Some of you sharper Elsinorians may have noticed that the Carnival/Rodeo made its rotatannual (literally, “every time you turn around”) appearance this past Memorial Day weekend. The carnival has a very deep emotional significance for me, as it was on one of its Demonic Rides from Hell that I laughed until I almost puked.
I was a tiny child of about six, maybe ten, when I went to the carnival for the first time with my unsuspecting parents. I must admit, I was frightened at the prospect of going out into a public place, where people might learn that I actually lived with both of my parents. But I went anyway, and the first ride my brother and I went on was a huge, diabolical device called “The Eggbeater,” though it was commonly known as “The Vomitmobile.”
Allow me to explain this hideous object. In the center is a large metal pole. Protruding from said pole are at least several thousand other poles, all of which have a hinge in the middle, so their extreme ends turn in 370-degree rotations. At the ends of said extremities, there are two “cars,” which also rotate. Suffice it to say that you spin around real fast, in several different directions, and if you’re lucky, you throw up before your head explodes.
Anyway, my brother and I found ourselves being ushered into a metallic box by a tattooed, bearded man whose name tag read, (and I quote), “Bob.” As we were strapped in, I suddenly realized that my life was in this man’s hands. This man, who had mistakenly put on a pair of pants with various and sundry holes in it, displaying his backside, as he had also mistakenly not put on any underwear that week, now controlled my destiny with a panel of levers, each with a name like “Stop” and “Go” and “Go real fast until the ride propels itself into outer space.”
The ride began with an obnoxious “creak,” causing me to wonder if all the screws had been put in place when the ride was assembled that morning, and we were on our way.
It was then that we saw a couple in the car across from us just a-smoochin’ up a storm. In fact, we could see his tongue coming out her ear. So I casually commented to my brother that if one of them were to throw up, we’d never know, because it would go directly into the other’s mouth. To two small boys, this was even funnier than belching in church, so we laughed, which is what we usually do when something is funny.
And that’s why the mere mention of the carnival moistens my eyes, puts a lump in my throat, and makes me queasy. But, then, so did “Joannie Loves Chachi.”
This past Memorial Day, I had made plans with several of my friends to go to the carnival together, feeling that group regurgitation would help with male bonding. Unfortunately, whoever is in charge of the weather forgot what day it was and sent rain, thus discouraging my pathetic pals from our planned puke-fest, so I went with my neighbor and his kids.
We were on the bumper cars (which, but the way, were patterned after the Elsinore High School student parking lot) when I ran into one of my many and varied friends of the female persuasion — literally. I’m almost sure I gave her whiplash.
Anyway, we wambled off the bumper cars and over to the spot where her parents were waiting. She introduced me to her large, burly father, who maliciously shook my poor, trembling hand, fracturing several of those little tiny bones. He was, to say the least, intimidating, and I was relieved to learn from his daughter that he throws up on the Merry-Go-Round.
I convinced this girl (who shall remain nameless because I don’t want Krista to be embarra– whoops!) to go on the mechanical stomach-churner known as “The Zipper,” so named because when you get off, that’s the only direction you can see — down toward your zipper. I assured her that she could “trust me.”After three or four 490-degree turns on this sucker, she was declaring her trust for me with such impassioned statements as, “I hate you, Eric!” and “I’m gonna barf!” In the interest of saving my clothes from a barf-soak, I called to the operator to leave the poor woman with whom he was flirting alone and let us off. He knew his responsibility to the public and complied with my request only a few minutes later.
By the way — that girl hasn’t talked to me since then. But I guess that’s none of your concern.
It really is a dreadful column, isn't it? I mean, it's so gross. Perhaps I should have warned you in advance. Sorry.
When this was printed, it was cut from 21 inches down to about 14. This was partly due to space, but it was also due to taste -- it was just so disgusting! Hard to believe I tried this on only my SECOND column. I should point out in my own defense, however, that the THIRD episode of "The X-Files" featured a villain who came to life every 30 years, ate five people's livers, then went back into hibernation in a nest made of newspapers and bile. So being really gross early in your career is not without precedent (although this column was printed before "The X-Files" started, so maybe I actually set the precedent).