Sunday, July 6, 2014


On Friday I went camping. Or should I say, "camping." With finger quotes. Or maybe I should call it something else because I don't want all of my friends to jump down my throat and scream at me again for calling what I did on Friday "camping."

Look. I went into the woods. I sat around a campfire. I roasted marshmallows. I even set up a freaking tent. And when I say "set up a freaking tent" I mean "watched Val set up a tent while I complained that it was hot and that there was nowhere to sit."

No, I did not "stay the night." No, I did not, "sleep in a sleeping bag." No, I don't know why I'm "using quotation marks so much."

"So sue me."

I didn't do any of those things because UNCOMFORTABLE.

I know what it's like to sleep in the wilderness. You guys. I'm an Eagle Scout. I was forced into many week-long camping trips as a teenager, AGAINST MY WILL, to be a part of a program that I believe has looooooooong-since been totally infiltrated by lunatics.

How do I know they are lunatics?

BECAUSE CAMPING. Also, Boy Scout uniforms.

People were not meant to live in the outdoors. It's unnatural. Nature is not fit for human habitation. They should slap a sign on the front door of nature saying as much.

Things were getting pretty serious last week when I realized that Independence Day was upon us and I didn't really have any plans. My life has been more or less up in the air lately due to unexpected circumstances a few weeks ago. So a lot of plans that I had made are no longer "plans."

"Twice up the barrel, once down the side."

I was upset that I didn't have anything going on for Independence Day. Because I love Independence Day. What's not to love? First of all, IT'S AMERICA'S BIRTHDAY. Second, EATING. Third, 'merica. Hashtag USA.

I started scouting some options. I called tons of people to find out what they were doing. But everyone I called was like, "who is this?" And I was like, "Eli. Duh." And they were like, "Eli who?" And I was like, "you don't know me. I randomly found your number in a phone book."

And then none of them invited me to their plans to celebrate the birthday of the United States of God Bless America. Because I guess everyone hates America now.

Then I called Bob and Cathie.

Bob & Cathie: Hello?

Eli: Hey guys. So what's happening on Independence Day?

Bob & Cathie: We already have plans. Sorry.

Eli: Why do you appear to be assuming that I was calling to see if you wanted to hang out?

Bob & Cathie: Oh. We didn't really know why you were calling. We just thought that you probably wouldn't have plans.

Eli: I resent that VERY MUCH.

Bob & Cathie: Sorry.

Eli: It's ok. So what will you guys be doing.

Bob & Cathie: Oh probably just hanging out at home and doing nothing.

Eli: Can I join you?

Bob & Cathie: Didn't you hear us, boy? We already have plans.

Then I saw Val and I think I was making that face kids make when they look at the candy display through the window from outside and they find out that they can't go in and have any. So Val was like, "look. I'm going camping with my siblings. Just come camping with us."

And I was like, "OK! LET'S GO RIGHT NOW!!!"

And that's when I realized that things must have been really bad because CAMPING. Things in my life were so bad that I actually chose camping. Camp. Ing.

We were in the mountains for exactly 33 minutes before I got Val into the car to drive back to civilization with me to eat ice cream in an air conditioned facility. We spent about an hour and a half there when Val forced me back into the car to continue the camping.

Hours went by. We made tinfoil dinners. We roasted the marshmallows. We even told stories around the campfire.

Then it started getting late.

Eli: [Big yawn and stretching of arms] My oh my. Look at the time. I better get moving.

Val: And just where do you think you're going?

Eli: Home. It's late. I need to go.

Val: You're not staying here overnight?


Val: I thought you said you were going to camp with us.

Eli: I did go camping with you. And now the camping is over. So I'm going home.

Val: No. You didn't camp. It doesn't count as camping if you don't stay overnight.


Val: This for sure did not count.

Eli: You mean I just completely WASTED eight freaking hours in nature!? This didn't even COUNT as camping?!

Val: Look. I'm not the Boy Scouts of America. You don't need to fulfill a requirement for some merit badge. It doesn't really matter whether you went camping or not. I'm just telling you, it's misleading when you say you are going camping and then you go home to sleep in your own bed.


I think the Queen of Colors invented "camping." Hashtag America.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. This totally made my night! BUT when I read "Things were getting pretty serious last week when I realized that Independence Day was upon us and I didn't really have any plans." I read it as:Things were getting pretty serious last week when I realized that Independence Day was upon us and I didn't really have any PANTS. Honestly though I wouldn't have been surprised!!

    1. He was probably at a spa while thinking that thought... ;)

  2. We're going 'camping' this week. It will involve staying in cabins that have more amenities than my HOME. (I'm not telling the kids, but it has wi-fi. We're miles from town, and we will have wif-fi!!!)

  3. This is great! Just yesterday (as we were helping my husband unload fence panels in the great hot as heck outerdoors) I commented to my son that nature was for animals and there was no good reason for us to be outside. He agreed, but my husband still made us help. Boo.

  4. Aw, man! You should've called us! We had extra food 'cause two of my friends ditched me at the last minute and my husband cooked outdoors but we ate inside and we watched Napoleon Dynamite 'cause of how inspiring Rex's patriotic outfit is, and then set off fireworks and watched the neighbors' fireworks. Totally had plenty for you. Oh well. Camping is good for you too.

