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How defeating the Armos Knight in Legend of Zelda made me a campground hero.

The Legend of Zelda made me a hero at campgrounds. Beyond the obvious link (pun intended) between the mystical world I see whenever I look into a forest and the Lost Forest where the Master Sword lay waiting, it’s about being prepared.

Yes, prepared.

Now, I was never a boy scout. I didn’t have the honor of serving our military. I’m not a great survivalist (germs scare me). So the old adage of “always be prepared” wasn’t learned in the normal, traditional sense. I never got a merit badge for it.

I did, however, get loot.

We learn a lot of lessons from video games. We learn that sometimes our princess (or prince) is in another castle. We learn that we can do everything right and still lose (RNG Gods be damned). We learn that sometimes it’s better to travel well than arrive, that a raid only works if everyone works together, that what we share make far more compelling stories and adventures than what we don’t.

And, when I was very young, I learned that you can use a butterfly net to catch a fairy and put it in a jar. When you’re out of health, the fairy will escape the jar and resurrect you. I want to stress the selflessness of fairies here. Having confined a fairy in a small jar, thus being their captor, they pity you enough to break free of their bondage and save you. Fairies are the hero’s we need and absolutely not the ones we deserve.

As a young lad, I found myself in the Eastern Palace facing the dreaded Armos Knight. I died. A lot. I assure you, I handled this defeat with great aplomb and grace at first.

I turned off the game.

But then I realized that wasn’t me beating the boss, it was REALLY the boss defeating me. So I turned it back on and went in search of a way to defeat this dreaded enemy.

I discovered fairy resurrection. Venturing forth as any good little adventurer should, I sought out as many jars as I could find. I found fairies. I came as prepared as I could.

I struck down the Armos Knight, my heart raced, and I celebrated by shaking my little fists in the air Victory! Fast forward many, many years and countless games.

I’m camping and it’s towards the end of a lovely, long weekend. Several of the other campers in the area have also been there for the week, including a wonderful family two sites over who were there for a birthday weekend.

On Sunday, some more family came up to meet them and they brought the cake. They, of course, thought the family had matches to light the candles for the cake, or extra plates. The campers had used everything, including their matches, over the course of the trip. Everyone else around us had left (it was Sunday and folks had already headed home). Sad days for cake eating.

Except, I was still there. And I carry extra of everything. I had enough plates and matches and disposable silverware, just in case. Cake eating saved. Tiny fists, again, raised in the air.

After I waved them goodbye and headed out myself, the father said, “Must have been a boy scout.”

I smiled. “Something like that.”

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