Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Great Outdoors

As a kid, my parents took us camping nearly every summer growing up. We got to sleep in tents, cook over an open fire and pretty much run amok in the woods like the little wild hellions my brother and I were. I loved everything about it, right down to the bugs (except that time in Chincoteague Island with the swarms of black flies. That shit SUCKED.) I was one with nature.

 I'm the smaller boy.

While my love of sleeping in tents and enjoying the beauty of nature has not changed, actually doing it kind of has. It wasn't that I grew out of it, exactly. It was just that as I got older, I started to realize a thing or two.

Well, one, really. Out in the woods, opposable thumbs and a smart mouth did not secure my spot of number #1 in the Top of the Food Chain hierarchy. I suppose my dawning sense of mortality combined with a few frightening bear encounters pretty much made me think that perhaps sleeping in a nylon sack with glorified bendy straws for poles isn't exactly... "safe".

 Quite possibly one of my biggest fears...

Not that this has stopped me from doing it, of course. Every once in awhile stupidity wins out, like that time I thought it was perfectly reasonable to be wandering around Chinatown at two in the morning. Drunk. By myself.

That being said, ML and I are heading up to the Finger Lakes next month to spend a week in the woods with some friends. However, we're not doing the nylon sack and bendy-straw-poles thing this time, because we're grown-ups and there's just not enough room for all the booze we plan on bringing. This time, we're playing it classy and rented a house. On a lake.

On a lake. Oh. Fuck.

Fuck it. I'm not leaving the house.

If there is one type of the place where the human ranking plummets when it comes to Top of the Food Chain, it's bodies of water. For example, oceans may be beautiful but those waves are just a rhythmic Siren's call of death. Who knows what the fuck lurks under that murky water?

I do. My bloated, blue-lipped demise, that's what.

Not only are there all sorts of things that could potentially eat my limbs off, like sharks and the Loch Ness Monster, there are also a shit load of other things that will sting the ever loving fuck out of you or bite you and make your skin fall off in sheets or something.

Aww, look it's so cute-- OMG IT'S EATING MY FACE!!! I'm staying in the house. 

Plus, you can't do basic things in the water that I really, really like to do, like breathing. I don't know about you, but that's fucking important shit to me. I like taking breaths and not having my lungs fill up with water.

Even worse?

Bathing suits. Mother fucking ego-crushing bathing suits. I'm not sure what's worse, wearing a bathing suit or having a lunch date with Jaws.

You brought a snack...

Needless to say, I will still be jumping into that lake with all my fingers and toes crossed that there isn't a giant elusive squid eagerly awaiting to suck out my brain the moment my head goes under.

Because there is absolutely no way can I look like a scared little pussy in my front of my friends. As always, pride is an amazing and powerful motivator for me.

What are your secret (or not-so-secret) fears when it comes to Mother Nature?


  1. EVERYTHING about nature scares me. Every. Thing. And I NEVER go in water that isn't super chlorinated. That's asking to get nom'd or develop a raging infection in your bad place. I'm not even sure my lungs could process fresh air. My whole body would probably shut down. Let's not even talk about the guy who lives in the woods with a hook for a hand that wants to make a vest out of your back skin.

    But I'm sure you'll be fine.

  2. The bottom of Lake Erie. I refuse to touch it with my feet. I mean, sans shoes. Nope, no, nyet, non. I love the lake, but I don't want to bond with it. It's...too big.

    Let's not talk about bathing suits, right now, either.

  3. My beautiful Mother always said her idea of roughing it "was staying in a hotel without a pool". I learned from the best and couldn't agree more.
    Growing up we had a cottage on a lake. With icky things in the lake. The lake icky things were far more terrifying than the land icky things in my opinion. (thanks mostly to the movie Jaws seen at a very impressionable age).
    Adult beverages help commune with nature.

