10 Things I Learned From My Labor Day Spelunking Adventure » VSB

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10 Things I Learned From My Labor Day Spelunking Adventure

photo 5 (1)

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.

caving 5

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.

cave 8

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

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Lea Thrace

    That’s some white people ish. I have a lot of white friends. We do a lot of activities. But even spelunking is too white for them.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Other than its frickin spelunking.

    • Courtney Williamson

      that’s not entirely true…I happened to be in the cave when Damon and his party were…there were some black people touring the cave…plus, there is no use in saying that only white people do things….I find that limiting and untrue.

      • Lea Thrace
        • Damon Young

          This graph made me laugh, but Courtney does have a good point. There were more people of color there than I expected, and a few cars in the parking lot even had Obama bumper stickers.

          • Lea Thrace

            It was a joke people. A joke. Not a limitation of black America’s ability to do out of the box things. And not an indictment of white America’s choice of outdoor activities either.

            A joke that spelunking is not something a ton of people do. Whether black or white.

            Kickball it aint…

            • Damon Young

              spelunk deez

              • Lea Thrace

                That should be the next tshirt.

                For real.

                • Ms TLC

                  I’d buy it!

            • h.h.h.

              there is no such thing as ‘jokes’ in 2014.

              *starts a change.org petition to have you removed from the paint*

            • Has Kickball made the ish BBP love list yet, cuz BBP love kickball apparently

            • you make me proud to know your government name. lol

          • tgtaggie

            Fox News wants you to believe that only minorities and illegals reelected Pres. Obreezy. lol

        • Nandie

          I swurr I can’t stop laughing at this! You seem to have a great sense of humour! :)

        • miss t-lee

          This ish is still the best gif ever.

        • Courtney Williamson

          cute graphic! just wanted to make sure that you weren’t limiting yourself/limiting others!! Plus, you know what they say…there is truth in every …

          • Guest

            Seriously with this?

            Good day madam.

      • You’re right that it’s limiting to say only White people do things. In this case, I’m down with Jim Crow though. Tall dude plus small space equals TROUBLE!

  • cakes_and_pies

    Mayor Nope of Nopeinggton, Nopedom, says…Hail Naw.
    I just say that terrible movie “As Above, So Below,” so let me add some extra nope sprinkles on that. I’ll stick to being pushed out of a plane, wrestling water in a plastic boat, or real camping in the woods with bears and wolves, but not this.

    • BeautifullyHuman

      I’m down for a lot of things…but this…I cannot. My claustrophobia would kick in. As I read this, I could feel my breathing constrict.

      This would freak me out. And it’s dark as h*ll, too. You couldn’t pay me.

    • Damon Young

      i asked myself if i’d prefer skydiving or doing this again. i think i’d actually choose skydiving, just because — whether you live or die — it’s going to be over quick

      • cakes_and_pies

        You’ll feel like you’re eating your heart skydiving, but at least you’re not possibly playing “127 Hours: Home Edition.”

        • Lmao at 127 Hours:Home Edition

      • Well, this would be a fitting song to sky dive to then:

  • Courtney Williamson

    YES! Damon! It was an adventure for sure…and you did it! Go get your Popsicle. I know how hard it was…I’m STILL sore from it, and it’s been 2 days.

    • Damon Young

      was that your first spelunking adventure?

      • Courtney Williamson

        Yes it was, though I’ve wanted to go since April. I did do some research so I knew what I was getting in to, but it was still rough. Caving definitely is not an activity where you can causally text stating that you need to get ready to be a gladiator in a cave ????

      • Andrea

        If your spelunkwhatevethring….I wanna be allowed to wear whatever I want to wear to a ’90’s party. Without being overdressed because “I matter'”. Whatever…….

  • IsitFridayyet?

    This is a Cave Cricket, you deserve two more appetizers for dealing with those creatures.

    • Damon Young

      it was too dark to really see any in the cave. but i think one followed us home. it was driving a prius

      • *hoses Damon down*

        I #SweaterGod, if you brought one of those back to VSB I’d shootcha dead

    • GAHHHH

    • it looks like a shrimp spider!!! *sobs*

      • I thought you were joking until…WHY IS THIS A THING THAT EXISTS?!?!?



          • There there

            • *whimpers on Tristan’s chest, dabs eyes with his fresh Polo*

              • Sigma_Since 93

                That’s all a polo shirt is good for. I hope you wore lots of makeup.


            • Neptunes presents The Clones


              • Sigma_Since 93

                sounds like you’re hating because he beat you to it

                • Neptunes presents The Clones

                  Well,maybe. Bunni is very moist looking

                  • u pick the WORST adjectives!!!!

          • Val

            Did you know that the average person swallows several spiders while they are sleeping during their lifetime?

            • See Val, why must you try me? What did I ever do to you!??!!?

              • Val

                Nothing personal dear Bunni. This is one of those random facts that you never seem to get the opportunity to talk about except in a conversation about spiders.

