Camping—the great American pastime—especially on three day weekends. I tried to find the percentage of Americans who camp over Memorial Day, but came up with nothing. But here’s my statistic: A whole stinking lot of ‘em—that’s how many citizens of the US of A are camping right now.

Seventy-five people from my church, including friends and friends of friends, are camping right now. I abstained. Gave them the shut out. Exercised my God-given free will and elected not to go.

And though I’m now a little sad that half the state of Arkansas is camping together and no doubt having a grand old time without me, I know it is for the best.

I. Do NOT like to CAMP.


I said it.

I don’t.

I’ve done my time. Tangoed with mosquitoes. Burnt marshmallows over a roaring fire. Got steamed like a bag of rice while sleeping in a tent in the summer heat. Or held on for dear life as the wind swayed my camper in a storm, and prayed that God’s glorious surrounding pines wouldn’t smash my shelter like a Coke can.

My friends and church-mates go camping every year. And part of their pre-camping preparations include harassing me for days at a time about my lack of participation. We campless ones are an unspoken minority in this land of the free. I will not tolerate it anymore. Campless ones, unite! My name is Jennifer Jones, and I do not like to camp. I don’t like to rough it. And I don’t like peeing over a hole. Naysayers, you harassers of innocent non-campers, stand down. We will not take it anymore.

Since I am not partying it up lakeside, I had the time to compile a list of reasons you, too, can use if you find yourself discriminated against. Use them with my blessing and sympathy.

Excuses to give for not camping: (For maximum effectiveness, please utter statements below with fierce face and stern voice.)

1. “The existence of Big Foot is still up in the air, and given the fact that your last boyfriend/girlfriend kind of resembled him, I really don’t want to risk it. He/She could be following your scent.”

2. “When campsite toilets flush and have soap, then I’ll consider it.”

3. “Sleeping in a sleeping bag is just an open invitation to skunks to invade the tent. Spray me now, while I’m wrapped up like a burrito and rendered immobile.”

4. “I have no place to plug in my flatiron.”

5. “You want me to bathe where???”

6. “Because I’d rather stay home and read___________.” (Insert name of really big, intimidating book here. I recommend: War and Peace, The Odyssey, the complete works of Shakespeare, or The Bible—in Hebrew.)

7. “No, I don’t want a hot dog. I know what they’re made of.”

8. “The Israelites camped for 40 years. I owe it to them, as their descendent, not to make that 40 years and one night. Newsflash: The promised land was found. And it now has electricity.”

9. I find the quality of toilet paper in the Johnny-on-the-Spot abrasive. I insist on two-ply!”

10. “Do you hear that noise? That’s the sound of a mosquito giving me West Nile. Are you happy now?”

You get the idea. Come up with a few on your own, but take heart, shunners of the camp ground. It is OKAY to not want to camp. It’s OKAY not to WANT to sleep with rocks sticking in unmentionable places. It’s OKAY not to want to wake up in the middle of the night, sweating in your Artic-ready sleeping bag, convulsing in a panic because you can’t unzip yourself and get free to breathe.

We are the Non-Campers. And we will be silent victims no more.

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Rhonda - May 28, 2007

You can always try your front yard–you’re already showering there. Why not try sleeping out there, too. Invite all your friends over–I’m sure your neighbors would love that. At least you’d be close to a bathroom (that flushes).

Heather - May 30, 2007

I would just like to inform you that the bathroom situation was so disgusting this year I actually did vomit. Profusely. Not attractive. Be glad you are a rebel with a cause. If we go back to that place next year, I just may stay at your house with you instead.


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