Yesterday was devoted to taking my kids to Lake Compounce, an amusement park in Bristol, Connecticut.
Good times. Some excellent rides, beautiful weather, manageable crowds. Unlike other theme parks (ahem, Six Flags), Compounce is very family friendly. There are free water and soft drink taps throughout the park, bathrooms are kept clean, nobody’s going out of his way to hawk plastic nonsense on your kids.
That said …
There are some things—location be damned—that unite all theme parks. Especially those with large water elements.
First, you are guaranteed to witness some of the absolute worst tattoos ever. When I mean ever, I really mean ever, ever, ever. The winner from yesterday: One guy had his hairy back covered with tatts of half-naked women dressed in S&M garb, with whips, chains, etc. What made it even more special was the wife (and kid) standing by his side.
Second, there is always—always—a floating used Band-Aid. You know whereof I speak, no? It’s the grossest thing ever. On the side of a pool. a dab of blood in the middle, oftentimes a strand of hair (or two. Or three. Or four.) attached for the ride.
Third (and my personal favorite)—smokers. Even though 99 percent of North American theme parks either ban smoking or have designated smoker areas, there will always be people who deem it important to exercise their civil rights by exhaling cancer-causing fumes in an area overrun by children. It’s a vision that always dazzles me, even though I’ve seen it 100 times before. Yesterday, my personal favorite was the woman pictures above—who was actually holding two lit cigarettes at the same time.
It was pretty damn special.