Now that we're into the spring and summer months, lots more people are starting to get involved in a variety of outdoor activities. I'm talking about things like sports, sunbathing, starting gardens, and the like. Most of these activities I can understand, and with most of them I can easily see the appeal. But there's one outdoor, spring/summer related activity that I just can't understand for the life of me. It's best brought forward for discussion by quoting a comment a close friend made to me the other day that went something like this,
'Ed, guess what? Me and Charlene and the kids, we're goin' camping this weekend!'
Camping...considering a list of things I really don't want to do, like have an operation, watch other people's vacation videos, kiss a woman with bad teeth, or listen to Perry Como, camping has to fall in there somewhere right close to the top. I hate camping, I don't understand camping, I don't want to understand camping, and here's why:
You have to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag. For the true camper, this is supposed to be fun, supposed to be one of the real highlights of the camping experience. Why? Sleeping on hard ground with maybe an inch or two of padding is fun? I would think that you'd wake up from six to eight hours of that all stiff and stove up. Sort of bent like a human pretzel. And don't even try to tell me that if you have a lady friend in the bag with you that it's better. Two grown adults sweating like pigs inside a sleeping bag while the male destroys his knees is something that I don't even want to think about. And God forbid if a sudden pain hits you around three o'clock in the morning while you're all zipped up tightly in that sleeping bag....
While you're out camping and sleeping on the ground, you're available for inspection by various and sundry forest creatures and animals. That's bad and potentially dangerous, if you think about it. What if a wolf or fox sniffs you out late one night, thinking you're a potential main course for its dining pleasure? Or worse yet, what if a snake slithers up and decides that it likes the warmth of your sleeping bag? Personally, if I woke up and realized that a snake was in there with me, I'd proceed to simultaneously release every single bodily fluid that I'm capable of manufacturing. And then some. And don't even ask me about the fun possibilities inherent if a squadron of fire ants happens to be close by in the area where you happen to be sleeping...
To me, there's something both nasty and cumbersome about having to haul a bunch of food and equipment out into the woods in order to eat it there. Throwing food into some coolers isn't the cleanest thing in the world to do, and look at what all you have to haul with you - either a gas grill that you have to have hooked up to some source of gas, or a conventional grill along with several bags of charcoal. And don't forget the lighter fluid and matches. On top of all that, if you happen to have some kids with you, the safety potential of this whole deal becomes even sweeter. And don't forget when you fire that grill up that all the smoke that wafts out from it sends a message to the afore-mentioned wolves and foxes and worse that are lurking around out there that's its supper time. Personally, I haven't managed to stay alive to this point of my existence by occasionally offering myself up as a snack for various fur covered predators.
These are only a few of the reasons I don't like camping. For me, the most vivid camping experience I'll ever consent to is spending the night in a Motel 6. Having to bend over in the shower to get my hair wet until my head is level with my stomach is about all the camping I'll ever need to do. And, if I really want to experience the call of the wild, I'll just visit their check-in desk at around two or three o'clock in the morning....
Ed's latest book, 'Rough As A Cob,' can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. He's also a popular after dinner speaker, and his column runs in a number of Southeastern publications. You can contact him via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his web site address at: www.ed-williams.com.