I spent the summer of 2016 as a camp counselor in Vermont. I got my fair share of exploration in the immediate surrounding area. However, I can only remember that Camp Timberlake was somewhere between Woodstock, VT and Rutland, VT (aka RutVegas (I don’t know why)). Rutland wasn’t my favorite place but they had a nice movie theater there, and Woodstock was pretty. I can tell you that these two towns had little to no influence on the culture intrinsic to Camp Timberlake and the entire Farm and Wilderness community.
Camp was different for two reasons.
One distinction you can make between camp and the two towns, particularly RutVegas, is the view on the LGBTQ+ community. See, in places like Rutland, you can be walking on the street, minding your own damn business, when three guys drive by and yell “Faggots” at the top of their lungs. Whereas at camp we invite members of the LGBTQ+ community to speak in a fishbowl setting to educate campers on their experience.
We were the Queens of camp, fighting injustice in the homosexual community one Guy Talk at a time.
That’ what these fishbowl talks were called, ‘Guy Talk.’ Guy Talk consisted of a panel of members of the community that identified either as POC or LGBTQ+. The participants in the fishbowl would answer specific, structured questions and the campers were not allowed to interrupt. All they could do was listen and ask questions later.
The Queens of camp also had a favorite pastime: Poop Dates. This is reason #2 on why camp was different.
Poop Date: (n) The act of taking a dump with two or more persons. A common place for this act to occur is known as a Kybo.
Farm and Wilderness camps are home to the largest network of composting toilets in the state of Vermont. Do you know what that means? That means at the beginning of summer, camp smells nice. At the end of summer? Not so much.
EX: “Hey, Nicco, I’ve had a four cups of coffee in the last twenty minutes; wanna go on a poop date?
Nicco is a real person. The featured photo for this post is a photo of him I took on one of our poop dates.
(Shoutout to Jesse and Keenen because we pooped together a lot, too.)
I started working at Camp Timberlake and knew absolutely nobody. We gravitated towards each other, and eventually became very close friends. So close, in fact, we would begin each day with a poop date.
Immediately after we cleaned up from breakfast, the campers would set up for songs. While songs were happening, we would go take our dumps.
While we took our dumps, we would talk about all sorts of things. Some include: boys, Game of Thrones, annoying campers, other campers, etc.
Most days we would rate our poops using Game of Thrones houses. For example, a Martell would be a poop that came back for revenge. A Stark would be exemplified in the instance that the body (of poop) broke off and the head was still left dangling in there. You get the point.
So, back to the poop date. As you can see in the featured photo, this was my view every morning while I pooped. The toilets were placed adjacent to one another with a walkway in between to get in and out. Each morning Nicco and I looked deeply into each other’s eyes while alleviating our bowels.
You may be asking yourself why I’m being so graphic (“graphic”). People need to talk about poop more. Yeah, it’s gross, but I can tell you that my life has become exponentially better since I’ve started talking about poop. You know why? Because it’s gross, but everybody does it. If I can guarantee you anything in life it would be that you could look at any single person in this world and know for a fact that he/she/they/ze has had explosive diarrhea AT LEAST once. One might even argue that everyone in the world has experienced explosive diarrhea MORE than once.
Let’s take Charlize Theron, for example. You know that she was on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road with the runs at some point; not a bathroom in sight in that damn desert. So she had to shuffle around like a penguin for a solid twenty minutes until she ultimately decided that she would dig a hole and unleash the beast.
Unfortunately, I made that part up for the sake of example, but you get my point. I’m assuming that happened to someone on that set.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about why talking about poop is wonderful and everybody should do it. Everybody poops! Once you break down that door you can basically talk about anything. It allows you to level with the person you’re talking to. It is the first degree of commonalities that I can think of aside from being born. Saying “Hey, you’re alive. Me too!” is a terrible conversation starter. However, “That Targaryen left a ring of fire around my anus earlier today” is much better. It opens the door for follow-up questions.
With that I’ll leave you out to explore the world with your newfound taste in talking about poop. This is not the last time you’ll hear me talk about it and I am not apologizing.