Once upon a summer’s past, my life consisted of virtuous campfire songs, reprehensible nights off, and an unexpected yeast infection while working as a camp counselor in northern Minnesota.
Since having a day off was a rare occurrence, the counselors made the most of it by going from 0 to 100 as soon as we left the staff parking lot. We had a lot of steam to let off. Every party we had was as intense as a bachelor party. Every shot we took was gulped a little faster. We realized our time to be reckless was limited, so we had no room for letting anything get in the way of us indulging in an untamable night out.
That’s exactly why I was not in favor of Jack tagging along with us on our last night off of the summer.
“Who invited him to roll with us?” I demanded to know.
“I felt bad,” answered Collier. “Nobody else invited him to do anything.”
Jack was a socially awkward camp counselor with an even more awkward look to him. The type of look that suggests he might have to notify his neighbors when he moves into the neighborhood one day.
Since none of the counselors were willing to put their debit card on file to rent another cabin because someone defecated on the kitchen floor at the last cabin party, resulting in an outrageous cleaning fee, everyone decided to spend the night at Zorbaz, a lakefront bar close to camp.
“There’s so many girls here tonight,” noticed Max.
“They’ll think we’re strange for hanging out with Jack,” I worried.
“I felt bad,” cried Collier.
A few drinks later, we found ourselves outside talking to a few girls. Then Jack came over. As he sat down, I started crying a little on the inside, hoping he wouldn’t scare the girls away.
He was being so weird that the girls started looking at each other with that face you make when you’re hoping your friend will say something to exit the conversation. Luckily, Jack, a lightweight drinker, had to excuse himself to the bathroom to break the seal before they walked off.
“You’ll have to excuse our friend,” I announced in damage control mode. “He’s autistic, and we wanted to take him out with us drinking to meet girls because he’s a virgin.”
“Aww,” they replied.
“I can’t believe you told those girls Jack is autistic,” said Collier as we were at the bar getting a round of shots for the girls.
“They think it’s sweet,” I replied. “They think he’s like the girl in that movie ‘The Other Sister’ about the mentally challenged girl who proves herself to be just as capable as her perfect sister by getting her own apartment.”
We found Jack and told him it would be a good idea to pretend to be autistic, convincing him that it could help him get laid. A little hesitant, but eager to be part of the group, he decided to go along with it.
“You can carry the shots,” I offered Jack.
“Aww, your friend bought us shots!” screamed the girls.
“Guess what? Can you believe I’m autistic?” blurted Jack.
After an awkward pause, the girls put their shots down and walked away. I should have known Jack couldn’t even pretend to be autistic without making it so awkward that people would walk away.
I learned my lesson to just let people be who they are the day I tried convincing someone to pretend to be autistic to make up for their social ineptitude. Sorry, Mom and Dad.