Thursday, July 7, 2011

Epic Meltdown Averted and A Carny Gets the Assist

Some cliches are cliches for a reason.  They have become overused and hackneyed, but sometimes that's just because they have more than a little truth to them.  Terms like "jolly fat man", "sad clown", or "bottom-feeding lawyer".

One of my favorites is "toothless carny".  Wait.  I didn't mean for that one to be a link.  Or did I...

My little burg had its annual carnival a couple of weeks back and, as always, I was completely fascinated with the carnies.  And there was not a full set of choppers amongst them.  I checked.

One of my favorites was a woman who looked to be in her 70's, was missing her front teeth, had long, gray hair and was sporting a garish tiara.  Which I guessed was her advertising one of the better prizes for the little girls who played her game of chance.  Or maybe not.

I wanted so badly to get a picture of her, but I was too far away.  I thought briefly about asking her to pose for a picture with Audrey, but, contrary to popular opinion, there is a limit to what I'm willing to put my daughter through for this blog.

There's something about sitting on a bench watching a tiara-clad carny barking to passers-by over the sound of "Sex on Fire" and teenagers screaming on the rides while eating a 3,000 calorie funnel cake that just says "summer".

I blogged about the same carnival last year, and how the ticket pricing somehow renders me incapable of doing basic math and figuring out how much each ride costs.  This year we were lucky enough to get in on an all-you-can-ride wristband for a sawbuck, a fin, a deuce, and an ace.  That's $18 for those of you not hip to carny slang.  Pfft.  Buncha larries you are.

Since she had a wristband, Audrey was able to do this about 83 times...



Problem was that she wanted to go back the next day when there were no wristbands and it cost $2.50 for each time down the slide.  Now just think about trying to explain why she was able to go down the slide to her heart's content one day, but only a couple of times the next.  The night before Day 2, I could only hope for a tornado to decimate the midway.  But since one had touched down in our town just days before, it was unlikely.  Man, nothing ever goes my way.

Or does it?  The next morning Audrey woke up with a bad cold.  YES!  But she still would not be denied returning to the carnival.  BOO!  But her enthusiasm had waned, as well as her energy for hiking her wee butt up four steep flights of stairs to get to the top of the slide.  YES!  But not so much that it still wasn't going to cost me an arm and a leg to satisfy even her diminished slide jones.  BOO!

After spending so much time there on Day 1, I had gotten to know the two carnies working the slide.  One was crazy by-the-book -- holding the kids back so as not to cause a backup on the stairway, making them wait to be handed a pre-folded sack so they wouldn't trip on an unfolded one, collecting tickets for every stinking ride -- while the other was, well...AWESOME.

He kept the line swiftly moving, and, best of all, looked the other way for A LOT of free slides.  So all I had to do was keep Audrey distracted with other things while the first carny was running it, and then tear-ass over there when I saw a shift change.

Crisis officially averted, thanks to my carny friend Darrell.  So if you have a carnival in your town, look for a guy with a huge gap-toothed grin, an easy laugh, and sweet white-framed BluBlockers...and tell him Audrey sent you.

18 comments:

  1. It's awesome when someone does something they see as a little thing, but in our worlds, it can be HUGE.

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  2. You can always tell when someone is "paying it forward." Now that it's Audrey's turn, I wonder what *she'll* come up with ;-)

    P.S. If Audrey ever needs a sliding buddy, I know where you can find a good one!

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  3. Yu know, I had a similar do-gooder experience yesterday at the mall. Every once in awhile, some stranger does something so nice that it cracks the ice surrounding my bitter, frozen shriveled heart. Then I feel obligated to pay it forward. I HATE when that happens - haha!

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  4. PS I originally read your title as "toothless canary". Very confusing. But not as confusing as my Yu typo. I was not talking to just the Asain persuasion, but referring to the plural YOU.

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  5. Thank God for Darrell and shift changes with the buzz kill. Life is good.

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  6. Yay for the carnys! I guess I'd lose my teeth too if I had to eat all that s***y carny food all the time. Great pictures of Audrey! (Btw- couldn't resist a little dig at the lawyers could you...):P

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  7. Some carnys are toothless because it's cheaper to pull out your teeth then to go to the dentist. One carnival I knew, it was actually a rite of passage. If you were a permanent carny (and not just one hired for the week), and you were accepted, you got your teeth pulled.

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  8. I once found myself flirting with a carnie to get more time on a ride for my kid. I don't know how, it all happened so fast. Anyone who knows me knows I hate small talk with strangers. I even have a whole repertoire of things I pretend to do to avoid the accidental eye contact that can encourage small talk. But there I was, commenting on "toothless Daryl's'" tat! So sad what we will do for a few extra minutes in the "Wacky-House O Fun."

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  9. Hey! I know how to click. I'm okay with the others, but the "Jolly Fat Man" reference is just insulting. I am far from jolly.

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  10. I didn't click on your links until reading BDA's comment! That turned out to be the best joke of the post!

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  11. It is great when you find people like that.

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  12. I can't wait 'til Darrell is in our town. I hope he's in charge of the tea cups. I also hope I don't forget to bring the dramamine.

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  13. I think I want to be a carny when I grow up. I bet they get to slide all the time as much as they want.

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  14. Haha. This is great. Reading this reminded me of a time my hsuband and I took Cody to the fair. He was about 7 years old and loved rides, so I took him on the 'Hammer'. The man running the ride was dirty and toothless, but had a good heart. He thought he was doing Cody and I a favor by giving us an extra long ride, but I have never been so happy to get off something in my life.

    I love the picture of Audrey in that basket-looking ride. She looks so happy.

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  15. How many funnel cakes did you eat while you were waiting for shift change? I probably would've eaten myself silly. So glad Audrey made a new friend. I tell you, our kids have so many adults wrapped around their little fingers!

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  16. We used to get special treatment at the state fair because my father was a police officer. Trust me, you do not want special treatment on the tilt-o-whirl after eating lunch.
    I am so glad that there was a kind hearted carny who saw the joy that Audrey was getting from the slide and let her sneak past. They make plenty of money of those silly rides, and this time he made some good karma and a ton of sweet smiles!!

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  17. I LOVE carnivals, but our carnies are crap compared to yours.

    Last year we went to a carnival with practically NO attendees (in the mall parking lot) and the drunk from America's Most Wanted STILL wouldn't let me ride the teacups with Billy because I was too tall.

    Did I mention there was NO ONE ELSE THERE?

    Next year, I wanna come to your carnival :-)

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  18. Look at how much fun she's having!! I love it!

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