The Jaycees Summer Carnival
Fun that will make you hurl!
by James Leonard
Hey! Kid! Yeah, you! You wanna have some fun? Some real fun? The kind of fun that's so much fun that you won't want to leave until you heave? Kid, I've got just the thing for you: the annual Jaycees Summer Carnival!
Let me tell you all about it. First of all, they've got the time: five midsummer days July 3-7 this year to get you all sticky and sweaty and smelly. They've got the place: the Pioneer High School parking lot, a huge, flat, empty piece of asphalt without a single tree to block the sun. They've even got the background music: dumb and loud, it's music to boil your blood, split your ears, and drown out your screams. Finally, they've got all the food you kids love: pizza and hot dogs and hamburgers and french fries and pop and cotton candy and elephant ears and popcorn. No, wise guy, they don't have beer! This is a family carnival.
But all this is just to get you in the mood for the rides. For your little brothers and sisters, they've got kiddie rides: a dinky merry-go-round, an itsy-bitsy bumper cars ride, a teeny-tiny airplane ride. But that's not for big kids like you! No, sir! For big kids like you, they've got the real thing, the rides guaranteed to make you to toss your lunch!
They've got the Zipper. That's where they stuff you into metal cars and then spin the cars until your guts shake, rattle, and roll. They've got the Tilt-a-Whirl. The name says it all: they strap you against the walls of a huge steel drum and then tilt and whirl it until you can feel your spleen splatter against your spine. They've got the Salt and Pepper Shakers. Once again, the name says it all: they stow you into these huge metal gondolas and then toss you back and forth until you can taste the bile in the back
of your throat. For those of you afraid of heights, they've got the Ferris wheel: they take you up and up and up and then they turn you around and around and around. And for those of you who are afraid of just about everything, they've got the carousel, which stays firmly on terra firma and just goes 'round and 'round.
Sure, they've got a midway with games like the coin toss and the hammer smash and the dart toss so you can win a stuffed animal for your sweetie. Sure, they've got crowds of your friends and neighbors from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and Dexter and Saline and Milan. Sure, they've got cute girls and cute guys. But that's not what you want, is it, kid? I know what you want: you want to boogie till you puke!
[Originally published in July, 2002.]