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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Web Mystery #1

I'm sixty-tootin' years old and I know plenty. When I was younger I perfected a method of dealing with inquiries, no matter how detailed or complex. I'd say, levelly, seriously --conferring equal respect upon all questions-- and with unimpeachable gravity: "Ask your mother."

This system served well until the kids grew up, moved out and left me among strangers. People want to know specific things now --proof of purchase, tax records, prescriptions, "how long have you had this neurosis?" and "may I see your driver's license?"-- but my answer is unchanged: "Ask your mother."

I am told this method is inappropriate, that I have relied upon it too long and this new century, with its brash technology, has outstripped it. Now strangers consider my research skills unequal to modern demands and methods. I counter by asking where page 404 is. Where in this vast, self-absorbed contravallation of electronic offensives is page 404 and why, after all these years, has no one stumbled across it, held it up and shouted, "OMG!"?

And yet, I'm pretty sure where page 404 is. Let me make a long arm for a likely shelf-member. Yes, it is in this book:

On page 404 of the Boy Scout Handbook (6th edition, 1961) is a copy of Scout Law, which I can recite from memory: A Scout is brave, thrifty, loyal, clean, thrifty...ok, I'm peeking but only for a moment...trustworthy, courteous and...clean. They are good laws. I don't know what punishment follows violation of them. When I was a Scout, it was rumored to be defenestration.

It is distinctly possible page 404 was lost by a disobedient technician in the Boy Scouts, whose handbook took an unknown trajectory when he was thrown out the window. Oh yes, obedience is a Scout Law too. Retention of my Handbook is evidence that I possessed the virtues on page 404, avoided windows and spent most of my time outdoors.


  1. Well, Geo., Windows Help & Support is now the equivalent of 'mother' and tells you at the following site 'How to Fix: Error 404':
    So...get with the program!
    Your former HS teacher, now in my seventy-tootin' years. Will

  2. Thanks for providing some desperately-needed smiles. The Scouts would have rejected me. There's no doubt that I would have violated everything on page 404 within two hours. Perhaps one......

  3. Thanks boys, Web Mystery #2 is already in the works.

  4. Aha! This makes much more sense than my determination that page 404 was from Christopher Hitchens' book, Arguably. Which is about..well... fellatio.

  5. Might be in the Scout Handbook too.


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