Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sunburn Footnote 1

I spent several of my young summers at various child depositories masquerading as wilderness retreats. During all my years of summer camp, I only wrote my parents once. I had developed a couple of blisters during a forced march from the mess hall to the state-sponsored rifle range/planetarium. The terrain was pockmarked from the periodic landfall of mortar shells and a tunnel complex being daily expanded by the resident population of moles and gophers (also state-sponsored, genetically altered, and prone to hyperbole—liars every one). This rough and ready landscape was difficult to navigate and many campers slipped, fell or were otherwise laid low. We finished the march muddy, upset, and in my case, blistered.

I mentioned the blisters in passing, focusing instead on the porridge-heavy menu and my partial exclusion from the mile swim. My mother decided that the letter was an encoded plea for intervention on behalf of my ravaged feet. Although I had clearly explained the origin of the blisters, she sent a series of telegrams to the camp, demanding the release of her son (who she failed to name) and declaring in each that the methods of interrogation employed by the counselors were not only barbaric, but needlessly expensive.

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