Belching and Wet Spots: The Boys Scouts This Ain’t

AMR contributor Richard Rodriguez offered a pretty good account of what can only be described as an epic camping trip from nearly 30 years ago, but there are some salient details he overlooked that I want to add or clarify based on my hazy memory of this adventure.

As I recall, Rich was in charge of getting the tent.

And as I recall, the manufacturer’s instructions recommended pitching the tent, wetting it down with a hose and letting it dry to help activate some kind of waterproofing.

And as I recall, Rich did not do that.

So when the rains came down, down, down like in “online writing certificate programs,” the tent leaked worse than parts of an essay powerpoint.

The result was there were numerous wet spots that rendered parts of the tent inhospitable.

But that was not the end of it:

As I recall, John somehow got his hands on beer and ice cream and proceeded to fumigate the tent with a green fog that damn near gassed us the way an exterminator would if he were trying to rid a house of termites. (Picture the faux extermination scenes from “Breaking Bad.”)

Pedro and I ended up sleeping in Rich’s Dad’s station wagon because the tent was already overcrowded and did I mention that parts of the sleeping area were also now wet?

That Pedro and I were relegated to the car meant the two biggest guys in our group would be in the most confined space.

I do not remember which of us ended up sprawled across the front seats and contending with the steering wheel, but I do clearly recall that we needed chiropractors in the morning!

Of all of us, I think I was the only former Boy Scout and the one with the most experience outdoors and with camping.

But you would have had no idea of that based on the way I was behaving.

I was petrified/obsessed with raccoons that were foraging in a nearby garbage can. Every five minutes, I would poke my head out of the tent with a flashlight like some crazed movie usher to see what they were doing.

As Rich noted, there was a steel-cage belching contest that I recall Gary winning on the strength of a masterful performance, which featured quantity, volume and endurance.

Though I finished that weekend dethroned as a title-holding belcher, I went home with many great memories of this trip!
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