King of Mount Stupid

One year, when I was kid, my Boy Scout troop was selected to host our council’s annual Klondike Derby.

For those not in the know, the Klondike is essentially a race, wherein the scouts are broken down into teams. Each team has a dogsled, and the boys pull their sled across a course dotted with a dozen or so stations. The boys stop at each station, where they are required to perform a task meant to test the skills they have learned as scouts before progressing to the next station. Whoever gets the most points wins. Or something to that effect.

Hosting the Klondike meant our troop was responsible for creating the course and manning the skill stations. Our campground was a local park bequeathed to our home town by a 19th century doctor of considerable wealth, and we were fortunate to have been given access to the grounds’ brick stable house to use as a base of operations throughout the whole affair.

Behind the stable house was a huge pile of what appeared to be dirt. Late Friday night, after dinner, one kid ran screaming up to the top of the pile and declared himself king of the hill. Another kid took exception and ran straight up after the self-proclaimed monarch, and proceeded to throw his ass back down to the ground.

It was a coup.

Alliances and loyalties were brought to bear, and soon a dozen teenage boys were scrambling up the pile, throwing each other down its sheer slopes as they ascended.

The boys carried on clawing and kicking each other until one of the adult leaders was kind enough to inform them they were not scrambling up a pile of dirt as they so thought, but an enormous mound of horse shit, frozen solid and scentless by the New England winter.

Whenever I watch a GOP primary, I can’t help but think of this scene: a bunch of blustering hormonal teenagers kicking and clawing each other to stand on top of a pile of shit.


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