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Playing Homeless

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007


Quote of the Day: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

- Jean Giraudoux

My family thought it would be a good idea if we took the holiday weekend and went camping.

They obviously do not remember how I get when I go camping.

Furthermore, they decided to subject our friend Paola to “Camping Viper.”

I thought they liked her more than that.

But I get fooled every time. I actually think it will be fun. The lure of “roughing it” has an appeal and I’m like “Hells yeah I want to go camping!”

Then I get out there and say “Damn! Fooled again! The dirty existence. The lack of basic amenities that I take for granted! The dry, dirty hands that crack! Why do I always forget?”

Paola found a place where we could go and take the dogs. It was by a lake and in a wooded area. Sounds like a lot of fun, huh?

It took a couple of hours to get there and we drove the Pilot loaded to the gills with enough stuff to last through a nuclear winter. Paola’s truck was equally full and the thought occurred to me, like it always does when I go camping, why exactly do we load up a representative sample of stuff we need to survive, pack it up, and then go somewhere where we don’t live and then play homeless for a few days and call it camping?

The “lake” was not a lake. It was a big mud pond we not only were not allowed to swim in but wouldn’t want to even if allowed. It looked like chocolate milk except with a lot of bugs hovering along the surface.

When we got there, it was about 453 degrees. In the shade.

Because of my military training, I felt compelled to set up camp before we did anything else like start the abundant fun we were soon to enjoy.

The spot we picked for our tent was relatively flat like a parking lot but a bit harder to pound stakes into. The top ¼ inch was soft as a baby’s butt. Then, in a hideous turn of the analogy, it was diamond-like under that which turned pounding stakes into it into a rousing little game of “Bust the Plastic Stakes.”

Even the few metal stakes we borrowed from Paola bent like warm sticks of butter when we used a HAMMER to help us out.

We did the best we could and got everything situated until everything was in its place, just like my wife insists of having everything. Even in the woods.

Then it was time to….sit on our asses.

Paola’s friend showed up with his dog so we had three adults, two kids, three vehicles, and three dogs.

We made a fire, cooked some food, and the kids wanted marshmallows so Carrie broke out the S’more fixin’s for them. I was not in the mood for S’mores. I was not in the mood to be out in the middle of nowhere playing homeless but I tried my best until the kids wanted to hear scary stories and I retired to the tent to read a bit before hitting the…sleeping bag.

Maybe I should just become one of those people who steadfastly refuses to go camping.

I think that’s a damn good idea.

Free Advice for Today: “Whenever you take something back for an exchange or refund, wear a coat and tie.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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