    1. I'm really kind of upset you didn't invite me. Geez!
      -Kipland Dynamite

  5. Haha, you should come visit us and go camping. We actually stay in a 5th wheel and sleep there, but we do cook outside and eat outside and have fires and roast marshmallows surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. The best is that we have an inside toilet and don't have to use "those"

  6. This entire post had me in tears.

  7. Haters gonna hate Eli! You are a camping hero to me!

  8. Can we please get to the real issue here. Why didn't Bob and Cathie want to hang out with you and why didn't they invite me over?

  9. So. You're what they call an "indoor person." I've met a few of you in my lifetime...

    I don't love sleeping on the hard ground where my back always finds the sharpest, jaggiest rock in all of creation...but I love camping. For one night. Nature is what makes it so great, Eli. Did you stop to look at the beauty around you? I'm pretty sure that nature is where God is.

    Anyway, maybe Val should've made you a fake merit badge, because I'm not sure you'd have noticed because MERIT BADGE.

    Were the smores at least delicious?

  10. I grew up camping too (although I never got a merit badge for it!) But as I have gotten older (even older than 30...) I realize I hate camping. So when people ask if my family wants to go camping we ask where the nicest cheap motel is, because after all, a cheap motel is camping (do you know how brave you have to be to stay in one of those motels???) By the way, the campfire did wonderful things for your hair--it looks amazing today!

  11. I never considered myself a "camping person" until I met my boyfriend, who comes with a 40 foot 5th wheel, complete with electricity, a hot shower, 3 TV's and a bed more comfortable than mine at home. Turns out, I can totally "camp". Who knew!

  12. I love camping. Really love camping but just car camping, not wilderness camping because NO BATHROOMS! I have spent every summer for the last 10 years dragging five of my children around all of North America and making them sleep in a tent. At first, because they were so young, they just found it super fun and then they got older and not so much. We've camped in nearly every state but after trying to camp in Georgia in the middle of the summer we learned that sometimes the hot does not turn off at night. We spent two nights suffering before we gave up and went to a motel with air conditioning. So even though we have visited every state, we haven't camped in every one. We also were supposed to camp at Yellowstone one summer but when we got there, there was SNOW ON THE GROUND! We do not do winter camping even though we are from Canada. Winter camping is just wrong. So instead of camping at Yellowstone, we left and went to Cody, Wyoming (cowboys!!) and rented a little hotel room with cowboy wallpaper and cowboy sheets and blankets and there was no snow but it poured with rain all night but we were dry because we were NOT CAMPING. After all those years of camping, whenever it rains really hard and we are inside looking out we always say "at least we aren't camping". See, camping builds character and makes you appreciate the indoors.

    1. Oh, and I forgot to say that the first thing my children do when we pull into a camp ground is check to see if the bathroom is nice. We have seen some very interesting State Park bathrooms. At one place in Utah, the bathrooms had no doors and no roofs, just a little maze to hide you from passers-by. But there were no passers-by, we were all alone. In Colorado somewhere, the bathroom had just been built and it was like a Wonderland, so big, so gleaming, so full of space and hot water and no bugs...we loved it. So, yeah, good bathrooms make all the difference.

  13. I HATE camping. My dad owns 4 acres of land...4 hours away from our house. It's just land that he doesn't do anything with because he uses it to house, no running water, not even an outhouse. It's AWFUL. A few years ago, he got a head injury on the job and is now on disability, so no one has used said property in over 4 years. Maybe my brother has, but I don't know. My dad now gets these obsessions (we can't ever ever mention the show Whale Wars to him because he will have you there for a solid 2 hours telling you his plans to get the guy arrested.) His latest obsession is ginseng. He wants to plant it all over the property. I was all, "Hey, it's your property, knock yourself out." Then, he tells me, "Oh, you and (brother) and (husband, who would probably die if we ever took him camping) are going to harvest it for me because I probably won't be around." I laughed. He was serious. I told him over my dead body, and my brother said the same. He looked to my husband for support, and he turned white. I think that was enough of a response. Luckily, 90% of his ginseng seeds have pretty much died.

  14. I'm gonna go ahead and officially invite you to my place for Independence Day next year. No, I don't know exactly where I'll be living (odds are somewhere in Virginia). No, I don't know what we'll be doing. No, I don't know who else is on the guest list (I will neither confirm nor deny rumors that Paul Simon will be there. But there are rumors.). But as a fellow Eagle Scout who was forced into bouts of camping, I can guarantee that it will be better than camping. Because camping.

  15. You and I should plan all the camping trips because that sounds just about right to me. S'mores and then home to a comfortable bed.

  16. How are you an Eagle Scout??

    And the only way I will camp is if we bring an air mattress to sleep on and a coffeemaker that will plug into the car. That's as much as I am willing to rough it.

  17. I am with you, Eli, camping is pure evil. OF COURSE it was invented by the Queen of Colors!!

  18. You're not crazy. I grew up in what seemed like a camp site as a child. We actually lived in a tent--FIVE OF US, with my brother still in diapers--while we built a house that had plastic walls and a blanket for a door for a whole SEASON in the 70s. We packed water. We used an outdoor shower. We have actually stories that revolve around "Remember that time the goat came in the tent??" We cooked outside in a lean-to over a Coleman Whatever It Was with those freaky little cans that you light and they cause heat or something. I have all the badges (and photos) to prove it. So for me, camping is NOT HAPPENING UNLESS IT'S IN AN AIR-CONDITIONED CAMPER WITH A WORKING SHOWER. Period. And it took me about 37 years to be able to do even "that". I'd have totally gone home, too.

  19. Camping is awesome. My favorite campground is the Grand America.

  20. I hate camping. I'm so glad I'm an adult and don't ever have to camp ever ever ever ever ever again.