The Kamper can remain silent no longer.
The scene: downtown Amherst, MA. I was walking down Main Street to the post office. It was a sunny afternoon and the college students were out in force. A college kid was approaching from the other direction, a young lady at his side. Nothing unusual or even especially notable about the dude: jeans, t-shirt, wearing a standard issue backpack. But just as they passed I noticed a tube running up over his right shoulder ending near mouth, and he’s sucking away at that thing like he was newborn baby and that nozzle was his first taste of his mama’s own sweet teat. Which was when I realized that he was not wearing a backpack at all, but rather one of these contraptions.
Now the Kamper understands the importance of hydration and topping off your fluids all that, and I’m sure these things are a useful (albeit still dorky) accoutrement if you are cross country skiing or hiking Death Valley. But this dude was doing neither. This dude was not engaged in any sport whatsoever, extreme or otherwise. This dude was walking to Antonio’s for a slice.
And now in looking at Camelbak’s website I see they have an entire line of these ‘hydration packs’ designed especially for kids, with names like the Jibber and the Mini-M.U.L.E. and the Skeeter and the ever-popular P.B.J. What in God’s name is your kid doing that he or she needs 50 ounces of water strapped to his or her back?! Is there a drought in homeroom? Does he walk to school through the Sudan? For heaven’s sake, can’t the kid just drink from the hose like we all did?!
And while I’m on the subject, when did women in this country become incapable of going anywhere or doing anything without at least 20 ounces of purified water within arm’s reach at all times? Most of the women I know can’t seem to sit through a two hour movie in an air conditioned multiplex without enough water on hand to wash a fleet of rental vehicles. The amount of water the average American woman today consumes in a single 24 hour period would have been enough, 100 years ago, to sustain your average pioneer family and their oxen along the entire length of the Santa Fe Trail, with enough left over when they got there to irrigate their crops.
All of which prompts the Kamper to ask an obvious question: Have we lost our freaking minds?!
What has happened to this country? Whither the grit and determination and pioneer spirit upon which this great nation was built? Have we really reached the point in our evolution as a society where a healthy adult male who has never known a moment of deprivation in his life honestly believes that he cannot walk the several miles from his dorm room to a pizza parlor without three full litres of water on back? (And don’t try to argue that maybe he was about to hop on his mountain bike and hit the trails. I saw him. Dude was wearing sandals.)
Now soldiers fighting in Iraq get complete dispensation from this rant. It’s hot there, man, and God knows they need their hands. But as for the rest of you — take off the hydration packs and drink a nice glass of water once in a while. And by all means kwitcher bellyachin’.
So saith the Kamper.