An Unnatural Fixation With Color

, , , , , | Working | April 21, 2021

This happens around 1993 or so. I’m about thirteen and my cousin is twelve. She is visiting for the summer. My cousin has very bright strawberry blonde hair, and her hair turns VERY bubblegum pink when she gets in a pool. This happens pretty much every summer.

The problem arises after we get to summer camp after a day at the pool and beach. [Cousin] gets called into the director’s office for having an “unnatural” hair color. He doesn’t believe her when she says that she didn’t dye it. Our grandmother comes to pick us up.

Director: “The rules are very clear; this camp does not tolerate unnatural hair colors.”

Nana: “Sir, this is her natural hair color. We went swimming yesterday and the chemicals in the pool turned her hair pink. This happens often and it will fade in a week or two.”

Director: “That won’t do! You will take her home and dye her hair back to a natural color. She will not be allowed back in until then.”

We leave. [Cousin] is in tears, absolutely baffled about what she did wrong to get kicked out of camp. Nana is muttering up a storm. I start laughing.

Nana: “What’s so funny?”

Me: “Well, the director said that cousin’s hair had to be a natural color, not her natural color. Didn’t she want to dye it black a few weeks ago?”

[Cousin]’s ears perk up. Nana gets a rather evil grin and tells me that I’m absolutely right!

Nana: “[Cousin], do you still want to dye your hair black?”

Cousin: “YES! YES, I DO! Are you really going to let me?”

Nana: “Absolutely, let’s go to the beauty store.”

The next day comes. The director calls us back into the office and calls our grandmother to come get us. The director lays into Nana about how this isn’t a “natural color.”

Nana: “Excuse me, black hair most certainly is a natural dang color!”

Director: “It’s not her natural color.”

Nana: “The rules clearly state ‘natural colors.’ Nowhere does it specify that it must be her natural color.”


Nana: “So, you mean to tell me that your black hair, your secretary with the flaming red hair, and the super bleached-out platinum blonde instructor are all your natural colors? Because I know darn well they are not! Now, you will stop harassing my grandchildren, or I’m pulling them out of this program, with a full refund, I’m reporting you to the super head honcho—”

My nana is very good friends with the head honcho, and the director knows it.

Nana: “—and I will convince every parent and grandparent to pull their kids. You have no right to harass children and their bodies. I don’t give a s*** if it’s just hair or not! You do not give impressionable kids body image issues.”

True to her word, she pulled us out after he refused to let it drop and got all the parents to pull their kids and place them in the other camp across town run by the same organization. The head honcho fired the director since numbers got too low to keep his camp open and transferred anyone who wanted to keep their jobs to the other camp. No one was sad to see him go, and the transferred employees were much happier being out from under that tyrant. [Cousin] never heard another peep about her “unnatural” hair.

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Who Agreed To This Deal?!

, , , | Learning | March 14, 2021

I’m working at a summer camp. We are doing staff training the week before the kids arrive. In this training session, we are discussing safety.

Camp Director: “For every camper that gets hurt, three counselors will get hurt.”

After a couple of moments…

Counselor: “Oh, you meant statistically.”

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The Great Outdoors Really Stink!

, , , , , | Related | February 4, 2021

Some years ago, my family and I went on a holiday in the USA, driving down the east coast in an RV from campground to campground and sightseeing on the way. Our RV doesn’t have a bathroom. 

One night, my dad woke up with an urgent need to empty his bladder, decided the bathroom on the other side of the campground was too far away, and went to relieve himself in the bushes next to our RV. Still half-asleep, he barely noticed one particular bush in front of him moving and rustling more than the others… until it started hissing and squeaking at him. Zipper down and ready to go about his business, he looked closer and identified the “bush” he was about to pee on as an angry black-and-white furball, facing him buttward with its tail up in the air and making angry skunk noises. 

My dad froze. The little guy put on a bit of a show, shaking his behind in my dad’s face, but luckily soon got bored and moved on. As soon as it seemed safe, Dad retreated back to the RV and waited with an increasingly impatient bladder for sunrise to safely hurry to the restroom.

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Impatience Will Get You Nowhere Painfully Fast

, , , , , , | Friendly | December 16, 2020

My partner and I decide to go camping this summer; provincial campgrounds are only 50% open right now, and it will be a cheap, safe vacation. We get to our site and there’s a large truck blocking it; the owner is staying at the neighbouring site. He moves it willingly but doesn’t stay at a safe distance before he gets in. 

There’s just our small tent and small car on our site, while their site has a large trailer, a tent, and two large trucks. The morning of our checkout arrives, and as we’re leisurely packing everything up, a woman comes from the other site…

Woman: “We have this site booked for tonight and checkout is 11:00. When are you going to be done?”

Me: “Checkout is 2:00. We’ll be out well before then.”

She huffed and went back to her site, watching us. We’d already planned to spend some time collecting spruce tips before we left, but we may have taken a bit more time.

This story is part of our Best Of December 2020 roundup!

Read the next Best Of December 2020 roundup story!

Read the Best Of December 2020 roundup!

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Should’ve Let Her Eat It

, , , | Friendly | December 7, 2020

Our geography classes in senior year had a couple of big excursions running that parents could opt to send their kids on. The school picked some really awesome places to go, and during the camps, we would get to learn while physically surrounded by the course’s material, win-win.

One year, we went on a week-long trip to Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island. Lady Elliot is a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, and while it’s only barely long enough for the light planes’ runway, there are heaps of things to do and see. Tourists flock there from around the world, and with a big communal dining hall, we met a lot of interesting people.

One little girl kept popping up randomly multiple times a day as our group was engaging in various activities on the tropical island. We were heading out snorkelling and the little girl went running by and slipped on some leaves. I helped her up and she dashed off without a sound. Leaving the dining hall, I saw her trip up the stairs. Again, I helped her up and asked if she was okay, as she had hit the floor rather hard with her elbow. She didn’t make a sound, but I got a fleeting smile as she dashed away.

The back of the hall had a couple of table tennis setups and our group found ourselves there most afternoons to relax and play a VERY weird version of table tennis. All surfaces were in play, including the people spectating, and this little girl would shyly scoot over to watch. She tripped again and went down into a loose drift of sand, so I plucked her from the sand and helped her dust as much as we could out of her hair. She smiled and grimaced in embarrassment before dashing off again.

These run-ins were adorable and I kind of figured she might be mute since I’d not heard her make a single sound, even when she bit it hard on the concrete one morning.

On our last day at Lady Elliot, we were leaving the dining hall and heading to our cabins to pack for the morning plane when, yet again, I saw this little girl. She was half-hiding behind a pillar and staring at me. Thinking this might be my last time seeing her, I approached, knelt down to her level, and said:

Me: “Hey there, hun. We are all leaving tomorrow. I won’t be around to help you up anymore. Be careful to keep both feet on the ground, yeah?”

And I gave her a big smile.

She grinned back, came out from behind the pillar, and declared, loud enough for everyone in the hall behind us to hear:

Little Girl: “You’re fat!

Then, she sprinted away. My friends laughed; I was in shock. Little brat! And people wonder why I tolerate children but don’t want any of my own.

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