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Why I Hate Camping: A Glossary

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Camping: A form of recreation in which people voluntarily leave the comfort of their homes to experience what it was like to live like a Neanderthal. It usually results in insect bites, smoke poison ivy, backaches, and has become an excellent source of income for the motel industry.

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K.O.A: The acronym for "Kampgrounds of America," also known as "Krowded on Arrival."

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Sleeping Bag: The camper's bed substitute, specifically designed so that the camper can experience what it's like to be awake all night.

Tent: The camper's temporary abode, made to transform itself into a kite when the wind blows, and make the camper wonder why he didn't stay home.

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Tent Stake: A metal brace meant to either break or bend when hammered into the ground with a flat rock, because you forgot to bring a hammer. The purpose of the tent stake is to secure the tent to the ground with ropes, thus providing the camper with something to trip over after sundown.

Sleeping Under the Stars: One of camping's main attractions. No one, as yet, has attempted it elsewhere.

Swiss Army Knife: An indispensable tool for campers, noted for its ability to cut the user's skin in twelve different ways.

Snake: A reptile whose natural habitat is inside a sleeping bag.

Hot dog: One of the only foods known to man that tastes better after it has rolled off the grill and into the dirt several times.

Zipper: A clever device sewn into sleeping bags and mosquito netting to prevent them from opening and closing.

Hike: A long, destinationless walk down paths, usually undertaken by groups of campers, the object of which is to determine the number of times the lead camper can snap suspended branches and twigs into the face of the camper hiking directly behind him.

Trash barrel: A hard-to-find metal bin designed to accommodate approximately one-fifth of a typical weekend's accumulated garbage.

Rain Gear: 1. What pessimistic campers always take along on camping trips. 2. What optimistic campers usually end up fashioning out of Hefty Bags and discarded Saran Wrap.

Leaves: A nasty substitute for toilet paper.

Breaking Camp: The day all campers look forward to, "Breaking Camp" is usually followed by another camping tradition called "The Traffic Jam."


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John Blumenthal has been a professional comedy writer for 25 years. A former associate editor and columnist at Playboy Magazine (following a short stint at Esquire), he's written 8 books and 2 produced movies. His films include "Short Time," (major (more...)

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