Requirements for the Edgar Allan Poe Boy Scout Badge

  1. Research the life of Edgar Allan Poe and present a one-man show to your scout troop.
  2. Construct a diorama that reflects the major themes of Poe’s work. Use ketchup.
  3. Shadow a police detective for a day. Offer to solve any unsolved ciphers. Explain that the double murder was committed by an escaped orangutan. Obviously.
  4. Watch a beautiful woman die an agonizing death, preferably from tuberculosis. Be sure to retain a sample of tuberculotic sputum to show your merit badge counselor.
  5. Write a poem for the beautiful dead woman. Employ a specific rhyme scheme as well as a symbolic creature with a catchphrase.
  6. Drink yourself into an alcoholic coma.
  7. For no fewer than seven nights, hang out outside an old man’s bedroom, watching him sleep and plotting his murder.
  8. In the middle of class, when your teacher least expects it, yell out, “I did it! I killed him!” In the awkward pause that follows, whisper, “Don’t any of you hear that?”
  9. For two weeks, complain to everyone that a black cat is following you.
  10. Spend at least 48 hours duct taped to a platform underneath a scythe-like pendulum, patiently waiting for hungry rats to loosen your binds. (Tip from previous scouts: Make sure they’re really hungry; otherwise they won’t touch duct tape.)
  11. Attend a masquerade party and infect everyone there with a fatal hemorrhagic virus.
  12. Wall up your nemesis in a wine cellar. He knows what he did.