I don’t really consider myself a “sportsman,” even though I love sports and watch the Yankees and Giants religiously. By that I mean that I pray quite a bit, and sometimes I might even use the Lord’s name in vain, because it never does any good.
I’m not a fisherman because I don’t eat fish, and I remain dedicated to making sure that the opposite is not true either. I know how to scale a fish, but only in Photoshop. As a hobby, fishing doesn’t seem that much safer for the fisherman than it does for the fish. I was just reading the other day that a man was killed by a swordfish. I can’t remember where this happened, but if it was at a restaurant it’s even worse, especially when it came time to figure out who should pay the check.
I don’t hunt because I don’t particularly like killing things. Yes, I may have to swat a mosquito, but at least I offered it a last meal: my arm. As a precaution, my thoughts and prayers go out to the mosquito’s family during this difficult time.
So, I’m quite the indoorsman, but I do think it’s fun to go camping every once in a while. I’m not talking about hiking deep into the Adirondacks with a backpack and a two-man pup tent, or even a two-pup man tent. The only thing I can rouse any support for is a family-friendly resort campground two miles from the Jersey shore, with a pool, electricity, WiFi and tiled bathrooms.
We bring a queen-sized air mattress, two fans and an electric cooler. Since we don’t bring a blender for margaritas, we are technically “roughing it.”
At the tent clearing, it’s time to set everything up. I was never in the Boy Scouts, so I’m pretty much self-taught. I rig up some tarps in case it rains, using ropes and some knots I kind of made up myself. I make a loop, then another loop, add some of my hair and two fingers and BINGO! I have a hairy knot with two fingers in it, and that tarp is not going ANYWHERE, and neither am I.
That evening we relaxed around the campfire, drinking fresh coffee from the Avalon Dunkin’ Donuts. What fun it is to tell tall tales over the crackling flames. I couldn’t remember any tall tales, so I just used some “alternative facts” I got off Trump’s website. Communing with nature is a restorative experience. There was a Yorkie two campsites over that communed all day and all night, and I wish I could have zipped it up inside a sleeping bag.
We didn’t see any exotic wildlife but there was a guy with a really hairy back at the pool. I didn’t shave either; that’s one of the great things about living in the wilderness. At the end of the four days I looked like a mountain man with the full beard of an eighth grader. I let my grammar go to hell, the way nature intended it, and didn’t even bring one apostrophe on the trip.
I’ll be honest here, women sometimes aren’t as into the great outdoors as men are. Women tend to overlook some of the conveniences of camping. Not shaving, for instance, holds less allure for them. Also, the fact that cooking breakfast on an open flame is a time-saver when it comes to burning the toast, which usually takes five minutes or more using a toaster.
Before the trip I asked my wife if she would be able to blow up the air mattress, and she said yes, if she could find some dynamite. I asked if she remembered how to pitch the tent. She said she was pretty sure she could pitch it into the neighbor’s yard while I was asleep, but if she does at least my neighbor Paul could figure out how to put it up. I figured I may have to bivouac there for a few days if the camping trip went haywire.
Please join Rick and the Trashcan Poets, Friday Sept. 8, at the Winery at St. George, 1715 East Main St., Mohegan Lake.
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