5/21/2007

When I am King: Bewilderness

When I am King...

Camping trips shall be confined to the back yard.


I went camping with the Cub Scouts last weekend.
It was in tents.


To bead, or not to bead?

Many of the activities during the weekend resulted in each kid getting a stamp and a bead.
It's still not clear to me why rewards were necessary. Perhaps it was to take the place of rewards on the frontier, where an activity might result in something as exciting as a bear that needed skinning, or an arrow handily nestled in your foot. At least the beads and stamps were more compact and less messy, if a tad less exciting.

I'm still marveling at the brown bead and the stamp of the outhouse for that activity.

But frankly, I found the mandatory beading of kids a bit harsh.


Euphemissed Opportunity

There were many euphemisms at work over the weekend. For example:

  • "Cracker Barrel" means "Dessert". I have no idea what one has to do with the other, but cake, ice cream, cookies, and cocoa are pretty clearly "dessert" in my dictionary. Perhaps the name comes from feeding so much sugar to 6 year olds right before, which is certainly "crackers."
  • "Fishing" means "Standing on the shore watching fish sneer at your bait, with hands that smell like worm guts." This activity didn't really hook me. Or the fish.
  • "Platform Tent" means "Canvas on poles draped on rotting slats of wood". The only way I could get to sleep was to pretend that I hadn't seen the spiders, mosquitos, earwigs, and red ants crawling all over the floor and walls next to my face right before the flashlight went out.

Roughing It

The most difficult and terrifying thing about the weekend, though, was undoubtedly the primitive landscape in which we found ourselves. I came to discover that the word "nature" means "place with no café."

It's a mystery to me how our ancestors survived, much less did anything productive like settle the West or invent the Rodeo Clown profession when there were no strong caffeine-drink purveyors around. It's beyond me how the West was borne.

I picture an entire half-continent of cowboys, slumped listlessly in their saddles until the first Coffee Shoppe & Gen'ral Store was finally opened in Sacramento. Of course, the place was promptly shut down the following day after a pack of wild cowboys, looped on triple espressos, shot the place up like Cub Scouts with BB guns. But it was a start.


The Second Amendment: The Right to Arm Bears

The sight of a dozen 6 year olds arming themselves with BB guns and then bows and arrows still makes me quiver. Maybe our generals should consider sending in such contingents into warzones. The level of death-tinged chaos would make even the hardest of enemies quake with fear. Or laughter.

Of couse, securing the battlefield after it was won would be the hardest part. Announcing that there was a Cracker Barrel back at the base might help.


Decamping

All in all, I feel that camping is entirely too unnatural. Camping weekends in my kingdom will be confined to pitching tents in the back yard, where they can easily be seen from vantage points inside the house. Meanwhile, I will be pitching my tent in the garbage can.
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