Let me start with my conclusion. If being miserable is your idea of having fun then camping is for you!
For those of you who have not recently succumbed to the urge to forfeit all modern convenience as I have so you can get back to nature; I feel obligated to prevent you from inflicting the same trauma on yourself. Here goes my best effort to bring you to your senses.
If the great outdoors are so great then why did we have to invent air conditioning, recliners, and toilet paper? I feel compelled to point out none of these are naturally occurring. On the other hand, poison ivy, mosquitos, and gnats are why our predecessors opted to vacate caves and the out-doors to habitate ‘houses’. To entertain the notion of reversing all apparent progress of civilized life under the guise of recreation is in of itself, a declaration of instability. I must caution you, repeated instances of temporarily deranged behavior such as camping could be used as evidence in contesting your mental fitness.
A casual observation of any typical group from an overnight foray into wooded bliss ought to convince any sane man of the lack of merit of the concept of roughing it, regardless how idyllic it may be presented. What are the symptoms of camping? Blood shot eyes, weary expressions, thousand-yard stare, lugging lumbering packs of unnecessary gear, sunburn, mosquito bites, swatting at mosquitos that are no longer there, grit-in-hair, extreme cases of lethal morning breath, disintegrating levels of personal hygiene, various levels of debilitating skin rash covering significant portions of the body …if you note any combination of these signs, seek medical attention rapidly.
This type of mental degeneration can be safely alleviated vicariously by watching repeated episodes of Man vs Wild until your sanity slowly returns. Let go of any idyllic delusions of camping you may be harboring or you too may find yourself exiled in a primitive state of self-imposed discomfort. This is not to imply that camping is entirely without merit. Students of anthropology should take note. One overnight excursion starts a reverse evolutionary process that turns a former civilized man into something that closely resembles his Neanderthal predecessors.
Upon review I can no longer lump camping under the category of ‘recreation’ and should be immediately re-classed as a form of flogging or other type of self-denigrating abuse.
Here are a few of my observations gleaned from painful prior departures from reality. These observations make up some of the unwritten rules of camping. Perhaps you may wish to add a few I have overlooked?
- No matter where you sleep, there will always be a root under your back. If one is not there, one will migrate beneath you by the morning.
- The more desperately you need to sleep, the harder it is to get anyone to go to sleep. In fact, you never actually ‘sleep’ on a camp-out, you just suffer until you pass out from exhaustion.
- Otherwise sane people become irrational and self-injurious when isolated out in the woods. Common sense and self-preservation, apparently both are not an innate sense of man and dwindle rapidly the longer you spend out-of-doors.
- One “I dare you” trumps every sense of self-preservation we thought we may have had at one time. The more dangerous a stunt becomes, the more inclined someone is to attempt it without regard to obvious peril. Observation has prompted me to conclude that the collective IQ of a group of drops exponentially the more of them there are.
- Everything has a purpose. Fire exists to generate copious amounts of smoke that relentlessly pursue your burning & watering eyes like a tomahawk missile. Sand & water exist to attach themselves to every surface. Sand is not now nor will ever be an accepted condiment to any cook out or camp fire cuisine.
- Everything you want to see before you step on them, all those pesky little creepy-crawly critters, wait until after dark to come out so you can’t possibly see them before you step on them.
- Get a bunch of guys in the out doors and they behave worse than girls. What do I mean? They all act like first graders trying to act like third graders. They want to stay up all night. To do what? Talk about nothing! Then you tell them to go to sleep and all they can do is to giggle like little girls until 3 A.M.
- Man’s precarious grasp of mental health is no match for one persistent mosquito or gnat to push him over the edge of mental breakdown, leaving him a deranged shell of his former self.
These are merely a few. We haven’t even mentioned the not-so-docile inhabitants of the wild, upon whom you are intruding into their domicile. In the event of face-to-face encounters with wilderness beasts that do not share your insipid Disney-esque view of nature, beware! In case you come in contact with any gentle woodland creatures, my advice is to get the Zippity-doo-dah out of there before it bites you in the keister.
Nature is not ‘natural’, it itches, it stings, it bites. As a prior victim of nature on many occasions I can attest to this. Go ahead and commune with the mosquitos and the fire ants! Take your shirt off and roll around in the grass, then go break out the calamine lotion. Think about it you over-civilized buffoon. Nature is always trying to kill you! Earthquakes, floods, storms, volcanoes, predatory beasts… need I go on? Air conditioning and recliners are not natural, which come to think of it makes me a huge fan of un-nature!
Fellow victims of nature, unite! Join with me. I say those ‘back to nature’ purists are a menace to themselves and normal people who aren’t ashamed to admit they enjoy air conditioning and padded sofas. There is a word for people who don’t live in homes; they call them ‘homeless’.
All of which brings me back to my original conclusion; If being miserable is your idea of having fun, then camping is for you.