Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why... So... Serious?

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

This is a quick one, I promise you! I know you may be a bit leery after my lengthy amusement park adventure over the past three weeks, but I do promise.

Some of you who have been reading for a while (okay, maybe that one person who has been reading a while —  I have no illusions as to the actual popularity of this blog) may remember one of my co-workers, a man I’ve referred to in the past as ALM: the Angry Little Man. The other day ALM was in full A mode, and I decided to do something about it.

Here’s the story:

~ ~ * * ~ ~
I had been watching ALM all morning, marching about the work floor with his little face set in his ‘I just dare anyone to @#$% with me’ expression. So far it was working, and no one was speaking to him. People were looking at each other, sometimes even right over his little head, with warning looks and mouthing the words ‘leave him ALONE today!’. So I left him alone.

But he looked so unhappy. Seriously. What was I supposed to do?

I decided to poke the tiger.

ALM was walking toward the door, on his way out to the parking lot, when one of the women on the other side of the floor complained loudly about having to work that day.

“What are you complaining about?” I shouted back, hooking a thumb at the passing ALM. “You get to work all morning right near this guy!”

I widened my eyes and grew a little gaspy with astonishment.

“It… how… how does it get any better than this?”

ALM just shook his head, little teeth gritting, and walked out the door. I followed, shouting back over my shoulder to the woman.

“I’m going to walk out right behind him! Maybe if there are some of those paparazzi around they can get a picture of him and me together and we can wind up on the cover of People! They could run one of those ‘who is this man seen with ALM’ pieces, you know what I mean?”

We were out in the parking lot by this time, and there was no way the woman could hear me any more, but it had never really been about her anyway. I was right behind him and ALM could hear me loud and clear, and that was all I really wanted. I held up my hands as if framing a headline.

“ALM, stepping out?”

No reaction as he unlocked his truck door.

“ALM: Boy toy?”

Still nothing as he slung himself up into the seat, though he did turn to look down at me. I gazed up at his angry little face, hard as a stone and just as difficult to break.

Then, inspiration struck.

“Hey! I know! I’ll twerk for you like that Miley Cyrus chick! That got her and that Thicke guy a lot of press!”

I spun about and bent over, thrusting my backside into the air as I looked at him, upside-down, from between my knees.

“C’mon down and get close!”

Having no idea how to actually  twerk, I just started to gyrate and pump my hips, double-time. Right there in the parking lot.

Ten seconds later I was walking toward my own truck, smiling at the sounds of ALM in his truck behind me, laughing so hard I thought he might wet the seat, and ignoring it when he managed to gasp some words out in between guffaws:

“...where… do… you… come up with… this @#$%?”

I dunno. Internet maybe?

What the hell was he laughing about? Don't I look hawt?
And where did ALM get that Beetlejuice suit?

Talk to you later!

And, because I think sometimes we all want to do this: A Husky having a metric butt-ton of fun!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Memory Lane -- The Tilt-A-Whirl (Part 3 - The Final Chapter)

Greetings WYMOP readers!

Welcome to the conclusion of my epic Tilt-A-Whirl tale.

Let me repeat that: the conclusion!

That's right. You finish this week's post and you never have to hear me mention the Tilt-A-Whirl again. Ever. And the post I have for next week (already written, actually, if you don't mind me patting myself on the back a bit) is much shorter. It's like what a blog post should be. And it includes a picture of me -- what more could you ask for?

So, without further ado, I give you: The Tilt-A-Whirl -- The Final Chapter!

~ ~ * * ~ ~

I panted like I was one of the Breathing Cosbys (Click HERE if you don’t get the reference, and come out from under that rock!) and just tried to hold on until my little tour of this particular circle of hell was over. The whole time I could hear the other kids on the ride whooping it up and generally having what sounded like the best time of their lives. In fact they sounded so happy the hot dog, popcorn and soda kept trying to come out and what they were missing.

The sweat of furious concentration beaded my young brow as I focused all my will on
keeping that little door at the top of my throat firmly shut no matter how hard they pushed. You know the door I mean —  that little flapper in there that makes the glunk-glunk sound when you chug a drink. It kept going gl-gl on me, but I had set my mental shoulder to it and wasn’t letting it open for anything.

The ride ground to a halt and the attendant started walking from car to car flipping open locking levers and yanking back safety bars. When he finally got to mine he froze for a moment, eyes wide, then leapt to free me from my amusement park prison.

What he saw was a ten-year-old boy, eyes squinted tight and drooling like one of Pavlov’s dogs with hypersalivation and that bell was ringing. I may have been green, I may have been blue, I may have been white as a sheet, but I was not the same healthy color I had been when I’d gotten on this torture machine, and I was making a low urk-urk sound.

He moved with alacrity. He kicked the latch, yanked the bar, and urged me out of the car and toward the exit with all the speed of a man not interested in cleaning puke off a Tilt-A-Whirl in the hot sun.

