Oh, Wheatley… what a wacky dude you are.
So the basic idea for this strip, as many ideas do, came from some real life happenings. While things have been moving pretty smoothly concerning the staff and the kids, maintenance the past few weeks has been supremely nutty.
During our last changeover day (day when new campers come in), a transformer in the middle of camp blew, causing a cable to detach and swing around… while on fire. Naturally, the kids thought it looked super cool and all ran to see it up close.
Sometimes I wonder how kids survive to become adults.
Adding to the confusion were the parents who were milling around and not taking care of their borderline suicidal offspring.
Then, just a few nights ago, a counselor in training came running down the hill and, looking as if he just saw a child get mauled by a bear, asked if he could talk to me.
“…sure,” I said, fearing that something awful had just happened.
We started walking up the hill.
“The pipe by the water tower broke,” said the counselor, “water is shooting everywhere.”
I freeze. Sure, the pipe breaking was certainly better than whatever horror story I had playing in my head, but this still required immediate attention. I ran back to the director’s cabin, informed Dan of the situation, and ran up the hill and into the woods to the water tank which, just as the counselor mentioned, was spewing water from a broken pipe.
After soundlessly mouthing “oh shit” to myself, I went to figure out exactly what pipe was broken. I took a step into the woods (the tank is just past the tree-line)… and sank ankle deep.
The ground, which normally is quite firm, had become a soupy, muddy mess that had now taken up residence inside my shoes.
Back in college, we’d refer to this phenomenon as a “core breach.”
The cold, smelly wetness momentarily distracted me, but I was soon standing on the tank platform, where I realized that the pipe that had broken wasn’t the pipe coming out of the tank, it was the one feeding the tank from the water company.
This means that every second the water was flowing, money was going with it.
In my panic, I attempted to jam the broken bit of pipe back in place, which caused water to spray in every possible direction, soaking me further. We decided it be best to look for the cutoff valve.
All told, it took us about a half hour to find the correct valve for the pipe, and while we stopped the immediate problem of the water waste, we had a new issue to contend with:
Until the pipe was repaired, we only had as much water as the was in the tank. If it were just me living there, I’m sure that water would have lasted me months. However, with 150+ people and a kitchen staff that needs water to clean and cook, this was pretty dire.
“If you go number one,” said the camp director to the kids, “you don’t have to flush.”
Also a part of our water conserving plan was that no one was allowed to take a shower until the pipe was fixed. Admittedly this would not constitute a lifestyle change for many of our campers. However, as bad as the kids can smell, the odors we experienced over the last few days were… just awful.
Fortunately, everything was fixed up pretty quickly and things are back to normal… but I shall never forget the day the water pipe broke, nor the valiant pair of shoes that selflessly gave their lives for the greater good of the camp.