As we enter into the last 6 days of camp I find it interesting to reflect upon the changes from the first several weeks, when the campers feared and respected me, to now, where they, to put it simply, don’t. They have realized that I am all bark and no bite, I’m serious 23% of the time, I am more scared to take bad campers to the office than they are to go to the office and that, for the most part, I just don’t care anymore. The children have gone from this
Incidentally, that Santa Clause is one of the most disturbing pictures i have ever seen. Anyway, I just dont care anymore. On the playground today Timmy, damn him, found a wasps nest secreted under the slide on the jungle gym… or whatever those things are called now. Giant metal and plastic play fort with slide. Accident machine. Law suite. Whatever.
“Charles, um, there is a wasps nest under the slide” he told me as i reclined on a picnic table, hoping that just such a thing as wasp nest discovery wouldn’t happen. I had been an uneventful day for me up till that point.
“So don’t go near it.” I replied, not even looking up. This logic, however, was completely lost on timmy.
“Yes buuuut…. it’s a wasp’s nest and I am a seven year old boy and am therefore compelled to go over and bother it with no regards for my personal safety. If, however, i am injured I will of course blame it all on you and cry. FOREVER.”
A terrible sense of doom shivered down my spine as timmy turned away from me, a wry smile on his face and a wicked song in his heart. Damn him. I sat up and shouted.
“HEED ME CAMPERS! I WANT IT TO BE UNDERSTOOD THAT NO ONE WILL GO NEAR THE WASP NEST.”
“A wasp nest, you say?” inquired Jimmy, turning away from the pile of dirt or whatever he was fucking playing with and looking straight at me.
“YES! THE ONE UNDER THE SLIDE!” I called back
“What slide? Where?” he asked”
“THAT ONE!” I said, pointing “And just there, between the second and third joint, just to the left of that shiny bolt.”
“Indeeeeed,” mused jimmy as he left the dirt alone and began to stroke his chin contemplatively. He walked over the slide and began to poke the nest with a stick or something.
“Yeah that one. NO ONE GO NEAR THE ONE THAT JIMMY IS FOOLISHLY PRODDING WITH A STICK. OK?” No one seemed to listen. It was as if the slide was a giant electromagnet and all the children were bars of iron. They slowly floated over to the slide, looks of awe upon their faces for they and they alone, had been blessed with a chance to see wasps, real wasps, in a nest under a slide.
“Oh well. I suppose i fulfilled my contractual obligations in this particular instance.” I said to my fellow counselors, who nodded sagely.
“In my opinion,” said one of them as the children began to pelt the nest with mulch and small stones, “a good stinging is just one some of these kids need. Teach them a thing or two about wasps! And life! If you throw stones at something, you can expect the thing you throw stones at to be fucking angry. I think that’s a chinsese proverb or something.” The other counselors, myself included, nodded sagely a second time and went about our business. Remarkably, no one got stung. The wasps stoically took their punishment with an air of grace I had never held their species to possess. All that happened that day on the playground was that the children had fun and a little bit more of my soul died, much like Voldemort when harry and his annoying friends kept destroying his horcruxes. Poor Voldemort. All he wanted was to be loved.
All in all it was a typical day at camp….