A running gag in the 1966 Fred MacMurray film "Follow Me Boys" is that Fred the founder and scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop cannot tie a sheepshank. At one point Fred's inability to demonstrate his Achilles' knot lands him in dutch with some MPs vis-à-vis his scoutmaster alibi.
Precisely how the scoutmaster and the US Army cross paths is not a plot point I can recall. I haven't seen the film since I was an impressionable tenderfoot. However, the takeaway for an impressionable tenderfoot watching Fred struggle to prove his identity is: "Don't be like that guy! Tie sheepshanks all the time!"
So here I am today, an Eagle Scout removed from those days by about two decades and a thousand miles, terrified that someday I will have to prove who I am by tying a sheepshank. At some point I learned that most people who tie knots don't dread the sheepshank like I do. I wonder if any other scouts who saw the film are afflicted in this manner. Fred & Walt have a lot to answer for.
As personal hangups go, I suppose things could be worse. Still, if I was going to pick a rope hangup, a far cooler knot would be the icicle hitch.
I know, I know. I'll see myself out. -T
Disclaimer: Articles in Work: The Illustrated Weekly Journal for Mechanics describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
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