Summer / Camp Stories: "Diabetic Kids are Jerks"

Summer / Camp Stories: "Diabetic Kids are Jerks"
Diabetic summer camp ain't no trip to the candy store.

Around the time I was diagnosed as diabetic my parents decided their 14 year old kid needed to meet other young diabetics.  They signed me up for a week long diabetic kids summer camp.  I no longer remember the name but that is okay I have little great memories of my time there.

Most of the kids were regulars.  They had many years of camp under their belt. I was the new kid, an alien in their eyes.  Almost as soon as I walked into the cabin the kids looked at me like I had a booger coming out of my nose.  I didn’t pay any mind to it.  I was used to not being one of the cool kids.  I knew I would find and unlucky bunch of nerdy kids to hang out with.

But, that never happened.  It turned out that even the nerdy kids had a clique and I was not nerdy enough.  Not cool enough for the cool kids, not nerdy enough for the nerdy kids I was in a purgatorial status.

I did all of the activities went to all of the group sessions but I felt alone.  I wanted to write the cliché letter home from camp but it was only a week long so that would make little difference.  I remember coming back to the cabin and I noticed my socks were all missing.  The cool kids stole my socks, not because they wanted them, they just hid them.  Another way of letting me know I was not welcome.

Eventually, I got desperate enough about my socks that I faked crying.  Eventually I got my socks back but what little self-respect I had went out the window.  At the group sessions they had success stories from other kids. These were the kids that made my life at camp horrible.  I did not find them inspiring at all, in fact, I tuned the stories out and lived in my own world.

At that time I was going through hormonal changes as well, which didn't help.  There was an attractive camp counselor that I started flirting with.  For the sake of story let’s just say if I was 10 years older I would have had a chance.  It was the only bright spot of camp but since my love was unrequited it did not do much to make camp better.  I counted the days until the end of the week.  It finally came and I went home.

The kids never apologized for being mean.   I told my parents on the way home that I did not like the camp or the kids and that I did not want to go back.  They honored my request.  Sometimes I wonder if I ever would have become popular with the cool or nerdy kids after a couple of years.  Looking back, it is okay though. I cannot be friends with a bunch of diabetic sock thieves.

Patrick O'Hara is a comedian in Chicago and writes a blog called The Bad Diabetic.

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