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Monday, August 09, 2010

JoCo Fair 2010

We started to head to the Fair at 5:30, and promptly decided it was too hot to even think about. The rides area seemed lifeless in general, nobody was lining up to ride what appeared to be no rides.

There were rides, of course, but two noticeably absent rides that usually make this circuit, the Power Surge and the Avalanche (or is it Ali Babba?) made it seem a little empty. They brought in a slide and an additional fun house, but that's not the same as two high grade thrill rides.

When we went back at sundown there were lines that sprawled to where it was often difficult to tell what ride people were waiting for or if they weren't waiting for anything but had come down with a stroke in the middle of this gravel lot.

First time I've ever taken the girls to something like this and not ridden with them. I could have, but I'd have left myself with no cash at all to buy food or drink with on the 100 mile bike ride I had planned for Sunday, and sometimes life is about the choices.

Actually, that's for a different post, but maybe I'd have been better off riding some thrill rides, sleeping late the next day and not doing anything more strenuous than making a BLT.

I've often joked that the thrill of carnival rides is that they are maintained on the road by alcoholics. I joked with a woman behind me in line for the Zipper about this. She looked at the machine as one of the carnies got up into the works and had a guy throw him a wrench (it took four tries for him to catch it) to adjust or tighten something).

"My life is worth more than that," she said in total seriousness. Yet she was letting her two daughters ride it, that was who she was waiting in line with. Come on, really? If you believed one of those cars might fly loose (it feels like it could happen, voice of experience), would you put your kids in it?

And of course, if carnival rides routinely killed people, you'd have read about it. When people advocating choke-proof hot dogs make the front page of USA today because six kids managed to get a wiener down their air-hole last year, I think a Scrambler fatality would get it's own reality TV series.

Anyway, it's a stereotype, not all carnies are booze hounds. Some are tweakers.

Em got off one of the rides and asked if I knew the operator. He was kind of far off at the time, and it wasn't until she said where he'd told her he knew me from that I remembered him. The recovering, ex-con meth addict who used to come to a park I launched rockets at with his own kids; the last time I launched at that park he'd had fallen off the meth recovery bandwagon and found some 'go fast' (his term for it). If I hadn't seen him operating that ride at the fair, I'd think he might still be in that park holding a one-sided conversation with me.

I'm not going to say amphetamine abuse is a good thing, but I'll say this: if someone is going to abuse drugs and operate heavy machinery, speed is my choice if me and/or my kids are riding said machinery. A drunk won't see the problem; a pot head will decide it's not a problem; opiates, the problem is forgotten in a nod. A speed freak will repack the bearings just because it's something to do at 4:30 a.m. when there's nobody to talk to and there's no way he'll fall asleep this month.

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