The Gonzo Journals
April 13th, 2023
I was originally going to call this post “Eight, Skate, and Donate”. It’s a crazy thing my uncle used to say that coincides with current events in my life. It’s my stepson’s eighth birthday meaning I’ve been in his life for exactly four years. I think he still hates me. Also, I skateboarded a little bit yesterday for the first time since I was sixteen years old. I’m currently forty-nine and there’s a fifteen second YouTube video of me pretending not to be old. Finally, I donated a lot of stuff but there’s no need to go into that. I’m not trying to be the “look at me” guy this morning aka Mr. Beast and every other YouTube influencer who blows the Minecraft creators. No, someone else wanted to be the “look at me” guy this morning.
So, I may as well give him what he wants. I’m going to make people look at him. Enjoy, Nick. Here’s your fifteen minutes.
So, as many of you know, I work on the railroad at a theme park part time on the weekends. I don’t do it for the money. I do it because I promised myself I would learn to drive a steam locomotive when I was a child. It is one of the greatest loves of my life.
Regularly, I hear the phrase “no loose articles” coming from the rollercoaster operators. One day, I replied, “your mom’s a loose article” and a few of my coworkers got a laugh out of it. After that, I did what any other deranged writer would do with that information. I had a t shirt created.
I posted this in a rollercoaster forum on Facebook centered around the park in which I worked thinking people would get a kick out of it. Some did. Then, this one ass hat took it in a completely different direction, leading the sheep off the cliff. Was that a Bible reference? Maybe. I think they were pigs. I don’t know. I write fiction. I rarely read it.
Nick: Funny but I wonder how that kid that lost his mom on the giant a few years ago would feel about it.
Allow me to explain.
The Texas Giant was the world’s tallest wooden rollercoaster when it was built in 1990. That designation lasted about five minutes; I think. Anyway, RMC came along and used it as an experiment for its “I Box” track making it a wooden/steel hybrid. It worked, and RMC traveled the world converting old wooden coasters into smooth, incredible rides.
In 2013, a woman visiting from Mexico got on the ride. She was too big to be on the rollercoaster in the first place and didn’t speak English. Her young son was with her. The ride attendants didn’t notice that she was too damn big for a rollercoaster and there were no seatbelts to back up the restraint system at the time. The coaster was launched.
She fell out after the first drop and landed on a tunnel structure below. She’d hit so many of the support beams on her way down that she was nearly cut in half. There are a million YouTube videos on this, so I won’t go into too much detail. Google is free and in your pocket. Eventually, the manufacturer and the park pointed fingers at one another, and seat belts were installed. I ride this all the time and it’s just as safe as any other rollercoaster, but I’m not oversized. I’m close, but not quite. When I can’t fit on the rollercoaster, it’s time for a diet. That’s my true philosophy.
Upon hearing this news, I NEVER blamed the coaster manufacturer or the park. I have always blamed the woman. I don’t care what language you speak; you know when something feels unsafe. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the first coaster of the day she was kicked off of, but it was the first one where she got away with riding it. It was also the last one. I bet she was mentally “high fiving” herself as she climbed the first lift hill. I can’t imagine what she was thinking as she fell to her death. Probably “oops, I fucked up”. One could hope. One does.
The only person I ever felt bad for in this situation was her son. He was forced to witness his mother being chopped to pieces on a rollercoaster. Hopefully his therapist has convinced him that it was ultimately his mother’s fault, and he doesn’t blame himself.
This is why I don’t vacation in countries where I don’t speak or read the language and why I make damn sure my restraints are tight on rollercoasters. Gravity is a bitch. Just ask Richie Valens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, or John Denver. They’ll back me up on this. Too soon?
No, Nick, I never took that lady’s son into account when I made this t shirt. Why? First of all, I don’t give a fuck. Everyone endures tragedy in their lives. Just because someone’s mom choked on a chicken bone doesn’t mean the world should stop eating chicken. How many people have flown in airplanes since 9/11? Also, tobacco companies are still thriving regardless of how many dies from lung cancer every year. My stepfather was one of them and my mother and I continued to smoke for a decade after.
Second? There are eight billion people on this planet and that kid – now an adult – lives in a completely different country. What are the chances of me ever running into him? Also, why would he think I was pinpointing his unfortunate mother? The coaster on the shirt looks nothing like The New Texas Giant.
Finally, and this is the most important point, why in the French-fried fuck would this person ever step foot inside a theme park again? He watched the most horrific thing a person can see (other than Rise of Skywalker) in a theme park. Why return? So he can see the impact crater atop the tunnel? So he can see the blood stains probably still present on the support beams? How about so he can hear tons of screaming? If he’s in a theme park or riding a rollercoaster after the horrific shit he watched play out before his own eyes, he deserves to get offended. Hell, I’ll even be bold enough to make him his own shirt!
Bottom line, Nick, stop being a Facebook martyr. It’s not going to get you famous and it’s not going to get you laid. I know because I’m pseudo famous in certain circles and I get laid all the time. I will wear my shirt proudly at every theme park I visit from now until the end of time and, if anyone asks me why, I’m going to tell them that Nick made me do it.
By the way…
The train as Silver Dollar City derailed back in December and a bunch of people got hurt. It never made the news, but it happened. With that being said, don’t ever let me catch you on my train. You sidetracked me from writing about my son’s birthday and my old ass on a skateboard. I hope you’re happy with yourself. Poon.
Peace. Except for Nick. Fuck Nick.
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