    1. Indeed, your mother was wise. And I'm in full agreement about the adult beverages.

  4. I can handle the animals and all the nonsense about camping... except for three things: Bugs. Motherfucking demons with wings! Outhouses that stink to high heaven. And last but not least, no showers. After bathing in a creek for a few days you start to attract hungry bugs. It always comes back to bugs for me. Ugh!

    1. I'm not a fan of bugs but I can deal. However, there is nothing more horrifying than being in a rickety old outhouse in the middle of night and looking up mid-pee to find hundreds of spiders crawling on the ceiling over you.

  5. Spiders. Giant fanged 8-legged water behemoth types. I do not do lakes. The ocean is safer, spiders don't like salt water.

    Actually, beaches. In the sun, with rum (that almost rhymed!), and chairs...comfy reclining beach chairs so your feet don't even touch the sand, nothing can crawl up your, wait,

    ...on a deck, way up high off the nature-filled grassy place (my lawn?)and sprayed with anti-spider stuff (don't go there, nature-lovers! if it's my sanity or the environment-sanity wins!)...

    on the other hand, dark woods = possible vampires...hmmm, sparkly ones? Myg says they're in Gray, Maine...or used to might be worth the risk...

    nah, they'll find me on my deck, right? sippin' sangria-with fruit in it coz that makes it healthy, yes?

    so, no, I don't ever camp..ever.

    good luck, JJ....

    1. Aha! Maybe there ARE vampires in Gray, ME!! I really hope I run into one someday.

  6. Lakes and docks and boats are cool!

    Until you relax and sit still, and begin to notice the HUGE MOTHER FUCKING MONSTER SPIDERS THAT COULD EAT YOUR FACE OFF!!! Or worse . . . you DON'T see the spiders, but your body is tangled up in the hidden fucker's giant web!!!

    So, good luck with that!

  7. That my horrible children will find their wolf family and I'll lose my tax deductions! What?

    I love camping/outdoors. All off it.

  8. I was a prissy teenage girl who shrieked at the sight of a bug... and then I studied abroad in Costa Rica. Bugs as big as my hand, everywhere. In the food. In my bed. It was a sort of bug immersion program, and while I still HATE roaches, nature and bugs don't scare me all that mucg anymore.

    I still don't love camping, though. And lakes? Gross. Oceans = moving, rotating water that washes cleanly (usually) up on shore and gives me great "beach hair". Lakes = stagnant puddle of fish pee and carcasses. Mud soup. Gag.

    1. {{{shudder}}}

      I have a friend who travels to Costa Rica often and one time a HUGE spider - like the kind we don't have in North America - dropped on her head while she was on the toilet!!! So yeah, I pretty much crossed anyplace in South America off of my possible vacation destination list.

    2. I've heard there are spiders the size of dinner plates in Costa Rica. Sounds... terrifying.

  9. I went camping when I was 9 or 10. Never again. I can still conjure the smell of the "bathrooms" if I think about it. I hated it and nobody has been able to convince me to try it again. I also grew up with a friend who lived on a lake and the bottom of that thing really made me squirm. There was a floating platform in the middle that you could swim to and let the flies eat you. It was awesome. It was covered with indoor outdoor carpet and smelled bad too.

    As you can see, no camping, no bugs, snakes, spiders or critters, or lakes that you can't see the bottom of and are squishy. I'll take my chances in the ocean!

  10. I'm with you on the bears.
    Also, I've never really thought much about ticks until I found one attached to my skull last week. So, now....ticks are a problem for me.
    Question about the picture it hot or cold? You are wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt while your bro is wearing jeans and a flannel shirt...confusing.

    ALSO, when are we going to do a group online BD viewing?

    1. DITTO!!!!!!!!!! The previous movie viewings have been the most hilarious nights of my life, period. Please to be scheduling BD ASAP.

  11. I do like the outdoors, I love the quiet and I love to go hunting with my husband. I think I have a healthy respect for large land animals but they don't scare me. What I mean is I don't lose sleep over them but I'm not going to cover myself in honey and hit a sleeping grizzly with a baseball bat. However, I'm with you about what's in the water. In Texas there are things called alligator garr and they have haunted me since I was a wee little girl. Don't google it, you definitely won't go in the water. *shudder* Half gigantic fish half alligator, ummm no, especially since I can't see that a-hole coming.

