Do the Dew

There are times when the most vivid memories are triggered by the smallest thing. The other day Tim decided to be “bad” and bought a soda for each of us. I had my usual Dr. Pepper, but he was not paying close attention and grabbed the most foul of all diet drinks, Diet Mt. Dew.

I don’t remember exactly what summer this happened, but it was after Hugo and before highschool. My best friend and I were in girl scouts, but it was lame and we were disappointed that we never got to go camping either with scouts or family. We decided to remedy this situation with the age old trick, “Mom can I spend the night at her house?” and she requested the same.

Our excitement crescendoed as we trudged through the neighborhood lugging our sleeping bags and backpacks, trying not to attract notice. Thoughts of, “Oh it will seem cooler when we stop,” flitted through our idyllic, naive little minds along with, “This will be so much fun!” It should be mentioned, our little escapade took place in Ladson, SC in July. For as hot as it was, it might as well have been a Brazilian jungle.

We found a small clearing off the main trail just before dark. We gathered wood and arranged our campsite, just like good little scouts.. When we finally stopped moving and sat down in front of the fire, of which we were so terribly proud, we realized our stupidity. The mosquitoes were out by the billions and there was nowhere to go. Skin So Soft had always worked on the weenie little outings we took with our scout troop. Of course, those outings were in broad daylight when the bugs typically aren’t as active. Skin So Soft doesn’t so much discourage mosquitoes from biting, as it seems to prevent them from actually gripping the skin and thus they slide off to seek easier prey.

Bohemian Rat Screw* was the game of choice and our skin glistened and shone in the firelight. I’m sure we were a pretty picture, two adolescents, nothing but knees and elbows sweating like pigs in front of a sad little campfire. The grease from our “repellant” made the cards sticky and we eventually gave up as pine straw and dirt made dealing difficult. We decided to console ourselves by digging into our ‘provisions.’ Of course we hadn’t given any thought to a cooler and were dismayed to find the only drinks we had pilfered weren’t the regular Mt. Dews we had originally thought. No, my father was on another ‘health kick’ and we were stuck with warm Diet Mt. Dew. It has been at least fourteen years and I still can’t look at it without my stomach turning over. Little did we know that a decade or so later people would compete to be in a very similar position a la Fear Factor.

Eventually, we actually did try to sleep, only to have a thunderstorm roll through around three in the morning. It was one of those Lowcountry torrential downpours and we were soaked to the skin. Our sleeping bags were waterlogged and had quadrupled in weight, but we gamely lugged them another mile to Tom Conley baseball park where we hid in an announcer’s booth and waited for the dawn.

When the sky was finally light enough we began the two mile trek home. Our parents never did find out about our little deception, but we never attempted our little stunt again. Having to drag the sodden sleeping bags, soaked to the skin, and covered with slime and dirt was punishment enough for our idiocy.

I have not been camping since.


#1 JanetLee on 06.29.06 at 1:14 pm

1) Great story!

2) After Hugo, before high school – ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Sigh. I’m old.

3) Camping is retarded. My idea of camping is a hotel that doesn’t have 24 hour room service. I don’t go on ‘vacation’ to cook and clean dishes without hot water and electricity. Girls don’t pee in the woods. The end.

#2 ~Bird~ on 06.29.06 at 7:35 pm

I have a friend who lives on Mtn Dew. He also says the diet stuff is nasty. Personally I’m not a big fan of any soda that looks the same before and after it’s been drunk.

#3 Heather on 07.01.06 at 5:18 pm

Thanks Janetlee.

Bird, Mt. Dew has a time and a place and that is either with pizza or popcorn, end of story. Diet Mt. Dew has no time or place. EVER.

#4 hahnak on 10.04.10 at 8:24 pm

pure misery, but GREAT story! hahaha

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