Why? There are lots of reasons. Too many to list, really.
But I'll try and remember them all ...
That should be everything.
If you read, thanks for reading. If you didn't ... you probably aren't reading this, either.
See you around.
The Frothing Espresso Cups
Faster, more extreme version of the teacup ride that combines the thrill of wild spinning with the thrilling collisions of bumper cars and the bubbly fun of a nightclub foam party. Not sure if actually serving hot coffee during the ride was a good idea.
Tunnel of Discomfort
A slow coaster that chugs along underground in a stuffy, poorly-lit mine shaft full of pet dander and menthol smoke. Speeds up and slows down unexpectedly. Features wooden seats and a car-alarm soundtrack. Leaves you feeling itchy and sad. Kind of a bummer.
Fabio’s Duck-and-Cover Safari
Inspired by the hunky model’s unfortunate bird-in-the-face incident at Busch Gardens, the Duck-and-Cover Safari is basically a zoological version of dodgeball. Adds a refreshing challenge to what could be a pedestrian ride. You have to feel sorry for the seagulls and the guinea pigs though.
For men only. A high-tension cable from a crane attaches to your belt buckle and suspends you 10 feet above the ground. Blindfolded women beat you with broomsticks. Not half as fun as it sounds.
Grab your sweetie and snuggle up inside a metal cabinet with seat belts as they roll you down a steep embankment. Romantic? Not at all.
Slow moving, bumpy merry-go-round that delivers maximum nausea thanks to complimentary copies of the Atlantic Monthly provided to each rider.
The Inflatable Taco Salad
Works on the same concept as the giant pool of balls, except with ground beef, black beans and sour cream. Bring your appetite and a change of clothes.
The Wonderful Whirly Wok
A small group stands inside a giant, spinning wok that eventually heats up until it’s hot to the touch. It goes faster and faster and faster until the gong sounds and everyone is showered with water chestnuts and baby corn. Strangest ride so far.
Take an elevator to the top of a 20 story man-made peak and travel at breakneck speed down the corkscrew track and then go backwards in reverse. Is it fun? Not unless you enjoy crippling dizziness and projectile vomiting. But if you do, this is like the best ride ever!
Put on a velcro vest and lie down on the velcro hood of a Cadillac Eldorado. Maximum speeds may reach 40 miles per hour. Scary, especially when the car leaves the fairgrounds and accelerates down I-95. Before riding, make sure a friend writes down the license-plate number.
The Stink Rocket 9000
Not sure if this was really a ride or not. The guy took three tickets and locked me in a portable toilet. He shook it violently for a few seconds and then yelled, “Blast off!” before dumping it on its side. NOT recommended.
* I'm a liar.
Chapter 12: Showdown at the K Street Corral
The Coward was flat on his back in the dirt. Quivering just like a coward, he wiped blood from his mouth with his sleeve. Then he looked up at the hulking man looming over him.
“You know who I am, partner?” asked the looming man.
“Sure ... you’re The Whip,” said The Coward. “Everybody knows you.”
“You know why I’m here?”
The Coward got up and brushed the dust from his trousers. He picked up his crumpled hat, gave it a slap to straighten it out and settled it back on his head. The saloons and feed stores along K Street were empty. The dusty road was deserted. And with his revolver at the bottom of the horse trough, The Coward knew his options for escape were limited.
“I asked if you knew why I was here!” hollered The Whip.
“I reckon you come to clean up this town,” mumbled The Coward.
“That’s right. And you know what I stand for?”
“Let me guess ... economic freedom. Limited government,” said The Coward, shifting nervously.
The Whip smiled and mounted his horse. Slowly he reached into his saddlebag for a glistening black bullwhip. His signature weapon. No man in Old West Washington was deadlier. Not even crazy “Rattlesnake” Boehner.
Sweat formed along The Coward’s brow. In the distance a lone eagle cried. It sounded like justice.
“I also know that you believe in something else,” said The Coward.
“Oh yeah,” cracked The Whip, as he cracked the whip. “What might that be?”
“I know you believe in the sanctity of life,” said The Coward, laughing nervously. “Yeah, the sanctity of LIFE.”
“That rule doesn’t go for yellow-bellied rustlers,“ said The Whip as he cracked the whip again.
Its awful noise scattered tiny birds from the trees and sent all of the horses askitter. It sounded like a gunshot, but a hundred times worse. And then The Whip got a very serious look on his face, punctuated by a sneer and a wince. He looked very angry and prone to violence.
The Coward began to weep.
“Quiet yourself, Coward!” shouted The Whip. “The evil doings of you and your donkey-riding outlaw friends has come to an end. Today is a new day. Justice will begin momentarily.”
Just at that moment, The Coward caught sight of his brother in a saloon window. They winked to each other. And then the brother made a sound like an owl to another brother who was hiding behind the water tower with a shotgun. That brother made the caw-caw of a crow to three more brothers who were hiding beside the haberdashery.
Danger was afoot, but The Whip was not surprised. In fact, he was well prepared for an ambush. Not only did he come with an enormous whip, but he had some reinforcements of his own. The time for action was at hand. The Whip shifted steady in his saddle and twirled his bullwhip in a menacing fashion.
“Now Coward ... [whip crack] TASTE THE VENGEANCE OF MY MINORITY WHIP!”
“But I am unarmed!” shouted The Coward.
“Not ... YET,” said The Whip.
And with two mighty cracks, the knotted leather bullwhip severed both of The Coward’s limbs in an instant. He stood there stunned and armless. It was a horrible sight, but only the start of the carnage that was to follow.
