Here you go. An adventure decades in the making! Actual daily journal entries that I made while at that Canadian, Catholic run, all boy, Summer Camp from Hell (AKA Camp Owakonze) way back in the summer of '89 (the camp that I didn't even want to go to — being the timid little nerd that I was — but was forced into attending due to a camp scholarship that I got for being too damn smart for my own good).
See, this is the kind of shit that I just can't make up. You'll see that I was a foul-mouthed little fucker even way back then, and that my view of life as a whole has pretty much remained unchanged through the years. I only wish you could see the horrible scratchings that I used to call "handwriting." It almost looks like Japanese calligraphy written by a toddler who can barely hold a pen.
Anyway, I even kept all the punctuation (or lack thereof) and misspellings in place just because all that crap cracks me up now. Looking back, why the Hell did I keep this thing filled with all this profanity? I knew I'd never be able to show it to my family... Weird. Enjoy!
Dear Camping Diary,
First day, Friday June 30, on the long boring stupid fucking long busride. As you can tell by my handwriting, the bus has no fucking shock absorbers. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. It has to be better. Today is one goddamn long busride! We are like 10 hours in and they tell us we have 13 or 14 left to go. Are we going to Canada or Sweden? This is shit. I got one of those Ghostbusters 2 toys at the dinner stop at Hardees. It is fucking great! I have been bugging that annoying douchebag behind me with it for over an hour. This is God's greatest invention ever! It makes 4 seperate noises that are all very annoying and therefore fun for me and not fun for the dicks who are pissing me off. I gotto go now, I mean I really GOTTO GO, so untill tomorrow...
(What's so hilarious about this first entry is not that I actually started it with "Dear Camping Diary," but that at 13 years-old I was already cursing like Richard Fucking Pryor running down the street on fire! Awesome! I remember thinking that that "shock absorbers" line would be funny, but I didn't really understand what they were or what they really did. God, I really miss that Ghostbusters 2 light-up noise maker...)
Entry #2 (July 1):
We just arrived here at 9:00Am. Where the fuck IS here? The last 8 hours of the busride were nothing but through the woods and no towns or McDonalds or anything. It was a 40 fucking minute boatride to the island that we will be staying on in the middle of a giant lake. Where the fuck are we?!!! I am serious. A fucking sasquatch could eat us all and like nobody in America would ever find our bones. Maybe the sasquatch would eat our bones too? Fuck them and their hairy balls! Goddamn sasquatch!
Terrible peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich lunch. Ewww. That was gross! Maybe it wasn't really strawberry jam and really was sasquatch snot. Maybe their snot is red? That skinhead kid is looking at me and wondering why I keep laughing to myself. I just looked at him mean but I think he could kill me in my sleep without regretting it, and then blame the sasquatch. Why does he keep trying to make the retard in our cabin laugh while talking about the "Oogah Boogah Man"? I think he is on drugs. Jesus Fucking Christ I hope he does not kill me! We had to do 4 laps larger than the pool at home in 50 degree lake water. I am not kidding about the 50 degrees. My balls were blue afterwards! That is too damn cold! We had a fairly good spagetti dinner and a stupid Indian ceromony after that. What were they thinking? We are like in a goddamn no where place in Canada where not even the Indians were stupid enough to ever go to! Why should we even act like them now? That one councillor wore a feather headdress. I hope an Indian saw that and scalps him for insulting their heritage. Mom and Dad sent me 3 letters that arrived today. The mail date says that they mailed them a week ago. Weird. Goodnight.
(Wow, I really lay in to some things here. That skinhead still haunts my nightmares to this day, but I don't think that any sasquatch had those insults coming. That was just uncalled for. Apologize, younger-me! And what did I mean by that Indian comment? Was that a slur against a proud and noble people, or a slur against the idiots who put together a summer camp for spoiled midwestern boys up in the Arctic Circle?)
Entry #3 (July 2):
Today I actually got some sleep! This morning the priest had a mass on the big barge that got us to this unmapped island. It was long and boring. He just kept going on about the Lord's view of nature, and how the Lord would love this fucking island with all the trees and stuff. No shit! Jesus would fucking LOVE this place cause he lived in the goddamn desert! That's like saying people in Ethiopea would love icecream. NO SHIT! Icecream is cold and IT'S FOOD. THEY DON'T HAVE FOOD in the desert.
After that boat mass we cooled down with "water olympics". That is what the councelors called what we did. I call it "gayness in the water". Oh boy! Let's swim over to that bunch of rocks over there! Oh what fun! Hey, now let's swim back to land! Oh my goodness, will the fun ever end?! Why no, it won't! They won't let us out of the freezing fucking water!!! What is wrong with Canada? The temperature was something like 130 degrees, but the water was still 32.1 degrees, just above turning into FUCKING ICE. We did all laugh at that freckled kid who we think got a boner and wouldn't get out of the water when they finally allowed us to. If he didn't make such a big deal about it, nobody would have said anything. We were all pulling our bathing suits out of our cracks and adjusting our dicks as we got out and nobody was checking anybody else out. Well, maybe that one councellor guy. His eyes were all googly and staring at us. This place sucks.
(Awesome! I love how we used to just open fire with the gay jokes on the kids who were obviously the most NONgay there. If memory serves me, that one creepy camp counselor guy said he was 17, but I swear to God that he was closer to 40. This whole place really scarred me more than my 3rd grade teacher's drunken verbal attacks at Chris Burkhardt, which I always thought were aimed at me. What an alky dyke! And oh yeah, you don't know torture unless you've lived though an hour long Catholic mass on a burning barge in the middle of summer with no means of escape. Personally, I think the Catholic religion is so harsh because the Pope knows that we're all going to Hell in the afterlife, and he's just preparing us for an eternity of punishment one Sunday at a time.)
