Happy Camper

Last week I brought my students to a YMCA camp for three days of outdoor education. On the morning of our departure, I donned a tee-shirt that featured the smiling face of a presumed camper and the phrase Happy Camper emblazoned beneath. I wear it every year on the first day of camp.

And as I pulled it over my head, it occurred to me I probably put more purpose and decision making into the wearing of that tee-shirt than I do for almost anything else that I wear during the rest of the year. Typically I choose my clothing based upon the next item at the top of the pile or the shirt that matches the next pair of clean pants.

I’m not saying I look slovenly. I just wear whatever is next in line.

Except when it comes to my Happy Camper shirt. It’s the one day that I dig deep into the pile and make an actual wardrobe decision.

I was thinking that this was a good thing. It struck me as efficient and time-saving. It seemed to express an existential disregard for outward appearances beyond the requirements to appear clean and neat. It demonstrated the uniform equity that I assign to plaid and stripes, blue and green.

But when I tell people this, all I seem to get is eye-rolls and head shakes.