“Go! Go!” he said, flapping his arms at me like he was trying to herd chickens, afraid to
actually touch me in case the contact triggered something ‘explosive’. He shouted for the other kids to “Get out of the way!”, and they did, offering me a clear shot at the exit but for the other cars on the platform. The problem was that someone (and I point the finger directly at God on this one, that Joker) was tilting the platform this way and that, like a ship’s deck on a stormy sea.

I wove my way toward the exit, staggering this way and that, laughing faces becoming frightened every time I drew near, people ducking out of the way and trying to stay at a safe distance. The exit ramp seemed to dance about like it was trying to avoid me as well, but the more I staggered the closer it was until, finally, I had a railing in each hand and was heading down to safe, solid ground.

When I reached the end of the railings I tried to walk on my own once more. I was just fine for two whole steps before that same merry prankster (I still blame the Jesus’ Dad for this one) tipped the world and I staggered to my right, catching my knee a solid whack against the solid metal Park Department issue trash can set at the base of the ramp.

“Ouch!” I said.

Big mistake. I shouldn’t have opened my mouth.

Five minutes later I staggered away from the Tilt-A-Whirl, having spent that time watching a hot dog, popcorn, and soda, leap gleefully into that same trash can as I gripped the sides, leaned in, and shouted “Blargh!” at the top of my voice. People again got out of my way as I made my way to the sidewalk, though no one was shouting at them this time.

Maybe it was my breath?

I got to the sidewalk, paused, and threw up again. This time I was surrounded by people who hadn’t witnessed my meandering flight across the Tilt-A-Whirl platform, and it took most of them by complete surprise. Their expressions were probably priceless, but I was too busy trying not to spatter used Fruity Pebbles and milk onto my sneakers to either notice or care.

When I had finished my very public technicolor yawn, I wandered through the crowd to the telephone pole where I’d left my bike, holding my stomach and trying not to breathe. A passer-by was kind enough to hand me a few of those napkins I had scorned earlier, telling me I had something on my face. I think it was some hot dog bun, but I’ll never really be sure. I wiped off my face, then unlocked the chain securing my bike to the pole.

Then I threw up on the pole.

I got myself together again and started for home, just wanting to lie down in my own bed. Or die. Dying would have seemed good right about then. But do you remember that three paragraph digression about my bicycle? This is where it all comes clear. I threw one leg over the crotch-bar and attempted to ride away.


I started hopping along, trying to build enough momentum for me to hop up onto the pedals and ride away I hopped once, twice, th—

The bike hit the pavement with a clatter as my stomach came out for a visit again. I stood
there, hunched over with hands on knees for support, listening to the people walking past exclaim in disgust or point me out to a companion as I actively tried not to throw up on my bike, and I just wanted to die. I felt like I was. I’d come a long way from ‘the best day of my young life’.

I tried again to launch myself, hopping toward home with my teeth clamped tight shut, but it was no use. Every time I tried to get that big ol’ bike of mine moving my innards would rebel and I would lose a little bit more fluids. By this time it wasn’t like there was a lot left to come out of me —  there wasn’t anything in fact —  but that wouldn’t stop my body from giving it the old College Try.

I begged with my guts, pleaded with my stomach, told it there wasn’t anything in there, the tank had run dry and the indicator was pointing at the big red ‘E’. My guts got right back to me with “Oh, bull#$%^, I see plenty of stuff in here! Look… what’s that, a spleen?”

I am fairly certain I never had to have my appendix surgically removed because I left it on a street corner halfway between the Willows Park and home. Possibly beneficial in the long run, sure, but at the time I recall being pretty damn unhappy about it. I thought I was going to die. Was looking forward to it, in fact.

You can’t puke if you’re dead.

I staggered my bike home, trying occasionally to mount the big red Schwinn but always failing, throwing up, and walking on. Like some bizarre Hansel I left a trail behind, dropping bits as I went. This trail, however, would not be eaten by birds in the forest, but rather hosed away by the City of Salem DPW when passersby complained of the smell.

Worst. Day. Ever.

So that was my last, and let me repeat last ride on a Tilt-A-Whirl.


Do you blame me?

Oh, and the next day I got up and went about my summer like nothing had happened.

I was ten! Who cares, right?

Talk to you later!

Okay, I promise that next week's blog will be a shorter one. Much easier to read.
But until then, you can take this with you. The joke's not that funny, but the animation made me laugh:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Memory Lane -- The Tilt-A-Whirl (Part 2)

Greetings WYMOP fans!

Yes, this week it's part 2 of my last ride ever on a Tilt-A-Whirl.

Part 2. That means there's a Part 1.

That means if you haven't read Part 1, this week's post will make no sense whatsoever!

But do they ever? Really? Do they?

Come on, do the work. Go back and read The Tilt-A-Whirl Part 1. Don't worry... we'll wait.

For those of you who did read last week, we last saw our hero (Hey, that's me!) gloating quietly over getting a second free ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl off the same ride voucher, and...

