July 14, 2005

All of the campers and staff waited expectantly as Mickey nervously tapped the microphone and looked over his shoulder. "I'm sorry I had to pull you away from your shops," he said, "but this is important." There was a murmur through the crowd as everyone looked at their neighbors for a clue as to the purpose of the impromptu camp meeting. Mickey took off his sunglasses and looked at the multitude of concerned faces. "I'm sorry to tell you that… the undead… are no longer dead." Gasps. "New York and Boston have fallen to zombies." More gasps. "But rest assured that this camp is a safe haven; no one will be harmed here."

Most camps celebrate the 4th of July. But not our camp. (Independence Day up here on the hill in New Milford, Connecticut is replaced by Diversity Day—in lieu of fireworks and patriotic anthems, we gather to sing songs, watch cultural dances, and hear about customs different than our own. Nearly half of the staff hails from places such as South Africa, Australia, Poland, Germany, France, England, Russia, Scotland, and the faraway land of Canada; it makes more sense to celebrate our differences than to flaunt the fact that we beat the pants off those Brits.) We may not celebrate Independence Day, but we do celebrate France's Bastille Day, remembering when the poor people in France overthrew the rich monarchs by burning down a prison. And how do we celebrate Bastille Day here at camp? By turning into zombies.

Naturally.

Every year the CITs (counselors-in-training) take over the camp. This year they took over the camp as zombies. And so, just as Mickey assured us that we were all safe, screams were heard from the back of the crowd as several pale and dirty zombies sucked the life out of a few innocent campers. The frightful undead stumbled down the hill and behind some buildings, chased by a few kids wielding baseball bats, pitchforks, and axes.

All throughout the day, the camp's CITs were slowly assimilated into the zombie ranks and, by twilight, over fifty teenage zombies roamed camp, moaning and stumbling, looking for innocent victims.

The campers met the zombies on the lawn (after a dinner of standard camp fare), ready to engage in the final battle. Would the Resistance overpower the zombies, or would camp succumb to the power of the undead? Tensions mounted as the two groups faced off, the campers united in a battle cry as the zombies moaned and stretched their arms toward the youngest members of camp, ready to devour their brains.

Just then a familiar tune burst forth from the camp PA system. "Only Michael Jackson can save us now!" someone cried. "We must dance!" The ranks of zombies began their frightful choreography (yes, right out of the "Thriller" music video) as the campers surrounded them in a furious dance-off.

And this is how the campers prevailed, outdancing the undead, saving the camp for future generations of utterly silly people.

Happy Bastille Day.

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