More True Tales of Human Interest

These stories are both true. Neither is interesting. Sorry.

In 7th and 8th grade, I took English classes with Mrs. Lott. She had a pretty no-nonsense approach to education, but for some reason, we still had a hands-on project. Although I don’t remember which year it was or what book it was supposed to apply to, I remember the project quite clearly. We were supposed to build a house of some kind with our choice of materials. We also got to choose partners. I chose Devin.

Together, we made the decision to build a house out of sugar cubes and vanilla frosting. I can still picture the open box of (name-brand!) sugar cubes. The project began as expected, with one line of sugar cubes. After opening the frosting, we realized that it does not spread easily. We scraped it across our first line and managed started moving up. After about 2 lines of sugar bricks, we encountered another problem: shrinkage. It seems that quantities of both frosting and sugar cubes had just disappeared.

Construction is difficult on such a small scale, and it becomes more difficult when your hands are moving at the speed of sound. Although we started with 2 boxes of sugar cubes and 2 tubs of frosting, we only finished about a wall and a half. At lunch, we had heart rates in the low thousands and no interest in eating. I have never been more hyper.

During my tenure as a Boy Scout, I went to summer camp twice. The first year, the troop went to Camp Geiger in St. Joseph, Missouri. It was an interesting experience for several reasons. First, the camp is huge and hilly. Second, our troop had to camp at the lowest point, essentially in a huge ditch. Third, I had to take Vitamin B1 supplements to keep off mosquitos. Fourth, I didn’t shower the whole time. I smelled like shit due to B1, sweat, and the general stink of teenage boy. My proudest accomplishment that week was finishing the Basketry merit badge. We still have the basket.

The next year, we went to Camp Naish in Kansas City, Kansas. I had a history with Naish; my Cub Scout troop had gone there twice for day camp. Both times it rained without ceasing. As an extremely mature Boy Scout, I decided to do what they called the “Mountain Man Rendezvous.” It was a 3-day excursion to the shittiest parts of the camp to do manly things. We were expected to create our own lean-tos and sleep in the elements. For some reason, it appealed to me, in part because of the Metalworking merit badge.

After about 20 minutes of trying to create a tent with 2 tarps, twigs, and a rope, I started crying like a little bitch. I didn’t want to be there and I missed my father. Although I had never been one of “those kids” at a sleepover (I remember who was, though. Pussy.), this rendezvous was beyond the bounds of my emotional maturity. I was taken back to camp where I did normal merit badges like the other scouts. I didn’t do the metalworking, which I later found out was an extremely easy merit badge, especially at summer camp.

I think I took some crappy nature merit badges and First Aid, where I got into trouble for lighting matches (I still blame another scout for that. Asshole.). I attempted to make a second basket, which failed miserably. I wrote a terrible poem. There was also a brief panic due to a leaking propane lantern. However, the biggest problem that week was, of course, the rain. It rained like no rain has ever rained in the entire reign of rain. Camp Naish was basically just mud with a smattering of watery pits. During the first night, they had to send out a truck to pick up the mountain men. Suckers.

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