Posted by: tlnemethy | June 10, 2013

Nicknames and Namesakes

Camp life is both aggressively amusing and downright boring. There are moments of me sitting at the oak plank tables in the lodge where I wish I didn’t have to sit through pre-season  lectures, but then there are moments that I have to quickly create a new paper airplane design or unwind myself from the human knot of counselors in more icebreakers.

We got  a new crop of counselors and specialists recently and now I have to learn an entirely new set of face and name recognition cards. My mind is slow sometimes. Bear with me.

The most enticing part of this summer was the nickname. In my phone interview, it was referenced that everyone working camp gets a nickname of humorous and just plain badass origins. I. Was. Stoked. But then again, I’ve had some pretty bad nicknames in my past. Toejam, anyone? What, no takers? Yeah. That was me for the entirety of my college years. So, to say I was stoked for a new and hopefully cooler nickname wasn’t an exaggeration. 0702121002

The first week went by in a blur, with me mindlessly barreling down woodsy trails that left my pant legs coated in ticks and my sneakers drenched in dew. Like Alaska, I wore the same pair of jeans until they developed the tell-tale soft spot of threadbare denim in the thighs. Then I wore them until they split into a skin baring near-obscenity. I’ll tell you that I’m wearing them right now because we are still out every day hauling logs and painting cabins. Hey, when you get a pair of junk jeans you wear them til they fall from your bones or you’re literally forbidden from appearing in them ever again.

I got my nickname the day I graduated from my lifeguarding certification course, and in a roundabout way because of my twisted sense of humor.  We were all sitting in a circle, just waiting for a few stragglers to finish the exam, so we decided to just chat about whatever came up. I was wearing a pair of Xtra Tufs from my days in Alaska and my feet were getting swampy so I rolled the cuffs down onto my ankles as depicted in the photo. May I just point out that NO FOOT WAS OUT OF THE BOOT. Or wellies, as my UK friends call them, tehe tehe.

One of the guys next to me gave me the stink eye like I was about to unleash the Kraken of all smells on him. Of course, I just warned him that it’d only smell of salmon. Instead of just him giving me a face, turns out the ENTIRE class was eavesdropping and had taken my comment as the gospel.

Faces ranged from utterly disgusted to mortification and I had to backpedal and explain. “That’s disgusting. And so specific of a smell.” This girl was wearing an upside-down  Muppets frown like Statler and Waldorf and I could feel my face flushing.

“You guys know I worked in Alaska right?” I was backpedaling hard-core now that EVERYONE in class was invested in my potentially lecherous foot odors. “Well, I’ve still got king salmon fish scales stuck to my boots and, as part of my work uniform, they sometimes still smell like salmon.” I’m completely paraphrasing here. Don’t let the quotes fool you.

This, in turn, led to a play-by-play of my entire processing plant experience in Naknek and had everyone completely amused for a good fifteen minutes. Upon returning to camp, I was dubbed Salmon and I now have to repeat the story over and over until people stop wondering. As soon as I accepted the name though, and forsook my own birth name, a ton of other names began popping up. Theoretically, I could still be Da Yoop, or Sasquatch (a story for another day).


  1. WELLIES!!!!

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