*Don’t judge me too harshly for this one
Dumb Story #2: You’ll Never See This One Coming
When I was between the ages of 10-12, I used to attend a summer camp in Colorado called Sanborn Western Camps. This was a five-week overnight camp where we would do a variety of fun outdoor adventures like horse back riding, mountain climbing, hiking, and other adventurous things.
At camp, we would sleep in these big green tents with around six campers and a counselor in each tent (my sister was a counselor on the girls’ side of camp). Throughout the weeks spent at camp, campers had the opportunity to go on different expeditions of their choice. There were day long activities, where you would go out, do some fun thing, then come back and sleep back in your big tent. There were also two day, three day, even four day expeditions. These involved more intense activities including mountain climbing. I remember some of my big trips including climbing Mt. Sherman, Mt. Antero, and a few others. We would take vans out as far as we could, then hike into the area, pitch our own three person tents, and then climb the mountain the next day.
When not out on an expedition, we were spending time at the home camp doing activities like ultimate frisbee, day hikes, arts and crafts projects etc…Spending almost everyday in a large, yet confined, tent made us very close with our tentmates. And every year I found great friendships. As many of you have probably experienced (or maybe not if you are more civilized than myself), when you become really close with people oftentimes that friendship manifests through giving each other a bunch of shit. We would mess with each other all the time by playing pranks on each other, making fun of each other, you get the point. So this is where our story begins…(please don’t judge me too harshly for what is about to pursue, I was young and dumb and still live with the guilt all these years later)
For one of our two day expeditions, my friends and I all decided to go together on the same trip. I’ll be honest, I can’t even remember what the purpose of the trip was as what is about to happen is implanted in my brain, and I will never be able to override it. The first day we spent our time hiking out to the campsite. It was not a particularly long or grueling hike. We arrived at our destination around mid-morning or early afternoon. It didn’t take long to pitch our tents (I was sharing a tent with two of my best friends at camp during the time). After the tents were up and lunch was eaten, the counselors in charge of the trip offered up an optional afternoon hike. One friend of mine and I decided we were good for the day and wanted to stay at the campsite and play tag or ultimate frisbee, whatever the activity would be. My other friend decided a hike would be fun and took up the counselor’s offer for a hike, so he headed out with a group of kids on a short afternoon hike.
Now, this friend of mine who decided to go on the hike would not be considered the cleanest or most organized kid at camp (coming from me that’s saying a lot). So, despite the fact that we had been at the campsite for maybe an hour or two, the contents of his pack were strewn all over the tent floor. My other friend and I were in the tent about to play cards, but we needed a clean playing surface. So we started to shove our friend’s stuff to his side of the tent. And that’s when we saw it: his bright white, teeny tiny, tightie whitey underwear. I mean we were 12 year old boys, could we not grab them and laugh at him about them? (The answer of course is yes, of course we could have not made fun of him, but that’s not how our friendship worked). I decided to be the bad guy, and when he returned to camp, I was going to make sure he knew that we found his underwear (as I write this, I just can’t stop thinking about how stupid this is).
Fast-forward a few hours and I see the hiking party returning. At long last my incredible moment of making fun of my friend has arrived. I see him in the distance with the counselor walking up our way. I don’t care that he’s with the counselor, I can’t help myself I need to laugh at my friend’s expense. I shout at him, waving his underwear in the air, “I think you forgot your underwear!” I’m laughing, my other friend is laughing, but our hiking friend is still too far away. So I shout a little louder, everyone in the camp can hear me. The entire camp’s attention is on my friend. All eyes drawn to our fallen comrade. As my hiking friend and the counselor approach closer, I notice the counselor’s arm is around him. I notice tears in my friend’s eyes. My jaw drops. The underwear drops. Chills of guilt and embarrassment run through my skin. I feel like I’m on fire. I will never forget the feeling. I think to myself, it was just a joke. This friend had pulled much worse pranks on me. Still, the look of severe pain on his face, the tears in his eyes, how small in that moment he looked will stick with me forever. I go up to apologize. When I start apologizing both my friend and the counselor have no idea what I’m talking about. They look at me quizzically when I mention underwear, and I even see a small smile cross my friend’s face at the word underwear (we were 12, the word underwear was funny then for some reason). Neither of them had heard me yelling about the underwear (although after I told the counselor about it, he gave me a stern talk later that night). It turns out my friend was kicked by a horse.