Monday, August 09, 2004

Ride Host

Hello, I'm Green Tuna, and I'll be your ride host for today.

What is it about members of my family and carnival rides? More specifically, why am I (cue sad, treacly music) always stuck on a ride with someone ready to board the USS UpChuck for a three hour tour?

I am the member of the family that will (within reason) ride just about anything. You can twirl me, scramble me, let the floor drop out and toss me upside down. I don't mind. I'm like the Sixth Chinese Brother who can take a nap while being spun around and around and around for days and days. No problem. This isn't to say that I'm not keenly aware of my limits. A Ferris wheel will turn me into a sobbing, shaking mass of embarrassment. Ditto for Haunted Houses and Bungee jumping things. Tuna don't do dat.

Over my carnival career, I've had friends who have spewed over the sides, I've suffered through my older brother nearly losing his lunch on the Salt and Pepper Shakers, and, during one unfortunate ride on Boblo Island in Detroit, I made a billion deals with Little BrotherTuna over the time span of about five minutes. Food? Money? Slave labor? Me riding on the hump all the way home? I didn't hold back. To this day he's still bitter that he didn't reap any rewards for not tossing his cookies. I, however, think he was unappreciative of the difficulty of The Art of the Deal having to be made at high rates of speed when one is spinning upside-down and cannot stop laughing.

A few years back, several of us went to the county fair. TinyTuna and her cousin wanted to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl. I went along and so did my older brother. He assured me it was OK, because it didn't go upside-down. The four of us climbed on and the ride began. For the first two minutes, we all whooped and hollered, laughed and screamed. Once we hit minutes three and four, my brother stopped laughing and that familiar shade of green began to creep over his face. Once we hit minutes five and six he shot pleading looks at the ride operator (and I use that term loosely) every time we spun by. Toothless Joe had just ambled back from God-Knows-Where was now just sitting there, smoking his smokes. At the seven and eight minute mark, even the kids started to wonder how long the ride was going to be. I glanced at my brother and I recognized he had entered the next stage of impending hurldom: slow, steady breathing. I counter-attacked with the glare which unmistakably read: You do it, and you're DEAD.

Thankfully, we finally made it off the ride unscathed. The kids were a little tipsy, My brother declared he was done for the day, and I, of course, was laughing hysterically.

Fast forward to this year and the return to the same county fair. NieceTuna decides she wants to ride something called "Alpine Bob". I give her a strong look and asked, "Are you sure?" Yeah, she's sure. So we wait and wait and wait and wait and finally board Mr. Bob. It's very similar to The Matterhorn at Cedar Point where you swing out in cars and go around in circles while you go over hilly tracks.

I should have known. We were just fine going forwards, but when the ride slowed down and started to go backwards, the five dwarves -- Dizzy, Greeny, Sicky, Breathy and Bargainy -- all climbed in our car. I think I said "it's almost over, just hold on" about 47 times. Once again, luck was on my side and we avoided catastrophe.

From now on, I'm going to have a screening process for all potential riders. If they can eat a corn dog and an elephant ear, spin around in a circle for five minutes and still feel good, I'll be glad to be their ride host.


Anonymous said...

I'm there!
I'll do anything except the Bungee thing.


TV Junkie said...

I'll go ahead and tell you right now .. no spinning rides for me. nuh huh. nope. not gonna do it.