Entry #4 (July 3):
Today we started our classes. Okay, you know that I don't really hate school, but why the fuck did they think we'd want to take classes in the middle of summer? I did my best to take stuff that I would never take in real school, so I ended up with Fishing, Riflery and the Ropes classes. This kid named Jamie is really getting on my nerves, good thing I'm taking Riflery. I already know how to fish thanks to Papa, and it should be fun to shoot things with a real gun. Maybe that guy who was checking us out yesterday while we swam and got dried off will walk near our shooting range and I can shoot his gay dick off.
Lunch was very different today. We had spaghetti with chilli. Yum! I'm writing this to remember later, but I was being sarcastic there. It was not yum. It was fucking spaghetti with chilli. The chilli tasted like what runny dog crap looks like it tastes like. That skinhead looks like he eats dog crap, so I'll ask him if it does taste like that later.
Tomorrow's the Fourth and nothing is planned for it, what a fun day! Fuck Canada!
(Fuck Canada indeed! Just the fact that we were on sovereign Canadian soil apparently made it against the law for us to celebrate the Fourth while there. Those royal dick-sucking bastards... Anyway, I do truly love how my younger self actually threatened to shoot a kid just because he annoyed him. I'm pretty sure that this "Jamie" was the crying sack of weirdness who I shared a cabin with. That same whiner who chewed on his shirt and thought that the skinhead's "Oogah Boogah Man" was real. Anybody who knew me back then would know that I would never really shoot that annoying turdpile though... Mostly because if I shot him I'd probably have to take that bald kid out too... And he looked like he had grown up on the streets and knew how to avoid fire. I so would have been fucked.)
Entry #5 (July 4, Tuesday):
Nothing big at all today, no fireworks or anything, but I did try Nintendo cereal for breakfast! It tasted like Captain Crunch with about two more cups of sugar in each bowl, but it wasn't bad. It was better than spaghetti and chilli. I also got the prize in the box because everyone else was too afraid to reach for it in front of the priests. They probably thought that the priests would say that the devil was making them dig through the cereal for earthly possessions or something, then they would be whipped like Simon Belmont for a few hours to get rid of the evil. Fuck them! I wanted that damn marble game! After I dug it out of the box and the priests did not say anything then everybody else tried to say "oh, that's mine, I got the first bowl of it!" But I made up a scripture quote that was like "Jesus said 'he who is without sin gets the early bird before the worm, and he then declared that the faggots of the world who opposed him got jack shit!'" and they left me alone.
I also was given compliments on my Rambob tshirt that I got handed down from my brother that is of his old gym coach or something. His name is Bob. It's pretty cool but I think people were complimenting me on it because it shows a strong guy with a giant fucking gun and he is pissed off. After digging through the box of the cereal at breakfast in front of the priests I bet they think that I am tougher than they thought I was and a bad ass.
I have to go to bed, goodnight.
(No fucking fireworks on the Fourth of July... We were all red-blooded Americans, dammit! We were in the middle of nowhere! I don't think that the mounties were going to swim out to the island and Canadian-arrest us for celebrating our own country's freedom! Once again, FUCK CANADA! Something that's good to keep in mind that is plainly stated here is that I was somewhat of a delusional youth. Notice how I thought that RamBob T-shirt was making me cool... It was a lame shirt featuring a cartoon of some old dude done up like Rambo holding a rocket launcher... It was not cool, and I'm willing to bet that the rest of the kids were actually laughing at me while "complimenting" it. I think the sugar buzz from breakfast was really affecting my cognitive higher brain functions. Maybe I should have stopped after three bowlfuls.)
Entry #6 (July 5):
Weird cloud formations today above the lake. It was like something was sucking the flat layer of clouds up in planned out rows and in perfect order. I took pictures but probably didn't get good ones as I had to run back to my cabin to get the camera and they changed in that time. Maybe it was a sign. Maybe God was telling me to get the fuck off this island. I can swim, or shoot people and build a raft out of them. I read that bodies float.
I am so glad that I packed Breakfast Bars! Oatmeal for breakfast, YUK! I really hate outmeal. It looks like something a horse already ate especially when its hot and still steaming. I asked to mix more Nintendo cereal in it to make it edible but they told me that I probably ate it all yesterday. They were mean about it too. Fuck them! I still had the prize! Somebody stole my Ghostbusters toy and if I ever find out who I will really get back at him! We are in a catholic camp god damn it! And they stole from me! Jesus hated shit like that!
Today I had to go to the daily mass because it was in our cabin because our cabin leader volunteered us. You can tell me I'll burn in hell for this, people told me this plenty of times before so don't feel bad, but mass is so fucking boring and pointless. I said the petitions that day and they were like "please God don't let us die horrible deaths in the woods where nobody can hear our screams". Do we really have to ask God for this shit? He's supposed to love us and we are at a camp that does nothing but kiss his butt, and I still feel like I am in mortal danger.
Goodni Oops, we also won cleanest cabin and broke 12's record. Cabin 12 is filled with lots of gaywads and freaks. They do not do anything but clean all day. "Hey cabin 12 friend! Would you like to help me wash my back and my anus?" "Why thank you cabin 12 friend! I would be delighted!".
