded me from ordering one, I spent countless nights imagining the fabulous riches waiting in the button business.

Regarding the two smaller ads, I’m sad to admit that I never experienced the thrill of pets-by-mail. My parents didn’t have many hot buttons, but “surprise animals” would’ve won me a beating for sure.

I was especially interested in the quail eggs — likely because they came with an incubator that looked like an alien spaceship. That ad wasn’t long for the world by 1989, and I remember being so regretful when it finally stopped appearing in Boys’ Life. In hindsight, thank God it stopped. Putting the kid version of me in charge of baby quails had many potential endings, but they were all very, very bad.

*panic excitement die words here*

These ads mean A LOT to me.

The first two are from Brad’s Fun Shop and the much larger Johnson Smith Company. (Don’t let the size of Johnson Smith’s ad fool you; this one is unusually small.) For years, these two companies battled for supremacy in the “cheap jokey shit” arena, constantly tweaking their wares and prices. Their doodads fell from a dollar to eighty-eight cents, finally settling in at a seemingly impossible fifty cents. (Loss leader?)

Venus Flytraps! Whoopee cushions! Fake vomit! Snap gum! All of the best things ever made, for the best prices ever seen!

Brad’s Fun Shop generally had cruder stuff than Johnson Smith. The upside was their reckless abandon regarding any laws about selling low-grade fireworks by mail. Still, Johnson Smith was the gold standard, and even if you don’t recognize their tiny ad, you probably know their work. If you’ve ever paged through a Things You Never Knew Existed catalog, that’s them!

Oh, and about that third ad. Garner’s Pranks & Magic desperately wanted a slice of the pie, but they just wouldn’t commit to an across-the-board low price. I have no facts to back this up, but I like to think that it’s what put them out of business.

The Pinewood Derby is one of the few true “Boy Scout things” I can remember taking part in. My father built a real beauty: A Corvette-looking thing with shiny red paint, and just enough random metal shit stuck in the back to give it ample weight.

All of my friends were just as into their cars, and come race day, we were AMPED. When we arrived, the Official Scout People had set up a two-lane raceway. Two kids would race, and then another two, and then another two, whittling down the contenders until we had our grand champion.

Unfortunately, it became immediately clear that the right-side lane had a much steeper slope, and so, the only way to lose was to be on the left. None of the adults seemed to believe us, even after a car that I swear only had two wheels managed to win three races. It’s been more than twenty years, and I still clench my fists when I think about this.

Oh, and the other ad? As a kid, I was just gullible enough to believe that building such a hovercraft was possible. And I guess it was, technically. Still, there’s no way that thing did what I imagined it doing. I saw myself flying over houses and being all over the news.

I dabbled in stamp collecting for several years, all thanks to ads like these.

Each sold you a handful of stamps (or coins, or bank notes) for an enticingly low price. The catch was that they’d send you tons of extra stamps (or coins, or bank notes) on “approval.” If you wanted to keep them, you had to send in more money. If not, you had to send them back.

I don’t know if that arrangement was purposely sneaky, but if it hurt anyone, it was the companies themselves. Even if I didn’t outright intend to “steal” from them, I was never any good about sending the extra stamps (or coins, or bank notes) back. It’s not like I feared jail, or bat-bearing stamp shop heavies.

It was always neat when “big brand real stuff” turned up in the classifieds. You know, for lack of a better term.

I actually did join that World Wrestling Federation fan club. I remember owning everything described, except for the alleged quarterly newsletter. The big draws were the autographed 8x10s, even if they were just copies of autographs. Kids believe what they want to believe, and as far as I was concerned, Koko B. Ware set aside five seconds just for me.

No matter what I ordered, I was really in it for the simple joy of getting mail. Focusing on the cheaper things just meant that I could get more mail. I didn’t care what was coming, so long as things were.

To this end, I must give a special shout-out to the various ads for free catalogs. (Even if “free” meant I had to pay the shipping costs, or worse, figure out what a “SASE” was.) I never turned down the chance, even if I knew that I would have absolutely no interest in what the particular company was selling. I didn’t care. Just send me mail!

