Pinewood Derby, Tales of the Little Ark that Could … n’t

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Though supposedly Boy Scouts of America discriminates against homosexuals, they still
insist their members dress up like them. Geeky tan shirts, queer bandana type things (oh, I’m sorry, “neckerchiefs”) around their necks, and patches all over a RED FELT Vest … as if patches just on the shirt weren’t “gay” enough, you are advised to go and buy the vest to adorn the entire outfit. And THEN cover it with patches that show all the fun things you did WITH OTHER BOYS. Okay, whatever. Denial.


Anyway, on with the derby. So, about a month before “derby day” you are given a rectangular box. Inside is a block of wood. Men find it cool to create a car out of this block. I suppose the idea is to have the BOY create this car, built for speed, but can’t be over five ounces. You and I both know that there ain’t no way any of those lil boys, donned  in a red felt vest, are going near a sand belt/router/hacksaw/whatever type of tool they use to go from wood block to “Kit” the car (Hasselhoff wannabes know what I’m talking about). So, because of that, it is most likely the DADS are down in the basement/cold garage till all hours of the night “helping” their son make this cool car. All the while telling them, “Now son, you know it’s not about winning, and that the chances of you bringing home an award for this piece o crap we are about to build is slim to none … BUT WE’RE HAVING FUN, AREN’T WE???”


And you know, secretly, the DADS are thinking, “I better beat the red vest off of Mr. McGuire who has won five years in a row. Just because he has five boys!!”


Okay, so my husband and my son conference about how to design this car. Last year, the tears falling from Taylor’s eyes, after a big loss (the cars are raced four times … as if losing once isn’t bad enough, you have to watch your car be raced four times!!) broke Mike’s heart. SO this year, Mike convinces Taylor that they “go for design, not speed.” They decide on a Noah’s Ark car. Mike, of course, draws up supercool designs and creates this great Ark out of the block o’ wood. They spend time in the cold garage spray painting it brown. Mike gets a fine point, black marker, and paints stripes on it. In the end, it did look really cool. But, it only weighed 3.5 ounces. He “weighted” it, but then didn’t want to drill any more holes, and add weights, b/c it might hurt the design. Taylor was fine with this. Again, “going for design, NOT speed.”


So race day comes. Gay-looking kids running everywhere. Of course, the liberal that I am loves it b/c I know the chances of some of these kids growing up to come out of the closet are pretty high (and personally, I think that’s great!).


Some of these cars, I tell ya that the “boys” made (cough cough, Dad) are pretty darn cool. One had Sponge Bob on it. Another was a skull with a long tongue … and that was the whole car. Cool. I can’t believe some of these designs. One was a swimming pool. Another, a pool table. My advice, go to google and type in pinewood derby. You’ll see what I mean.


The room was decorated like Dale Earnhardt’s basement. White and black checkered flags everywhere. A cool race ramp, where the cars are placed at the top, and then released down the ramp to the end. The cars are released four at a time. Once all cars have raced, they then look at the results and place the fastest cars against the fastest, and eventually the slowest (can you say “Noah?”) against the slowest.


The first time Taylor’s ark went down, it didn’t even make it halfway down. It was as if it took forty days AND forty nights just to make it to the end. And it didn’t. I have some photos of a den leader pushing it through the finish line. This was funny the first time. But by the fourth time, when he’s basically racing against three other slower-than-molasses cars, it’s not so funny. I mean, someone could have slid just the block-o-wood itself and it probably would’ve done better than “The little ark that could——n’t.”


Anyway, in the end, Taylor and the ark won nothing. They announced winners and gave away trophies. Fine. But to make it worse, they called each “den” up to receive another award. So, Taylor and the four other boys in his den go up. They give an award for “speed” and “design” and something else. Taylor only got a patch! Like he needed to stand up in front of everyone to get a PATCH!!


A patch that will surely go on the gayer-than-life red felt vest that we haven’t even purchased yet. Oh, Gosh. I can’t wait to see what Girl Scouts has in store for us!!


Enjoy your boys!

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