(Wow... I threaten to kill people in order to build a raft out of their corpses, I insult the holy tradition of the mass [which is indeed the most boring ceremony on the entire goddamn planet], and I claim that Cabin 12 was filled with nothing but anal-retentive homosexuals. (I apologize for my younger self's language here, but go watch The Monster Squad to see that that is indeed how kids in the 80s insulted each other... It doesn't excuse it, but it explains it.) No wonder I was so popular back then!
I find it humorous to read now how somebody stole my Ghostbusters 2 noise-making toy when I wasn't looking. I'm just surprised that it didn't happen sooner as I was really bugging the ever living shit out of my cabin-mates with it up till then. Hindsight tells me that my cabin RA probably stole it in order to keep me from having my ass handed to me by the skinhead [who kept muttering under his breath every time I pressed a button on it every couple of minutes], but I remember thinking back then that it was that crybaby shirt-chewer who did it, mostly because I reeeeally hated him.)
Entry #7 (July 6, Thursday):
Nothing to special. Leftovers for meals. This doesn't make any sense to me. Why do we have leftovers at all? Are they running out of food to feed us already? There has got to be a TON of deer and bears in the woods around the island, why can't we hunt them? That would give us more to do than canoe around and swim in the lake.
Oh! There was that one counselor who swam across the whole goddamn lake today! That was amazing! I was in the canoe that was following him in case he drowned or was eaten alive by pirana. I saw that movie with them in it! Holy fuck! They ate all those kids at that camp! We would be so dead out here on this island if those government fish attacked us! Or if the Soviets did. They would probably attack the USA through Canada first because the Canadians are such big pussies, well except for Bob and Doug MCKenzie.
I got letters 5 & 6 from my parents and they had some comics from the Sunday paper in them. I got a lot of pictures taken as well. Gotto go now. Goodnight!
(Yeah, "nothing to special", just an overactive imagination. I loved cheezy horror movies [like Pirahna] as a kid, even if they gave me nightmares. And Red Dawn was the coolest thing I think I ever saw when it first came out in the mid-80s. Oh man, that scene where the commies just start shooting the shit out of the school when they first landed totally blew me away. So creepy the way the camera would just cruise on by the dead kids' bodies as they lay there. Don't forget that this was still during the Cold War — we took a commie invasion pretty seriously back then. God, I sound old when I say this, but you kids today just don't understand. Those godless commies could've struck at any fucking time! Only Patrick Swayze could have saved us!
Anyway, other than my early love of movies showing through here, and my early and questionable distrust of Canadians [I must apologize for my younger-self's remarks there, as I had yet to fully appreciate the fine taste of a well crafted Canadian brew], this was just a pretty boring entry. Bound to happen at some point.)
Entry #8 (July 7, Friday):
Like usual, nothing big today. There was a VERY large snake in the lake, Jesus Christ what a big scare! That thing was huge! It swam up to one kid and looked like it was going to eat his entire head; snakes unhinge their jaws to eat things much larger than their own heads like fat kids. The fat kid just started crying as we got out of the water and laughed at his fat prediciment. The counselors who were supposed to be watching us and keeping us from getting eaten by snakes and bears and other dangerous shit then started throwing rocks and sticks at the snake, but it would only swim around the fat kid. Then everybody started throwing stuff, but if everybody was like me, they weren't really aiming at the snake.
In the ropes class we learned to repel down a 25 ft. cliff today, that was pretty fun. We kept pretending that we were the A-Team and that we had to get down the mountain we were on in order to build something out of some rusty parts of a tank and then blow up the bad guys's stuff. Well, that John guy kept repelling down too fast and we think he broke his leg, he's so stupid. We told him he was that one gay guy who joined the A-Team who used to work in movie special effects. That's when the A-Team started to lick dick, and when he broke his leg he started making our class lick dick too. It sounded like a twig snapping.
I did get a lot of pictures done today also. There are some good ones.
(Waitaminute... If we were already in the middle of repelling today, then that means that I never once talked about the actual Ropes Course that I took part in -- the repelling down the cliff took place after the real Ropes Course. This course was cool to see, as it was tons of thick rope and planks suspended 2 to 3 stories above the ground in the giant trees on a little island just off the main island that all the cabins were on. The only problem with all this is that I was acrophobic out of my frickin' gourd back then [not as much anymore thankfully]. If I got more than 3 feet off the ground and I wasn't strapped into a roller coaster, I would almost pee my pants in terror.
If I remember correctly, I made it about 2/3rds of the way through the entire course [pretty good for me] but then I looked down and froze, hugging a tree about 20 feet above the ground. I just couldn't go on and I actually started crying [not out of fear, but mainly humiliation due to the rest of my class watching me freak out from the Earth way below]. The counselor even had to climb up to get me... Ugh, I guess I thought that if I didn't write about it in the journal I'd forget about the whole incident... Good idea, but it just didn't work out as well as I had hoped.
Man, for being such a pussy myself, I can't believe how much I still picked on other kids who just so happened to be fatter or more retarded than I was [like that kid with the snake and my whiney cabin-mate]. That kid with the snake problem in the lake was rotund, sure, but the fact that I really point this out and use this as an excuse to taunt him while he was in danger makes me wonder what a total dickhead I was... Yeah, I don't really remember being this much of an asshole [I was usually a suck-up in school, and an outsider-nerd in the general scholastic social structure — and I knew my place and never fought against it], so it was probably just me reacting to my forced imprisonment on that evil island while all the other kids seemed to actually WANT to be there... What the fuck was wrong with them?)