Oh, and I just confirmed that Boys’ Life Magazine is still around. Would it be weird of me to subscribe, just to see if they’re still running ads like these in the back? I guess it wouldn’t be any weirder than writing about magazine ads from 1989 at three in the morning.

I think I’m gonna do it.


50 Responses to Boys’ Life Magazine Ads.

  1. Someone, somewhere must’ve ordered and built an air car. Surely there must be photos or videos of the thing in action. I want to believe.

  2. I always wanted to buy a ton of crap from these ads, but my parent’s would never buy any of it for me.

    Stupid parents not buying me stupid junk that would have been a waste of money!

  3. That’s why I stuck with the cheap stuff!

    There were times that I literally mailed in envelopes full of loose change. It’s a miracle that the orders were ever processed.

  4. This is the quaintest thing you’ve ever written. Your enthusiasm is literally seeping off the page, staining my monitor. Yuck.

    The tiny Rev. 1.3 only once ordered anything from a back of the magazine ad like that – it was a special edition limited availability rare not available in stores fucking my little pony of all things, and you had to send in proofs of purchase and money and an application. They kept my money and never sent the damn pony, and it’s been almost 30 years and I’m still bitter.

    I think it’s time to move past it now. Thank you for helping me heal.

  5. I used to love reading these as well. I was a scout up until we became Boy Scouts and it became a lot less fun. I had a subscription to this for years and probably still have a box of the magazines laying around somewhere.

    Boys Life is responsible for one major part of my life though. They had an article about Easter Eggs in video games and that article was the first time I ever heard of the NES. From that moment on it became my obsession to have one.

  6. I used to order so many things for free. Vacation planning tapes were always a good one. I swear there are still Disney World ones showing up at my parents house to this day from all the times I ordered stuff back in the 90′s haha

  7. Everybody buy Mail-Order Mysteries by Kirk Demaraias. It’s an amazing book (and the cover glows in the dark!)

    Mail-Order Mysteries

  8. Ah, Boys Life. For some reason, I remember flipping through issues of this around the same time period I was flipping through Highlights magazines. I only went to a few Boy Scout meetings, and then totally lost interest. The internet is the reason we will never see ads like this in magazines or comics anymore. Still nice to see ads like this.

    Reading this just made me order a Things You Never Knew Existed catalog. I used to love when my friends would bring those catalogs to school. I tried seeing if I could find an older one somewhere online, but no luck. Now I’ll be checking the mailbox every day for the next 2 weeks!

  9. I was a scout for two years before I bailed on it, did the whole pinewood derby thing and I remember these ads in the back of BL like yesterday. I ordered an “air pistol” from an ad like these. Of course it was a total piece of crap but these were the days before the orange tip caps so it kind of looked like a real gun.

    Does anyone know kids are still able to order a 5 inch switchblade in the current BL? :)

    pets-by-mail = dying or dead animal in a box.

    Matt get a “Badge A Minit” and start cranking out the Dino Drac buttons, you can still be rich!

  10. @Rev: Probably your most surprising confession. I’ll never believe that you played with toys.

    @pureval: Yeah, I get a little lost on how to refer to my scoutdom. Technically, I was a cub scout. I just figured “boy scouts” could be applied universally.

    …or maybe I was a bear scout, too?

    I just know that most of us dropped out a year before the “beige” uniforms. We had such a weird scout deal and it definitely wasn’t “by the book.”

    Though I do remember going into the one local official “scout store,” whatever they were called. I LOVED THAT PLACE. Memories are vague, but I recall wanting to buy the sort of silver pins that you were only supposed to get for achieving big time scout things.

    @Gralf: I never did the tapes, but travel/vacation things, oh yes. Remember the little prepaid postcards in travel magazines, where you’d check off locations you were interested in for free brochures? Even if they had fifty checkboxes, I’d just mark all of them. SO MUCH MAIL.

