For those of us old enough to have lived in the era of Beavis and Butthead, Beavis’ nonstop excitement about “fire, fire, fire” may be one of the only things you recall about the show (outside of the Great Cornholio of course). It’s only recently that I’ve realized that Beavis was onto something.
Last Saturday we attended festivities at the Cub Scout spring overnight weekend. Cub Scout and Boy Scout events are inclusive of the entire family. That’s how they roll. The highlight of the event was the Saturday night campfire. Everyone gathered around the flame as kids roasted marshmallows, sang songs and told massively awkward ghost stories. We caught fireflies. I looked around at glowing faces everywhere, none of which were illuminated by a mobile device. I felt like a caveman. Alive. I’ve smelled better. A T-Rex lurked in the distance. I thought, “Why don’t I do this more often?” Campfires that is, not the part about smelling bad.
As a society, we constantly ratchet up the entertainment ante. We think things keep getting better and cooler with each new release or feature, but they’re not. We’re getting dumber and less capable as we immerse in passive and solitary man made experiences. We’ve forgotten that the most satisfying forms of entertainment require little more than walking out the door. Walk out the door at night to really amp things up. Walk out the door, at night, then light a campfire if you want the ultimate. If you live in Manhattan, this suggestion will get you arrested. So don’t do it there. Maybe walking out the commuter train door in Long Island works better?
“Why don’t I do this more often?” Campfires that is, not the part about smelling bad.
Given my experience at the Scout event, I’d now argue that the campfire may be the single greatest form of entertainment on earth. You may argue that fire itself was at one point a technological innovation. You suck.
Gather your friends and family this weekend, find a spot that is not combustible, and sit under the stars around a campfire. Keep an eye on the smaller members of your clan. They are attracted to fire, and fire does harm the flesh. If the smaller member happens to be your 74-year-old Uncle Mortie…be particularly aware of him. His brown sweater with elbow patches isn’t fireproof. Don’t take pictures. We don’t need to capture and tag every moment of our lives. This one will be burned into your mind.
Afterward, go home, lie down and reflect. If this wasn’t the best night in recent memory, your hunch about being part robot might be valid.