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.