Welcome Back to Camp!

I like to blog because funny things happen. I must tell someone. However, working at a summer camp introduces new difficulties. The camp-cultural background required to appreciate what these kids say and do, as well as the legal restrictions of privacy and concerns about context create obstacles in the way of making people laugh. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t laughed in July.

I, at the bottom right, practice a camp skit called the “Rocking Car.” It’s performed once every session. I just drove the car for the thirtieth time. It always ends the same way.

For two weeks, all summer staff at camp played a game of Assassins. You receive a water pistol and a secret target, and you spend your off-time trying to assassinate him or her, just as someone is secretly after you. In my six summers at War Eagle I have never made a kill. So when I was the first male killed out of a hundred and fifty males, I was unphased. As heavy footsteps sounded behind me, I thought, “Of course this happens to me.”

My wife Holly, however, chose to take the game seriously this year. She killed four targets before bowing out because of a possible rules infraction (she had rifled through someone’s luggage, looking for car keys so she could hide in the back of the target’s Civic). At one point she spent the two hours between 10 p.m. and midnight hiding under the bunk of a victim because her target locked the cabin at night.

I wrote a novel during fifth session, in outline form. Black pen marks cover the front and back of 22 pages of computer paper. My superiors were curious why I did so much paper work. It’s about a man from the future who falls into a portal, transporting him to a more medieval time, a la A Connecticut Yankee… or Timeline. All the characters have last names taken from campers in the cabins that I managed: Mondragon, Goforth, Overturf. Look no further than the real world for fantasy.

I like portal stories. I think it fulfills my own daydreams and fantasies.

I also drew several maps of the magical land. And invented a language. Tevwoshi-Elvish. “Ma’fest mish” – I go to death, as Skillian Underturf, the grizzled old dwarf says. The language itself has only one parsed tense and relies on prefixes to denote time or objectivity. It also has no prepositions, which I appreciate. Sometimes prepositions overwhelm me.

There’s only one week of camp left before I start my new job working for Ozone, War Eagle’s year-round outreach program. I will be a city director in Rogers, maintaining the camp experience all year for any attending kids. And at club, announcements will be in English and Tevwoshi-Elvish both.

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