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Sleep Away Camp As Rorschach

Sleep Away Camp As Rorschach

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Camp, circa 1967. Future movers and shakers? Source: Potter/Express/Getty Images hide caption

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Source: Potter/Express/Getty Images

Talking with my fiance the other day, I began to reminisce — fondly — about my days at sleep away camp. (I am convinced I went to the very best camp in the entire world.) He snorted derisively, and gave me an account of his summer Bible camp in rural Kansas (which does not sound like the very best camp in the entire world). I realized that he thinks sleep away camp is elitist — and it does sort of represent an image of middle class happiness, in a sixties-ish sort of way. And he's got a point — the Getty caption of the archival photo above reads, "They may be attending a summer camp run by the National Association for Gifted Children, but these two boys enjoy reading comic books just like other kids their age." But the kids that were shipped off to moldy cabins, mosquito fields, and competitive ping-pong tourneys may have felt anything but special. Timothy Noah, in a thoughtful (and hilarious) piece in Slate, dissected the emotions attached to sleep away camp, and came up with a way to use the experience as a sort of litmus test for the kind of adult you might be. Unfortunately, I might be the kid that liked camp a little too much. See where you fall on his scale.

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