Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Get a badge!

I didn't mean this to be a long post. I got carried away (see enthusiasm badge).

This is me messing around (forte) with one of the more silly creative thinking ideas from my book Outside the Box (9-11). In the book, I ask kids to make up what a person would have to do to achieve a set of silly badges (much like buy scout/girl guide badges).

Here are a couple of examples that I give....
Great irritator’s badge
1) Irritate three different people in the same day and ask them to sign a piece of paper that will prove you irritated them.
2) Make up an irritation questionnaire that explores what irritates people.
3) Make up three really irritating sounds and irritate at least three different people with them.
4) Keep an irritation diary for one week and list all the things you have seen that have irritated people. You must list at least eight things.
5) Tell the badge collector what you think is the most irritating thing in the world and why you think it is.

And here's one to show you can make up some badge criteria for just about anything:

Pizza badge
1) Learn the toppings of all the pizzas in every restaurant in your town.
2) Use the word ‘pizza’ every time you get cross or bothered for a week and keep a diary of people’s responses to this.
3) Design a pizza that nobody in their right mind would choose from a menu.
4) Persuade your mum/dad/carer to give you pizza for tea three times in one week.
5) Be able to identify three pizzas from their smell alone, at the test.

And here are some examples of the badges I ask the pupils to make up criteria for...(my class loved it!)

•Bossy badge
•Laughter badge
•Steady hand badge
•Sensible badge
•Tolerant badge
•Excuse giver badge
•Compliment giver badge
Now the irony is, despite this apparent love of making up the criteria for made up badges, as a girl guide, I only ever managed to get three badges:
1) Cyclist - which absolutely everyone had
2) Rabbit keepers - which was a farce - I was awful at looking after my rabbits
3) Needlework - I must have had a very lenient judge.

Poor underachieving child in the world of badge acquisition. Bless me.
So that set me off thinking. If I were to design a book of badges for adults to achieve, which badges would I find an absolute breeze to gain? And then I had some ideas:

Away with the fairies badge
1) Try almost daily to get into your collegaue's car that is the same model and colour and EVERY time take a surprisingly long time to realise it's not your car and hope, again, that nobody saw you.
2) When you are painfully self-conscious, not overly confident and a little bit of a social misfit trying to deny that you were one, go to school with odd shoes on. Pretend you meant to so as not to lose face. Lose face.
3) When you are about 15, try really hard to cycle precisely between the two yellow lines at the edge of a road and cycle into the back of a parked car and fall off.
4) Wonder why the grapes taste weird and realise they are olives.
5) Never be able to find anything (shoes, ketchup, bag, keys, gate) without the help of your beloved not-overly-observant-himself-but-great-compared-to-you spouse.
6) Be amazed at those people that can identify a person by a description of what they look like (with no need to say where they stood in the room relative to them).
7) Know that you would be no use, whatsoever to Crimewatch.
8) Cycle on a bike for months wondering why it's a little strange before you realise the handlebars are massively off centre.
9) Wonder why your cardigan is uncomfortable with loads of bunch-up at the neck - for hours - before you realise it's on upside down.
10) When you are 19, walk around Rome train station with your skirt tucked up between you and your rucksack. Wonder why people keep giggling behind you. Realise attire is misbehaving when you arrive at your campsite.
11) Have your purse returned to you regularly via your bank before you have even realised it is missing.

Astounding cyclist badge
1) Survive into your forties despite having been awarded the 'Away with the fairies badge' and cycling everywhere.
2) Fall off your bike in at least three different ways: e.g. looking at the sheet ice beneath you at T junction and debate braking on ice or continuing into busy traffic travelling on main road (choose former), bang revolving pedal on exceptionally high kerb and fly into the middle of the road, give friend a backie starting at the top of a long, slow slope (Earlham Road) when a little tipsy and know that as you gain more and more momentum, it will end in tears and considerable giggling as you scrap yourself off the middle of the road, etc (clause allows point 4 from 'Least observant person in the universe badge' to count towards this badge as well).
3) Be able, in your youth, to cycle all the way up Gas Hill - the steepest hill Norwich has to offer.
4) Surprise yourself with how in the past, even when walking seems beyond you because of overdoing-the-beer-a-bit, you can still cycle home.
5) Cycle round northern Europe and, the following year, Ireland with a tent in your pannier and LOVE it.

Condiments badge
1) Be visibly anxious if the place that you are eating in looks like it might not have a great selection of condiments.
2) Spend several minutes (even if starving) applying a variety of ketchups, mustards, mayonnaises, barbecue sauce, vinegar, tartare sauce, salt, pepper, lemon juice, salad dressing etc in a surprisingly 'just so' way for someone that's in the main pretty haphazard.
3) Start new bottle before the old one is finished because of a belief that sauce from a new bottle tastes better. (Don't worry there's not waste - chap is good at sauce management).
4)When sachets of sauce are available, squirrel them away to prevent the unbearable situation of having chips in the car without condiments.

Enthusiasm Badge
1) Never do anything by halves, when you get into something.
2) Have your family hear you say, 'I am just popping up to/out to/over to...' and then have them need to send out a search party to retrieve you from absolute embroilment in papier mache, blogging, street decoration making, fiddle playing, top trump card making, etc - whatever the project of the moment is.
3) Blast gush at people, at things, at life.
4) Drive people to the point of irritation with your enthusiasm.
5) Know the equation enthusiasm + tactility = a family that regularly says 'gerroff'!