    @Jason: I ordered a TYNKE catalog a few months ago. It’s still almost as good. :)

  11. I wasn’t in the Scouts and always thought they seemed kinda dorky, but I used to buy these at thrift stores just to look at the ads. Sadly they were always out of date so I couldn’t order any of the cool stuff.

  12. christ i love that you could’ve ordered a chameleon which would’ve been shipped via airmail WEATHER PERMITTING.

    What does the weather have to do with anything? Aaaaargh I’m still trying to guess.

    True story though, the coolest living thing you can ship even today in the US mail is bees :)

  13. Yeah, that was hard to admit. I was training it to be a war horse. This whole incident is probably why I have such a powerful aversion to bronies now. They have succeeded where I failed.

    I like the idea of getting a chameleon in the mail. I like less the idea of getting a dead chameleon in the mail, which pretty much seems like a given.

  14. My favorite moments at DinoDrac (X-E) are when Matt writes about something I used to love but COMPLETELY forgot about, and likely never would have remembered ever again. This is another one of those times. So cool

  15. I was a Boy Scout for a few years and I subscribed to Boys’ Life magazine, but all I really remember about it is that damn Pedro comic strip.

    Boy Scouts was always such a downer for me. We were always promised such cool activities, but we never actually did much of anything. Maybe it’s because the people always leading the troops tended to be dolts that really shouldn’t have been in charge of rowdy kids (one of said dolts had an absolute witch of a wife who I still hate to this day). The Pinewood Derby and a weekend camping trip were about the only real events we ever had, and in retrospect, I’m surprised they were able to pull them off.

    I hated Boy Scouts. Maybe if I’d have bought more gags from the pages of Boys’ Life, I would be less bitter.

  16. I still love getting things in the mail. I do get some odd catalogs here and there, but most of what comes in the mail is bills. :(

    I think you can still order that Air Car plan: http://www.canosoarus.com/14AirCar/AirCar01.htm

  17. I don’t know if it is the exact one featured in that ad, but I still have a mail-order survival knife that I acquired at some point after the movie Rambo: First Blood Part II came out.

    I’ve long since lost all the cool little things that were inside the handle (fishing line, hooks, matches, etc.), but I still have the compass and knife sheath complete with sharpening stone.

  18. Good gracious, my cousin who’s gonna be 13(er meh Lerd, I feel so old) is hardcore into scouts…he does the National Jamborees, Pinewood derby(the wooden little car that you race against other scouts) My Uncle is an award winning leader…They build floats for the town Halloween Parade with theme costumes….Aunt’s a den mother…he gets bajillions of badges and hunts and stuff

  19. I remember having a badge-making machine very briefly when I was young. I would cut out pictures from magazines/coloring books (usually cartoon characters) and the machine would somehow squeeze the pic between the metal and plastic. Kinda like how you could make your own pogs during the pog craze years ago.

    I was also very briefly a cub scout, but it was incredibly boring and I quit. All we seemed to do was study from the cub scout book.

  20. you don’t go into detail about the Nintendo “power patch”… did you get one?

  21. I never knew such a magazine or the weird little order forms for novelty junk even existed. I suppose it is because I never knew anyone involved with Boy Scouts.

  22. I remember getting this magazine… somehow. I tried signing up for scouts, but for whatever reason, I never got in. Still got the magazine, though.

    I think it was before some of this stuff, though. It occasionally had something fun to read, but the ads were cool, but I don’t think I was ever quite enticed enough to take the plunge.

    If I did? It’d have to be the fan club stuff. Unfortunately, I had my subscription before the Nintendo stuff hit, and I wasn’t into WWF yet. D=

  23. I was in the ALF fan club, but the only things that are mentioned in the ad that I remember getting were the stickers, some buttons/pins, and the membership card. I probably joined earlier than 1989 though, so maybe they added to the merch. I still have a huge tub of Hot Wheels with two or three of the stickers on it.

  24. “U Control Life Size Monster Ghost! It floats and soars! Scare and amaze your friends!”

