I just returned from a glorious trip to Orlando with the wife, 7-year-old hurricane boy, and 8-year-old princess girl. We visited not only Disney World, but also Universal Studios, Dinosaur World and every theme park attraction known to man.
The kids are fearless when it comes to riding rides and I’m the designated person that rides with them. My wife has motion sickness, or at least that is the claim, and that leaves me.
I’m OK with riding most rides and I guess I’ve ridden my share of roller coasters and the like. But while we were at Universal Studios, the kids decided they wanted to ride the toughest of all roller coasters at either Universal or Disney. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the ride, but followed the, by now, ingrained herd mentality as I mooed my way through long lines to finally reach the ride.
There were only two seats side by side, so the kids got in the two seats in front of me and I was in a seat directly behind them. The roller coaster began to move forward turning directly skyward, leaving me flat on my back as it began to crawl straight toward the sky.
I have no idea how high this contraption was but a safe estimate is about the height of the Empire State Building. I don’t know how long it took to reach the top, but I can say I had no problem in completing the entire Lord’s prayer before we finally reached the area where the roller coaster pauses before beginning a decent.
Normally, when I get to the top of a roller coaster’s first incline, there is usually a one- to two-second pause before it begins to descend and I have an opportunity to survey the horizon to see how steep the hill is, if curves are ahead, etc. — you know, a little time to prepare for the rush. The only problem here, however, was there was no horizon, no curves, no steep hill to descend.
Yes, these damn fool folks planned on sending me straight back down the same way I came up.
At this point, I decided it was best to draw up into the fetal position. But I couldn’t because these sadistic SOBs had clamped me down with an over-the-shoulder device that would make a straitjacket look like a rain poncho. I could barely wiggle my hands, which was just as well considering I was paralyzed with fear.
Before I continue, let me regress for a moment.
At the time I entered this contraption and was pinned down to become part of the machinery, I was comforted to know that earphones fit beside each ear and there was a place for me to select whatever type music I wished to listen to during the ride. Had I known what I know now, I would have selected “Yes We’ll Gather By the River,” as I find that song suitable for a funeral.
The selection key allowed me to select from different genres of music — rock ‘n’ roll, country, jazz, classical, etc. I pressed the button to listen to rock, which allowed me to select from several different rock bands. I wasn’t too crazy about any of the bands and somehow deleted my selection and instead selected rap music. This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am more inclined to listen to the polka than I am to rap.
So now, I’m back at the precipice of almost certain death, set to plunge 20 stories downward, all the while listening to somebody babbling about putting a cap in you and shake, shake, shake what you got.
Well, I don’t know about a cap, but I was sure as hell shaking.
During this two-second pause before we blasted downward, I noticed the kids were busy talking and looking about as excited as if they were discussing next week’s lunch menu. I, on the other hand, had time to consider my Last Will & Testament, beg God for forgiveness for past transgressions and hope I’d brought at least one extra change of underwear.
We soon shimmied, shook, looped-the-loop and gyrated. The kids were unfazed and delighted.
As for me, I’d rather someone had put a cap in me.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.