Thursday, November 18, 2021

Control Freak Merit Badge


Another merit badge!

The Awards Jacket, inspired by a memorable, albeit brief, stint in the Girl Scouts, has been an immensely satisfying ongoing project which involves inventing and bestowing upon myself an assortment of accolades. My merit badges are devoted to things like being able to use chopsticks, having a belly that makes me an excellent lazy floater, etc. Three recent badges (two self-awarded, one hand-embroidered by a grandniece) relate to surviving the pandemic.

My latest medal may be my favorite so far. Inspired by a vintage medallion gifted to me by a friend who knows me well, this may be my crowning achievement — an award for being an intrepid control freak. As one old boyfriend noted, "What would all of us do without you ordering us around and telling us what to do? How would the world go on?" I couldn't agree more.

In truth, however, I realize how much easier life would be if I didn't have to carry the burden of knowing so very much more than everyone else about what should be done in every circumstance (even those in which I lack all practical knowledge, which I have never found a deterrent). I wear the medal as much as a reminder to check those impulses as to acknowledge myself unabashedly as the control freak that I am.

Medal front

Medal back

The original medal gifted to me is from a "young birds" pigeon race in Stafford, England in 1936. What better symbol of control than to successfully order a bunch of pigeons about? However, 1936 is a particularly poignant year in the annals of pigeons and human history, with one incident in particular pointing to the perils of trying to control a flock of twitchy birds prone to hysteria. During the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, 25,000 pigeons were released. Unfortunately, a cannon was fired at the same time, causing all of the pigeons to release their bowels in utter panic. One athlete, Louis Zamerini, a distance runner, describes the scene: " could hear the pitter patter on our straw hats, but we felt sorry for the women, for they got it in their hair."

Control gone wrong. It happens far too often. To create my medal I added a bit of chain and used some ribbon stitched over a cardboard base to give it a bit of a military swagger and added a pin backing.

The control freak medal

The final result has now been installed on my awards jacket, which really should have a soundtrack of Beatles-type honky tonk music as I wear it out and about.

1 comment:

  1. Freaking genius. The person who found the medal was also apparently a freaking genius. I love it!

    Erika Otter


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