Entry #9 (July 8, Saturday):
Today, a couple of the guys and me went on a retreat with the priests on the other side of the island which was pretty fun. NOT. It was not fun. It was a waste of a day actually. We went to the other side of the island past the other cabins that the councellors live in and sat around on fallen trees and stumps and said shit like "thank you, Jesus for giving us such a beautiful day"! and "Thank you God for letting me spend all this time with my new friends on this incredible island." The priests got mad at me though when it was my turn and I said, "Thank you God for not killing me on the busride to this secluded island in the middle of the forsaken land of Canada so that I can die slowly instead of fast and painlessly. Thank you for the poison ivy that John got in cabin 3. Thank you that it was John and not me. Thank you also for all the wild animals that I'm sure are out in the woods waiting to break into our cabins and eat us at night. And most of all, thank you for allowing us to run out of good breakfast cereal so early in our stay here, in your island paradise. Seriously, God, are you just preparing us for where you think we're going in the afterlife?" It was then that the priests told me to be serious and never use the Lord's name in vain again. The old guy even told me to shut the Hell up to. I tried to make the point that what he said wasn't very Godlike, but the younger priest was already dragging me back to the rest of the camp before I could finish.
Then, later on in the day for evening activities we all saw Big in the councellors' lounge, during which, my fucking glasses fell apart!!! Of course I put them back together, but what a scare!!!
Goodnight. Oops, I've been here 1 week already!
(Where to start on THIS one... I remember that "retreat" that I was forced to go on. It was apparently a last ditch effort by the warden, er, head priest on the island to slap some discipline into the troubled teens who needed "spiritual help" lest we burn forever. Ironically I was the only one from my cabin who was made to attend. I guess I was acting more like a dick than even the skinhead kid. Go fig... Actually, that kid was really a nice guy. I think I truly was the prick of the island.
Anyway, I also recall making a mockery of that retreat beyond what I wrote about in my journal. When the pansies in the group would close their eyes tightly, clasp their hands together in concentrated adoration to the Lord, and in an almost whispered voice proclaim, "God our Father... Thank you for the little birds in the sky, Father Ted's unlimited wisdom and compassion, and the company of my new-found friends, and all the love and joy they've brought to this little bit of Heaven on Earth..." I would either laugh out loud or make farting noises with either my armpits or mouth. Honestly, I don't know where all this came from as I was the meekest of the meek in real life, away from the island.
I also remember getting a boner while watching Big when Tom Hanks' girlfriend in the movie put the moves on him and got him in the sack. I excused myself for a good 5-10 minutes to go "get something" in my cabin. I guess God saw what I really did out in the woods and punished me for it by making my glasses fall apart later on. They literally just came undone. It was very strange. Why didn't he just hit me with a lightning bolt? Too "Zeus?")
Entry #10 (July 9, Sunday):
Mass at 10:30 was about the biggest thing today. I got my first sailboating lesson today too, then it really poured down rain and we had to stop. The rain ruined a lot of my paper letters and stuff because my godamn stupid fuckhead room buddy didn't shut the godamned window between our bunks! WHAT AN IDIOT!!!!
Well, goodnight for now!~
(Why did I consider Mass to be a bigger thing than my first real sailboating lesson? Seriously, I was learning to sail a real boat, harnessing the power of nature's raw fury!... That didn't impress me more than the same old and boring ceremony that I'd done pretty much every day since I arrived at the island, and weekly for 13 full years previous? Strange.
I vividly remember going ape shit on my room buddy for his forgetting to close the window flap before it started raining. I was pretty much spitting rage in his face for ruining a bunch of my snacks [my only source of nutrients since the cafeteria basically only served borscht morning, noon and night], and for ruining the letters, and comics that my parents sent me. Not to defend my pathetic behavior, but to explain it... I was the kind of kid who could be thrown into any kind of new situation [be it a new school, new house, summer camp for a few weeks in the prime of my youth when I wished I was hanging out with my friends back home instead] as long as I had something to anchor me in my world. Usually something physical that I could touch, like a pack of stickers my mom bought me to decorate my schoolbooks' covers with when we first moved to St. Louis for my third grade year [stickers that I never used 'cause that would have ruined them], or letters of support from my parents along with snacks that they lovingly packed for me to keep me company during my first ever stint away from home... These things made me realize that I wasn't alone, and that I could make it through anything because even if I failed I still had people backing me up.... And THIS DICKHEAD ruined my goddamn letters because he apparently didn't understand my spoken English that morning when I said, "Hey, buddy, when you get out of bed and join us for breakfast remember to close the goddamn window. It looks like rain and all our stuff is on that shelf directly below the fucking window. Thanks!" I did say "thanks" too. Whattacock.)
Entry #11 (July 10, Monday):
Everybody went off on their designated trips today except a couple of the kids and me. Digger, that goddamn chocolate lab [that will be dead by the morning] that belongs to Fr. Patrick, fucking BIT my goddamn hand for no goddamn reason at all while I learned how to chop down trees with an axe! I am serious! I did not do anything to that shitty mutt until AFTER he tried to take a chunk out of my flesh. Maybe he can sense stuff that people can't... Like I was GOING to punch him in his doggy balls or something. The only thing is that I did not even think of slapping his sagging nards until after he bit me because he sensed that I was going to damage his grape sack (after he bit me). I guess I will never know. If only Digger could talk he might be able to tell me why he did what he did. He would only be able to talk in a high voice after that, but atleast I would know.