                • Its a rare opportunity cuz its just an awful fact lol

                  *mutters* youre still off the xmas list doe lol

            • AlwaysCC

              i did know that. also, you are never more than 6 feet (i think that’s the measurement) away from a spider. which is why i hate spiders…

              • PhlyyPhree

                BRUHHHHHH!!! I just hosed down EVERYTHING around me with my desk Lysol. Eff this!

              • Val

                I didn’t know that but it makes sense. Spiders are everywhere.

            • STOP IT, VAL!

              • Val

                I know, right. I hate it that I knew this. Lol

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        Are cicadas found in you’re area

        • yes and they are creatures of satan

          • Neptunes presents The Clones

            Now what you do is pull the wings off then roast and salt them

          • KKay

            Those f*ckers. ‘scuse my language.

      • Lea Thrace

        Ill take a shrimp spider over a wolf spider ANY DAMN DAY. At least it looks like I can break the legs off a shrimp spider. Wolf spider just looks like Lucifer himself sent it here SPECIFICALLY to eat my joy and soul.

        • I WONT google it. Nope, sholl wont ruin my day.

        • LMNOP

          I just killed a wolf spider in my kitchen the other day.

          • Val

            I have a few spiders here. Just your common house spider. If I saw a wolf spider I think I’d consider moving. Lol

            • Lea Thrace

              Me and my laundry room did not meet for at least two week after “The Incident”

    • We were told to cover our hair when we went in so that one of those wouldn’t hitch a ride on the way in…..or out….. *sobs* I wasn’t right for weeks….

  • Kizzy-Glorified

    As a former Brooklynite who moved to Kentucky as a pre-pubescent I must say that spreelunking is the bomb-diggity. At least it was in the 80’s. The bullishit they do now is some bullshit-squared. Three Hours! I commend you. Now you’re ready to relocated to my new home in Colorado and try some fourteeners, which is just spreelunking upward.

    • Damon Young

      spelunking upwards sounds a bit too freaky for me

      • Kizzy-Glorified

        No cave crickets. :)

        • Kizzy-Glorified

          That said, this is THE funniest thing I have read on this site and I been lurking for a least a year. I yelled, I whooped , I hollered. Kudo’s Damon. Kudos. This brought me out of lurking. And your wife is awesome. And your love for her knows no bounds.

    • Screw that cave ish. I’m a Queens native, and the only 14 I f*ck with is my jersey number, ya dig? LOL You and that 14 BS sounds like “how a tall negro got some broken limbs”.

      • LMNOP

        Plus in NY they have all those caves designed by engineers, called the subway, which are probably a lot safer and also take you places. It’s like speed spelunking.

        • LOL @ speed spelunking. I’m about to hop on the subway after this bus ride. Today is the day I sign the final version of #dempapers. :)

        • Val

          People live down there. Some people refer to them as “mole people”. And some people explore the subway tunnels as recreation. They call themselves urban explorers.

      • Kizzy-Glorified

        Not my fault you super -talls can’t climb mountains. Lol My mamma had me in Jamaica Queens Hospital and now my petite self climbs in the Rockies

    • Spelunking upwards….sheeeeeeid

    • Amber

      A few years back I tired a couple caves in Kentucky – mammoth cave and lost river cave. They were pretty cool I remember the guide talking about how black slaves created a lot of the structure down there during the civil war.

  • miss t-lee

    Yeah, you lost me at cave.

  • Cave cricket sounds like a racial slur. “You lazy, worthless cave crickets with your rappity rap and your hippity hop!”

    • miss t-lee

      It really does though…lol

    • I feel like someone is getting called a cave cricket by me by the end of this week

    • A cave cricket is a moon cricket’s subterranean cousin.

      • tgtaggie

        I thought it look like one of those huge crickets that live in a corn field.

        • those things are massive. They just got stupid when harvesting began.

    • Amber

      Thank you for this. I’ve got to find a way to call someone a cave cricket asap

  • tgtaggie

    Was this one of those s*it bougie black people do activities? Kinda of like brunch and day parties.

    I’m tall, so tall black guy + cave crickets+ smallish cave= no bueno.

    • #facts

    • LMNOP

      I feel like it’s easy to see the appeal of brunch and day parties though.

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        Until you’re broke. Then you hate everybody.

    • Epsilonicus

      Nope. Bougie Black people don’t do caves. Period.

  • Neptunes presents The Clones

    I know alot about caves. Drank some of the best water from underground rivers,gets weird with the echos though.and dont sleep on crickets,great source of protein when you are short of food

    • Andrea

      What part of the country are you in? I bet you are a great source of protein….when short on food…of course.

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        I follow you on I.G,lots of dresses. Can i make a request

        • Where dat @ doe *T.I. voice*

          • Neptunes presents The Clones

            Andrea’s bed testing out her shocks

        • Andrea

          Please do!

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Sahel is Anthony Bourdain

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        And you know i’m all about the parts unknown

        • Lea Thrace

          You are a master in this game!

    • Val

      “I know alot about caves”


      • Sigma_Since 93

        I think Sahel sold Saddam his cave.

        • Val

          Cave salesman? Lol

      • Neptunes presents The Clones

        We share a love for caves Val

    • RewindingtonMaximus

      Crickets are really….crunchy. Need lots of water for that one.

  • Andrea


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