LISTAPP STORY: AT 21, LEV BECOMES THE COOLEST KID AT "SUMMER CAMP"
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- •My senior year of college I took a job at the local HillelIt paid a little and the job was pluralistic outreach; talking to Jewish students about whatever. Hello comped coffees!
- •It was a sweet gig but I had to spend five days on a Jewish retreat in St.LouisThis was before I realized you could politely defer/ignore requirements.
- •They were all well-meaning dorks I'd never met beforeWho else volenteer to work for Hillel and doesn't opt out of work retreats?
- •Here's the thing; all the other schools were coolerUniversity of Maryland Hillel is like a Jewish sorority; beautiful and foreign to my Tufts experience. University of Texas Hillel is like Frat. We're all 20 or so, forced into youthful roles and social structures
- •As someone who'd spent years as a league-average Jewish Summer Camp participant, I knew exactly how this wentI was never cool enough; never a smoocher or an athlete or a confident young teen. I was a joke smith
- •Except ~they~ didn't know thatYears later, I had a mulligan and one set of contact lenses
- •Like they say in those shows, I believed in myself"Nobody knows you're a sidekick"
- •You should know; summer camp style living instantly provokes summer style regression.No alcohol, no activities, living in bunks? We were all suddenly 14-15 again
- •And I lived life to the fullestYou know those weird wish fulfillment "if I could do awkward teenage years over..." Movies? I was suddenly inside one! And it was amazing.
- •It was surreal and strange. A very adolescent fantasy of coolness deferred and experienced.I have to tell you, it is amazing. Being cool in summer camp must have been amazing. So much validation and swag and confidence. Guys named Blake asked if I wanted to play basketball; cool mean-seeming girls chewing piña colada gum flirted with me. I gave PG-13 style back-sass to and about authority
- •It's hard to explain, I guess, what it feels like to get a teenage wish so exactly fulfilled in that headspace. It's sincerely amazing but also foreign. It feels like acting in another skin. Wish fulfillment.
- •I don't kiss and tell but you need to understand; there was a girl there who looked like an amalgamation of my two most recent ex girlfriends at that time, both of whom has dumped meVerified later by friends
- •She was the coolest girl at the camp in that classic sense; she was Cool. The cool girl; queen bee, in just that way; beautiful and a little mean but with a guardedly special soul
- •We totally kissed on a dry, hot night under the Missouri stars on our last night
- •It felt like id lifted every regret of my teenage years