As anyone who has lived in Lake Elsinore for more than about a week can tell you, we are frequently visited by The Carnival. This thing, which is the closest thing to culture that there is around here, comes barging into town approximately every time you turn around, and each time, I feel compelled to go spend large sums of money at it. It’s kind of like how, at Christmastime, I watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” each of the 900 times it’s on, which is probably the only way you could ever associate the carnival with “It’s a Wonderful Life,” except to say that, just like Jimmy Stewart’s character, I have often wished I hadn’t been born after riding The Zipper three or four times.
At any rate, my friend Aaron (you remember Aaron) and I went to the carnival last Memorial Day, and I haven’t gone since then. We paid $7 each and promptly had our hands stamped with what apparently must have been a tattoo gun, because there are still traces of the ink on my knuckles. This stamp granted us the privilege of going on all the rides we wanted, going home to throw up and perhaps take a bath in some kind of disinfectant, and then coming back for more.
We decided we should go on The Zipper first, and just as we were getting in line, we saw someone we know walk past and, without even slowing down, toss his proverbial cookies on the ground. That’s how you can tell the quality of an amusement park. If people are walking around, puking openly, as though it were no bigger deal than yawning, not even slowing their pace, sometimes even continuing to carry on a conversation as they do so, well, then that’s a high-quality amusement park.
(That’s one interesting difference between men and women, by the way. A couple years ago, I convinced a girl to go on The Zipper with me, and after two revolutions, we had to yell to the operator to get his finger out of his nose and let us off. After he did so, she walked briskly to a Port-A-Potty, where she spent the next 10 minutes doing goodness knows what. A guy would have gotten off and said, as he walked merrily away, “Man! That was [BLAAAARRRRRCCH] fun!”)
After The Zipper, we headed for The Ferris Wheel from Hell. Actually, it’s called The Skydiver, but it should be called The Bruisemobile, because its primary function seems to be taking two ordinarily able-bodied, robust young people, and flinging them around an unpadded metal cage at high speeds. For the first eight or nine hundred revolutions, we turned at such an angle that I wound up on top of Aaron, but then the operator graciously popped it in reverse, leaving me to be crushed. The last time I had gone on this thing had been with the aforementioned Puke Girl, so the crushing didn’t really bother me much, since she weighs a lot less than Aaron and is somewhat less masculine.
After that, we both felt sick and went home, having spent $7 on three rides. Oh, and please accept my apologies if the constant references to vomit in this column offended you. The last thing I want to do is BBLLLLAAAARRRCCHCHHH
This is basically an update of a very early column (found here) -- one that wasn't all that great to begin with, but which had been severely edited in its original form, leaving me to feel justified in re-hashing it.
In publication, the girl's name was changed from "Puke Girl" to "the girl who got lost in the restroom." The girl, Krista, was probably glad of that, if she saw the column.
This carnival usually came in conjunction with the rodeo, which was QUITE big for several years. Now, I'm told, both have been done away with, leaving Lake Elsinore with no culture whatsoever. We have a Wal-Mart, though.