I consider myself a podcast guy, I'm always open to new suggestions, but currently, I never miss two pods; Pardon My Take, and Snake Draft Mondays on Barstool Chicago's Dog Walk.
This Monday, Carl returned from a multi-draft hiatus that included trips to Charleston (town?), the College World Series, and beers with me in Newport.
During said beers, we discussed what goes into one of Barstool's most successful pods; strategy, logic, banter, competition, etc. I look forward to being a guest someday when I'm #HiRedDozo, but enough of wedging myself into the conversation; there's plenty of time for that later.
As for Monday's draft, Marty Mush was the guest, and the topic was Carnivals/Fairs. The sub-categories were: ride, game, food/drink, musical act, and miscellaneous. If you're unfamiliar with the Snake Drafts, you have to draft one thing for each category. Each draft is different; some don't have any divisions. I highly recommend listening, and since I'm a pro, I'm going to link it in right HERE. This was a pure nostalgia draft; it brought me back to the carnivals held in the parking lot of Narragansett Town Beach and other various parking lots and open fields across the Ocean State.
My brain is a weird mess of selective memories and trauma suppression, clouded by fear and shame of the piece of shit I used to be. Spiked up blonde hair...
But hearing them draft carnival/fair-related items joggled my brain. It helped me recall a story of an experience I had at a 2004 fair in Florida that, frankly, I've never forgotten, despite my best efforts. This is why you should never be confident or try to act cool because it will ultimately backfire.
My mom, sister, and I moved to J-ville in the fall of 2003. In retrospect, I did not fuck with Jax, but my time there undoubtedly shaped me as a person; where do you think I got my bangs dyed blonde? In fitting southern fashion, I was there for about 3/5 of 6th grade and all of 7th, before moving back to Rhode Island for 8th grade. I wasn't there long, but these were seminal years in my development as a human. It was there that I learned the Yankees were not just a baseball team. I can vividly remember a 6th-grade teacher calling me a Yankee, and I angrily replied, "NO, I'm a Red Sox fan!"
At some point in 2004, all three of us went to this big fair at least an hour's drive from where we lived. Some details are shady given the time, but I remember this giant field full of rides, games, food stands, and country musicians. I want to say there was a rodeo too, but there were certainly farm animals present. Do horses count as farm animals? Idk, but they were there too. If you could name it, they probably sold a fried version of it—Oreos, twinkies, cheesecake. My 12-year-old ass was in clogged artery heaven. This fair was my first full-fledged southern experience.
At this point in life, I thought I was a little badass. Rollercoasters were one of my favorite things about being alive. I loved going to Six Flags. Whenever we would visit cousins in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, we were sure to hit some kind of theme park. I loved going to Hot Topic despite Christianity being force-fed to me. I listened to a ton of pop-punk and nu-metal; I loved watching Fuse. I was obsessed with skateboarding despite only being able to ollie in place (sort of) while also really starting to get into team sports to hold onto a piece of home. To put it in lamens terms, I was a stereotypical piece of early 2000s tween trash.
Being a little (well, actually chubby) thrill-seeking piece of early 2000s tween trash, I did not think about the repercussions of going on rides supported by cinderblocks after shoveling fried desserts and corn dogs down my gullet. I got into a ride that was the equivalent of a Ferris Wheel on meth. We were in these little smart-car-sized enclosed compartments that spun around like spider-tack sliders. After further research, it's called The Zipper.
So I get into this wheelless smart car, and I'm waiting for the ride to begin. Before it does, a cute girl around my age is heading towards my cart and asks if she can ride with me. I replied with these famous last words, "sure, but you don't throw up on these things, do ya?" Even at 12, that's a king hardo line.
It doesn't take a screenwriter to guess where this story goes next, but I have to reiterate for you that the Zipper featured enclosed little carts that had an angled windshield about eight inches from your face. Perfect for a ricochet. We were on the ride for maaaybe 30 seconds before I went full Exorcist on this poor southern girl who asked ME, a 12-year-old, blonde banged, walking jerk-off machine if she could sit next to me. I had the nerve to try to be Mr. Cocky Cool Guy and repaid her southern hospitality with barf-coin.
Since we were at a fair, it's not like they would stop the ride just because one kid threw up; nobody would ever get to ride anything. So I'm just spinning around next to a screaming 12-year-old girl covered in a combination of beans and fried Oreos for what felt like an eternity.
I feel about two feet tall at this point, and again, I was 12 years old. 12-year-olds have killed themselves over far less than this. I had just thrown up on a stranger after trying to flex; people would have totally understood if I took the early check out. Once the ride stopped, the girl ran away, likely never to be seen again, and I got hosed down like I was fighting for civil rights. Still, even that only could do so much. I needed lye. The puke was everywhere; I could feel it in my fucking socks. I'm surprised my mom could even recognize me.
Now I put my mom in a really tough spot. Do we go home to delouse me, ruining the day for my sister who wanted to see the horses and all that shit, or do we stay and ruin the day for the rest of the fair allowing this puke-covered adolescent boy to go on with his day like nothing happened?
Luckily, my grandparents had moved down to Florida a few months before us, and my grandma came to pick me up while my mom and sister stayed, but again, this isn't Rhode Island where everything is 25 minutes apart. We were a solid hour from our house, and my grandparents lived like 35 minutes from us. I had to wait (soaked in a combination of hose water and my own vomit) in the remnants of probably $40 worth of fried fair food.
I have since learned my lesson to not be overconfident in a social situation because it will clearly backfire, just like I did on that poor girl. I think this story explains a lot.