Monday, July 30, 2007

I Hear Banjoes; the Carnival Must Be in Town (Part I)

When the carnival ride operator arrives to work riding a mule that is also used to pull the ticket booth and is also part of the Merry-Go-Round stable this can’t be good. I was mesmerized as I stood and watched a rollercoaster that was more unstable than Phil Spector under cross-examination. I exhaled a sigh of relief when the operator finally came to his senses and yelled “We gotta shut her down” only to realize he wasn’t talking about the rollercoaster at all but Tons-o-Fun; who was operating the Round-Up. “If she eats another corndog she gonna bust a gut, we gotta shut her down” he chuckled. She retaliated by finishing the corndog in a single bite, lifting the tent that was her dress, and treating us all to a life-altering view of her cellulite laden dumper. To my horror my ten-year old son said “I would definitely hit THAT!!” Before I could get my heart out of my throat, I was relieved to see him staring at the batting cages oblivious to what just happened.

When the traveling summer carnival hits your town, be afraid, be very afraid

Don’t get me wrong, the traveling carnival can be fun. I mean who doesn’t want to plunk $20 in quarters for a chance to win a Molly Hatchet Beatin’ the Odds velvet poster over at the roulette wheel? With the redneck carnival workers and the unsafe rides it sort of like an off Broadway, off road production of Deliverance. “Boy, if that Tilt-a-Whirl with the jagged safety bar don’t make you squeal, I will”

My son and daughter said they were hungry and wanted to eat before we hit the rides. I scanned the appetizing menu… Corn dogs, cotton candy, candy apple, cheese fries, waffles and ice cream, and funnel cake were the nutritious items. No need to wonder why the carnival workers were either fat or toothless or fat and toothless. It’s not their fault, the cafeteria food isn’t real healthy over at Carnival High, and every female employee looks like the cafeteria lady.

I told my kids there was no way we were going to eat any of that carnival junk food. They would just have to wait until we left and were able to hit a McDonald's for a proper meal.

Thankfully, my daughter isn’t much for rides. But like her mother she can find a million other ways to spend cash. The hillbilly with the goldfish stand caught her eye. “Daddy, please can I get one, please!!” she pleaded. “I think the pretty little miss would like a goldfish” chimed the hillbilly. “They are real fun for the kiddies” he added. I don’t know how much fun a fish can be unless it’s on the end of your fishing rod while you’re twenty miles off the coast of the Atlantic on a sunny midsummer afternoon and the Tuna you’ve just reeled in secured the $500 dollar tournament win for you. But a goldfish? I don’t think so. She asked again and of course I said yes. The sign read two dollars per fish, which seemed cheap enough for a dopey little goldfish. Before I knew what hit me, my daughter not only had a goldfish, but a fish bowl, sea-like decorations to put in the fish bowl, organic fish food, fish bowl tools, a picture of the goldfish, my daughter, and the hillbilly in a commemorative oak carved frame. $2 dollars became $42 in the blink of an eye. “Thanks Daddy, you’re the best” said my little expensive angel. “You’re welcomed pumpkin” I painfully grunted back.

I took my son over to the bumper cars figuring it would be safe since inbreeds are good with cars. I handed our tickets to the operator who looked like Tom Petty but with tattoos and an eye patch. He just stared at me for a few seconds with the functional eye and said “Y’all nado mo tickles” “Excuse me?” I questioned. “Ey shred y’all nado mo tickles” he said. “Okay” I answered as I hopelessly glanced at my son somehow hoping they taught Inbreed to English in his school, and if so he aced that class. “Dad, I think he wants you to tickle him?” he said. I made a mental note to attend more school board meetings and offer curriculum suggestions. Eye patch Tom Petty heard this and smiled. I haven’t seen that much gum since I spent that summer working for the streets department painting the bottoms of park benches. I surmised what we heard as “tickles” was actually “tickets” and I didn’t give him enough. There wasn’t a sign telling how many tickets were needed so I ended up handing him about ten, without asking. I decided to ride the bumper cars with my son “Ain’t ya red da sign? he asked. “Y’all need fo tickles a person” as he held up three fingers. I told him there was no sign and to consider the extra two tickets a tip for his excellent service. I then went on to explain what a tip was then he flipped me the bird using the correct number of fingers...

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