“Watch out or I piss on all your fires!” was the advice given to me by the…”not-so-sandwich-artist”…cutting my footlong tuna as beads of sweat rolled down his face onto my brunch.
This came after I delivered an abridged version of my weekend camping trip on the pacific coast. I described my morning as “interesting”.
Speaking of “piss” – to fashion my vocabulary after this Subway employee – why is it so nasty (and apparently a substitute for fire extinguishers the world over)? I watched my kids playing on the beach when a ‘boy and his dog’ crept into my peripheral. Just a few feet in front of us the dog decided it wanted to make ‘yellow snow’. “Sick!” I thought to myself. I was disgusted over the fact that a grown man couldn’t read the large “no pets allowed” pictograph where he entered. I wondered what poor sucker would pick up that patch of putrid sand. Hopefully not my kids!
But, I soon realized that the dreaded act of ‘number-one’ isn’t always bad…(and not because its older brother ‘number-two’ makes it look innocent). The dog beach was once a routine trip for us. Out of our way? No problem. Gas prices? No problem. We would travel for miles to arrive at this magical intersection of playground and piddle. Dogs frolicked in the sand followed by the children (not ours, I promise) throwing fecal droppings at each other. An oasis of piss. But, ***and herein lies the lesson*** when something foul is mutually shared, it suddenly becomes acceptable, approved and in the following case welcomed.
I’ll keep this example short. Marines, Corpsmen, combat rubber raiding crafts, training, winter months, open ocean. Can you guess what happens? You got it! Piss. But not the boy and his dog type. The dog park type. The kind where it’s quite alright to just let loose in the face of hypothermia. I will leave the details to your imagination. This is one of those “what happens in Vegas” type scenarios, but at least it’s warm. And while we’re talking about keeping warm, lets shift gears.
Fire. Why does every camper feel the need to light a fire? Okay, okay, I get it…if your out backpacking in the wilderness – cool. In fact, I’m all about it. But for people in Rv’s with California plates driving down the road to look at their own ocean? THAT, I don’t get! First of all, it’s not cold. Second of all, you have an indoor shelter, with (not to mention) running water and a toilet. But the mountain man inside of you is calling, isn’t it? This segment of society doesn’t get dried oak, maple or birch. No, they get the scraps of whatever they can find, painted or not – stained or not. They have wet cuttings from the backyard tree. They bring all the rotted timber they can stack. Oh, and why not throw all the junk mail on top of the fire pit?
If my tent had a smoke detector it would have been triggered. The ocean breeze circulated foul fumes in every direction. There was no escape. I awoke with the worst headache I’ve had in years. No medical degree in my pocket, but I’m physician enough to know that this is not healthy. Am I the only one that comprehends this? Of course not. But if your following along, when smoke is shared…it’s acceptable, approved and even welcomed.
So, the next time your local Subway server urges you to threaten a little yellow rain shower on all your neighbors’ campfires, remember…you should have just contributed some rotted lumber in the first place.