Monthly Archives: June 2015

Grow Up

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I went to clean the fire ring on site #6 after the campers left.

In addition to a fire ring, each campsite has a sort of raised grill made from concrete and heavy bars of metal.

On the concrete of the grill on site #6, someone had used a bit of burnt, blackened wood to draw a penis (complete with testicles). I was so mad!

The campers who’d just stayed there were in their late teens or early 20s, but drawing male genitalia in a public space is very immature behavior.

And now I had to clean it up.

Actually, cleaning it wasn’t all that difficult. I sprayed toilet cleaner on it three times (ok, that might have been overkill), then splashed on some water, and the unwanted penis melted away.

Later my co-worker came over to get some information on these very same campers. I’d been on my day off when the campers arrived, so my co-worker had checked them in. She’d forgotten to put some information on the permit and wanted to get it from my reservation sheet.

I told her what they’d done, and we shared some can you believe these people commiseration.

Then I saw on the permit that she’d written the street address of the person who’d made the reservation.

I should write them a letter, I fumed. Ultimately, I decided I’d probably get in trouble for writing them a letter. It’s probably not in my job description to chastise campers for leaving easily washed off graffiti.

But if I had written a letter, this is what I’d have said:

Dear Campers of Site #6,

I found the penis drawing you left on your campsite. Ha. Ha. It was so not funny. What are you, eleven years old? You all appeared to be adults, but at least one of you has the mentality of a naughty child.

Did you think you were going to shock me? You know, I’ve seen drawings of penises before. I’ve seen photographs too. I’ve even seen penises in real life! I was not shocked.

But I was mad! Didn’t you think someone would have to clean off your drawing? Even if I didn’t care about a penis drawn on a campsite (and honestly, I’m not even scandalized), my boss wouldn’t let me leave it there. So even though it wasn’t difficult for me to clean, you were childish to leave a mess you know someone else would have to deal with.

Did you come to the woods to draw penis graffiti? Couldn’t you have done that in the city and saved yourselves some time and gasoline?

I’ve got two words for you, site #6 campers. Grow. Up.

Sincerely,

Your Camp Host

(My biggest regret is that I didn’t take a photo of that penis drawing before I washed it away.)

Smokey Bear

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I got this Smokey Bear bandana at a small-town thrift store for only $1! It was still in the plastic packaging.
(The same bandana is going for $3.99 and up on Ebay: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=smokey+bear+bandana&_sop=15.)

My friend Madame Chile had a Smokey Bear bandana. I can’t remember if it was just like this one. In any case, I coveted it. Now I can sin no more because I have my own Smokey Bear bandana.

These following two photos show the other words on the bandana, as well as the little campfire graphic:

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Here’s some history of Smokey Bear, according to http://www.smokeybear.com/kids/assetframe.asp?id=7&html=1.

Smokey Bear was born on August 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear named Smokey would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention.

Artist Albert Staehle was asked to paint the first poster of Smokey Bear. It depicted a bear pouring a bucket of water on a campfire and saying “Care will prevent 9 out of 10 fires.” Smokey Bear soon became very popular as his image appeared on a variety of forest fire prevention materials. In 1947, his slogan became the familiar “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires!”

Then in the spring of 1950, in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, a young bear cub found himself caught in a burning forest. He took refuge in a tree, and while managing to stay alive was left badly burned. The firefighters who retrieved him were so moved by his bravery, they named him Smokey.

News about this real bear named Smokey spread across the Nation, and he was soon given a new home at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The living symbol of Smokey Bear, he played an important role in spreading messages of wildfire prevention and forest conservation. Smokey died in 1976 and was returned to Capitan, New Mexico, where he is buried in the State Historical Park.

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Working Conditions

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These are two signs hanging in my campground:

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How’s that for workplace safety awareness?

My favorite part of the plague warning sign is #1 below.

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How exactly should I avoid animal fleas (other than by not camping, resting, or sleeping near animal burrow)? Should I buy a human size flea collar and fasten it around my neck? Perhaps a better idea would be two large flea collars, one fastened around each ankle. More importantly, is contracting the plague a work-related accident? Will workers’ comp cover that? How about being mauled by a bear? Will workers’ comp cover that?

If I had a shop steward to turn to, you can bet I would be asking these questions.

Happy Birthday, Emma Goldman!

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Today is the anniversary of the birth of Emma Goldman. She was born in 1869 in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Emma Goldman was an anarchist, a midwife, a proponent of birth control, an advocate for free love, an antiwar activist, and a public speaker. She was a badass and a hellraiser. In honor of Emma, let’s all try to be a little bit more like her, at least for today.

Emma Goldman’s 1893 Philadelphia mug shot, Philadelphia City Archives

 

What Kind of…

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Questions: What kind of a person thinks it’s a good idea to carve initials into a giant sequoia? Who looks at one of the oldest living creatures on earth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoiadendron_giganteum) and thinks it makes sense to carve initials into it?

Answer: An idiot.

I hope no one ever looks at the grandmother of the person who did this and decides to carve initials into her forehead.

Snakeskin

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I wear a rattlesnake skin on my floppy raffia sunhat. My friend Lucky gave it to me. One day Lucking was talking about a rattlesnake that had moved into this homestead. The snake wouldn’t leave, and Lucky didn’t feel safe letting it stay, so Lucky shot and killed it. He ate the meat and used some of the skin to make cigarette lighter cases for friends. I told him how cool I thought it was that he’d used as much of the snake as possible.

The next time I saw him, he gave me a strip of the skin, and I put it on my hat.

I think the rattlesnake skin on my hat shows I’m tough, says Don’t Fuck With Me. I’m not sure if it’s more important to convey that message to other people or if it’s more important to remind myself.

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I took this photo of the snakeskin on my hat. The Grateful Dead dancing bear pin is the one referred to at the end of the post We Feel for Your Situation (www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/02/05/we-feel-for-your-situation/).