“Oh, it’s happening …” she said smugly. “I knew it would. It starts slowly, you don’t even know it. Then, little by little, it takes over your life.” She chuckled knowingly as she sipped her wine and gazed into the fireplace.
My farm neighbor, June Carter Cash, has been where I am now. She was a city girl, fell in love with a man from the country and eventually found herself on a farm, adapting to her new lifestyle. She had forewarned me all those years ago, and I didn’t listen. But she was right. Like a fog, like a thief in the night, camouflage print has officially insinuated itself into my house, my wardrobe, my life.
It started as a joke. Shortly after we purchased our farm, we stopped at that mid-Ohio institution, Grandpa’s Cheese Barn and Sweeties Barn off I-71 in Ashland for some ice cream. On the way there, we passed a sign in front of the outdoor outfitting retailer, Fin Feather and Fur that announced, “They’re here! Camo bathing suits are in!” My daughters and I all chuckled. “Is that a thing?” I said. “Who would want a camo bathing suit? Are they hunting from their pools or something?” I ate my ice cream, secure in the knowledge that I would never buy such a thing. Ridiculous!
Over the ensuing five years, however, camouflage began seeping into my life. It began with funny gifts. My daughter bought my husband a camo robe. A friend gave him a camo baseball hat with a built-in flashlight in the bill. But then, my husband became Captain Camo. He bought himself camo hunting gear: a coat, a hat, gloves, a turtleneck. June Carter Cash gave him camo Crocs. Pretty soon, my man was disappearing before my very eyes.
But that was all him, his thing, his camo compulsion. I started mocking him by purchasing silly camo things. “Hahahah,” I thought, “I’ll buy the girls camo bathing suits. What a riot!”
But then, I bought myself a camo bathing suit. “It’s cute,” I said to myself. “And green looks good with my eyes.” Then, it took over like an insidious invader and before I knew what was happening, there it was, plain as day, the evidence: a camouflage dog bed, a camouflage throw on the couch, camo grilling utensils, camo slippers, camo sunglasses … it was everywhere at our farmhouse. But the last straw came when I was recently dashing out the door to a yoga class at home and Captain Camo yelled out to me, “Hey, I like your camouflage leggings!”
What was he talking about? “These leggings are multi-colored, printed leggings from none other than Lululemon, buddy. They’re not … oh. My. God. They are. They are camouflage yoga pants.”
What is happening to me? Why am I buying into this?
What compels people to decorate their bodies, their homes, their pets with camouflage? What are we hiding from? I’m not a hunter; I’m not a soldier. What am I doing with all this camouflage? I don’t rightly know. I can’t explain it.
The only break I see in this camo fever is my husband’s growing compulsion to wear flannel, or should I say a flannel. For the past four years, my husband, Elmer Fudd, has been wearing the same blue and black flannel shirt every day. The. Same. One. It’s been like his wooby, his security blanket. He used to only wear it on the farm, but he grew so fond of it that he started wearing it everywhere. It got so bad that one of his colleagues at work approached him about it. “Dude, what’s with the blue flannel shirt?”
So, for Christmas recently, I decided to buy him more flannel shirts. He needed them and I needed to tip the scales away from all that camouflage. While I’ve never been a huge fan of flannel, I have to say, I’m happy with his new wardrobe. It’s a comforting reprieve from all that camouflage and at least I can see him coming now.
I wonder if they make flannel bathing suits?