January 8, 2010

What's got eight legs, a pool, dirty children, and one fabled lake monster?

So I mentioned the other day that a menagerie of baby spiders hatched on my ankle 10+ years ago and I promised you an explanation. So here it is.

I was a camp counselor at a summer camp called Camp J.O.Y. for 5 summers, from the time I was 13 until the summer I turned 18. Camp J.O.Y. is a week-long summer camp for underpriveleged children from all over Georgia.

So basically, the summers of my teenage years were spent babysitting. But not babysitting for the kinds of kids you end up falling in love with and hope your own children turn out like one day. No, these kids were Satan's offspring. And because Camp J.O.Y. taught Christian principles and required the kids to attend daily bible studies and worship services, naturally, we were met with some strong Mephistopheles-like opposition.

There were countless runaways who us counselors would have to chase after, always in the middle of the night for some reason, armed with flashlights, and reciting a prayer through clenched teeth that we could find the little stinker. There were the fighters who thought everyone was out to make their lives a living hell by say, asking them to flush the toilet when they were finished, or perhaps asking them to hand in their knives at the beginning of the week. Yeah. There were the ones who were the silent, angry type who just sat there with a scowl on their face, ruining playtime for everyone else. There were the ones who, after you'd made them run 372 laps around the chapel (yes, the chapel. Maybe we thought it had an angelic influence.) still wouldn't act even the slightest bit amiable. (Satan used Camp J.O.Y. as his personal daycare service, I'm convinced.) And then there were the cryers. Damn sissy cryers. Suck it up, kid! It's only a week!

In hopes that I don't sound too callous, I'll tell you, too, about the ones who would've broken your heart. Ones whose "gaurdian" - could have been an aunt, a sister, a grandmother, just anyone but the person who brought them into this world - would carelessly drop them off on Monday morning and sometimes, get ready, NEVER PICK THEM BACK UP ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON. Or maybe the one who didn't have a suitcase because she was wearing everything she owned on her back. The one who soaked up every bit of joy the camp had to offer because he knew what he was going back to on Friday: a place where there was no joy. The one who hung all over you (and consequently gave you lice) because she thought you were the coolest person she had ever met and she wanted to be just like you one day. The ones who come up to you in a public place, five, ten years after you were their counselor, remember your name, give you a huge hug, and tell you they're about to graduate highschool and have a scholarship to go to college.

So needless to say, Satan's spawns and all, Camp J.O.Y. has a very large piece of my heart (like, probably my whole left ventricle). I learned how to lead people, I crushed on some of the boy counselors, I made best friends, I learned to not question how old the food was that I put in mouth (and consequently now have a Rhino-lined stomach), my faith found footing...and I can now tell people that an eggsack has hatched on my ankle.

We were coming back to the cabin after a bonfire, changing into our pj's. I removed my shoes and socks and noticed a few dark specks on my right ankle. I thought it just dirt so I went to the bathroom to wash it off. I scrubbed and scrubbed. The dark specks wouldn't come off. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the tiny dark specks...WERE MOVING. So, naturally, I calmly went to the camp nurse and...NOT!

I. Freaked. Out.

I found a magnifying glass (who even knows where the heck I found one of those laying around) and determined that the suspicious dark specks were in fact, baby spiders. Lots of screaming ensued, followed by a very hot needle, some rubbing alcohol, and many tears. If you ever need one, I am fully prepared to give you a tutorial on how to burn baby spiders off of your flesh.

The culprit (eggsack) was found on my sock and, needless to say, to this very day, I have a very noxious opinion of spiders.


Anonymous said...

cool story. as a person who went to camp joy once, it was awesome. and i can remember those bad azz kids, but mostly i remember those awesome chapel songs like bubblin, my father's house and etc. but man i wish i could have seen your face when you realizd those were baby spiderz. LOL!

J. S. Chancellor said...

Ah!!! OH my god, I thought that was an urban legend....Are you serious?!? I'm so freaked out. And what an awesome post. Tearfelt, heart wrenching and just horrific enough at the very end to make me want to tell the world. Awesome...just the kind of posts I love. :)

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