10 – There are more electrical appliances per square-foot in your tent than in your home.
9 – You think Azimuth is a band from the ’70s.
8 – Your first-aid kit contains FM mix tapes, blackened tweezers, an empty bandage box, something which suspiciously resembles the butt of a tiny hand-rolled cigarette, and half a Payday bar from 1998.
7 – Your insistence on skimping when it comes to necessities is never so evident as when you purchased toilet paper rated in “Grit.” Sure, you scream out in anguish every time you sit but, hey, you saved .47 cents a roll—.47 cents that will be going straight to the emergency whiskey fund.
6 – Despite Smokey The Bear’s desperate pleas to the contrary, you will light those fireworks that you “legally” obtained at a roadside Czernina (duck blood soup for all you non-Polacks) stand somewhere in the deserts of Ohio. What better place is there to fired them off than in the center of a drought-stricken pine forest? And really, what the hell do bears know about fire safety? (Much to my chagrin, his name is apparently not “Smokey The Bear” but simply “Smokey Bear” even though every goddamn person on the planet refers to him as such.)
5 – You know it takes three things to build a fire: Overpriced bundles of pre-cut lumberyard rejects; a baker’s dozen of the New York Times Sunday edition; and six ounces of gasoline per pound of wood. They may mock your 12-foot mushroom cloud and bald knuckles, but we’ll see who’s laughing when you’re toasting marshmallows over a fire hot enough to smelt titanium.
4 – However, you cannot start a fire because you and your buddies wasted all the ‘strike anywhere’ matches in a contest seeing how many things you could light them on. Is the blister on your tongue worth it? Maybe, maybe not. But, one cannot argue the coolness factor of lighting a match off your teeth.
3 – Your beer to food ratio is 6:1. The first two rules of camping are ‘Stay hydrated’ and ‘load up on carbs’ and besides, there is the distinct possibility that, armed only with a citronella candle and a pack of paper plates, you will have to fight off a hunger-crazed black bear. You’re going to need all the liquid courage you can get.
2 – You pack three rolls of duct tape in lieu of the directions on how to set up the tent. What you lose in pride with your shantytown hobo cabin you gain in the satisfaction of knowing no low-level copy writer from the ‘Eureka! Tent Company’ is going to tell you how to set up camp. As my old man always used to say, “Directions are for pussies!”
1 – You’re convinced that, armed with enough Snausages, you will domesticate that adorable little porcupine you saw scampering through the woods. (NOTE: When my son was younger—though not as young as you’d hope—he spotted a porcupine along a hiking trail, declared that, not only are their quills poisonous but that they can be fired off at will like blowdarts, before he ran off screaming through the woods.)