Instantly, all of the brothers-in-hiding revealed themselves and unloaded a torrent of hot lead upon The Whip, who proceeded to flick away the fatal flurry with the lightning fast-speed of a bullwhip master. At the same time, The Whip was able to blow his Whistle of Justice. In seconds, the sky darkened, and his enemies found themselves faced with a swarm of angry bald eagles.
Instead of shredding the donkey-loving thieves with razor-sharp claws, the mighty birds picked up the pathetic men and took them to a remote canyon where they would not be able to pollute citizens with their horribly dumb ideas.
With the situation well in hand, The Whip called for reinforcements. A pack of heroic-looking men on horseback rode down like thunder from the foothills, stirring up a dramatic cloud of dust and whooping and shooting into the air to prove a point. That point? Here’s comes trouble. The GOOD kind of trouble.
When The Chief Deputy and Professor Paul rode up alongside The Whip, they looked at the empty street and laughed heartily.
“Once again, it looks like you took all the fun for yourself,” chuckled The Chief Deputy.
“Sorry, boys. Maybe next time,” snapped The Whip. “De-Regulators ... LET’S RIDE!”
Confessions: Animal Hoarding is the name of a reality show on Animal Planet that showcases the filthy, critter-crowded lives of insane people. Imagine the show Hoarders (or Hoarding: Buried Alive), except with 100 times more excrement. Yeah, I said excrement.
The thing is, you don’t even need to sit through a whole episode. Give yourself 10 minutes of watching cats puke, sneeze and miss the litter box by a mile, and you’ll be good to go.
So tune in for a few moments, absorb the feline/canine carnage fully into your brain sponge ... and then turn off the TV. Look around your house. Look under tables and behind couches. Go ahead and pull out the trash can in the kitchen and look behind there. I guarantee that if the worst thing you find is a few dust bunnies, some coffee grounds and a wayward yogurt container, you’re doing great. You pass the inspection. Clean bill of health.
Because it could be worse. It could be animal carcass and poodle vomit worse. It could be hairballs and half-eaten field mice. It could be God-knows-what that came from God-knows-where.
Trust me on this one. If you’ve ever considered yourself a failure in the domestic arts, watching this show will give you hope. It will put your unmade bed and soaking dishes in perspective. It will make you feel like Mr. Clean or Martha Stewart or even Tony Randall from The Odd Couple compared to the livestock-lathered, flea-bitten freaks of humanity who decided one day that it was acceptable for the animal kingdom to use their living room as a toilet.
Critics and medical professionals may say that this new kind of programming is just a form of mass-media schadenfreude, a way for us to get our jollies by judging the misfortunate circumstances and sicknesses of others. But what critics need to understand is that if the super-stinky, urine-soaked tragedies of others can make me feel just a little bit better about not vacuuming for three days ... then their sacrifice was totally worth it.
Is this about the season? Because that was some of the best times I’ve had in years. I’m really stoked for next spring.
Yeah, well, that’s the thing.
Next season is going to be off the hook, right? I mean, I can’t imagine it getting better. Huge crowds. Happy people. And that squirrel ... man, people LOVE that squirrel.
Look, I want to be honest with you because I think you deserve that.
The thing is ... uh ... I’m not sure how much longer we’re going to need you around.
Right. I know that. Trust me, I’m used to spending long winters alone. No big deal, really. I’m totally used to it. Just cover the field with a blanket, and I'm good.
No, but I mean even after the wintertime. Man ... how do I put this? I don’t think we’re interested ... in a long-term commitment.
Oh. I see.
Don’t get me wrong, you were absolutely amazing this season, and we couldn’t have been happier. But we feel that it’s the right time for a change.
You mean it's the right time for somebody younger.
No! No, it’s not that ... it’s just ...
Stop. Don’t even try. When you say “change,” you mean “somebody younger.” I’m not stupid. I can see myself. I know I’m old. I know that the $2 million you spent on me was just to get me looking presentable. I figured this was coming, but I thought we had something good. I thought you were different.
Please try to understand.
Oh, I understand just fine. You need me to prove that you can draw a crowd and then once you make your point, I’m out like yesterday’s garbage. I’m good enough to support you until you get successful and then suddenly ... what? I’m not sexy enough for you? You want someone with a little less "wear and tear"? That’s fine. If you want to throw away a perfectly good relationship for a bigger video screen and fancy hand dryers ... go ahead. It’s your loss. Seriously? I feel SORRY for you.
I never meant to hurt you ... I'm so sorry ...
Oh my GOD. Are you CRYING? Seriously? Knock it off. Save your fake emotions for your precious new stadium.
There isn’t even a new stadium yet.
No, but you just told me that you want to find a new stadium. So it doesn’t matter if you’ve found one yet. You’re looking. You’re looking because I’m not good enough. So just because you don’t have somebody new yet, it doesn’t make this hurt any less. It hurts plenty, thanks.
You know, there’s a real good chance that we’ll be together next season. Any new stadium will take a while to come together, so we at least have that ...
Oh, great. WONDERFUL. Am I supposed to thank you? Are you doing me a FAVOR now? So just to get this straight, you’ve just told me that you want to leave me for someone younger ... but you don’t know exactly WHEN? And if you don’t find someone new by the spring, you want us to continue ... AS IF NOTHING EVER HAPPENED?
That’s not what I meant.
You’re an idiot. Just go. And take your stupid squirrel with you.