Sunday, October 9, 2011

scout camp

Back before I developed a need to be paid more than fifty cents an hour, I decided a good idea would be to, instead of getting a job like my brothers doing landscaping or window washing for pay approaching what day laborers loitering over at Home Depot make, take a job as a big weenie, or, scout camp counselor, at a local scout camp in a nearby canyon. This had the desirable quality of depriving me of any social status I may have inadvertently stumbled across in my childhood wherein I proved again and again that I was too nerdy to even have nerd friends, and had the added benefit of paying me twelve dollars. A day.1

Foreshadowing how good I would be with money in my adulthood, this was an extremely fiscally sound experience. I probably worked 40 days or so over the summer, which means my cash flow statement2 looked something like this:

$480 Wages
($30) Gas in getting rides up the canyon
($6200) Ambulatory services scraping my near-lifeless body off of a canyon road and transporting it to the hospital

But I get ahead of myself.

Being a scout camp counselor is a good idea if you like painting large buildings, lugging trash, cleaning latrines, running into rattlesnakes while hiking, entertaining ten year old boys, or removing bees nests, which activities are all featured prominently in hell, as I am told.

These duties I performed with my usual precision and agility.

On one occasion, the powers that be decided that a night camp would be a good idea. Lacking what is commonly referred to as "common sense", my fourteen year old self decided that I would be able to bike home from the night camp at around ten o'clock without the aid of artificial lighting. This was a good idea up until the cars, by whose light I was navigating the canyon road, and who probably only just narrowly missed hitting my dark and brain-dead self, stopped at a pay station, whereupon I found myself plunged into utter darkness, and, still lacking any form of intelligence, I proceeded down at an elevated velocity.

Unfortunately, I soon found my handlebars in contact with a man's wrist, who was out walking his dog on such a peaceful pitch-black night.

I had to have this part explained to me afterwards, as I remember nothing of the man, or the dog, or even the impact after my wheel was flipped, I sailed over the handlebars, and landed on my head and back, my life being saved by my helmet.

I do, however, remember coming to while a nice lady insisted that I stay lying down as an ambulance made its way there. She had noticed my body in the road, and, in a moment of kindness, decided she would stop, direct traffic around me, and attempt, in general, to keep me living, which the man and his dog declined to do due to their understandable antipathy towards me.3

Upon arrival, the EMTs shifted my body onto one of those neato yellow stretchers, then loaded me into the ambulance. I was really annoyed by them, because I kept complaining about how much the back of my head hurt lying there on that hard plastic stretcher, and I asked for a pillow or something to be put under me, as it felt like knives were shooting up into the back of my head. They just sort of nonchalantly ignored me and took me in.

I knew I was in trouble when the admitting doc took a look at me and said, "oh, look, they were really nice to you; they gave you a pillow!"

These are not words you want to hear.

In any event, after a few scans, a few pukes, getting laughed at by my family for my stupidity when they came to pick me up,4 a very prolonged concussion, the formation of a large dent in the back of my skull, the loss of approximately 30 IQ points and any talents I may have had (explaining my current inferiority to my family members) and about a week of dizziness, I was able to return to my enviable duties as a scout camp counselor, and have never biked down that canyon in the dark ever since, mainly because I'm afraid that dude and his dog will be out there, trying to find me to sue me for damages.5

The following summer, my father, for reasons I was not able to completely comprehend until this precise moment, and who is much better at math than me, calculated his expenses from the last summer's fiasco, and decided he would be better off paying me thousands of dollars to sand his deck at snail speed and build a retaining wall that would promptly collapse and fall down a hill, than letting me take a real job and risk paying for another ambulance ride for his uncoordinated son.6

1. This is one hundred percent true.
2. Aren't you proud of me?? I just remembered a term from not one, but TWO accounting classes I took.
3. The woman, by the way, was a complete saint, calling the ambulance, calling my family, and taking my bike back to my home. I wish I could find and thank her today.
4. Again, one hundred percent true.
5. A good friend of mine from that time contacted me the other day; hence the inspiration for this week's post.
6. Ambulances are completely foreign to my father. He had a heart attack once while running. AND THEN FINISHED HIS RUN AND DROVE HIMSELF TO THE HOSPITAL. There is simply no attempting to claim any form of masculinity around this man. He is a machine.

2 comments:

Marie said...

thank you for posting this on the exact day I was trying to convince Blake he had to keep the bike lamp I am buying for him for christmas.

Unknown said...

Wait. Are we now telling people what we're giving them before giving it them? Since when did that become kosher?