Baby Boomer Merit Badges

Taking a page from the Girl Scouts (marking their 100th anniversary this year), I’ve taken it upon myself to create a new association, the Boomer Scouts. This nonprofit organization, founded on the dispiriting reality that the triumphs of middle-aged people often go unrecognized, is herewith announcing its first merit badges. According to a Boomer Scout spokeswoman (me), “These badges aim to affirm and celebrate our everyday wins while we still can.”

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Complete-Outfit Badge

 

This signifies that you have selected and publicly worn a complete and coordinated outfit. For women, that includes shoes, accessories and a skirt whose hem has not been rolled up, pinned, paper clipped or duct taped.

Illustration: Oliver Munday

Blended-Households Decor Badge

The requirements here are tough—you must embrace the history, passions and so-called taste of your spouse. To qualify at any point in your marriage, you must:


• Accept your partner’s “art” by allowing it to be displayed in a prominent area.
• Quit nagging him about the hideous memorabilia arrayed on the bookcase and (let’s be honest) ruining the visuals of the entire room.
 

Oliver Munday

Routine-Home-Maintenance Badge

You mow the lawn. Scrub the scum. Change the furnace filter. Pay the telephone bill. Then you do it again. There is no ticker tape parade. But now there is this badge. 

Oliver Munday

Routine-Personal-Maintenance Badge

To qualify, you must have done at least two of the following:

 

•Ignored an open box of cupcakes at work.

•Tossed out one or more outfits dating back to the ’90s.

•Visited your colorist before the gray roots hit one inch.

•Made at least 12 trips to the gym for which you paid an annual membership fee.
 

Oliver Munday

Pretending-to-Care Badge

You knew there had to be some reward for listening while your nearest and dearest prattle on. And there is. This badge can be worn passively, on your official Boomer Scout sash, or aggressively, sewn onto a pair of earmuffs.

Oliver Munday

"I Remember!" Badge

Are there two male singers named Bono? What’s my password? Why did I come into this room? Who’s that actor, from the ’60s, tall, not Cary Grant . . . ? Who’s devoted to the principles of
Ayn Rand—Paul Ryan or Ron Paul? When you remember, you earn a badge. There are no limits on the number of “I Remember!” badges.  

Oliver Munday

Didn't-Retire-Early Badge

Any boomer who shows up to work on her 56th birthday will automatically be issued this badge. Sobbing is allowed.

Oliver Munday

FAFSA Badge

This badge symbolizes that you’ve filed (on time) your child’s college financial-aid forms, which have to be filed every frickin’ year using an online form that routinely does not save your data and forces you to re-enter it and why don’t we have an easier way to do this, I mean, come on!? 

Oliver Munday

Adult-Child Badge

To get this award, you must have abandoned futile efforts to steer your grown child’s life, recognizing at last that he/she is (at least theoretically) an independent human being, capable of screwing up his/her own life. Specific requirements include performance
of at least two of the following:


•Refraining from looking at his/her Facebook page for one year.
•Refraining from telling him/her that the fiancé(e) is not good enough.
•Refraining from telling him/her that your grandchild does indeed need a nap.
 

Click here to read a piece on adult children moving back in with mom and dad.

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Oliver Munday
First published in the May 2012 issue

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