Carnie Fever: Eh, don’t catch it …

Took my kids to the local Greek church carnival yesterday evening. Nothing amazing—probably right rides, a bunch of games, overpriced everything ($5 for a lemonade? $1 per ride ticket—minimum four per ride).

What stood out, as always, were the carnies.

Apparently, the Greek church hired real, legit, the-road-is-their-home carnies to work the rides. How do I know they were real, legit, the-road-is-their-home carnies? One, because they all looked dirty and grizzled from a lifetime of manning carnivals from Mahopac to Mobile, Mississippi to Massachusetts. Two, because they boasted tattoos on pieces of skin that I never knew existed. Three, they admitted so much.

Which isn’t to say being a carnie is bad or wrong or anything. It just strikes me as an extremely difficult and fruitless lifestyle choice. Most of these fairs are dirty and nasty; the rides seem one loose screw away from disaster; the attendees are primarily annoying, loud, obnoxious teenagers. I mean, I dig the road and love travel. But not carnie travel. No way.

Most of the guys were really nice and helpful. My favorite, however, was one kid, probably 25, who wore headphones throughout. You’d ask him a question and, literally, receive no answer.

That said, the lemonade was cold.

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