January 24, 2007

When I was five, I went to summer camp at the Jewish Community Center. On the first day all the campers were divided into groups, each led by a counselor; our first task was to choose an animal name for our group. I was thrilled that the other campers in the group saw the genius of my suggestion that we call ourselves the Golden Eagles (I really wanted to use the appropriate scientific name, Aquilae chrysaetoi, but even I knew better than to try to foist that on the other campers). The rest of the first day of camp was delightful in all respects, and I went home fully satisfied.

Then, that night, I had an epiphany.

Before the Golden Eagles’ counselor could convene the morning meeting, I explained that I had something very important to say. I had realized the night before, I explained, that although the Golden Eagles was a fine name for our group, the perfect name had been staring us in the face the whole time, and we really needed to be called the South American Giant Anacondas.

Our counselor squelched this idea even before I could insist that it be put to a vote.

The summer went downhill from there.

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16 Responses to When I was five, I went to summer camp at the Jewish Community

  1. Kenny says:

    When I was eight–and for several years before and after–I attended summer camp. That summer, we were also to choose group names, and my suggestion (which was first and last, due to its brilliance) literally was staring me in the face. “Sonitrol” was the company that provided the security system for the elementary school out of which this camp was based, and I thought it was the best possible name for a bunch of rising third graders. I was so creative back then.

    The real fun, however, came when we had to write our group song. “We Are Sonitrol” (sung to “We Are the Champions”) was also my idea. Ah, youth. Thanks for triggering that memory!

  2. anapestic says:

    A prophet is never appreciated in his own home town.

  3. Lauren says:

    Yeah, no one else wanted to name my school sports teams The Fighting Nuns, either.

  4. John says:

    Obsessed with phallic symbols even at 5, eh? You *were* a precocious tyke, weren’t you?

  5. Jere says:

    And then you had sex…

  6. David says:

    Saw your first erection that night, did you?

  7. Andy says:

    When I was a kid I was in the YMCA Indian Guides. We had a “ceremony” at one of the early meetings to select our “Indian” name. I don’t remember what my name was, but my father had to miss the meeting because of work, so I picked his for him: Bald Duck. He never quite forgave me for that.

  8. will says:

    At age 5 I’m guessing “Earthworms” would have been a more appropriate name.

  9. Logan says:

    I was never five (which might be for the better since it sounds like it could have been disappointing).

  10. Will says:

    You did realize from all this that you were going to grow up gay, didn’t you?

  11. campbell says:

    No. Sorry. I refuse to buy that story at all. Not even you, Faustus, at the age of 5 would know the scientific name for the Golden Eagle nor, indeed, get it into the correct plurals in 2 dead languages. In fact I am surprised that you have forborne to point out the solecism of mixing Latin and Greek in the same phrase.

    My credulity just went TWANG!

    But I agree Anacondas is a much more interesting name.

  12. campbell: Ah, but you are not allowing for the possibility of research. The set of National Geographic animal cards I had received as a Christmas gift listed the animals’ scientific names, both singular and plural. Though I would love to claim that as a child I knew by heart the genus, phylum, species, etc. of every member of the animal kingdom, to do so would be disingenuous.

    I will admit, however, that it’s possible I was six when this happened. In my senescence my memory isn’t so good.

  13. goblinbox says:

    I was a Blue Bird. Blue Birds “fly up” to be Campfire Girls. At my ceremony, I had to be moved three or four times because wherever I stood the smoke inundated my little frame. My eyes stung, and my lungs hurt, and my nose was running. I didn’t enjoy it. A woman I didn’t know, seated near the fire, whispered kindly up to me the last time I was moved, “Smoke always goes to beauty, hon.” It was probably the nicest thing anyone had ever said to me, and remains so to this day.

  14. XLibris says:

    Shermy and Mr. Peabody would like you to return the Wayback Machine. Overuse of nostalgic boyhood memories is a violation of the rental contract. Sheesh. You’re not even 40 yet!

  15. Peter says:

    senescence. Thanks for the new word!

  16. pipe says:

    What: Boy Scout Troop 74

    Where: Twin Falls, ID (yeah, I know)

    When: Likely sometime in 1976

    We named our patrol “The B. Toadflax” (google it). We were that nerdy. I’m not sure I’m over the shame to this day.


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