And why didn't he ever bite his owner for naming him "Digger" ever? I'd be like "You want me to call you 'master' and you're naming me 'Digger'? That's a little bit to close to something else in my book, you fucking racist!" And is that dog so stupid to attack me while I had a fucking axe in my hand or what? Huh? On top of all that I have a bad sore throat and a stomach ache. Boy, this place sucks. Thank God I have the cabin to myself atleast.
(The trips were underway at this point, and this is when I finally started to relax a little and enjoy de island life a little more. The rest of the kids either went on a week-long hiking trip, canoeing trip, or some other primitive experiment into madness. I remember when the sign-up sheets were being passed around the dining hall one evening, and all the counselors were trying to talk us into their led troupe into the wilderness for a few days of savageness in nature. My table was one of the last to get the forms, and as I looked over my options [all of which involved sleeping outdoors for at least 4 nights] I thought "Hmmm, this seems to be missing a choice." So I did a write-in for Option 4: "Stay on the island."
The counselors got the papers back and started reading off the names for each group, and then they got to Option 4 -- three names were under it. They tried to tell us that that was not really a choice, but by that point kids from the first 3 sign-up groups started stating their displeasure that they didn't see Option 4 earlier or they would have endorsed that one themselves. So just to shut everyone up they allowed us three to stay behind if we didn't "make a big deal about it" to the rest of the camp. I agreed, but I started bragging about it almost as soon as dinner let out.
"This is going to be so cool!" I said to my cabin that night. "While you guys are all sleeping in the mud and walking or paddling all day long, I'm going to be hanging out in the counselors' cabin and eating all the good food that they've been keeping from the kids this whole time! Oh, I can't wait till you all leave!" Maybe Digger sensed this smugness on me and that's why he tore into my hand on that day. Oh, and the reason I was chopping down trees with an axe (no chainsaw, dammit!) was because those of us who stayed behind were told that we wouldn't eat unless we performed some manual labor to benefit the camp while we were there. I never asked what that kid from Cabin 12 [who was supervised by Fr. Handleton] had to do, but I was glad I just had to hack up some trees for future cabin construction when I saw him rubbing his ass in pain that night.)
Entry #12 (July 11, Tuesday):
I FINALLY FINISHED THE ROPES COURSE, HURRAY, HURRAY! That was the best part of the day. My throat still hurts and the meals are lousy. There was more tree chopping today, and latrine duty. I threw up twice and then dry heaved 5 times while working on the ground toilets. It was as fucking gross as the most gross thing I have ever done in my life times 3. Oh yes, even grosser than when I bet Ryan a dollar to put that dead squirrel in his mouth. I, ACK!.. I'm getting throw up in my mouth just thinking about it now! Oh gross! Oh well, at least Monday I go home! Thank Jesus fucking Christ!
(Yeah, I think it's pretty funny how I got all excited about "finishing" the ropes course -- which was basically just me, strapped to the zip-line, getting hoisted backwards from the ground by 3 counselors to about 3/4ths of the way up, and then let go, where-in I slowly rolled down to the bottom. They must have thought I was the world's biggest pussy. And they'd have been right.
As for latrine duty... I don't think I can convey just how utterly disgusting and nauseating that truly was. First, to give you a visual and odoriffic picture of the island's latrines; these dump-houses were just a hastily-built shack with a wooden box with a hole in it inside. Underneath the hole was a six-foot deep pit that held a vast amount of putrid and rancid chemicals and human excrement... and lots of little dead animals. Now, I don't know for sure, but I simply can't imagine that that many frogs, turtles, and baby bunnies could have possibly ignored their own senses and accidentally fallen into that hellish hole on their own [I know a few fellow campers who'll have a lot to answer for at the Pearly Gates in regards to animal cruelty]. Yes, there were cracks and openings in the shack large enough for them to fit through, but nothing grew within a 10 yard radius of the latrines. The only reason we campers even got near those things was because we were told that we'd be whipped if we were ever caught crapping in the woods. When I was first introduced to the concept of the latrine on this island, I remember clear as day thinking "I wonder if I can hold my crap in for the whole time I'm here..." Unfortunately I could not make it past day 4 though before my bowels almost exploded. Oh, and "latrine duty" meant "fishing the dead animals out of the hole and then giving them a proper burial." Those priests were fucking cruel.
Anyway, that bet with Ryan was real, but I only paid him a nickel as that's all I had to my name at that point in time. Lucky bastard got to miss school for two weeks thanks to me too! So unfair.)
Entry #13 (July 12, Wednesday):
Boy am I sick. I don't know what it is, but my throat and stomach hurt so goddamn much, my voice is totally destroyed and I feel like I'm going to barf. This 9 year old spoiled brat named Scott doesn't help either. He runs around all day causing trouble and acting like a dick, and nobody yells at him for it. They all pretend that they don't even see him doing all this shit! It's like that show where the young cousin visits and does all kinds of crazy shit, and the parents don't blame him, they blame their own kids for what the cousin did. And the main kids are like "whatever! It was the little piece of visiting shit that broke the lamp! Why don't you lecture him about being a dick?" But the parents just look at eachother, and they look at their kids like "suuuuuuure. We know your cousin would never do anything naughty like shave the poodle or blow up the toilet because we've known him all but 10 minutes and we can tell. But YOU kids, who we've known for 6 seasons so far and who've never done anything really bad, it had to have been you who was selling dope to all those elementary schoolers down the block." I hate Scott. I hate him to death.
