I Would Prefer Not To


Like most people, there are things I want to do, and there are things I would prefer not to do.

For instance: I want to visit Spain, but I prefer not to travel there by skateboard; I want to go to all of the wine festivals, but I prefer not to be the designated driver; I want to make out with Ewan McGregor, but I prefer not to be clobbered by his beautiful French wife.

Relating this to YOTS, I was psyched to pull my first badge project out of the hat, but in my head I maintained a running list of things I hoped I didn’t pull: beekeeping (because I’m still not over My Girl), personal grooming (not because I’m dirty – because I’m not, in case you were wondering – but because it seems mundane), pet care (I already brush Eddie Cat Halen all the time, since he molts enough each day to create an entirely new, decently-sized cat out of his leftovers), and so on.

So it was with a mix of excitement and a wee bit of trepidation that I shoved my hand inside the hat and swirled around the ninety-nine pieces of paper left after Brooke’s pull (Minstrel!), probably way longer than necessary. I finally plucked one out and without looking, held it up for her to see, which elicited this response: “No way! HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

In a split second, my head spun. I must have picked beekeeper. Nononononono. I do not want to die in a puffy, red, anaphylactic blob like little blonde Macaulay Culkin! Nononononononooooo.

I looked at the paper: JOURNALIST.


This wasn’t on my list of wants OR my list of things I’d prefer not to do, but I felt sort of deflated. Maybe I secretly wanted the challenge of beekeeping…or sailing, or knot tying, or metalwork – I already know how to write (marginally, as evidenced by this post), and I used to actually be a journalist (of sorts) when I worked the music beat for the Charleston City Paper.

I sat with those feelings for a minute, and then suddenly, it all made sense. This whole project isn’t about taking shortcuts, being complacent, accepting status quo – it’s about learning some stuff, trying some things, and broadening our horizons.

I looked at the paper again: JOURNALIST.

Who am I kidding? I love to write, but by no means am I a master of the craft, and at times I barely feel like an apprentice. And what is modern journalism, anyhow? I talk so much about “my writing” – well, on that little slip of paper and in this greater project there’s a massive opportunity for me to walk the talk or talk the walk or walk the dog or whatever the saying is, and actually learn more about a discipline I claim to love.

So there you have it, folks. I want to become a better writer, I want to earn this damn badge, and I prefer not to let myself get in the way of myself. Tally ho! A journalist I shall be!

(If you’re wondering, I knocked off badge requirement #2 – “Help produce a school, camp or troop newspaper. Or, act as troop scribe.” – when I created this blog!)

Photo: Shawnté Salabert

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