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The Campy ROSSMAN

A long long time ago, when I was an elementary school student, I was not, as the hip would say, "hip". I was not cool. I was not all that athletic. I was a brainiac though. A skinny little nerd. The last person in my class who you would have thought would go to summer camp. Summer camp, where the poison ivy flows like grapevines and the uphill hiking never stops. Why am I telling you this? Because I find it ironic that since I was top of my 8th grade class I got a full scholarship of sorts to attend a month long hell-hole disguised as an ever popular summer camp in the middle of the shitty Canadian wilderness.

Camp Owakonze (pronounced "oh-wah-kahn-zee") was the name of the place, and I swear that I shall never forget it for as long as I live this tortured existence. Why did I go if I didn't want to? I blame my parents. They used that whole "children must be well rounded" cliché crap on me and when that didn't work, they chloroformed my ass and threw me onto the bus before I could wake up and protest and kick and scream my way to freedom. It was a full 24 hour bus ride from St. Louis to Lake Baril, where Camp Owakonze was located on an island in the middle of. It only took 12 hours to get to the Canadian border, just to give you an example of how far into the middle of nowhere this place was. No matter how hard I look I still can't find the camp on a map. That's why I believe it only truly existed inside a portal to Hell.

Once there all us kids were shuffled into random cabins spread all over the island. I ended up sharing mine with a skinhead who believed in the "Ooga Booga Man", some retard who laughed uncontrollably when he was nervous (which, by the way, was every 45 seconds), a preppy loser who had everything but the family butler packed in his duffle bag, and some guy who looked like Skeletor with a drug addiction. The days were cold, the nights were uncomfortably sweltering and the lake (that we had to swim in and bathe in) was freezing. Freezing beyond the frigid and dark hearts that sat still and unbeating inside the counselors' cobwebbed chests. Plus it was always overcast. It reminded me of England only with even crappier food.

Okay okay, it wasn't all bad there. The island was pretty big, and there were some good sized playing fields and even an old, log gymnasium on it. The counselors' cabin even had electricity (and a TV/VCR combo along with plenty of porn which was good for satiating some late night viewing habits). Lots of frogs and turtles to hunt and huge fish to catch. Plus I learned how to shoot a gun (was pretty damn good at it too, so WATCH OUT!) and realized how totally and completely acrophobic I truly am at the hands of a literal ropes course held way up in the tippy top branches of the islands' tallest trees. That was a fun one, as the instructor had to climb up 50 feet to unhook me and basically carry my sorry soul back to terra firma while my co-campers laughed their butts off at me and called me "Chrissy Pissy"... Those assholes!!! Didn't they realize that I now knew how to shoot human shaped targets with a hunting rifle?!?!?!

Anyway, the almost worst part turned best part of the whole wilderness experience came about when every camper had to choose one of three "adventures" to go on. There were the hikers, the canoe-ers and the something-elsers. They got together into semi-large groups and then went off on their separate ways for a good week of pure nature survival HELL. I declined all three groups (I wasn't stupid! There were sasquatch out there. I could smell them!), and instead lived in a kind of luxury back on the island with the remaining counselors. I spent as much time as I wanted sleeping in, learning to chop down trees with an axe and hand saw like a lumberjack, eating deer jerky, and watching Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Good Morning Vietnam, and Big on the once forbidden VCR over and over again. I remember the kids from the hiking adventure thinking they were sooooo lucky and cool for finding a McDonald's out in the middle of nowhere and running off with a dozen hamburgers without paying some loser cashier.

The month-long experiment of madness came to a close with a horribly performed variety show put on by we/us, the campers. My cabin did a news mockumentary where I was the weatherman who kept forgetting his lines (not part of the skit) and the skinhead was an anchorman who ate a live baby frog and then dropped his pants and did the "Ooga Booga Man Dance" in front of everyone (completely ad-libbed). Somehow we lost first place.

The bus ride back home sucked pretty bad and I even hallucinated that the full moon always on the horizon split apart like a fertilized egg cell. That just about summed up the whole summer.

What did I think of My Summer at Camp Owakonze? After taking over a decade to try and forget about it I can now look back upon that summer of despair with just a little more exuberance and fondness... But not much more. I still have to give it a thumbs down for scarring me from the inside out with mental anguish and a bad case of the runs that is still apparent to this day.


The Always Summery SATAN

Damn it all! This has been bugging me for years now. I could have sworn that that evil Camp Owakonze would have destroyed and crushed the Rossman's spirit like a Dixie cup in a trash compactor! This is so disappointing.

See, back in '89 I was on one of my most evil evil-binges ever. I had just given up smoking and since Bon-Bons and good candy bars aren't allowed in Hell (just crappy ones like Almond Joy and Mounds) I was one hell of a bitter bizatch. I started fucking with mortals more than ever for some jollies, and the one act that I thought would damn my soul forever (if I wasn't already) was sending the Rossman away to that terrible terrible summer camp. Man, that place even scared me, and I've seen it all!

It appeared that the Rossman was off to a ball-stomping start during his first week there. He wasn't too happy about the giant mosquito thing or the traditional "steal the geek's undies and throw them in the outhouse pit" show that takes place every year. The second week I could have sworn that he was going to crack and start wetting his bed, but he surprised me and held strong even amidst the mystery meat Monday and green-shit-stew Wednesday. The third week, however, is when things changed. That is when the being known as Chrissy Pissy mentally and physically changed into the Rossman that we all know and hate today. Sometime between the Grape Nuts breakfast and the Flogging the Wuss contest on the main field, that's when he snapped like a twig under a sumo. The Rossman gathered the few remaining dorks on the island and taught them the lost art of Canuck camouflage and sneaky snipering. Then, very Lord of the Flies-like, they took out the chief bullies and counselors and a State of Rossman was declared. In doing so they turned their land into a fief of Rossondium. I was fairly impressed. Especially at how they eventually burned the island to the sea and blamed some stray US Air Force napalm planes for the incident. They got away scott free and then somehow blocked it all out of their memories. Right now the Rossman is the only living survivor of the peewee assassin group, and I'm very suspicious about the demise of his old co-patriots. Blender accidents? Run away steamroller trouble? Exploding Bubblelicious? I think not.

The Rossman's Summer Camp Experience turned out to be enough entertainment to last me all season. Plenty of evil to go around for the whole family! Though, I was disappointed that he didn't have as bad a time as I was hoping he would. For that I give it a thumb up and and thumb down. It was evil-lite.


The Totally Bitchin' AMY

The Rossman should have fucking DIED on that island.

I give the Rossman's Summer at Camp a finger-flicking salute. I don't even give a shit if he had a horrible time. The fact that he kept telling me about it when I told him I didn't want to hear it and even stuck a burning cigarette butt in his eye makes me sick.