Wednesday, July 12, 2017


This is a story of how musical theater turned me to a life of crime.

Picture this: the year is 1995. It is summer, and I am at Many Point Family Camp for the very first (and last) time. My mom and sisters are with me. Dad and Eldon are at the scout camp on the other side of the lake.

It's very Minnesota.
There were bats in the walls of our cabin, leeches in the lake, and unreliable toilets, but it was still fun in the sort of dirty, disorganized way that camp usually is. The best part of all was that we had brought our cassette tape soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which was my obsession at the time. We listened to it on the car ride up. I convinced everyone that we needed to listen to it every night when we went to bed. I was positive that it was the best musical of all time.

At some point during the week, I met a girl near my age (a little younger) that I really clicked with. I don't remember her name, but considering that it was the early 90s I'm about 80% positive that it was either Emily or Ashley. We'll call her Ashily.

One day, while everyone else was in the lake trying to catch a greased watermelon, Ashily and I decided that we were too cool for school, and that we needed something better to do. We thought about it, and suddenly I knew: I needed to introduce her to the magic of Joseph.

So, without telling anyone (because we were very smart), we skipped down the road to my family's cabin, where we listened to the entirety of side one of my well-loved cassette.At this point we started getting hungry, so we decided to head back to the main part of camp to see what dinner was going to be.

When we got back to the lake, the scene was very different than when we had left. The lake was clear of people, and our mothers and several camp counselors were standing in a tight circle near the water. Ashily and I, not understanding what was going on, walked up to ask about food.

That's when the lecturing started.

Our parents, of course, were very relieved that we had not drowned or been eaten by a pike or whatever else might lurk in the lakes of Northern Minnesota, but they were not happy either. When my mom asked me what on earth I had been thinking, I said, "Well, we wanted to listen to Joseph..."

That is how I became a kidnapper at the tender age of five. I didn't see Ashily much after that. I think her mother must have thought I was some sort of tiny sociopath or something. It's a little sad, thinking about how our summer camp friendship was so short-lived. We never even got to promise that we would write and then immediately forget when we got home.

But we'll always have Joseph.

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