Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Little Light Reading

One of my blog readers told me that I have been of a serious bent of mind lately. I took that as a gentle request to lighten it up. Others have asked after learning that I have been reading books like Irenaeus’ Against Heresies or John of Damascus’ Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, if I ever read lighter fare. When I answered, “Yes, I enjoyed Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame very much,” they rolled their eyes in disbelief. It seems they, too, in their non-confronting manner were encouraging me to get a life. Deep theology, philosophy, and science make for a dull boy, not to mention exhausted readers.

Okay, this week we all get a break. I’m going to relate a short and hopefully humorous story that I was reminded of recently when I had the chance to visit one of my old friends during my daughter’s wedding.

I worked in a camp in the mountains of Colorado during the first two summers of my college career. I would have worked a third summer except my father wasn’t a happy camper with me earning only twenty-five dollars a month—chump pay even in the seventies. Somehow my father had seen how the summer camp experience suited me, so he forgave my not securing a real job—like I said, for two summers, anyway.

Summer camp was where I first met my aforementioned friend whose name is Brad. We became fast friends, and before long were known far and wide as the BB brothers. We were also counseling partners.

The camp where we worked was divided in a girls’ side and a boys’ side. This meant that during joint-activity times, the boy counselors could meet with the girl counselors and kindle all those romances summer camps are famous for. I digress. Each side was comprised of five or six cabins with two counselors assigned to each cabin. The BB brothers had the Arapaho cabin. Our friend Bill and his partner had the Apache cabin next to us.

Every morning we would have to wake the kiddies, make sure they dressed and ordered their areas, and herd them off down the hill to the lodge for breakfast. The counselors had to stay behind and feel inside all the sleeping bags to see if there were any bed-wetters. Brad always stuck me with that job (see, Dad, I earned my lousy twenty-five a month). I don’t remember what Brad did during those daily inspections—probably groomed himself for Betty-Lou, who was from the Chippewa cabin; Brad and Betty-Lou had the first of the great summer romances that year.

On one of those typical mornings we noticed the Apache mob heading down the hill without Bill (he never stayed behind for any reason), so Brad and I went next door to find out why. Bill had decided to sleep in, and was still lying on his bunk when we arrived. On the nightstand by his bed was a brand new bar of Irish Spring deodorant soap.

Brad said, “Look, Bruce, Irish Spring!”

“Yes,” I replied, “guaranteed to leave you clean and fresh like the green of Ireland.”

Brad removed his jack-knife from his pocket, and opened the blade. Grabbing the bar of soap, he said in his best Irish brogue, “Notice the green and white stripes!”

Bill quickly intervened, “You cut into that and I’ll kill you.”

Non plus, Brad replied, “Manly yes, but Bill uses it too.”

That’s it--no morals, philosophical implications, or theological metaphors, just life in the raw from my rapidly receding past. See you next week.


sara said...

ahhhhhh....refreshing! (and i am not talking about the soap!)....
i feel lighter, the world feels lighter, and hopefully you do too...sigh....isn't it fun not to have to think too hard ALL the time?
i knew you could do it!
love you forever plus one (because you are such a great thinker!),

Jeff said...

I think the metaphoric imagery is so transparent.

Obviously the bar of soap represents the primal urge to transcend our innate desires for a return to a state of progressive longitudinal sanitary innocence!

The “bed wetting” allusion just cracks me up!