Notes on Camp
Camp was not for me. For one, there were the other children. Worse than the children was the fresh Berkshire air, a scent so strong it could only have been designed by nature to disguise some unspeakable horror.
Buried deep within the fragrance of pines was the most horrendous thing yet–the stench of bathos that permeated everything. Worse than the gifts the horses would leave on their daily constitutional around the bunks, more shocking than the spray from the skunk chased away by the daredevil in B-7, or even the forgotten cheese toastie saved in a napkin on the first day of camp only to be rediscovered on the last, was the unintentional humor that can only come from a mass of children earnestly singing along to protest songs of the 60s as the sawdust-covered woodworking counselor solemnly thumbs the strings of his acoustic guitar, his greying ponytail catching the occasional glimmer from the roaring fire behind him, his eyes closed as if lost in the memories of his previous life.
There was also far too much nature. But not even real nature, it was instead an idealized constructed nature designed to fence in urban and suburban children. The limits were just far enough away to appear invisible, to give the illusion of a vast landscape of green and joy. The seemingly endless perimeter recalls the tactics used to by ‘artisan duck farmers’ to trick ducks into believing they’re free in order to produce a superior foie gras (the delicious foie gras of freedom). Compare a duck farmer’s website to that of a children’s summer camp and it becomes difficult to tell the difference. “We believe in providing conditions which allow for social interaction, exercise, freedom of movement, and reduction of stress,” could apply to either, though only at one would the campers be forced to fashion friendship bracelets out of the excess rope from the rock climbing wall.
Camp is of course the Campiest place of all.