Letters from computer camp
Dear Mr. Johnson:
Ann Landers wouldn't print this. I have nowhere else to turn. I have
to get the word out. Warn other parents. I must be rambling on. Let
me try and explain.
It's about my son, Billy. He's always been a good, normal 10-year-old
boy. Well, last spring we sat down after dinner to select a summer
camp for Billy.
We sorted through the camp brochures. There were the usual camps with
swimming, canoeing, games, singing by the campfire -- you know. There
were sports camps and specialty camps for weight reduction, music,
military camps and camps that specialized in Tibetan knot tying
I tried to talk him into Camp Winnepoopoo. It's where he went last
year. Billy would have none of it. Billy pulled a brochure out of his
pocket. It was for a COMPUTER CAMP! We should have put our foot down
right there, if only we had known. He left three weeks ago.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED. He's changed. I can't explain it. See
These are some of my little Billy's Letters:
Letter # 1
The kids are dorky nerds. The food stinks. The computers are the only
good part. We're learning how to program. Late at night is the best
time to program, so they let us stay up. Love, Billy.
Letter # 2
Camp is O.K. Last night we had pizza in the middle of the night. We
all get to choose what we want to drink. By the way, can you make
Szechuan food? I'm getting used to it now. Gotta go, it's time for
the flowchart class. Love, Billy.
P.S. This is written on a word processor. Pretty swell, huh? It's
Letter # 3
Don't worry. We do regular camp stuff. We told ghost stories by the
glow of the computer screens. It was real neat. I don't have much of
a tan cause we don't go outside very often. You can't see the
computer screen in the sunlight, anyway. That wimp camp I went to
last year fed us weird food, too. Lay off, Mom. I'm okay, really.
Letter # 4
I'm fine. I'm sleeping enough. I'm eating enough. This is the best
camp ever. We scared the counselor with some phony worm code. It was
real funny. He got mad and yelled. Can you send more money? I've got
to chip in on the phone bill. Did you know that you can talk to
on a computer? Give my regards to Dad.
Letter # 5
Forget the money for the phone. We've got a way to not pay. Sorry I
haven't written. I've been learning a lot. I'm real good at getting
onto any computer in the country. It's really easy! I got into the
university's in less than fifteen minutes. Frederick did it in five,
he's going to show me how. Frederick is my bunk partner. He's really
smart. He says that I shouldn't call myself Billy anymore. So, I'm
Letter # 6
How nice of you to come up on Parents Day. Why'd you get so upset? I
haven't gained that much weight. The glasses aren't real. Everybody
wears them. I was trying to fit in. Believe me, the tape on them is
cool. I thought that you'd be proud of my program. After all, I've
made some money on it. A publisher is sending a check for $30,000.
Anyway, I've paid for the next six weeks of camp. I won't be home
until late August.
Letter # 7
Stop treating me like a child. True -- physically I am only ten years
old. It was silly of you to try to kidnap me. Do not try again.
Remember, I can make your life miserable (i.e. - the bank, credit
bureau, and government computers). I am not
kidding. O.K.? I won't write again and this is your only warning. The
emotions of this interpersonal communication drain me.
What can I do, Mr. Johnson? See what I mean? It's been two weeks
I've heard from my little boy. I know that it's probably too late to
save my little Billy. But, if by printing these letters you can save
JUST ONE CHILD from a life of programming, please, I beg of you to do
so. Thank you very much.
This page was last updated December 1, 2007.