    This was the only thing we ever ordered and it turned out to be a balloon with a Casper the friendly ghost face, a small piece of white plastic sheeting, and some string.

    Poorer but wiser I entered the 11th grade.

  25. I was never in the Scouts, though my sisters were for a while. I didn’t think they’d really want me. I don’t know if my sisters ever did anything like the Pinewood Derby. Attempting to sell Girl Scout cookies in January was probably enough. There are approximately three people at the Jersey Shore in January. We’d end up buying half the boxes ourselves.

    We loved looking at the magic tricks and things, but another advantage to living in what was essentially a fancy tourist trap was there were a couple of stores nearby that sold these things for almost as cheap. My mother said “absolutely not” to the pets – what they were doing was inhumane, and we had enough pets as it was growing up.

    My sisters and I did belong to a couple of fan clubs, notably the ones for “Star Wars” and “My Little Pony.” Rev, we also sent away for a special mail-order Pony, only we actually got her – Ember, the first, original baby pony. She was the “child” all our older ponies protected for years. We also got the mail-order Emperor from “Return of the Jedi.” That was a proud moment; none of our guy friends had him. He still has a place of honor with my other “Star Wars” action figures on the wall shelf.

  26. In 1985, there were full-page ads in the “magazine” section of the Sunday paper for those survival knives. IIRC, they were inspired by a scene in a Rambo movie. In any case those ads ran for week after week, and most of the boys in my troop bought them.

    In December of 1985, my troop went camping. There were over a dozen knives at the beginning of the trip. By the end of the weekend, there were only one or two that weren’t broken. Even at the time, I wasn’t surprised.

    //CSB

  27. Ordered two chameleons from Texas Wonder Pets in the late 80′s / early 90′s. One lived two years, one lived three months and then one just randomly got sent to my house…dead in the box. The food that came with them was a dimebag full of mealworms which doubled as an awesome prank to put in your sisters lunchbox.

  28. I was the same kind of *eeee! mail!* kid. My sister and I killed forests in free catalogues. We played a game where you had to order one thing off of every page… now that i think about it, it’s a wonder we didn’t end up shopaholics or hoarders.

    I still compulsively check the mail… this no mail on Saturday thing is going to be hard on me.

  29. i wonder if matt ever used the free wwf ticket

  30. These are wonderful. I remember a particular ad was for a wooden helicopter with a kid sitting in it. It made no reference to it being a working copter but I swore they were selling a real kid helicopter. I had a lot of daydreams flying to school and hanging up my rad helmet where book bags and coats go.
    Never of having a terrific fiery crash in trees.

  31. Tiny Matt stories are the best. This one compels me to make you a care package and send it back in time.

  32. That air car!!! I vividly remember that from Comic books,Boy’s life and other magizines!!! I always wondered…..

  33. @J: I don’t think we got a free WWF ticket with the club; just a chance to win one. I did go to a few shows at the time, though. Earliest one I can recall had Macho King vs. Dusty Rhodes. (I was there for Macho and we ended up leaving before the main event — which I think was another of the 30-second Warrior/Andre squashes.)

    @oliver: Ah, someone who actually ordered the lizards. Good for you. I had a few (not by mail) and while I’d prefer not to describe while I’ll never own another… I’ll never own another.

    @M. Oleman: That classic “U Control Ghost” has actually been re-released. At least in bootleg form. I have one around here somewhere, though I never bothered to set it up.

    @Bill: The vehicle ads in general were so sneaky.

    @velouria: Please do! Eight-year-old me will appreciate it.

  34. I was in Cub Scouts when I was in elementary school. We actually met in the cafetorium of our school on certain nights. It’s weird, I don’t have any memories of having the uniform or anything, but as you can see here (http://www.myspace.com/teddyray/photos/42394062#%7B%22ImageId%22%3A42394062%7D), excuse the ancient myspace page, I did have a uniform (that’s Lil Teddy Ray second from the left), but apparently the uniform was optional.

