Remembering the summer of 08, not 09.


I recently found a video disc of the second assembly I created while I was video teacher at the summer camp that I used to work at. I had not seen the presentation since it last shown to over two hundred people after an intense game of one hundred and fifty boys between the ages of 8 to 15 beating the snot out of one another. My boss gave me a lot of creative freedom that summer with the way that the other counselor and I ran the program. We only had about three actual rules.

1. No excessive violence

2. No disturbing themes

3. While the boys are allowed to play female roles, they are under no circumstances to fashion an apparatus to make their bodies resemble the female anatomy. Translation: the boys can’t give themselves boobs. Which some of them actually attempt, summer camp is a crazy place.

While watching the video assembly, two thoughts came rushing back to me. 1) How did I not get fired? and 2) How did I get invited back for the next summer? Here are some of the highlights of my tenure at camp.

1. The opening movie of the assembly was three minutes of four twelve year-olds, myself, and my co-counselor, Auteur, mucking about the video hut because it was too rainy to film that day. Key scenes included the boys beating up Auteur for a bag of Skittles (they aren’t allowed to have candy), a long shot of me attempting to stick my tongue in a fan, and a boy slouched in a corner playing a game with the voices in his head.

2. I let another group of twelve year olds make a movie about a candy man (i.e. drug dealer) who often captured his clients who fell behind on their payments. Who played the candy man? My own little brother, “Blondie”. Watching your twelve year old brother stalking around in a raincoat threatening to kill people is a new low. The climax of the film is the only other character still alive forcing the candy man’s head under a facet and brutally brushing is teeth.

3. A group of nine year olds wanted to do a skit about an overly intense game of checkers. This was a harmless enough premise, until I let them run hog wild with it. I played the character of the doctor, as the new starting premise was a boy severly breaking his leg. The film was punctuated with constant brawls breaking out over captures and attempted cheating. Up until my character broke up the game, suddenly informing the players telling them their friend was dead. I also snapped a kid’s neck in the closing credits (his idea believe it or not) and he sold it like a champ.

4. I don’t know how four ten year olds convinced me into letting them do a murder mystery. Perhaps I should get my head examined. The final scene of the short was the actual killer shooting and killing the bumbling detective, execution style.

5. Then another group of nine and ten year olds did a film about an talking humanoid cat. The cat, named Mr. Fluffybottom, has his guns confiscated after he gets caught smuggling kitty treats from Cuba. The cat joins the NRA and almost immediately accidently kills one of his henchmen.

6. Two thirteen year olds attacking each other with brooms until they fall into the lake.

7. A pair of twelve year olds asked me if they could make a movie that would just screw with everyone’s mind. I proposed that they make a post modern noir in the French vein. Here’s an actual exchange from the movie: “I heard it’s going to rain tonight. Did you bring your snow boots?” “I have six dollars and a quarter.”

8. Continuing in the vein of candy as drugs, another group of twelve year olds did a video about rehab for candy addiction. The leader of the candy rehab was a hoodie-wearing, third-person speaking bully the name of Bo. Bo was trying everything he could think of to break the protagonist, Lester’s addiction to candy. Things like electric shock treatment and rooming him with unique room mates (i.e. psychopaths) played by myself and the Bear.

9. Five nine and ten year olds tried to create a slasher flick. The result was so disturbing, that the Bear and I pulled the plug on the project. Favorite line of the movie, “”I’m going to rip out your intestines” in happy clown voice.

10. There was also a movie called “Ninja Hockey”. I will never discuss again this movie for as long as I live.

Yes, this is my life.


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