Life lessons from an occasional troll
I spent the summer of 2005 sporting a series of homemade eye patches. You see, I had contracted pink eye early in the summer and in my father’s hasty attempt to help me with my eye drops, he poked me right in the infected eye, thus sentencing me to a summer of unknowingly transferring the virus back and forth. After a couple of weeks, my CT’s, ever sensitive and concerned, told me they were tired of looking at my state of perpetual bloodshot-ness and started fashioning eye patches. They came in felt and paper and even scraps of old-t-shirts, some were decorated with the traditional skull and crossbones while others were more personalized with my name and inside jokes.
I wore them with pride, eventually forgetting that they were cobbled together by teenagers using arts and crafts materials. So much so that I was still sporting one when camp finally sent me back to the doctor for more untainted eye drops. The doctor screamed when she opened the door. In addition to the eye patch, I had recently fell asleep in the hammock by boating and my friends rewarded me with a large temporary panther tattoo on the side of my neck, which rounded out the collection I had put on earlier in the week for, well, actually for no reason in particular. I had also recently had a minor scrape with some poison ivy that was acting as an unwanted accessory to the side of my face currently without an eye patch. Then there were the usual assortment of bug bites and bruises, cuts and scrapes that were all part of the transition from college student to camp counselor. To put in mildly, I looked a little rough.
The strange thing was while I knew objectively that this was the case, I never once felt that way at camp. Though my CT’s disliked my ocular situation, they were really motivated by concern, having witnessed my frustration with the ongoing nature of the whole thing. And while at that point in my life, I more closely resembled a bad sci-fi movie monster than a 21-year-old camp counselor; none of my friends ever made me feel as such. I was certainly itchier than usual and my peripheral vision had seen better days but I was always treated as camp allowed me to be, a better, truer version of myself. Just a little more proof that camp is the magical place that it is, a place were eye patches are an act of love and when you go to bed at night and wake up as a troll, no one treats any differently.