    Geez, that was a long run-on sentence. Anyway, I vaguely remember doing the Pinewood Derby, but that’s one of the only Scout things I remember doing. I tried to do actual Boy Scouts when I was older. I had a good friend who was a couple years older than me and he was in Boy Scouts, went to the meetings and all, so I tagged along with him, but they were Boy Scout meetings in the loosest sense of the word. I don’t remember anything about them…just sitting around talking, really.

    I also don’t remember having a subscription to Boy’s Life magazine, but I remember getting it and reading it, so maybe I did. The ads didn’t intrigue, though, for some reason. Sure, I would look at them, I remember them…but I never ordered anything from them. I guess I inherited a healthy dose of skepticism from my parents. I just always thought those ads were a rip off, so I never ordered anything. Well, I’m rambling, so Imma shut up now. Great article, Matt. It really takes me back.

  35. I too shared your mail obsession (I kind of still do) and used to send away for any imaginable free catalog or sign up for any “Kids Club” I could find. I also entered every contest on earth, was constantly writing jokes in the USA Network Kid’s Club and was constantly trying to get autographed photos from celebrities (which ended up mostly being the cast of Kids Inc.). I also joined things like the Full Moon Video Fan Club and the Joe Bob Briggs fan club so I could get their newsletters.

    I mostly got free catalogs from the back of Fangoria magazine, these were highly inappropriate for children. In my pre-teen and teen years any money I made I used to dump into magazine and comic book subscriptions. The rest all went to stamps.

    It continued into my teen years when I used to send away for just about any zine I could find that sounded remotely interesting (and some that didn’t) in the back of Maximumrocknroll and Fact Sheet Five. When I moved a couple years ago I donated about 8 boxes of zines to a local “zine library” (talk about things you never knew existed) and I had to describe them to the girl at the place as “like blogs on paper”.

  36. My mom was sooooo pissed when we started getting bombarded with catalogs, packages, and those stamps on approval. We continued getting stuff for years and years. It was awesome. I loved getting all the mail. My favorite Johnson Smith purchase was definitely the Rattlesnake Egg envelope. I would scare the shit out of people with that.

  37. Pretty much all of these things are items that are infinitely cooler to contemplate owning while looking at the ads than they are to actually own (“That’s not a chameleon, that’s an anole!”, “These x-ray glasses are a lie!”, et c.), but good luck explaining that to a kid, as nothing—not even aliens—says “I Want to Believe!” as much as these sort of ads.

    Somewhere, I’ve got a Boy Scout handbook from the 1930s that has some pretty nifty ads in it; I’ll have to scan them in if I can find it.

  38. I was waiting to see the hovercraft ad. I had the same daydreams about its capabilities, so you’re not alone.

  39. There’s book out called Mail-Order Mysteries that shows what a lot of those products really looked like. I aims to get my paws on it one these days.

  40. Awww man.. this one really put my nostalgia into overdrive. My scout troop was a lot like yours. Everyone was just in it, and no one ever did any actual scouting. In fact we were fairly evil to all the other ones that did at the group camp things we had to do. Mostly We were about lighting stuff on fire. A neat trick I learned in scouts, if you soak your hand in purel, you can light it on fire, then shake it off real quick, be totally fine, and a total badass.

    The pinewood derby was the best though. There weren’t any pretenses at all when it came to who made the cars. It was pretty much who’s dad could build the coolest car. My dad was a carpenter, and watched formula one racing religiously. He built an exact scale replica of Michael Shumacher’s F1 Ferrari. I was a shoe in. Turns out though that a scale replica of a formula one racer holds up about as well as the real thing when it hits a wall. The thing flew faster than any other car there, and the whole front end shattered on impact with the padding at the end of the track. The second round it was just barely held together with Elmer’s glue. It pretty much hobbled it’s way across the finish line in one of the slowest times of the day. I still have the “participant” ribbon though.

