A List of Names

I normally wouldn’t want to blog on my Day Off, but something happened yesterday that I couldn’t resist talking about.

So, as any Avodian would know, Mr. Davis always takes it up on himself to read the package list at lunch, and it often elicits some oohs and aahs when — for instance — a camper receives multiple packages or one camper gets one but his brother doesn’t. Well, on this particular day, PGD prefaced the reading of the list with the disclaimer, “I think this might be the longest package list in history.” It didn’t take long for the counselors in attendance to take the easy set-up and run with it.

As Mr. Davis read the first few names, the cheers and cat calls were mild, but pretty soon campers were hearing numbers after their names, and that’s when all hell broke loose. The list probably contained 30 names, and with each one, the Mess Hall slowly turned into the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. A set of brothers would go back-to-back, and we would erupt. A kid would get two or three, and counselors would rise out of their chairs like Dikembe Mutombo watching Dwight Howard dunk on a 12-foot rim. As the names kept dropping, the reactions got louder and crazier. By the end, I was knocking my chair over and feigning a heart attack. My co-counselor, Jake Dennis, and his buddy Josh Cohen were locking eyes every time and oohing like they’d just heard the most hilarious “Yo Mama” joke in history (which, in my opinion, is the one about sitting around the house). Others were begging Mr. Davis to stop, as if the list was getting too long and each name made their pain worse.

If you walked in off the street, you would think you had just entered an asylum. Almost 200 campers and counselors, ages 7 to 25, losing their shit over a simple list — a randomly-assembled collection of first and last names. But because we remembered the excitement that accompanies the receipt of a package from our parents, we were able to turn a simple announcement into an all-camp melee. And because the ritual of Mr. Davis reading the list is so familiar and he was in on the joke from the start, it was that much funnier and the definition of a uniquely Avodian moment.

And you look back on it ten minutes later and think to yourself, “Yeah, that was a little childish,” and you never mention it again. It was a momentary lapse in maturity that you wouldn’t want your girlfriend or friends from home to necessarily know about. But it’s okay, because in that brief time, it was okay to get a little silly. It was just us Avodians.

It seems like all my posts are littered with this phrase, but these are the moments that keep bringing me back to camp. These fleeting times we share as a camp are few and far between, and their irregularity is what makes them special. For a portion of a mid-day meal, it was acceptable to overreact to a list of kids receiving sandals, baseball gloves, batteries, and assorted snacks in a cardboard box.

For ten minutes, we allowed ourselves to get a little stupid…and somehow it felt like the smartest thing to do.

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3 Responses to A List of Names

  1. Barry M says:

    Corky these blog posts are fun…I hope they are frequent. Us old balls alumni like reading them.

  2. Seth says:

    Ya Corky you are a great writer, let’s get more filthy.

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review | The Summer of Zen

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