|Why didn't Noah swat 'em when he had the chance?|
Some people love camping. Some people don't. Some people think there's nothing better in the world than spending time close to nature; others think close to nature means going barefoot, and roughing it means the TV in their motel room is smaller than their set at home.
I used to like camping. Probably wouldn't be my first choice now, but I have plenty of fond memories of camping as a kid, and of camping with our kids when they were growing up. (Is there ANYTHING that smells even half as good as bacon cooking outside in the early morning?)
Sure, camping has its downsides. Like the mosquitoes that consider bug spray nothing more than a tasty finishing sauce, the tenacious horse flies that have to be pried off with a crow bar, and the sneaky little ticks that have such a talent for burrowing into the most unpleasant places. And then, of course, there's always the inconvenience of having to trek to the port-a-potty in the pitch black middle of the night.
|Never wipe with leaves that look like this!|
Or worse, finding your kids blithely playing in a pretty little patch of poison ivy.
But the state of California offers a whole new breed of things for you to worry about when you take the family camping. (Or do just about anything else.)
|Forget worrying about a bear attack.|
|Don't worry about one of those giant trees smashing your RV.|
Maybe what you should be worrying about is that nasty campfire. Forget about running out of marshmallows. Don't worry about finding sticks long enough to hold wieners over the fire. (sigh) Worry about the fire.
Because the fine state of California says campfires are hazardous to your health.
Proposition 65, AKA the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted to protect the state's citizens and their drinking water from chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. An admirable goal, to be sure.
However, the law requires the governor to release a list of these toxic substances at least once a year, and businesses must notify the public about the presence of any of those substances. Still sound pretty admirable?
The problem is, signs like the one above now pepper California like termite holes in a rotten piece of wood. Certainly in campgrounds, because chemicals associated with things like campfires and RV holding tanks may be hazardous to your health. And at gas stations ... because ya know, there may be ... um... gasoline... there. Probably in hospitals, too, because cleaning products are also on the list. The latest list of toxic chemicals fills twenty-two pages, and includes well over 800 substances, so the signs are becoming so ubiquitous, it's questionable whether they have any meaning anymore, other than as fodder for potential lawsuits.
Posting signs to warn us of the obvious makes about as much sense as a label on a can of peanuts saying Warning: Contains peanuts. I mean ... have we really become that stupid? I certainly hope we are much more competent than our governments seem to think we are.
So, bottom line, if I ever do go camping again, it sure won't be in California. Campfires are much more friendly here in Georgia. (And who wants to go camping if you can't fix s'mores with a clear conscience?)
You know, I'm thinking our house probably wouldn't pass the California sniff test. I mean, we have two cats. ('Nuff said there.) I painted the walls last year ... I actually scrub the floors... and cook. Don't forget the evils of nail polish, acetone, super glue, spray paint, and who knows how many other things most of us use regularly. How 'bout you? Do you need one of those signs at your house, too? (Sheesh.)
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Oh, and a thanks and a tip of the hat to my amateur radio pals Barry and Judi for suggesting this as a possible blogpost topic.