Friday, 13 July 2012
Best title ever. If this post doesn't garner 25,000 views, I'll be more disappointed than a bran muffin in a doughnut shop.
I'll organize this recap of the past week at camp into three neatly organized sections. And yes, I will eventually use the word "penis" in this post, aside from using it in the title and just now. For those of you reading who have had the (dis)pleasure of meeting me in person, you'll know that such heinous language is almost as daring as swearing.
Okay, let's get on with this damn post already.
I'm currently in the middle of my third session at camp, and my cabin this session is simply phenomenal. Not to compare kids, but these particular young dudes are amazing. Part of the amazing quotient has to do with the fact that 8 of the 9 go to the same Christian school back home. Even the lone "outsider" is amazing though -- one of my favorite kids all summer. Such a solid attitude, hilarious, and not at all an outsider.
For the first time this summer, I'm experiencing zero amounts of stress as it relates to the "job" aspect of being a camp counselor: getting the kids to clean up our cabin, clean the table after meals, take showers at night so they don't reek, etc.
THEY DO EVERYTHING ME AND MY CO-COUNSELOR SAY. And beyond simply following orders, they do everything with such a willing attitude. Unlike the previous two sessions, nobody fights. They all get along incredibly, and I find myself already heartbroken over their eventual departure next Friday.
I would treasure any of those boys as my son.
And when I lay in my bed and simply observe them laughing together and bonding as boys do, my heart mourns.
I've mentioned this kind of thing before, but I look at all these boys having the time of their lives at camp and I feel such a severe sense of loss. Beyond zip lines and water balloon fights and other fantastic camp activities, I long for the kind of friendship found in such an environment as camp.
With respect to this session's cabin, I yearn to be 12 years old again and somehow have such incredible friends like them. To have other guy-friends at school and to go to summer-camp together and become even better friends.
I never had that childhood. It's gut-wrenching.
Which brings me to today and the other people here at camp who are actually my age.
The other night me and my fellow staff were setting up for an evening event. I was already in one of those moods where I felt distant and inferior to them (no, I actually don't feel that way all the time with them...or perhaps as much as I let on with this blog).
Well, "distant" and "inferior" took a cataclysmic plunge when the conversations among my fellow staffers shifted to...uh...
...wait for it...
Hahahaha, just kidding. They were talking about penises.
THERE IT IS. Let the great penisfest of 2012 commence.
More specifically, they were joking about sizes and...yeah, two dudes briefly revealed themselves in jest.
SECRET CONFESSION: penises disgust me. Whenever I've browsed pornography online, I've never been on the prowl for penises. My "pornography" probably differs from your "pornography." What turns me on maybe doesn't do so much for you and your little guy.
Or big guy. No penis-discrimination here.
Okay, seriously, I'm gonna have to take 17 showers after I publish this post. I'm literally oozing with disgust right now.
(I have a cold.)
Let's just get back to all the penis-talk so I can get on with my multiple successive showers.
All the other guys laughed throughout those conversations and reveals, and I know nothing harmful or derogatory was meant toward anyone. They were just being guys. And I felt so isolated, forced to don a fake smile as if I was enjoying this foray into their version of brotherhood.
That night was one of the few times we got to "bond" as staff without other kids around. And this is how we "bonded": over penises.
This is not how I bond. I'm so different.
I bond over coffee. Over vulnerable talks. Over witty sarcasm that both parties naturally "get." Over conversations about stories and writing and faith. Over less serious things too, I'm sure, though with other guys I'm still struggling to discover what those less serious things actually are.
Before the night ended, somebody snapped a photo of our entire tribal staff. And lucky for you guys, because I don't do this kind of thing often...HERE IT IS FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE.
I'll let y'all figure out which one is Blake.
I felt awkward standing there with all of them, and looking at that semi-fake smile on my face as I stand noticeably separate (and shirted) from everyone makes me feel a tad squeamish and sad.
Yeah, I know these guys better than I did a month and a half ago, but I'm nowhere close to them as they clearly are with each other. And while I'm slowly shedding my anxieties over playing shirtless games with them or simply passing one on the road while walking to a camp activity, I still sense that soul-splitting separation from them.
Last night Blake gave a message for the entire camp at our weekly campfire. I could tell he was nervous up there, and he even made yet another self-deprecating comment about it while he spoke. Before bed that night, I ran into Blake in the bathroom. I gave him a high-five and told him he did awesome while brushing my teeth. Said how his message actually tied in to my cabin's devotion the night before.
Cue his sincere face. He smiled, said that was cool and praising God it was over.
"Good night, buddy," he said, walking out the door.
"Night man," I replied while reaching for my lower molars.
Gosh I want to be his friend.