So I put up a poll on the blog asking what story y’all wanted next. After a week or so the results are in and the poll is tied three for three between two options:
· A story about school
· A story about camp
So, since I’ve been given this interesting decision, I decided to cast the final ballot.
“I Was a Pirate and Got Paid for It”
When I worked at Jewish Sumer Camp last year I had quite a few interesting experiences. One involved getting brutally maimed in the swimming pool by one of my campers.
I worked at Jewish Summer Camp from late May to early August. My job was to be a camp counselor. Basically what that entails is that I had to watch eleven eight to nine year old boys, 24/7, for a week and a half at a time. In the end I watched 44 children for the summer. It was fantasti
c, exhausting, sickening, fun, and educational. However, one experience has left a permanent mark on me that I will never forget.
Every day in the afternoons the kids get to play in the pool. When my unit (the youngest unit) had their time to swim, we headed down to the pool. Normally the counselors get to rest during this time and tan near the edge of the pool. I love to tan. I look good with a tan. I’m middle-eastern. We’re gorgeous. However, I digress. On this particular day I decided to get in the pool with about fifty children. This was a terrible decision that is near the level of me talking back to the cop that one time.
Now, the unwritten rule at JSC is that if a counselor gets in the water, the kids can jump all over them. This is a God awful rule. I slip into the water as quietly as possible. However, the little demons already have me on their radars. They start swimming towards me faster than a Cuban towards American soil.
I have a few options at my disposal at the moment. One is to play the counselor card and forbid the kids from climbing on me. Another is to get out of the water (There’s no chance in hell of that happening. If I’m in, then that means it’s too hot, oddly enough, to tan). A third is to physically beat the children (I would never ever do that. However, I said this was an option, not a decision). A fourth is to actually play with the kids and do my job.
I decided the fourth was the best of those decisions.
I was wrong.
Within moments I have at least four children climbing on top of me, trying to dunk me in water. I don’t see how this is fun. Jews and water, as history points out, don’t mix. We didn’t swim across the Red Sea. Fuck that. We walked across after Moses and God pushed the water away. We’re a desert people. In fact, I don’t even know why there’s a pool at a Jewish summer camp anyways. There should be a giant sandbox instead. I digress though.
After I’ve been playing with/trying survive/avoid these children for a while, I decide that playing with a ball in the water is more fun, and ignoring the kids will make them vanish. I secure my grasp on the ball and hold it above my head in an effort to show these wet creatures that I am not interested in them anymore and just want to be left alone to play with this ball in peace.
Then the worst thing imaginable happens.
I get stabbed.
I get stabbed in the eye.
I get stabbed in the eye with a finger.
I get stabbed in the eye with a finger that has a long and uncut nail.
Let me repeat myself:
I GOT STABBED IN THE FUCKING EYE WTH A FINGER THAT HAS A LONGASS, UNCUT, JAGGED, PROBABLY BACTERIAL INFESTED, NAIL!
I was not amused. The children though, were.
Did I mention I got stabbed in the eye? Yeah, it kind of hurt. Did I also mention that the pool is chlorinated because I’m sure children pee in it?
I am now half-blind, in pain, covered in screaming children, being drowned, in a pee and chlorine filled pool. What could possibly make this worse?
Somehow a co-worker helps gets the kids off after he sees I’m screaming in pain and manages to get me out of the pool and into the life guard shack. Once I get there I hear the words that make this afternoon a whole lot better:
“OH MY GOD! YOU’RE EYE IS BLEEDING!”
Yep, my eye now had blood coming from it. Oh, I also had blood coming out of my arm from scraping it on my way out of the pool. When I bleed, I’m usually quite calm about it. There’s some profanity, however, nothing too extreme. However, I’m not usually bleeding from my ocular orifice around children. I don’t remember what I said, however, the Israeli lifeguard who’s panicking next to me didn’t seem to mind to much.
After all the commotion within the cage area died down a bit, another Israeli came driving to the front of the pool in the maintenance truck/golf cart to drive me up to the infirmary/mini-hospital/pharmacy we have on camp grounds. The place is loaded with more drugs than some cartel members here on the border. The doctor on-call looked at me, while some campers, staff, and nurses watched (apparently there was nothing better to do such as watching the children at the pool). The diagnosis after a few moments of washing my eye and looking at blood in the mirror?
Apparently this was the first eye related injury a staff member had endured before and so I was considered some sort of medical anomaly. After telling me this, I’m them told I’ll have to go off camp grounds to a nearby town to see an ophthalmologist. Fine. Will the camp pay? Nope.
Two hours later I’m in the waiting room of some eye clinic. It was cold. I think I was still in a swim suit. I can’t be sure though. What I do remember is being cold, pissed, hungry, in pain, and having only one functioning eye.
I finally see the doctor and after some painful light tests was told that I had what is called a corneal abrasion. The cornea of the eye is the glassy looking part in front of your iris and whatnot. It has a ton of nerve endings. A corneal abrasion is when a foreign body scratches and/or scrapes off part of the cornea. That’s basically medical speech for, “The kid fucked up your cornea to the point where there may or may not be permanent damage. We won’t know until tomorrow. Until then, I’m going to dilate your eyes and have you wear some paper glasses and an eye patch.”
When I returned to camp I looked like a gay pirate. I had an open shirt, shorts, an eyepatch, and a really nice tan from being outside all summer (silver lining). My campers were amused. My coworkers and superiors were as well. I was not. How did I relieve my anger? I abandoned my kids for an hour after the meal to chill/”take care of my eye” in the infirmary.
The next day I return to the doctor. He pours some more shit into my eye and shines a bunch of lights and has me read an eye chart again. Despite the horrific damage I suffered the day prior, I apparently still retained my 20:15 vision. I was happy; however, I was also a tad disappointed. Ever since I was in sixth grade I’ve tried to fail eye tests time and time again just to get glasses. Glasses are sexy. They make a face interesting when worn right. I deserve glasses. The doctor finishes up his tests, flushes my eye to get the rest of the blood out (apparently there was still blood in my eye from yesterday) and then says,
“This is probably going to hurt. Hold on and don’t blink.”
He then proceeds to pour what I can only describe as near-frozen acid into my poor, defenseless, eye. He didn’t lie. It hurt. I growled. He said to be a big boy and pay the lady at the front desk.
After that little trip I walked out with a red, patch covered eye, a bag of acid that he called “antibiotic eye drops” and a trip to Goodwill since I didn’t want to return to camp yet. When I returned to camp I read my prescription. It basically said to pour the drops into my eye for at least two weeks and continue to wear the eye patch until abrasion was clear. That never happened. Camp ended in a week and I had a six hour drive ahead of me. That and, I’m also a rebel. You know me, talking back to cops, losing ashes, rebellious behavior that we all go through. So what did I do? I used the drops for three days and the eye patch for four. I totally beat the system.
My eye burned for four days after that and I had to use the drops for another week upon returning home.
I have yet to return to that camp.