  41. The Air Car is a distinct visual from my Boy Scout days that I’ll never forget. Something about the triangular formation of the hover discs burned itself into my brain. I also remember ordering the “Things You Never Existed…and Can’t Possibly Live Without” catalog and skimming it’s pages with giddy delight at my friend Mike’s house. Boy’s Life also had some comic strips in it, which were the only other pages in the magazine that got a second look from me.

  42. For me, when I had Boy’s Life it was all about the comics (shock of all shock). I think I went back later on when I just had stacks of them in my bedroom and actually read a few of the articles, but I was more intrigued by the regular adventures in the comics and was disappointed when one of the comics had ended without any fanfare. You could probably call it my first foray into comic book reading considering the way the things came out (can’t remember if it was monthly or seasonally). When my subscription finally ended, I managed to keep on reading thanks to my school library’s subscription, though eventually they seemed to just stop coming or perhaps I just lost interest. Either way, good times. And yes, I loved all the ads in the back even though I never had money for any of it. XD

  43. i see that several of those stamps are post-marked. now granted i know nothing about stamp collecting, but doesn’t that kill them as collectibles?

  44. Oh MAN, this takes me back!! I did the same shit!! I had a subscription to Boys’ Life. I had that free “1800 things you never knew existed” catalog, and it was AWESOME!! I loved ordering more catalogs of cool junk. I remember getting all kinds of the magic tricks and prank stuff. “Smoke from your fingertips,” trick gum, invisible ink, rattlesnake in a bag. I think I also ‘ordered’ pen pals through boys’ life. I had several around the world and we trade coins with each other. I always wanted that hovercraft kit too…

  45. OMG! I can’t believe I missed this post! I was the fat kid who could only fit in with a thing like cub scouts! I actually did ok in scouts. And I LOVED Boy’s Life, especially for these ads! WOW! You can tell I am a grown up now; my kid gets Boys Life, and I have yet to check the ads in back. I will do that TODAY!!!!

  46. Also, let me ask the Scouts out there, when you would read “True Scouts in Action”, didn’t you imagine (like Ralphie in Christmas Story) that you might save someone and get that medal? My brother was on his paper route, and a kid fell and cut his arm on a fence. My brother ran to help him, but the kid ran away crying. The first thing my brother thought of was “Now I’m not going to get the medal for saving a life!” Hahaha!

  47. This post was absolutely amazing! I know there were others that had the magazine but I did’nt think anyone else cherished the G&G section like I did when I was a kid. This was a time before video games and ipads…when our imagination and the box cover on the atari game was way cooler than the games themselves. I also can’t believe the description of boyscouts!! I felt the exact same way! My friends and I were just kind of in it by expectation and no ones parents really wanted to be a den leader but they showed up after school because someone had to watch us. I too remember the times where I would save up for weeks to buy ridiculous items like the book safe and the hand-shake buzzer. I used to walk two blocks to check the mail everyday hoping I would get that treasured package so I could run full speed back home and open it in my room. Although the items were never as I imagined, they were still amazing and those times will always be cherished in a special place in my heart. Kindred spirits my friend…kindred spirits.

  48. NERD ALERT

    Eagle Scout here. It took my 7 years to get my Eagle Scout Award. Some of the most fun I’ve ever had. A bunch of guys who liked Star Wars, GI Joe and the NES as much as I did.
    I started in 1988 or 1989 in Boy Scouts. I was in Webelos before that and got the diamond badge on the uniform (wolf, bear, 2 other animals I dont remember) Loved Boys Life magazine. I went to the National Jamboree in Fort AP VA. It was awesome. All I did was trade council patches and hung out with some cool scouts from Europe and Japan. I have a lot of great memories from Boy Scouts especially the hiking and camping trips we did.
    Yeah in high school you kept it on the downlow that you were in Scouts or everyone would call you a girl or worse!
    Toughest job in Scouts that I ever had was being patrol leader at 13 because I was the First Class Rank (the highest rank at that time in the patrol). I had a cool Assistant Patrol Leader named Mike so it worked out.

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