~ ~ * * ~ ~

About half-way through that second time around in what I had begun thinking of as ‘my lucky seat’, something within me began to voice the idea that this may have not been such a good thing after all. I think it was the hot dog, though it may have been the popcorn. Or the soda.  Okay, I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it was poking me a bit more strenuously than before —  enough to distract me from the joy of double-riding.

I told whatever it was in there to just shut up, this was possibly the greatest moment of my young life and they weren’t going to spoil it. The prodding persisted, however, possibly growing stronger. The smooth, whipping motion of the Tilt-A-Whirl began to seem not as smooth, and each change of direction the car made seemed to be just a hair too quick for my stomach to keep up.

I began to get a little ‘whoops’ feeling in the pit of my stomach. As the ride went on the feeling spread to all of my stomach. I stopped waving victoriously at the other children on the ride, trying instinctively to hold as still as possible: an im-possibility on a herky-jerky ride like this. I’d started feeling that little ‘whoops’ rising up my chest toward my throat on every snappy reversal ‘my lucky seat’ made, and I was seriously starting to worry about the integrity of the happy ending to this story… when the ride began to slow.

Oh, thank God, I thought. All I had to do was keep it together long enough to get off the ride and I could have a seat for a while to let my stomach relax and recover. I could go sit on the grass near the rides, or even take a walk over to the wall by the beach and take a little break in the sun. My double-free ride would remain unspoiled and my day would remain awesome!

My car came to rest facing out at the trees again. I listened to the boots walk around the platform, listened to the creaks and bangs of people being released from their cars all around me, heard the trickle of people getting off the ride, then the stampede of kids getting on. There were the sounds of kids, chattering happily, pulling their safety bars down, shouting to each other. There came the boots again, I could feel them through my seat, threading their way through the cars to secure the lap-bars.

And there I was, realizing just a bit late that he was skipping right by my car again. There was my voice, shouting ‘hey, over here, let me out!’, lost amidst the other voices shouting ‘hey, over here, look at me!’.

And there were the boots, walking away once more, heading off in the direction of the Tilt-A-Whirl’s control booth.

Nothing to do with the story again,
         this photo just cracks me up!

I slid down as far as I could in my seat, squeezing my unhappy stomach under the safety bar locked into my lap. I stretched, I strained, extending one leg just as far as I could, my sneakered foot flailing desperately at the locking lever for my lap-bar. I just wanted to kick it, to flick it, to somehow knock it loose and allow me the chance to fling off the bar holding me prisoner and make a leap for freedom before the ride could spin my stomach into oblivion.

The Tilt-A-Whirl lurched into motion.

I slumped back into my seat with a whimper that tasted of hot dog, popcorn and soda on their second time around. It wasn’t pretty.

My chest jerked with a hiccuppy sound and a belch rolled up my throat, exploding into my mouth with the taste of hot dog dipped in acid. Strangely cola-flavored acid.

Satan himself, had he gotten a whiff of the rank gasses washing past my tonsils, would have waved a hand by his face with a “Damn! That’s foul!”

I started panting, breathing rapidly with my mouth hanging open. I seem to recall I had the crazy idea that it would all get better if I could somehow cool off my superheated tongue; you would have thought it would have been cool enough the way the saliva was filling my mouth to overflowing, but that was hot too.

I know: Eeww.

The Tilt-A-Whirl picked up speed, my car pitching and yawing, each change in direction no longer a fun little bump but a bone-jarring jerk. The world whipped by in a sickening blur as I swallowed again and again, my mouth refilling with hot saliva just as fast as I could empty it. With each jerk my stomach climbed another notch higher, rising into my chest on it’s way up my throat. The hot dog pointed out that swallowing like that was only showing my stomach that my throat was functioning properly, encouraging my gut to turn it into a two-way street.

“I can’t spit,” I said to the hot dog. “I might hit someone else on the ride.”

“Do you know those people?” said the soda.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“@#$% ‘em!” yelled the popcorn.

I spat. Copiously. I didn’t know where it went, and I didn’t care. I spat and panted, still trying to cool my tongue and mouth, while the world spun by and I tried to swallow my stomach. I tipped my head forward. It didn’t help. I tipped it back. It didn’t help. I closed my eyes.

Big mistake! My stomach took that little ‘holy @#$%!’ moment leap up my throat to the top of my neck, the hot dog and popcorn jostling for position, each trying to be the one to kick open the door barring my throat and burst out into the world. More foul stomach gasses seeped out between my clenched teeth as I opened my eyes and fought to keep that door closed. I focused on my breathing, in and out, deep, like some sort of meditation. I tried to ignore the white knuckles wrapped around the bar beneath my chin. I tried not to see the world flying by without closing my eyes, without even blinking because I didn’t dare. I breathed in…. and out…. and in….

...and the ride started to slow.

To be Continued...

...and concluded next week! I told you this was a long one!

You should have listened.

Talk to you later!

And just for laughs, I'll share these:

Holy crap! I do look just like Michael Ironside!

Holy crap! That kid does
look just like me!