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Off Duty: A Scary Night at the County Fair

The county fair: climbing onto a ride that you're sure you saw on the national news in a story entitled "Death Trap Claims Many." What fun.


As I was strapped into the carnival ride, something that resembled a spider with long rotating legs that spun around while violently jerking one up and down -  designed by someone who had obviously tortured helpless animals when he was a kid -  I couldn't help but nervously laugh at myself for getting into such a situation.

Having spent most of my life learning and practicing how not to get killed at work, I had freely allowed myself to be placed on the brink of death by a guy who had homemade tattoos running up the side of his neck and who had blisters on his lips because he forgot to take the cigarette out of his mouth while he stared at the high-school girls walking by.

I sat in the well-worn slick plastic seat, one that in my opinion was a bit too slick to hold me in as I was hurdled into the neck-breaking explosive movements of a contraption that is assembled and disassembled every ten days.

What if they forgot to place a pin or bolt in the right place? What if, when the ride reaches full tilt, that lack of pin or bolt slingshots me halfway across town and hours later they find me embedded into a pine tree covered with Kudzu, thus hindering the recovery process?

Instead of mourning the tragedy, all they would talk about was how far I was slung! "Boy I remember back in 2012 when that ol' boy was a slung more than a mile and a half! I forget his name but you can still see his face imprint in that pine tree. He did not look too awful happy when he landed."

I was now strapped in. I looked at the Carney as he looked up at me--I think. His eyes were so crossed that I couldn't tell. Why didn't I notice this before? Why did I allow myself to be strapped in this device of certain death that was perhaps missing a bolt or pin by a guy who was cross-eyed and had blisters on his lips?

 I was doomed for sure. I need a priest to read me my last rites! I looked but there were no priest in sight so I read to myself my last rites--which I realized was something I knew nothing about. On the brink of panic I forced myself to refer back to my high school days and read to myself the only thing that I could remember: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." 

"Whoose" was the last sound I heard before hurdling into space. My body pounded against the side of the seat and then pounded back on the other side as the giant spider tried it's best to kill me. I continued my last rites.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war."  

As I was sure I was close to death--or at least throwing up, It seemed like it would never end but thankfully, I began to feel the beast slowing down. It seemed like an eternity but it had taken only minutes. I was alive and able to exit to the left!  I'm not sure if the funnel cake would stay down but the profuse sweating had stopped. I was alive and to be honest, impressed that I remembered that much of the Gettysburg Address.

I came to two realizations: One, I would never step foot on this ride again, and two,

I scream like a girl. 


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Suzanne Baxter October 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Well written! Fun to read. Thanks for writing about your experience. We have all been there at one time or another...."Why in the world am I doing this? Where is my brain?!!?"
Carrot-top October 16, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I went to the Fair in Marietta two weeks ago and these same crazy ideas ruined each and every ride I went on. I guess the thrill of the carney ride is gone for me :(


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