by | Aug 27, 2000 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

‘Good morning, students. Welcome back to school. How did you spend your summer vacation?”

“It was great! I went to camp for 8 weeks!”

“It was great! I watched a TV show, ‘Survivor,’ for 13 weeks!”

“My mom and dad dropped me off at camp and wrote me lots of letters.”

“My mom and dad turned on the TV set and let me sit on the couch and eat Cheez Doodles.”

“I spent the whole summer in the outdoors, making friends and having fun.”

“I spent the whole summer indoors, watching grown-ups try to scam a million bucks.”

“My camp was beautiful. It had hills and lakes and woods.”

“My TV show was on an island. It had mosquitoes and snakes.”

“I went swimming every day and learned to do the breaststroke.”

“I watched people carry mud.”

“I made a house out of Popsicle sticks.”

“I watched people hold a pole.”

“I played softball and volleyball.”

“I watched people swallow bugs.”

“I learned teamwork and how to get along with fellow campers.”

“I learned the more people you screw in life, the further you’ll get.”

Friends and enemies

“I made some really cool friends like Billy, the redheaded kid, and Jimmy, the blond kid, and Susie, whose mommy owns a cookie shop.”

“I got to know Richard, a nasty corporate trainer, and Sue, a nasty truck driver, and Rudy, a former Navy SEAL who said his wife does ‘whatever I tell her to do.’ “

“We would play these cool games like Capture the Flag or Bombardment. And every night, when the games were over, we all got really cool desserts like Popsicles.”

“My TV show would play games, too, like seeing who could sneak around behind someone’s back and make a pact. And each week, when the game was over, someone got booted off and mumbled some really cool curse words.”

“At night, we would make a campfire and roast marshmallows and sing songs.”

“At night, my contestants made a campfire and plotted whom they could get rid of next.”

“Sometimes, when everyone was asleep, I would share secrets with my best friend.”

“Sometimes, when everyone was asleep, Kelly would share secrets with the camera.”

“One of my bunk mates has a girlfriend.”

“Two of my contestants had sex.”

“I saw Darryl, a tall guy, dunk a basketball.”

“I saw Richard, a gay guy, walk around naked.”

“I helped my counselors clean up the bunk.”

“I helped CBS earn millions.”

“My camp mates ate ice cream.”

“My contestants ate rats.”

Photos and videotapes

“When camp was over, we all sang this song: ‘Friends, friends, friends, we will always be . . .’ “

“When my show was over, one contestant told the other, ‘If you were dying of thirst, I’d leave you to the vultures . . .’ “

“My mommy and daddy said I’d grown so much, they hardly recognized me.”

“My mommy and daddy said if I kept eating those Cheez Doodles, I wouldn’t fit in my school clothes.”

“My camp mates are all back at school now.”

“My contestants are doing interviews.”

“I have lots of pictures to remember them by.”

“I taped every episode and the reruns start in September.”

“I can’t wait until next summer.”

“I can’t wait until ‘Survivor II.’ “

“One day, when I grow up, I’m going to be a camp counselor and play games with other little kids.”

“And one day, when I grow up, I’m going to look out for myself, find friends I can stab in the back and get as rich as I can. And if Mom and Dad don’t buy me some more Cheez Doodles, I’m going to vote them off the island.”

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or Listen to Mitch’s radio shows — “Albom in the Afternoon,” 3-6 p.m. weekdays, and “Monday Sports Albom,” 7-9 p.m. Mondays — on WJR-AM (760).


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New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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