Hell’s Playground

One of the headaches of the summer for a lot of parents I suspect, is the arranging all the day camp and daycare options for your child (children) once school lets out in June. There is no task in my daily curricula that requires so much mental focus, concentration, cunning and guile than trying to locate, schedule, plan, and register for all HRH’s necessary summer camps.

Truthfully, Kelly suffers through most of this process and my sole anxiety is usually in finding these places and making sure this gets handed off to that person on time and that she is packed appropriately with this  in order to prepare for that, and if this person should say anything about blah, blah blah, then you tell him blah, blah, blah and, yeah, just like that there.  The worst part is that this all usually happens before I’ve even had my morning cup of coffee.  So while this is all playing out, day in and day out, I just take it as the Summer months playing the role of just another Evil Monkey throwing yet another barrel at in my general vicinity.

Just jump over it and keep on rockin’, baby.

So while we’re weaving and careening down the QEW at high speeds en route to our destination, HRH decides to read me some of the waiver forms I’ve been instructed to immediately hand over upon arrival.

Now, remember, this is a waiver form for a ‘Musical Theater Camp’.

At first it all sounds pretty much like any other run-of-the-mill insurance waiver form.

“I____________ (“Participant”), acknowledge that I have voluntarily registered to participate in activities as part of Kids’ College Summer Camp (“Activities”).”

Sure, sure.  You bet.

But then it goes on to get a bit more sinister.

“I understand that the Activities are potentially hazardous and there is a risk of injury, and even serious or disabling.”


What kind of musical theater “camp” is this anyway?  We’d already practiced correctly pronouncing the word ‘theater’, with the appropriate rolling of the vowels to give one the instant air of undeserved snobbery and now they are telling me she might be disabled?

Personally, I prefer to operate within the more commonly accepted and unwritten “you break it, you buy it” policy.  If you damage the goods they’re your responsibility to own up to it and do the right thing.  In this case, I’d expect nothing less than a full complimentary meal at the culinary institute’s on-campus restaurant.

But, I digress…

Anyway, what might cause “serious injury” at a musical theater camp?  Are they going to be free falling from a high object into a stack of cardboard boxes?  Am I going to be picking up my step-daughter at 4:00pm or Hal Needham?  Or will the daily curricula be more that of, say, ‘American Ninja’ where she’ll be navigating through an obstacle course of floating doors, door handles, a salmon board, and something known only as the “ButterflyWall” (whatever the hell that is).

Maybe I should get dropped off at camp and she can go to the office.

I had HRH  keep reading from the backseat.

Then the form goes on to say:

“I am voluntarily participating in the Activities with the knowledge of the risk of injury involved, and agree to assume any and all risks of bodily injury, death or property damage, whether those risks are known or unknown.”

Holy shit!

“Know or unknown?”

What could they possibly mean by unknown?

Do they mean poltergeists and other paranormal type of “unknown”  shit?  Is there a risk that she’s going to be possessed by some demonic entity, or something?  Is Zuul going to take up residence in her soul until the Key Master shows up with the goods?

Maybe I should bring a priest at 4:00pm?

Then there were other questions as well about any medication that might need to be administered, potential allergies and even a request for information regarding any possible legal custodial issues.  I guess that’s in case any “baby daddy’s” decide to show up and try to go all Amber Alert with the next Judy Garland, no doubt.

While this is all well and good, I remember when I was sent off to summer camp.  I hated it.  Anyway, I certainly don’t remember having to bring any forms, nor were my parents ever required to sign my life away.  Basically, they would just slow the car down to a reasonable enough speed and I would commando roll out to the curb while they sped off in a cloud of dust and gravel.  Hopefully, I had ended up at the right place.  So that meant no water bottle, no sun screen, no hat, no swim goggles and no four course meal packed neatly inside a thermo regulated lunch bag.  We were pretty much left there like Moses’ to wander the dessert (our neighborhood park) for the next eight hours, risking exposure and potentially dying of thirst.

I’m surprised then that now we’re also not required to supply her with a personal assistant, chef, masseuse and possibly a stunt double. As it is, she might need some support given the incredibly dangerous environment that I’m apparently dropping her off in.

God help her.

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