I spent New Year’s Eve in Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State. Karl and his family have a lovely ‘cabin’ up there, across’t from the ski resorts. (It’s more of a really nice condo than a cabin, but if you got one, you can call it anything you like)
Next door, in an empty lot (empty of houses, full of snow) Karl and my brother made their traditional ‘snow lounge’. Meaning they used snow shovels of various descriptions to cut down into the deep snow, leaving a table in the middle of a lot of cleverly fashioned seats. The neighborhood kids, and mine along with ’em, ran rampant over the whole thing, and we needed to do a little rebuilding during the daylight hours, but by nightfall the footprints had been eliminated from the table and the seats were sit-able again.
And there was a bar carved off to one side. Here it is:
The drinks needed no refrigeration. In fact, your beer would have ice in it before you could finish it. Not bad a’tall.
Keeping the fire pit from melting its way down through the table was the tricky bit. But that’s another story.
Gone are the days when we had the little styrofoam coolers that would grow increasingly manky then collapse under the weight of someone tripping past the campfire. Gone, I say, are the days of using those squeaky coolers that got deeper and deeper nicks and cuts in them and were finally used for fish and had to be destroyed, as mom would no longer allow them in the house OR the storage building.
Nowadays, we collect the bigger, badder, bolder coolers.
You got your little soft-side cooler, that can carry snacks and drinks for one, or a whole case if you don’t need anything else in there other than about a trayful of ice. Lovely bits of technology these things are these days. They have liners and filling that has scientifically unlikely names. You pull off the tags that say, “Now with PolyEXtrico Liner and with TempraBlock sides” and you toss that. You pull off the tag that says “Cleaning instructions” and you ashcan that thing, ’cause who they heck cleans these things? No, you wait for your ice to melt, swish it around to get the bits of sandwich meat and cheese moving around and then you pour it out next to the driveway. If everyone who isn’t a big fan of botulism is very lucky, you give it a blast with the hose before tossing it into the least-spidery corner of the storage room.
Then you got your slightly larger hard-shell cooler with the clever little thumbswitch that keeps the top from sliding open while you make mountain turns. It still leaks like a sieve, but your drinks don’t go rolling around the back of the truck. Very handy for keeping in the back of your car in case you need to take leftovers home from Momma’s.
Then there’s the “I don’t know how many people are bringing coolers, and I don’t want to have to pack a campchair” cooler. Sturdy, with a removable lid, maybe a bit bigger than medium-sized, but still capable of being misplaced under a load of gear in the back of a Suburban. You gotta watch those lids… Once this puppy has been your camp chair for long enough, that lid’s gonna flop off every chance it gets. Nasty thing, too. This cooler is the one that invariably gets left next to the shed and collects leaves and spider webs that you have to hurry and swash out before you run off on your trip, as you didn’t leave time for swashing out a cooler and you’re late.
Then, there’s your standard big boy size cooler, with the spigot on the side and handles that move and hinges on the lid. Woo. Luxury. This is the one that you offer others space in when you’re getting ready- Hey, toss your drinks and sammich meats in here, and we’ll just go with this one cooler, boys! What’s to be said about these? We’ll eventually, you’re gonna kick that damned spigot stopper off there and have to figure a way to seal it up. Wine cork, Silicon, Gorilla Tape… be prepared. And that little plastic strap that holds the lid up at 90 degrees? That’ll be gone soon, and you’ll be glad at first because that’s also what makes the lid slam on your fingers. When the straps broken, then you have to worry about the hinges going bad, but that takes a good long while. This one can take up a whole trunk on a fiddly little car.
There are, of course, the super mega-mondo coolers I see there on the sales floor of the Costco. You could keep a Bigfoot carcass in one of those until the MIBs come and get it. I don’t have one… yet. You got one? Let me know how that’s working for you. You’re the next product review here on Hubriscomics.
I’ve said in the past that I would try not to degenerate into crotch-area humor. But this is a product review, not a cartoon.
The subject of The Camp Shuffle comes up on long outdoors trips. Going down the Grand Canyon for a couple of weeks, say. Or taking your kids to Scout Camp. They warn the kids and warn them good, but you know somebody in the group will neglect to take proper showers or change his underwear or not take the proper precautions in the sweaty days of Summer camp.
I feel bad for them. Because I’ve gotten the Camp Shuffle. I’ve staggered along like the crippled sidekick in an old Western, wishing I could quit the hike, go back to camp and let my tenders heal. It happened this past June. I was miserable. I could have been MORE miserable, but another scout leader told a funny story about a buddy of his that got the Camp Shuffle. The guy had gotten some powder, figuring that would fix it all up. But, the story went, he bought MENTHOLATED powder. Everyone laughed, and I felt better. My drawers were uncomfortable in the extreme, but at least I hadn’t dropped menthol down in ’em. Ha. Hilarious.
