Camp and Change

So my daughter Casey leaves for three weeks of sleep-away camp this weekend.

I’m sad, but not quite as sad as last year. She was just a girl of 8 at the time, departing for SEVEN full weeks. It was long, hard, awful, and when she returned home I was as happy as I’d ever been.

I digress.

Earlier today the wife and I were talking summer camp, and how one of the beauties is that—by leaving home—a kid can be whoever he/she wants. In other words, upon arriving at Camp Whateveryoucallit, you’re no longer the geeky non-athlete who struggles with the girls. You’re your own definition. You can present yourself as smooth, as smart, as wild, as fast, as loose. You are your own dictionary—write at will.

At least that’s what people tend to think.

Truth is, we are who we are. I remember going to camp, determined to be the cool-as-a-cumcumber jock who strutted with a swagger. I didn’t much like myself, and saw summer camp as an escape. It never really came to pass, however. As much as I tried to fit into a new persona, my old persona was the real one. I never kissed a girl back home and I never did so at camp. I was never a basketball star at home, and I wasn’t one at camp, either (though, I must say, it didn’t hurt my hoops production to be a tall kid at a Jewish camp). I wasn’t particularly intelligent, or funny. I just sorta existed.

There was no escape. Sigh.