Over Easy: Grown-ups need summer camps too

  • Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

For the Valley News
Published: 7/12/2019 10:00:18 PM
Modified: 7/12/2019 10:00:06 PM

After a ridiculous spring that seesawed between chilly and soggy and delivered so much pollen it could have been woven into door mats, someone has turned on the stove burner that is summer.

Time for summer camp! Just as youth is wasted on the young, so is camp. Kids get relief from the heat and their “responsibilities” — minding their smartphones, whining about minutiae (Mommmmmm! Daaaaaaaduh!) and sleeping in like Rip Van Winkle.

But what about adults? From the perspective of a seasoned grown-up (and onetime child) I would say that mortgages, car payments and office politics are plenty stressful.

Adults are the ones who need a break, and summer camp could be just the ticket. It would be swell to say goodbye boss and hello to:

■ Dad Joke Camp. What’s better than a lame dad joke? A lame dad joke delivered with perfect timing! Learn such gems as “What do you call a dog that can do magic? A Labracadabrador.’ Or, “What did the horse say after it tripped? ‘Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t giddyup!’ ” Dad, put those groans behind you. After Dad Joke Camp, your captive audience in the back of the SUV will be moaning for more.

■Phone Camp. Some people can’t put their phones down. At Phone Camp they won’t have to. Campers will do the usual camp stuff, but with their precious smartphones always at the ready. Sing She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain while checking Facebook. Canoe across Lake Runamuck while checking email. Explore the Social Media Swamp (newly renamed) while tapping through Twitter. After days of practice, campers will take on the ultimate challenge: One-Handed Archery. Can you hit the bulls-eye while snapping a selfie? (Liability waiver a MUST.)

■ Senior Ailments Camp. Gather around the Commiseration Campfire and share tales of knee replacements gone wrong, misdiagnosed back pain, all manner of blundered bladder procedures. Healing isn’t everything. Sometimes people of a certain age just want to be listened to. Extra time will be scheduled for activities so campers can explain in excruciating detail why they can’t do them.

■Virtual Reality Camp. Retreat to the bucolic woods and don a mask that will allow you to virtually spend your days fighting street battles in violent, ugly cities. Why do this at a rural camp? To get away from people who ask why’d you’d retreat to the bucolic woods and don a mask that will allow you to virtually spend your days fighting street battles in violent, ugly cities, of course.

■Affirmation Camp. You’re terrific, great, swell — tremendous, too — at Affirmation Camp, where you’ll be encouraged from sunup to sundown to be your best self, which is pretty darn fabulous already. A low-cost option, Pretty Good Camp, will shower you with discounted affirmations like not so bad, passable, could be worse. The difference between the programs might seem unfair, but have you been paying attention to things lately?

New Yorker Reading Camp. Catch up on the dozens, maybe hundreds, of unread issues that are creating wobbly, menacing piles — or inducing reader guilt over untouched copies. New Yorker Reading Camp will ease into the day with cartoons and “Talk of the Town,” and gradually work up (after swimming, cocktails and naps) to essays concerning postmodernism, pedagogy, epistemology and, finally, the Trump Administration. Due to the political sensitivities of New Yorker readers, trained counselors will be standing by — and not the sort depicted in New Yorker cartoons.

■CBD Camp. According to online science, CBD oil, an active ingredient in cannabis, but not the one that makes you say “oh wow, man,” is good for aches and pains, blue moods and existential dread. At CBD Camp, you’ll use the marvelous mystery oil in or on sore knuckles, cowlicks, baseball gloves, omelets, small engines, squeaky bunk springs and, of course, mosquito bites. CBD martinis will be served daily at 5 p.m. precisely. After one or two you’ll feel like 21 again.

■Choose Your Own Presidency Camp. Campers in the Red State quadrant will listen to nightly recorded addresses from Fox News’ Sean Hannity on a mammoth screen. They will learn that they are living in the best of times and, if not, it’s Hillary’s fault.

Campers in the Blue State quadrant are already certain they are living in the worst of times. They will be entertained each evening by left-wing theater people (not in short supply) who will present scenes from an imagined Hillary Clinton presidency. Between the two camps there will be a wall. It will be big, tremendously so.

■Nothing Doing Camp. Dilly-dally, lollygag and goldbrick to your heart’s content. Enjoy the Shoot the Breeze Tent, the Aimless Arts and Crafts Center, the Maybe Someday Fitness Complex. It might seem odd to pay good money for a camp like this, but the art of doing nothing is in precipitous decline.

People are goal-setting before breakfast. Bucket lists are so ambitious they might work us to death before we’re halfway done.

Hold off on Machu Picchu. Look up at the clouds floating by in that perfect blue sky right overhead. Stay home and enjoy Upper Valley Camp. You don’t even have to move a muscle.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.




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