10 Things I Learned From My Labor Day Spelunking Adventure


I went spelunking on Labor Day with my wife and several others for a friend's birthday. Here's what I learned.

1. Fuck spelunking

2. No, seriously. Fuck spelunking.

3. I don't think you understand. Take all the fucks in the world. The fucks you used to give about Ashanti. The fucks you give now about brunch. The fucks you obviously didn't give about your health after eating 16 slices of bacon at brunch. The fucks the people at the neck store didn't give when giving Benzino a neck. Take all of those fucks. Add them together. Now multiply them by Rick Ross' weight. In 2008. In molecules. That is the level of fuck need to express my level of fuck about spelunking.


4.  I did not know what spelunking was. I had an idea of what it was. I knew it involved caves, and I know Bruce Wayne used to joke with Lucious Fox about it. But when my wife and I were invited by a friend to help celebrate his birthday by going on a group spelunking adventure, we agreed, assuming we'd just spend an hour or so walking through some caves and taking selfies with bats.

5. My first indication of how wrong I was came the morning before the spelunking adventure, when the friend's fiancee sent a mass text basically saying "We signed up for the three hour tour. Make sure to bring flashlights, boots with good tread, sweatshirts, goggles, and a pit bull."

Still in bed, I turned into a 8-year-old forced to go to the dentist, and loudly whined "I don't wanna go!!!" The wife, playing the role of the mom, replied "We agreed to go already, Damon. Just be a good sport and I'll give you a Popsicle later."

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6. My second indication of how wrong I was came after we took the hour-long, mountain-scaling drive to Laurel Caverns, congregated in the lobby, and were asked to sign release forms. Included in this release form were the terms "DANGEROUS!", "death." "compound fracture," and "24 hour wait to be rescued if you got injured in the cave."


7. My third and final indication of how wrong I was came during the 15-minute orientation, where our cave guide assured us that there wouldn't be any wildlife in the caverns except cave crickets. CAVE CRICKETS??? WHAT THE FUCK IS A MOTHERFUCKING CAVE CRICKET???

8. Spelunking is not taking a sight-seeing tour through a cave. Spelunking is navigating down a 45-stories deep, boulder, sand, and creek filled cave. Spelunking is having to crawl underneath rocks and through creeks in spaces as narrow as Taylor Swift's hips. Spelunking is a full body workout that makes P-90x feel like a lapdance. Spelunking is a experience that makes you think of ridiculous analogies just to attempt to capture it. Spelunking is your life flashing before your eyes every time your flashlight dims. Spelunking is keeping three points of contact at all times so you don't slip down a 20 foot crevasse and break every bone in your face and land in a swarm of MOTHERFUCKING CAVE CRICKETS. Spelunking is swallowing at least five pounds of cave sand. Spelunking is navigating down a 45 stories deep cave while thinking about The Descent and wondering if it was based on a true story.

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9. Spelunking is doing all of those things, crawling/rolling/stretching/inching/to the bottom of the 45-stories deep cave, and having to do the exact same fucking thing on the way back up. But this time you're going uphill. And you're able to see exactly how steep the cave is. And you want to cry, but you remember you're 35 years old, and cave whimpers might attract the MOTHERFUCKING CAVE CRICKETS.

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10. I'm glad I went spelunking. As much as I hated the entire experience, I did enjoy spending time with friends and making a couple new ones. I also can't remember the last time I felt such a sense of accomplishment. When we made it back to land — back to actual fucking light — I felt like I could do anything.


Taking advantage of this newfound confidence, I ordered a dinner and two appetizers when the group went to eat later. I conquered MOTHERFUCKING CAVE CRICKETS, so finishing an entire Shrimp Po' Boy Flatbread at Rudy Tuesday's wasn't shit to me.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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I'd get claustrophobic, ill get down there and have no energy to get back up and be like so, this home now. I'm wide and caves dont lubricate. Bruce Wayne did that so hopefully I don't have to thru that. But speaking of white people hobbies on Groupon, i wanna see wassup with ziplining or skydiving; my way of conquering my semi fear of heights