Oh, hey, I guess maybe I am mean enough to have been blamed for what Scott was doing. Hell, if they are going to blame me for all this shit anyway I might as well actually do it. I think I might throw all the island's toilet paper into the latrines when everybody goes to sleep tonight.
Oh well, at least I got to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Big again today. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is hilarious. Though the best parts are just Steve Martin acting like Rupert the retard boy. Really funny stuff.
("Boy am I sick. I don't know what it is, but my throat and stomach hurt... my voice is totally destroyed and I feel like I'm going to barf." Yeah, I have no fucking clue what it could have been.... I was a little slow back then apparently.
What surprises me the most about this post is that I really have no memory who this "Scott" kid is. He must have really pissed me off something terrible, but I can't even recall what he did to me or even what he looked like. It sounds like I'm trying to compare him to Cousin Oliver, or that little shit on Diff'rent Strokes who they brought in to replace Gary Coleman's expired cuteness, but for the life of me I cannot remember. Was he a counselor's kid? I don't think any campers were younger than 12 or 13... Eh, I won't lose any sleep over this. Plus, it's probably a bigger insult to the pud if I don't ever recollect his retard-hijinks.
Ahhh, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels! A classic. One of only like five movies that they had on the island, and by the end of camp I pretty much had all five memorized. Let's see if I can remember them all now: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Big, Good Morning Vietnam, Teachers and... Fuck! Can't remember the last one. And I think they must have sent Mikey the Mongo to pick up the rental movies considering half of these were rated R [for a good damn reason] and we were all impressionable little pukes. Anyway, while everybody else was on their trips, I found myself spending more and more time hanging out in the counselors' cabin watching the same few movies over and over and going through the girl counselors' laundry.... I was 13 years-old! Don't blame me, blame my puberty.)
Entry #14 (July 13, Thursday):
No one has helped me with my disease yet, and its getting worse. All of the trips started coming back today, so I won't be lonely anymore.. Sniff!
OF COURSE I AM KIDDING! The best time I had on this island was when it was just me and there was peace and quiet after I would get Scott lost in the woods for an afternoon. The kids who are back are just going on and on about how they saw a bear — I fucking KNEW there were goddamn bears out there!, or how they stumbled across a McDonalds' after following a road for a few miles and how they were so cool because they ate their Big Macs and then ran off without paying. I don't know how they could do this unless they held the place up since you have to pay first before you get your food. I'm sure even a retard like Jamie would be able to see past their made up stories. Oh yeah, and that tall kid in my cabin said he found a Canadian penny out in the woods. I possibly believe this story, as he did have a penny to show me. But he could have just been holding it up his ass this whole time and only pulled it out now to try and impress us that he found something in the woods. "Yay! I founds meself a Canadian penny in the woods! Yay! It's worth 1/2 a real American penny! Yay!" I would have said I found a dead hooker myself. THAT would have been impressive.
I don't want to sound like a whiner but I really can't wait to get home. Hopefully mom and dad will let me buy some new clothes as I think all the ones I brought with me were contaminated with the shittiness of the Canadian woods. This place sucks! Bob and Doug Mackenzie lied! This is NOT the Great White North!
(I'm sure the reason nobody was helping me with my "disease" was because my possible contagiousness probably gave them the ideal excuse to stay the fuck away from my bitchy, whiny, younger self.
I can vividly recall a bunch of guys getting back from the first group [the hikers] and them being seriously pissed off that I only had to do minimal labor while I spent a good portion of my time back on the island watching rated R movies over and over again. They hiked like 50 miles a day. Hey, assholes, don't get all pissy at me for my brilliance. I was just born that way.
And that tall kid's "I found a Canadian penny!" story! Bwa ha ha! He was so goddamn proud of that for some reason. He seemed normal enough, but he just wouldn't shut the fuck up about it just like I wouldn't shut up about eating fresh popcorn and ice cream while watching Good Morning Vietnam for the 5th time that day just before they all came back that evening. I think the hikers ran out of food on Wednesday afternoon.)
Entry #15 (July 14, Friday):
Not feeling much better today. Still feel just aweful. I don't feel like barfing anymore, but I really want this sickness to end! END! PLEASE GOD END IT!
I still feel bad. I knew He wasn't listening. Does He ever? Even while I suffer on this Catholic island singing and praying to his Godly ass all day long! Yes, I watched a few R movies while here, but like I had a choice. God can't hold that against me. I would have gotten bored if I didn't watch them! Isn't being bored being like the idle hands of Satan or something. So if I was bored I would have turned into evil. Then God would have two evil guys hating him. Satan and me. I don't hate God, I'm just annoyed that he let me get sick on this evil island. That's all.
Pancakes for breakfast. AGAIN. I guess pancakes are a big thing for the idiots who went on the hiking and canoeing trips and had to eat worms and bear shit for breakfast for a few days, but come on! I want some god damn Nintendo cereal, or at the least Captain Crunch! I would sell my soul now for a box of Lucky Charms! That gay leprechaun makes the best cereal. Dinner was some really gross stew that was mostly water on some hard noodles. They claimed it was beef stroganoff, but they are filthy liars. All my snacks are gone. I can only rely on their food now, and the camp food sucks. I really can't wait to get home.
(Wow! I forgot how much they actually DRILLED that "kiss God's ass" aspect into little kids' impressionable heads in the Catholic Church. I really thought God might read my little notebook and smite me for claiming that he had forsaken me when I was sick. I quickly try to point out "I don't haaaaate God," it's simply the situation that annoyed me... If God does exist, I really doubt he wouldn't have better things to do with his July 14th than read a little annoying snot's private camp notes over his shoulder.
