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Colo(u)r Wars
I think I can trace my trouble with authority back to summer camp. Camp was going well. We were telling ghost stories, singing songs, doing arts and crafts, putting on a play...The great thing about sleepover camp was that even the most ostracized, drooly kid from school would get a cult status of a sort and would somehow be absorbed into the social circle that was camp.

Camp. Then one morning, very early, counsellors and staff would raid your cabin, throw a colored bandanna or pinny on your bunk bed, and tell reds to meet in TEN MINUTES at the flagpoles and blues to meet by the docks. The color wars had begun.

Blues against reds, you would compete in a vast array of sports, cheer-writing, tug-of-wars, etc. For three days, the routine was disrupted and your allegiance would be unquestionably aligned with your team. Even the color of your underwear was politicized.

Good friends would eye each other with suspicion. Adrenaline would flow, people would fight bitterly, complain of cheating, occasionally physical fights occurred.

In the end, one team would win. And the next day, you would go back to the regular activities like making gimp bracelets or rehearsing for your play. No one brought up the color wars - on whose victory everything had seemed to hinge - once they were over.

But the whole Lord of the Flies experience made the cameraderie and acceptance seem precarious. An innocence had been lost. And you would shift uncomfortably in your seat remembering James or Cathy, their faces beet-red after the triathalon, screaming about cheating.

I guess, after that, I never really trusted the transient roles that any social or professional structure imposed. You might be a good and fair person or someone who, under the right set of circumstances, becomes petty, mean, or mercenary. And I am both drawn and repulsed by the Survivor-like scenarios that bring that out.

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2.6.2004
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post #728
bio: adina
perma-link
2/6/2004
13:54

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