Myers Briggs Badge
1) 'Type' just about everyone you meet within seconds.
2) Try hard not to say things like, 'that's because you are J and she is P' too often or it won't be long before a sniper is hired to take you out.
3) Love it when you convert someone to the MB way of life.

Warped idea of fun badge
1) Find great pleasure in dressing up as a majorette alongside two men in drag and deliver a pom pom routine.
2) Spend an entire night with a Scouse friend communicating through pretend walkie-talkies so as to carry out a secret mission (that you never got to the bottom of, for giggling).
3) Play hide the sprout in a place where your friend will never anticipate finding it to score a point for the duration of the Christmas holidays.
4) Hand out home- made top trump cards to strangers and tell them, 'this card is to be used as identification from this point on and if you are found without this identification about your person, if stopped and asked you will be nicked' and find it funny for years.
5) Realise that if you disclosed some of the things you have called 'fun' at points in your life you would be at risk from a) arrest, b) sectioning and c) social ostracism at best.
5) Love a good game of sardines.

Other badges I might gain easily:
•Blogger badge
•The faux pas badge
•The can't engage in standard office speak - especially not diets, clothes and shopping - badge
•The I love maps badge
•The random and not extensive trivia that can, if used well, make you look clever badge
•The getting left and right the correct way round is overstated - especially when you are happy to clarify with the point of the finger and say, 'I mean THAT left,' badge.
•The messing around badge.
•The fires lighter badge
•The take the joke to the point where it stops being funny, then patiently take it further still until it becomes funny again badge.
•Verbal unpredictability badge
•The oh I could go on and regularly do badge
•The washing up badge

And you - which would you get easily?


  1. Five days until I spontaneously combust!

  2. I'm writing a letter of complaint to Baden Powell. Your rabbits died a very early death.

  3. I'd get a badge for:
    leaving everything until the last minute,
    Staying up too late for no reason,
    having too many hobbies,
    drinking too much on schoolnights
    being scruffy
    Loud profanity at the wrong moment
    DIY avoidance

  4. For me, it would have to be the Esoteric and Useless Historical Information badge.

  5. I could do with a Useless Historical Information badge, actually just a useless information badge would do to be honest.

  6. I love this!

    I would get:

    Myers-Briggs badge
    Warped idea of fun badge (Specialism: Cutting out heads of politicians from their leaflets and sticking onto different bodies. Currently finding this hilarious.)
    Speaking in metaphor and expecting other people to follow my train of thought badge
    Writing badge
    Quizzing badge
    Writing blog/forum comments, then deleting them before posting badge
    Dutifully reading the entire past 24 hours worth of Twitter posts to see if anyone said anything I should follow up, even though they rarely do, badge
    Editing people's letters/essays/stuff badge
    Helping people with maths badge

    I would SO collect badges! In fact I have already got 2 writers' badges that I wear for work sometimes. One says "Just keep writing." The other says NANOWRIMO WINNER but in the mould of my never-explain-anything badge I don't explain it unless asked.

  7. Do please please please take a video of the spontaneous combustion!!! I can't wait!

    How about cycling back to college on the last day of the finals, having been taken to the pub by the lecturers, and having drunk waaaaayyy too much Carlsberg Export, wondering why the bike wouldn't stay upright when you tried to get on it, then wondering why the public on the footpaths seemed to enjoy your quiet singing as you went along, much more than usual.

    BTW re cutting out politicians heads and sticking them on other bodies, I remember at school having fun with some pals and a clothes catalogue, cutting out the men's heads and putting them on the women's lingerie ads. And vice versa.

  8. Molly – don’t be ridiculous – you won’t spontaneously combust just because you don’t blog every day.

    Claire – it wasn’t an early death – it was a tragic one. We advertised for a home for them when I went to Uni. A man drove up in his car and put them straight in a cooking pot with carrots and onions. Seconds later a woman rang asking if they would be suitable pets for her daughter...arghh! I certainly wouldn’t have managed a hamster keeper badge.

    Mr T – an admirable set of badges and I am sure you put in regular practice and haven’t just given up now you have the badge. There is a somewhat common theme there.....You could try for your impulse control badge. We could work on it together.

    Eric – and what would the symbol on that badge be? I love esoteric and useless historical facts – especially if it’s social history.

    Mr T – I think you’ll find you got that badge when you were a Brownie.

    Nikki – OMG – when I was a kid, one of my favourite things to do was stick heads on different bodies. Do you think we were separated at birth?
    ‘Speaking in metaphor and expecting other people to follow my train of thought badge’ very N (P)

  9. Oh - Codgi's comment has just come in. Clearly we are united in head cutting weirnessity.

    Oh - so I am going to spontaneously combust. Will video.

  10. that was meant to say weirdnissity...I had to rush off and eat and didn't spell check that word

  11. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I thought a crazed debate must have broken out while I was doing my maths planning!!!!

  12. It wss a good trick ha?

    A crazed debate could still happen!!!!

  13. the procrastinator's badge. because i was going to comment on this the other day but didn't get round to it.
    and i just came back and saw 40+ comments and thought, whoa nelly!


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