Ah, then there's the complaints about the food. Granted, these were legitimate grievances, but I have no idea what I was expecting from this place, food-wise. Honestly, I think they just had the teenage camp counselors do the "cooking." This mostly consisted of them finding things in the pantry and throwing them onto the grill or into the oven. Sometimes they'd mix and match just to see what would come up. And I don't remember exactly when it happened, but let me assure you of one thing: The day my carefully packed snack supply ran out was a dark day indeed for me. The rest of my cabin rejoiced though because I had been so careful to only have one or two wafers or cookies a day, and my snacks far outlasted anybody else's. I guarded my snack tin like a fucking hawk too. The tall kid in my cabin tried to sneak some from me at one point, but I accidentally walked in on him (I had forgotten my Swatch or something and went back for it). Ever since that day the whole cabin thought I had some sort of 6th sense about my stash. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure that was another reason I didn't go on one of those long trips... I didn't want to leave my snacks unprotected from those who would have stayed behind. NEVER fuck with the Rossman's food!)
Entry #16 (July 15, Saturday):
I am FINALLY getting a little better, but I can still feel the sickness in my head and throat. This disease just will not die. I just hope I won't because of it. What if it never goes away?
The worst part about today was that they gave out the camp's biggest awards to the best campers. This really brought me down. They had our names put on small plaques around the whole mess hall, and I only got my name on the riflery plaque because I am such an awesome shot. But apparently because I didn't catch the biggest fucking fish in the lake I don't get anything for fishing or anything for being smart enough to NOT go out on a trip into the wilderness. Where was my "Smartest Camper for Not Being an Idiot and Camping in the Woods When He Didn't Have To" award?
Oh, and only 4 out of 36 campers were chosen for the Order of the Moose. I wasn't one of them, what a let down. They are going to do something big tonight. The councillors won't tell us what, and nobody else seems to know.
Oh well. Goodnight.
(Oh. My. God. I forgot what a complete douche I could be. I honestly thought I deserved my name on more of the plaques on the walls [they were just wooden plaques with tons of names painted on them]! What incredible GALL! I didn't play by any of the camp's rules, I talked back to the priests, I whined and bitched about everything... But I thought I deserved more. Well, maybe I did. I was becoming something of a legend by the end of my stay on that hell hole. I remember I actually had groupies before the whole thing was over. Some of the kids were intrigued with my selfish attempts to buck the system [they kept asking me things like "How did you get away with throwing that punch at the priest?" and "What was it like when you actually used an axe to cut down trees, and did the girl counselors wear sexy clothes when everybody else was off the island?"], and some [like the skin head] were simply impressed with my marksmanship.
Ahhhhh, the Order of the Moose... That brings back memories. The supposed "greatest achievement" that a camper at Owakonze could win... Of fucking COURSE I didn't get it, but I sat next to a kid on the way home who did. He told me all about it. That'll be on my last entry.)
Entry #17 (July 16, Sunday):
Nothing really today, but we had our camp skits at night. Each cabin had to put on a funny or entertaining skit for the rest of the camp and then they chose the best one. Cabin 14, ours, was a news broadcast. The skinhead interviewed somebody on the street to get their reaction to a group of kids who go to camp and end up missing. Even though that was my deepest and darkest fear I still laughed because the skinhead guy somehow snuck a frog into the gym and tried to put it down the person's shirt who he was interviewing. I still think we'll die up here even if this is the last night. Jamie and Jeff were the news anchors and they introduced each of our joke sketches. I was the weatherman and whenever they asked me if it was going to rain I had to pull my pants down. It was embarrassing, but they all laughed with me so it was good.
Our skit was the best in the show, it was the most like Saturday Night Live, although Cabin 5 pretty much just had their counsellor sing a song on his guitar about "that good old Baril Dew! And them that refuse it are few!" It was catchy, and it's still in my damn head!, but it was mainly just that older counsellor who sang it! The rest of Cabin 5 just maybe hummed or sang the chorus. That was bullshit! They should have been disqualified! We won the skit contest in the end, but it was still not right that they entered that song! I bet you that cousellor even wrote it the year before or something! There's no way they were able to put that whole thing together in 2 days! At this point I don't care any more. Tommorrow we go home!
(I totally remember that skit show. Cabin 14's news show was really dumb [and 75% of it was made up on the spot]. Yes, my role was to talk about the weather and how hot it was, and I just didn't have the foresight to understand why the rest of my cabin didn't want me wearing a belt, and why I had to borrow our counselor's funny, heart-covered boxer shorts underneath my pants until it was too late. No, I was not the one personally responsible for pulling my pants down on cue — thusly revealing the hearts [whenever Jeff or Jamie would stop what they were doing and ask me something like, "So, Ross, what's the weather like out there?"]... that was the skinhead's job, when he wasn't trying to make the kid with the wavy hair eat the frog he smuggled onto the stage of the log-cabin gym that we were performing in. I think he yanked my pants down 6 times that evening. Once he even tried his hardest to pull my two pairs of underwear with them, but my quick hands and a sharp kick to his neck made him give up on that.
The rest of the skits that night were just as under-rehearsed and terrible as ours. And if I remember correctly we did not in fact win "Best In Show." I'm positive that went to Cabin 5. Really, that was a pretty damn good song about drinking the crisp Lake Baril water. I still remember a decent portion of it to this day. And the harmony that everybody was able to hit during the refrain... They deserved it. Still, who was I trying to fool by claiming in my little Camp Diary that we had won? My old senile self in 50 years? My grand kids when they find my long-lost Camp Diary after I've died? "Oh, Ross IV! Look at this! Grandpappy actually won Best Skit in his summer camp back in 1989! I just KNEW he was more talented than his job at the Quick Stop led us to believe!"
