When The Earth Stopped Moving and the Sun Wouldn’t Rise

One summer as a teenager, I think when I was 13, my brother and I went to a summer camp for a week. It was our first time away away from home without our parents for longer than a few days. We slept in a cabin in bunk beds nearby other kids we just met. There were public bathrooms. You’d have to wait in line for showers. You’d have to wait in line for showers at 7 in the morning. That sort of thing.

As a kid who spent his summers playing Nintendo, I hated the first couple of days.

One morning the camp counselors woke us all up – a siren blared on the campgrounds. It was still dark. We were told to meet by the flagpole on the grounds for an important announcement, where we were told by counselors that overnight the planet had stopped moving and the sun wouldn’t rise.

Top scientists were working on understanding what had happened. Although it felt like it was about 3 in the morning, clocks were set to our usual wake-up time of 7 AM. We were told we would start the day as we normally would. We all got ready for the day, went to the camp mess hall for breakfast, and did our standard morning activities and games outside in the dark.

Hours later we were told that scientists had discovered that nothing alarming had occurred, that they had figured everything out, but we were to all go back to sleep and get back in sync with the rotation of the Earth. We were all sent back to our bunks and slept for a few hours.

That summer I looked at that morning as some fun silliness that camp counselors had concocted to mess with kids. Then, years later, somebody had asked if I had ever seen an albino – someone with a pigmentation problem.

I have – there was one at that summer camp. I remember the feeling of seeing something like this for the first time, his skin bright white, hair bright blond. This kid had to be careful of sunlight – he had an umbrella, he hung out by the trees. Why his parents sent him to a summer camp I’ll never understand. Maybe for him to learn some social skills.

But then it hit me – maybe the Earth stopped moving and the sun didn’t shine for just a few hours so he could have some kind of normalcy and play kick the can.