Miss me? I’ve been off at cub scout camp which will be released on video soon as “Rules Gone Wild”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of rules and safety and such. However, there’s a point at which it can be overdone. Let’s take aquatics for example. Upon entering camp, everyone has to report to the pool for a water test where you will be ranked as blue, red, or white level based on swimming ability. Fair enough. I figure that obviously some of the coming activities will be segregated by ability. Fortunately, my son and I are there early and don’t have to wait long get our top blue level ratings (complete with colored wrist bands as well as name tags to be posted at the pool and waterfront). We find out that later in the afternoon the wait to be tested becomes in excess of an hour. The staff devotes over 5 hours to test every camper. Clearly this is important stuff.

Morning comes, and our group, Mountain Man 1, is scheduled for pool time early. We arrive at the small facility (less than half the size of a typical high school pool) and are greeted by no less than four lifeguards. The leader introduces himself and for 15 minutes explains all the various rules. Upon entering the fenced pool area, your name tag and the tag of your “buddy” must be removed from the outside board and placed on the inside board in the one of the three areas where you will be. You can be in the deep end only if you are blue. Blues or Reds may be in the shallow end. Whites must be the buddy of a blue adult and may only be in the shallow end. Anyone may be on the deck. If you change locations in the pool (move from deep to shallow to deck), then you and your buddy must each get out and move your tag to the corresponding position on the board. Every 15 minutes, the whistle blows for buddy check. You must stand with your buddy, holding hands in the air, until the staff has counted everyone and checked to be sure all tags are where they are suppossed to be on the board.

At the waterfront awaits an equally dizzying litany of rules about which colors can be in which types of boats and with whom. Yet everyone is required to wear a PFD, and there are lifeguards patrolling the pond both on shore and in a boat.

No one in the history of watersports has ever been safer than we were. In fact, I’m thinking the government should take a page from the BSA to improve traffic safety. The roads would be much safer if everyone had to take a driving test each week to qualify to drive a car. Then every morning you would need to file a plan with the police indicating which roads you would be taking and at what times. If you decided to swing by the market for bread on your way home, you would first have to call in and file a change of plan. Every 15 minutes, all traffic would have to stop and police would check to see if everyone was on the road they were suppossed to be on. Violators would be shot on site.

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