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The Skinny By Elaine Langlois

Second Anniversary!

Anniversary message from the Editor

Camp Skinny

Today is April 30, which means that you are woefully behind the curve if you have not yet signed your children up for summer camp. The U.S. National Camp Association reports that the peak enrollment period is December through March. Now here it is almost May, and through your indolence your child has been locked out of all the cool camps like bungee jumping and left with the not-so-cool ones like "movement."

Not to worry, because I am starting my own summer camp. I made this decision when I learned that summer camps earn average gross revenues of $1,125,000. My camp will not feature trendy themes like getting into college and Hummer driving. No, it will be a truly useful camp, focusing on skills today's children need.

Session 1: Manners Camp

This session will not teach outmoded forms of etiquette such as how to pour tea and walk with a book on your head. Instead it will focus on contemporary social skills appropriate for a wide range of situations, such as the following:

  • If you are a young boy and you are in the locker room after gym, it is considered socially incorrect to jump repeatedly in order to make parts of your anatomy bobble up and down.

  • If you are a young girl who has not yet hit 7th grade, it is considered socially incorrect to sit cross-legged on the floor at school on Grandparents' Day wearing a short skirt and a black thong. Pastel colors are so much more appropriate.

  • While you are riding on the school bus, it is considered socially incorrect to compete with your peers to see which of you can make the loudest fart noises.

Session 2: Basic Life Skills

Children will perform a variety of practical tasks in a real-life home setting, such as doing laundry, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, washing floors and windows, painting a shed, installing screen doors, insulating the attic, and cleaning litterboxes. Special features:

Session 3: Camp Time Warp I

This camp attempts to reproduce the summer vacation experiences of our own youth. Campers stay home. There are no field trips, and they do not spend their days being carted from one self-improving activity to another.

At Camp Time Warp, campers must figure out how to amuse themselves without electronic devices or adult assistance, using such time-honored methods as building a clubhouse, reading moldy old books in the basement, walking to get where they want to go, playing marathon games of Monopoly, and picking on each other. Deprogramming continues until campers develop the beginnings of an attention span and actually begin to look forward to things, like holidays, the ice cream truck, and even the bookmobile.

Session 4: Camp Time Warp II

Campers participate in wholesome pastimes from summer camps of days gone by, like eating bad food, singing stupid, boring songs that nobody ever heard of, and sweating. Running the camp counselor's girdle up the flagpole. Various Lord of the Flies-type activities. Contests where one team actually wins and the other team is shamed and made to feel bad like the losers they really are.

Session 5: Survivor

This session tests your children's capacity to solve real-life problems and perform under stress. Special features:

Call now! Operators are standing by.

© 2004 Elaine Langlois

Happy Anniversary!

Why it seems like it was just a year since we celebrated the first anniversary of The Skinny!

Last night we decided to throw a surprise anniversary party for Elaine here at HW HQ. Amy Krug made finger sandwiches shaped like the Eiffel Tower that looked just like triangles, Marni Malarkey provided (and drank ) all of the wine, Beth Hanes made her famous bread pudding which the cat enjoyed and I provided the general sense of happiness and well being.

We rehearsed the surprise with each of us taking turns being Elaine. I was the best one. Then we sat in the dark until we realized that no one had told Elaine. After two hours of finger pointing and tearful recriminations, we called her home but the person who answered said that Elaine had never, ever, ever, ever lived there and she didn't know how we would get the number even if she did live there and what did we want anyway, even though she wasn't Elaine.


So Elaine, there is a little tupperware container (I'll need that back) in the third drawer left side with the remains of the buffet (sorry about the leak). Thank you for two years of hilarity! S.G.