My sixteen-year-old son, Genius, is off to Nerd Camp on Sunday. I call it Nerd Camp, which I think is better than Jackling Intro to Engineering. Because what sixteen-year-old boy wants to be mentioned in the same sentence as Jackling? Not mine, I think.
I made him show me the list of items that he needs to take. The two years he went to basketball camps, he needed bedding and bathing supplies. The Nerd Camp, however, supplies sheets and pillows and pillowcases and towels and washcloths. Maybe they think the nerds won't sleep or clean themselves otherwise. Genius has been wondering if he'll have a roommate. I told him probably, and the two of them will be like Lewis and Gilbert in Revenge of the Nerds. I don't think he was amused.
He trekked down to my basement lair yesterday to pull up the camp item list on my desktop. As we read through it, he snorted over my shoulder. "That's not happening. Uh uh. No way." Even I had to ask what decade this list was composed. The seventies, perhaps?
The first must-have item to draw his scorn was the umbrella. "I am NOT taking an umbrella. That's stupid! I'm not going to be seen with an umbrella." I asked what would happen if it rained. "Then I'll get wet. That's not as bad as carrying an umbrella."
Next bone of contention was the sweater/sweatshirt/jacket recommendation for Missouri's changing weather. I don't know what Unwritten Culture Rule of Sixteen-Year-Old Males this one was breaking, but it struck a nerve.
"You can take one of your hoodies."
"What's wrong with a hoodie? You needed one on vacation last month."
"We were at 14,000 feet! On Pike's Peak!"
"Well, there might be a cold front move in."
"I'll be OK."
The snort came from the suggestion to: Bring your favorite Frisbee, hackey-sack, volleyball, football, or basketball. He was incredulous. "Favorite Frisbee? I can see me walking in there with a Frisbee."
By this morning, he was not so outraged. He was almost able to make light of the situation. I asked if the only person he knows who's going, a girl from a neighboring school district, had mentioned the list. "No."
"You guys can talk about it at supper the first night."
"I need to get my stuff together. I think there's a Frisbee down in the basement."
"But is it your favorite Frisbee?"
"I guess it will have to be. It's my only Frisbee."
"I want you to take that umbrella with the bent metal thing at the top. The red and blue one that has the fabric flapping loose from one of the pointy things when it opens up."
"I'll need to pick out a hoodie."
"I can see it now. You'll get out of the car with your hood up, carrying a Frisbee under your arm, with that umbrella over your shoulder. 'Hey, guys! Anybody wanna play some Frisbee?' "
"That is just wrong."
You don't think I'm causing any long-term psychological damage, do you?