UPDATE: Over 30 years later and I just got an email from another camper who was at Owakonze that summer. He only just found this page. Those Cabin 5 motherfuckers didn't even make that song up! They ripped off "The original Mountain Dew song." They should have been totally disqualified!)
Entry #18 (July 17, Monday):
Here we are, on the Road again, without shock absorbers. Atleast it's easier when you know everybody.
I did sit next to a kid named Will for the first 2 hours of this busride, and it turns out that Will got the Order of the Moose himself! I asked him what he had to do on Saturday night, but he said he could not tell anybody anything about it because he was sworn to secrecy because anybody he told might win it the next year and it had to be a surprise to them. That's when I grabbed his shoulders and said in a deep voice like a growl "I AM NOT COMING BACK TO THIS PLACE EVER. EVER!" So finally he broke down and told me about it. The 4 winners of the Order of the Moose were woken up and snuck away at like midnight, and then each placed on different shores of the lake with nothing but a camp fire that had already been set up. Will had to sit on a 15 foot rock cliff across the lake where they canoed him. Then they had to do whatever they could to stay up until 5 AM, when the counsellors got them and had them go to a mass at dawn. They were each supposed to think about Jesus and his sacrifices and all that stuff the whole time, but Will said that he mainly just thought about how he wished he brought his walkman and his tapes with him. Will said they were given some soda and candy to help stay awake, but that all that stuff was used up fast, and most of the other kids who won the Order of the Moose had burn marks on them at the mass. Will got his from putting his hands too close to the fire to stay warm, but he said other fuckers fell asleep and got burned. I tried not to laugh, but it was too funny. He said they also got a pin that said he was a soldier of God or something just as gay, but he lost it on the boat ride back to the shore this morning. Fuck the Order of the Moose! I am very very very glad I did not win it and have to throw myself in the fire to stay awake. Will also said they got pancakes and eggs for breakfast. This would have been nice, but fuck that! I didn't want scabbed hands like Will had for eggs! Mom will make me as many eggs as I want when I get home. Then I will make a bonfire out of my camp clothes to burn the grossness out of them!
At around ten o'clock tonight I looked out the front of the bus and I swear to God that I saw the full moon turn red and then start to split like a fertilized egg! It was weird, but nobody else noticed it. I will try and find out what it means when I get home.
I'll be home tomorrow morning and it will not be too soon.
(There's that witty "shock absorbers" gag again. Wokka wokka wokka!
I remember Will fairly well. He was as honest and sincere a person as you could ever meet. And if he told me the truth about the Order of the Moose then [and I think he did], well, that didn't sound much like an award to me. It sounded like the counselors just like fucking with the small fries. I can recall Will telling me that he and the other three award recipients were STRONGLY SUGGESTED to "pray to God" for those 5 hours alone in front of a raging fire on the shores of a wildlife-filled nature reserve in the middle of the night. Personally, I'D be praying like a lunatic that a bear or Freddy Krueger didn't eat me, but holy shit! That whole Order of the Moose thing was just cruel and unusual punishment.
That moon thing still freaks me out to this day. The full (blood) moon was close to the horizon, and it looked like it continuously got even redder as the night rode on even though it was rising; and then, very slowly, it began to divide right down the middle. Then again across its equator. I was transfixed by it and to this day don't know if it was a hallucination, or a dream, or real... I mean hey, that strange cloud formation that I tried to capture on film during my camping experience turned out to be a rarely seen phenomena that meteorologists only recently documented as being genuine... Maybe the moon really did turn into a giant, bloody embryo that night.)
(You have NO GODDAMN IDEA how happy I was when the bus pulled into that church parking lot that morning. I quickly jotted this last entry down and then pretty much shoved everybody else out of my way as I cut a path to the exit and then into the open arms of my parents waiting for me by our station wagon. I had NEVER been so joyous, exulted, satisfied, jubilant, and ecstatic to see anybody before or since. Even my sister Jaime being there — and acting all snooty because she didn't get to go — didn't bring me down any. More than that though, when we got back home I found that my mom actually DID buy me a ton of new clothes to make up for my "contaminated" ones that I had brought with me to the camp [that I swore I would never wear again]. Oh, and my dad even repainted my bedroom while I was gone. How's that for some great parents, huh? I'm a parent now and I'd just be like, "Your clothes aren't ruined from being in the woods, and the paint in your room is just fine. I ain't wasting my weekend painting that shit. Fuck that. Welcome home."
This is the part of any other story-teller's tale where the writer would talk about all that he learned, and the great experiences he had, with all his new friends-for-life that he bonded with over those many weeks in the wilderness at that summer camp on an island in the middle of a Canadian lake. I am not that writer. Yeah, that time at Owakonze became a HUGE chunk of who I eventually evolved into as an adult, but really, is there anybody out there who after reading all this thinks that's a GOOD thing?
My one and only regret (other than, you know, actually BEING FORCED TO GO to the camp) is that Hardees [or Burger King, or whatever] stopped their Ghostbusters 2 promotion before I returned stateside... I never did get a replacement Ghostbusting sound-making machine.
UPDATE: 25 years after that summer, my wife read my camping diary and then went on Ebay and found me some working Ghostbusters 2 sound-making toys! She's the fucking best!)
That's the end.