This gave me a good idea, though. While the scouts were being taught or tested or whatever the heck during their Camp class, I’d step over to the trading post and see if they had anything for Camp Shuffle. I figured that if it was standard practice to lecture the kids about it during our first few moments at camp, surely the trading post would keep powder or something on hand. And they DID. They had two different kinds of Gold Bond powder. Regular, of which they had a dozen containers, and Extra Strength, of which they had two containers.
It hadn’t been that long since I’d heard the story about the idiot who dropped Menthol down his pants, so I looked over both bottles carefully. ‘Extra Strength’, the one bottle said. ‘Healing’, it said. ‘Triple Action Relief’ it said. ‘Cooling, Absorbing, Itch Relieving’ so far so good, and I’d exhausted the front of the bottle. No mention of ‘Mentholated’. The directions on the back say, ‘Apply freely up to 3 or 4 times a day’. It also says, under ‘Uses’: temporarily relieves the pain and itch associated with: minor cuts, sunburn, insect bites, scrapes, prickly heat (!) minor burns, rashes (also “!”) and minor skin irritations. The ‘Warnings’ say it’s for external use only (good. I had no plans to eat it.) and to keep it out of my eyes. (also, no problems. I’ve never powdered my eyes and couldn’t see a reason to start.) There was some ‘ingredients’ list at the bottom. It didn’t mention ‘menthol’, though it did say ‘methyl salicylate’, which worried me since I had no earthly idea what the heck it might be or if I wanted it on my tenders. But I figured that there were only a few ‘Extra Strength’ bottles left because that was the kind everyone bought. And I bought the Extra Strength.
Then I went to the car. It was very close and mostly, no one goes to the parking lot during the day, so the lot was empty. I opened both doors on one side, stepped between them, and discreetly medicated my nether regions.
Which is to say I set my own crotch on fire.
Fire. fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire fire!
While I am trying to hold still and wondering if I should, maybe, run around or call for help or die or something, my son comes up from the trading post. He said… something that didn’t have to do with testicle fires, so I don’t recall what it might have been.
Nerve endings, says my wife who was a burn nurse for many years, die. They burn up and the victims of fires no longer feel the pain- not until they begin to heal, that is. I decided, while standing there sweating, panting, gasping and trying to answer my son (I thought, I’ll tell him I’m okay. Everything’s okay and I love him very much. Those would be good last words.) that I would just wait until there was enough nerve damage that I could get on with the day.
Finally, things changed. The fire didn’t go out, you understand, it just started oscillations between nuclear fire and nuclear winter.
fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice fire ice
I had never thought that I’d be happy to have my gonads light up and freeze over and over again, but I assumed that any change in blinding furious pain was a good thing. Maybe someday I could live like normal people again, and this was the beginning of it.
Okay, that was about as funny as this story gets. Eventually, the pain turned into a confused discomfort that I was able to see through and deal with. It was probably only a couple of minutes that I had flop sweat, agonizing fire and ice and a sincere concern that I had crippled myself to the point of needing hospitalization. It seemed like longer, but you know how that is.
I finished the day and got back to our campsite. Another Den Leader with us had Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Powder. I used it that night and the next day, and didn’t have another minute’s discomfort.
So here’s the conclusion: If you have Camp Shuffle DO NOT put Gold Bond Extra Strength powder in your shorts. Even if you DO NOT have Camp Shuffle, do not put Gold Bond Extra Strength powder in your shorts. If you have a bitter, bitter enemy for whom you have nothing but a seething hell-born hate, and you find that you have an opportunity to put Gold Bond Extra Strength powder in his shorts, DO NOT do it. It’s and evil thing to do, and you’re not that evil. No one is that evil.
You have some poison ivy rash on your arm or leg? It’s itching like crazy? Use Gold Bond Extra Strength powder. Use it. It’s fine. It feels good. It even smells kinda nice. Need something on your pits before you go out on a long hike? Go for the powder. Back of your neck a little sunburnt? Use it according to instructions. It’s good stuff.
But DO NOT put it on your genitals. Ever. Under any circumstances.
Last thing- I must have been in a desperate hurry to get relief. The label on the back of the bottle? Yeah, at the bottom there’s those ingredients listed? They’re ‘Inactive’ ingredients. Up at the top, Right under ‘Drug Facts’? THERE’s the ‘Active Ingredients’ and the first thing listed is ‘Menthol’ 0.8%. You might want reading glasses to see it, but it’s there. Oh, it’s there, my friends. On the label and in the bottle. It’s THERE.
On an only semi-related note… in this video they are using the non-mentholated Gold Bond:
By the way, THIS is the stuff I’m using next trip. Mostly cause ‘MonkeyButt’ is just too funny not to have on some kind of packaging around here. Click on the bottle if you’d like to buy some too: