No fair!

  • Thursday, November 7, 2013



I don’t do fairs.

Nothing against the Coastal Carolina Fair, but this is my sixth such fair and I’ve passed every time.

There are many reasons I don’t do fairs all founded on the same principle that has guided me throughout life — “Thou Shalt Not Embarrass Thyself.”

First and foremost, I don’t do fairs because of the rides.

They terrify me.

I’ve done Six Flags and Disney World, and scores of the less secure local carnivals scattered around pastures and vacant parking lots throughout the American Midwest as a child.

There are a few basic fundamental rules of Newtonian and theological quantum physics that I adhere to — after all, gravity is a law and I obey all laws.

One, if God had intended for me to be upside down on a ride I would have been born with my head between my ankles and my feet sprouting out of my shoulder blades.

Two, if what goes up must come down, how fast it comes down is determined by my body weight.

And lastly, three, while I may THINK I’m putting on a brave face while riding this horrifying ride, what I think I’m doing and what others see me doing are two different things.

Outside, I’m thinking “Brave face, brave face, brave face,” while inside I’m screaming, “OHGODOHGODOHGODOHGOD!”

And there is so much screaming on these rides. It’s so annoying, which in the case of the rollercoaster Goliath, the screaming was coming from me, and the ride hadn’t even started yet.

Rides dabble in two of my most favorite phobias — fear of heights and fear of going fast.

An example if I may.

I am at Lake Lanier Islands Park. My son is 12. My daughter is 10. Lake Lanier Islands is built in the foothills of North Georgia above Atlanta. Elevation is about 1,275 feet above sea level. They are called foothills because the rest of the mountains have been filled in with water.

My son wants to ride this ginormous water slide called “The Terminator.”

A terminator is one who kills people, I remind him as we climb the winding path to the top of the mountain — er, foothill.

As we neared the Terminator slide we are presented with a magnificent view of the countryside. The lifeguard said you could see seven states from here, which wasn’t entirely true.

That’s Lookout Mountain, while this hill was better known as Lookout Below.

Hearing this, my son utters: “Gotta go, see ya later, bye,” and disappears among the crowd lined up behind us.

He abandons ship right as I step up to the Terminator and the 400-foot near vertical drop. My only problem was I didn’t think of it first.

This wasn’t a water slide but a waterfall.

“How fast does this go?” I ask the lifeguard, who, remembering Newton’s Law, replies, “Dude, you may not stop until you hit Alabama,” which was about 60 miles out that way beyond the pale blue and green expanse.

“Hold on,” he says as I take my place at the top of the slide.

“To what?” I scream as he gives me a shove.

I became a 250-pound spit watermelon seed.

I “slid” faster than the water fell, which presented all sorts of problems with my swimming trunks. Let’s just say I could floss my teeth with my drawstring because of the nuclear wedgie I had.

My family at the bottom, including my son, only saw a great white blur as I shot past.

Birmingham looked mighty nice that Saturday.

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