Bruce Townley alerted the Inthebar email list to the existence of the Boy Scouts Atomic Energy Merit Badge ("Draw and color the radiation hazard symbol. Explain where it should and should not be used...."). This was, unfortunately, inspirational.
Fanzine Merit Badge
The official requirements to receive the badge are as follows:
1. Build a duplicator using only pram parts and an old paint tin. US Scouts may opt instead to build a mimeograph using only baby buggy parts and an old paint can. The incorporation of rubbers, fags or getting knocked up in the morning is STRICTLY OPTIONAL.
2. Achieve a score of greater than 80% in the fannish SAT (Sandra's Abstruse Terminology) test – papers available on request. The only permitted reference text is The World of Fanzines by Dr Fredric Wertham.
3. Under the supervision of your Scoutmaster, tie the following fannish knots:
a. Monkey's Paw
b. Hiker's Hitch
c. Parker's Patch
d. Ted White's Reefer
e. Le soixante-neuf
f. Rastus Johnson's Cakewalk
g. The Mystic Union of Gary Farber and Pam Wells
4. You are invited by Robert Lichtman to join FAPA. Compose a reply, making appropriate use of the terms FIAWOL, FIJAGH, GAFIA, FOAD, Copious Spare Time and Staple Wars.
5. Have you the faintest idea of the fannish importance of (attempt any THREE):
a. Lee Hoffman
b. Claude Degler
c. Von Donegan
d. Brian Burgess
e. Carl Brandon
f. Kexth Wa!kle;r
6. Using asbestos, steel cladding, stressed concrete and any other materials that occur to you, construct a fanzine sturdy enough to resist the impact of the following review:
"Jesus Christ I'm reading this bloody thing now and I can't believe it. It's worthless. It gets Brit fandom a bad name it hardly deserves, bad as it is. Every copy ought to be sought out and burned, with [INSERT YOUR NAME HERE] securely roped down in the middle. My fury knows no bounds."
7. Draw a Langdon Chart of (attempt any ONE):
a. Bay Area fandom
b. New England fandom
c. Ratfandom (extra credit for foolhardy courage)
e. The N3F
f. Ian Williams
8. Pub your ish. If you still think this is something to do with what issues from the pubes, as stated in that "helpful" crib slipped to you by Eagle Scout Graham Charnock, you should re-attempt Question 2.
9. Describe what immediate first aid you would give to a victim whose complaint is:
a. Falling armpits
c. Purpling of the fingers
d. Irretrievable entanglement with an Astral Pole
e. Mad dogs have kneed him in the groin
10. Draw and colour the Pickersgill Hazard Symbol. Explain where it should or should not be used, with special reference to Mexicon, Eastercon, Silicon, MisCon, Simonecon and South Ealing.
11. Correctly pronounce the following fannish terms and phrases:
f. It wasn't chiffon, it was bloody crepe
12. Complete the following verse from the Widower's Wonderful Scouting Song, with special attention to accurate spelling:
Scoutmaster West restores your zest!
To banish all fatigue –
Entirely free – send 50p
To WIDOWER'S A----- L-----.
13. General knowledge: in the well-known movie Jophan and the Holy Grail, what is the dread word which the Knights of St Fantony may not hear?
14. Using only a single match and less than one ounce of kindling*, Plunge All Fandom Into War. Alternatively, construct EITHER a Love Camp in the Ozarks OR a Second Foundation at the other end of fandom which will rescue the BSFA from 30,000 years of anarchy. Justify your actions.
* TAFF ballots are usually effective.