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Friday, May 8, 2015



Recently the Somers Lions sponsored a carnival at Fireman's field. As an adult, the experience is so much different than it was when I was a kid. Everything seemed bigger and scarier back then. At my age the food is the most frightening thing, at least calorie-wise. I usually get a funnel-cake and ask for extra confectioner's sugar, then the wind shifts and I end up looking like something went wrong at the vice squad evidence lab.

My mom never used to let us eat cotton candy. "You might as well eat raw sugar," she would say, but then cruelly did not offer us any raw sugar. My parents were always trying to convince us that we were poor, and I'm sure they would have found rayon candy or polyester candy more appropriate.

Thank goodness they didn't have any animals this year- a petting zoo sponsored by Lions could result in disaster. One time my parents left me in the petting zoo for what seemed like a couple hours, and during that whole time not one animal tried to pet me.

My wife and I went to a llama farm a couple years ago, not knowing how moody they can be. We were having what seemed like a lovely conversation with one of the unwieldy beasts, as it stared at us chewing on what I assumed was either gum or tobacco. I was in the middle of a delightful limerick I made up about Obama, pajamas and a llama when the thing spit a giant mouthful of eucalyptus leaves right at us. I never told another limerick in mixed company after that.

I don't do so well with rides because I get motion sickness. Cars, boats, planes, trains, I even get a little queasy when a lawyer files a motion at a trial. I generally do okay on rides where you sit in a small car shaped like a pink hippopotamus or light blue airplane, but the look of disdain and pity on the other childrens' faces often isn't worth it. I did enjoy the "bumper cars" this year- great fun until my air bag went off and I realized that I was only in the parking lot.

I remember when I was a kid riding a torture device called the "spider." It was an imposing-looking machine with three huge arms, each holding three chairs. It was designed to spin you around in your seat, which was attached to the three other seats that also revolved, and then the whole array of giant arms rotated in a circle while moving up and down. At some point the entire thing stopped, paused, then went in the opposite direction. After the ride was over they just took everyone off and shot them. I could be remembering that part wrong, but trust me it was a horrible experience.

The minute I was strapped into that thing, my only thoughts were of escape. If the carnival had a ride dedicated to water-boarding, I would gladly have gone on that instead. I spent the whole time tryng to figure out a way to get out of that seat belt at the exact moment the ride might pitch me onto the top of the Big Top, or at least closer to the ice cream stand. Finally the damn thing stopped and I slunk down the ramp listing visibly, the color of Kermit the Frog and with the voice to match.

The Lions didn't have any really large and terrifying rides, thank god, but I noticed a number of teenagers on an emotional roller-coaster.