Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Three Of The Many Useful Things I Learned At Camp"

Useful Tip Number One

When you’re looking for a stick to use for roasting a hotdog over a campfire, you need to go to a tree, and cut off a small branch. Doing so will insure that your hotdog stick is made from live wood, live wood being the type of wood found sprouting off of trees. (Unless it’s a dead tree, which you can easily determine by counting the number of leaves on it. If that number is or is very close to zero, it’s a dead tree.) By the way, if you already know this tip, you can skip to “Useful Tip Number Two.” I’ll see you down there.

For those who need explanations for these tips rather than just blindly following what I tell you, the reason you need live wood for your hotdog stick is because live wood doesn’t burn. It smokes. (Conversely, you use dead when you’re building a campfire. Unless you want to send “smoke signals”, in which case, it’s the opposite.)

I digressed there for a second. “Smoke signals” was probably an irrelevant side-trip, since we have I-Phones now. The thing to keep in mind is that, if you make the mistake of using dead wood, the flames from the campfire will speedily burn their way up your hotdog stick and not stop till they get to your shoulder.

There are other useful tips relating to hotdog sticks, specifically concerning hotdog stick preparation, but I don’t want to overload you with information. Just remember, “Use live wood for your hotdog stick” and you’ll be way ahead of the people who used dead wood and now have to go through life with the telltale, and easily identifiable “hotdog stick arm.”

Useful Tip Number Two

And welcome back to those who skipped “Useful Tip Number One.” “Useful Tip Number Two” is specifically for campers. (The “hotdog stick” tip is good for anyone eating over a campfire. If you know any hoboes, for example, you can pass it along.)

“Useful Tip Number Two” is a tip campers should start drumming into your parents’ heads even before they leave for camp. It concerns Visitors’ Day.

I cannot emphasize this too strongly. Urge your parents to not, under any circumstances, arrive late on Visitors’ Day. Why? Because if your parents aren’t there by lunchtime, you, the camper, will be herded into the Mess Hall, where you’ll be required to eat lunch with the kids from Venezuela.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with eating with kids from Venezuela. I single them out, because, on Visitors’ Day, there is nobody but them eating lunch in the Mess Hall, with the lights off, because the camp’s owners don’t want to waste a roomful of electricity on a couple of kids from Venezuela, although they’ll claim it’s because it’s daytime.

The reason the kids from Venezuela are the only ones eating in the Mess Hall is because all the other kids are eating with their parents, and they’re not, because their parents are in Venezuela. The only exception to this “Venezuelans Only” lunchfest are the kids whose parents have not yet arrived. Camp regulations clearly state that, if your parents don’t arrive by lunchtime, you’re in the Mess Hall, sharing salmon patties with two very nice brothers from Caracas.
The bigger problem here is, you finish this marginal “Consolation Lunch” that the camp provides, and as sure as Sunday, whatever that means, some counselor will come racing into the Mess Hall to tell you that your family has arrived, and is currently unloading a banquet of delicacies you specifically asked for but are now too full to eat!

You can tell I’m still steamed about that one.

Useful Tip Number Three

This one is really big. I mean, “Roadmap To World Peace” big. If you know anyone at the United Nations, I urge you to pass this along. If they use it, you could easily be in line for the Nobel Prize for “Forwarding.”

Notice I didn’t say, “If you use it and it works”, because that would be redundant. This thing is guaranteed to work. I don’t understand why they haven’t tried it already. It can’t be because they don’t know about it, because one of my counselors, Steven Lewis, was once the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, and I’m can’t believe he didn’t pass it along. I bet he did, but it got vetoed by Uganda.

This tip insures total fairness in territorial disputes. And it always works. Always.

It’s dinnertime The dessert in cupcakes. Everyone has had their fill, there’s one cupcake left on the platter, two campers want it. (Some people can’t get enough cupcakes.) How do you resolve this cupcake dispute in the fairest and most equitable manner?

Simple. You divide the cupcake in half. How do you make sure both cupcake halves are of a precisely equal size? They don’t have to be.

Then how is that fair?

Here’s how.

There are two campers, fighting over a single cupcake. (Or two countries fighting over a single piece of land.)

There are two campers, fighting over a single cupcake. (Or two countries fighting over a single piece of land.)

The Solution? A Two-Step process.

Step One: Let one camper cut the cupcake into two equal halves, or as close to equal as they can make them, and they will because of Step Two:

Let the other camper have the first pick.

Does that scream “World Peace” to you, or what?

I learned that at camp.


YEKIMI said...

ahhh, the memories of summer camp. Back in the late 60s at the Boy Scout camp in Florida I used to spend my summers at, there was one overiding concern...if a scout went swimming, and AFTER swimming activities were done, couldn't be found....they rang the camp bell to signify a water emergency and all staff members were to drop whatever they were doing at the time and head for the beach asap to start a water search. It happened once and one of the senior staffers was in the middle of taking a shower and took off towards the beach...totally naked. It wasn't such a bad thing but it did happen to be Visitor Day so moms, dads, brothers and sisters as well as a few grandparents got an eyeful. After the emergency was over [nope, no dead waterlogged scout was found] the camp master said "while we appreciate your fast response, it would be best if you at least put on some underwear before responding the next time the bell is rung". I do remember one of the older girls got an eyeful and immediately asked her parents if she could join the Girl Scouts who had a camp across the lake from the Boy Scouts.

Max Clarke said...

"...the flames from the campfire will speedily burn their way up your hotdog stick and not stop till they get to your shoulder."

Very funny, the word picture of a kid at camp watching the flames climb to his shoulder.

Unknown said...