At Camp we keep a community chest called the CCC, which is an acronym that I have no explanation for. Campers who arrive without the necessities (all the shirts and underwear to make it through a exhausting and dirty week) can restock through the CCC. Even toiletries and bedding. Since 70% of camp kids are on scholarship, it’s not surprising how many kids need a little extra.
In the off-season, however, the CCC lies dormant. Sometimes there’s a shipment of deodorant or new socks but there’s no real need for its services. By anyone but maintenance, that is.
I never know what I’m going to be doing at camp. Many times I’ve come to work with one pair of clothes only to leave in another. Mud pit or giant petri dish, I find ways to spoil new shirts. Back in the fall I was tapped to crawl inside the blobs floating in the Cove and wipe down the old moisture with beach towels. It smelled like slow death in there. Afterwards, I visited the CCC for a change of clothes.
The Cove is totally empty now. The black rubber liner fades to a strong green color as it slopes down to the bottom. There was a small contest among the three young workers on who didn’t have to crawl down there to unhook the pumps. I won. The other two guys were wearing different shirts at lunch.
The CCC’s most frequent customer during the off-season, however, is far and away Juan. Juan gets a lot of the dirty jobs at camp. He’s always painting something or shoveling something else. Shirts are like tissues to him – they can only be used four times before they have to be thrown away.
English is Juan’s second language and he speaks it better than any second language I’ve ever studied. However, since it is his second language there are often misunderstandings. And since the CCC is often restocked with last year’s lost and found, this can lead to some funny situations.
Two weeks ago Juan was wearing a camo colored shirt with big block letters on it. “DON’T WORRY,” it screamed. I asked Juan what it meant and he said, “Relax.” Then I pointed to the sentence below the words. “There’s enough of me to go around,” it said. Juan said that he didn’t bother to read that.
Monday at lunch he came up wearing a big red tee with a giant graphic of the pokemon Charzard.
On Thursday it was like he wasn’t even trying. “LADIES MAN,” the shirt screamed in lightning script. After I pointed it out he whispered, “Don’t tell my wife.”