    I also fear grasshoppers and crickets and I can't say I like other bugs but other bugs don't hop out of nowhere and stick to your skin. Last weekend I had to clear out some brush in my backyard (the development I live in used to be a rye field and let me tell you, if rye is this hard to get rid of we should be using more of it) and there were grasshoppers 4 inches long. It was awful, yes that was me you heard screaming last Saturday.

    1. You are a very mean person for telling me about this... thing. THAT I FUCKING GOOGLED. Thanks. ;)

  12. Oh, god, I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! As much as I love your posts, cuz they're always hilarious, I love the comments just as much! You ladies (and I use that term loosely and respectfully) are just too much damned fun! I agree with pretty much every one of you, so I don't have much to add. I'm one of those poor wusses who hasn't gone in the ocean more than five inches since I saw Jaws, and I saw it when it first came out, so that tells you how long it's been (and how old I am, though really, I was a small child at the time!). Give me a pool. Chlorine kills the nasties and you can see through the water. No slushy, gross bottom, no creatures, no salt, no sand, no spiders, it's all good. Ahhh, I always know I'm going to be smiling when I come to this site...

  13. There's a bear-shitting-in-the-woods joke in there somewhere...

  14. Ooo! Ooo! One more! I took Entomology in college (because it was the only elective science course in my open time slot) and the professor made a big deal out of informing us the most common serious spider bites occur when males take a shit in an out house and the spiders [hiding under the seat] bite them on the balls when they [the balls] hang down in the hole! [OK, that's my language, not his exact words. But it was his exact point.] I wasn't sure if he was trying to gross us out, embarrass all the girls, or impress us with a "long ball" story! But, I agree, that would be a SERIOUS bite!

    Anyway . . . If you have to go, just squat behind a bush or something. Don't EVER sit on the seat in an out house!

  15. I grew up at Lake Eufaula, in the wonderful state of Oklahoma. We had to live in a trailer, in the fucking backwoods, for two years while our house was being built. I LIVED camping for those 2 years. Scorpions were the worst....they're small and travel in twos. Although copperhead, rattle snakes and water moccasins are a very close second. I have 2 boys now and have taken them camping a whole of two times - in a tent. That was enough for everyone in the family! We still love going to the lake, skiing and cooking out on the beach. But when the day is over, we go to our hotel room with a comfy, critter free bed and a bathroom we don't have to share with strangers who ogle and smell bad.

  16. I love this blog!! You know it's a good one when the post is hilarious, and the comments are hold-your-crotch-while-you-read funny.

    I'm cool with nature. I love being outside and by water and trees and shit. It has been a long time since I've been in a straight up tent, but I've done the cabin thing.

    The last time I went tent camping with my family (14 or 15 y/o), some brazen boys snuck in and stole beer from my uncle's big ass cooler in the truck bed. The next morning he found them passed out by the lake and put the fear of god in them. Talk about a hangover. I learned a valuable lesson. No matter how much room there ISN'T in the tent....You can always make room for the booze.

  17. My imagination is worse than anything that ever actually happens when I am in the woods or camping.

  18. Solifuges. Described here "Many solifuges are able to run at extremely fast speeds (53 cm/sec) for short bursts, but like most arachnids, cannot sustain such rapid locomotion for long periods. Solifuges vary from a few millimeters to 10 centimeters in length and look superficially like stout, hairy, fast-running spiders with an extra pair of legs".

    With extra speed and legs, they're like spider super heros, or super villians, depending on your perspective.

    As far as outhouses, I'd rather poop in a hole in the ground than an indoor toilet any day. You don't have to clean outhouses besides perhaps a hosing out once in awhile. Plus, pooping in potable water and flushing it away is just mind boggling to me when I stop to think about it.


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