My summer camp nemesis was a wiry, thin-lipped, sneering eleven-year-old I'll call Hannah. Hannah attended an elite Manhattan prep school and decided early on during our stay in upstate New York that I was a hick. She taunted me endlessly for my lack of sophistication; for example, I didn't know what "peckerhead" meant, which apparently illustrated my state of overall loserdom and gave her a reason to use the word against me for the rest of the summer. [What DOES peckerhead mean? -Ed.] Even worse, I had to bunk with Hannah and her best friend, giving both the opportunity to be cruel to me in various overt and passive ways, like ignoring our morning cleaning ritual and leaving me to clean the entire cabin without them. (That lasted for at least a week until our counselor found me crying on the floor in a heap of their Benetton sweatshirts.) But I'm not the only one who experienced a Lord of the Flies-ish summer camp experience! In today's NY Observer, recently-wed writer Spencer Morgan writes about his experiences at camps as far-flung as Canada, and he doesn't skimp on sordid details, like his run-in with "raw" anus.
Maybe Spencer and I should have hit up the camps chronicled in the just-released Camp Camp, a book described as a "love letter to summer camp and history of our generation, a chance to relive every Champion sweatshirt-wearing, accidental bed-wetting, sky-hook-wedgie-receiving, tie-dye-making golden moment"; after all, it must be nice for those people who created lifelong bonds while treading water in some remote, silty lake. But back to my camp experience! The other day, it emerged that a friend of a friend is close with the dreaded Hannah and the acquaintance asked me what my last name was, so she could report back to my former nemesis. I refused to tell her, because some small part of still believes that if Hannah remembers me, she will hunt me down and egg my apartment after convincing all my friends that I smell of feet. Not that I'm still traumatized by camp or anything!