Monday, April 10, 2006

Experience the experience!

As modern people of the world, we are privy to many things that people of past generations did not encounter. 24 hour news channels bring instant coverage of all events, and anything else can pretty much be found on the Internet. But my belief is that there is a difference between watching something and actually having it happen to you. And that's where the ferris wheel of death comes in.

The ferris wheel of death is, in my estimation, the most horrific scenario imaginable. Think, if you will, of a innocuous roadside carnival with the requisite clowns, carnies and food stands that sell deep-fried foods of questionable origin. In general, these carnivals have a multitude of creaky, unlicensed rides operated by people whose qualifications are nonexistent. Let's say one of these rides is a ferris wheel. A traditional ride, not too fast, whose main virtue is that when one reaches the summit of the calliope-music-playing monstrosity, one has a slightly better view than if standing on the ground.

Imagine now, that for some reason the ferris wheel's turning slowly starts accelerating along with the music. The operator is hopeless: all he knows how to do is press the "start" and "stop" buttons, as well as leering at young girls in a creepy manner. The passengers begin to get a sense of the trouble and start yelling for help, which causes the crowd below to stop and gape at the scene. Finally, with a wrenching groan, the wheel bursts free of it's moorings with a sickening shriek of twisted metal.

One rash youth attempts to jump off of the wheel, but to no avail. Two teenagers who thought the best way to sneak away from their parents to make out was on the tallest structure at the carnival are yelling now, and the old man who wanted to ride the old wheel one last time is getting his wish. Bodies are flying everywhere as the unstoppable wheel cuts a swath through the fair, and then the countryside, crushing anything unfortunate to be caught beneath it. Finally, it's instability and slowing pace cause it to fall on it's side, where it bursts into flame.

Truly a gruesome story. But let's examine how it would be conveyed to you in different ways:

3rd person account:
"Well, I was at the deep-fried lettuce stand when I heard this big ol' snapping sound. Damnedest thing I ever seen: the whole contraption just broke off the stand and started rolling around. You know, I hear that old man Donaldson was just real quiet that whole time, like he knew this was it for him- he knew he was gonna get taken out by a ferris wheel, just like his daddy before him. And that lil' Rebecca Stone? I hear tell they found parts of her everywhere; the corn dog stand, the twinkie stand....everywhere. Damned shame, damned shame."

1st person account:
"Yes, I was on that ferris wheel. I was the only survivor, though I lost both legs and part of my scalp. I don't remember much, though. There was that terrible calliope music, of course, so I couldn't hear the ride come loose. I heard people screaming, but I thought they were just riding the tilt-o-whirl, or possibly eating the deep-fried ice cream. Anyways, the whole thing rolled for a while, then we fell over. Did I mention that my new legs are made of tungsten?"

News account:
"12 people died today at a Duscaloosa County fair when a ferris wheel apparently broke free from it's moorings and rolled through the countryside. Channel 5 news was there after the accident with correspondent Trisha Yakamada."
*cut to well-manicured ethnic correspondent with ride operator*
Reporter- "What did you see?"
Operator-"Wells, I were watching the ride real close, you know, to make sure nothing went wrong. Then it just kind of broke free and I hit that "stop" button, but it was too late."
Reporter- "Chilling. Tom?"
*cut back to well-manicured white male anchor*
"Thanks Trish. Channel 5 news spoke with the owner of the Podunk travelling fair and he assured us that safety is his number one concern and he will be investigating the manner fully. Speaking of rolling wheels of death, a new donut factory..."

Internet account
*Shaky, blurry camcorder video of the ferris wheel breaking loose*
+10 minutes *Shaky, blurry camcorder video of the ferris wheel breaking loose with emotional music interspersed with quotes from bystanders*
+20 minutes *Shaky, blurry camcorder video with either Bubb Rubb, lightsaber effects or horrible techno music added*
+1 day *Shaky, blurry camcorder video sped up with Limp Bizkit's "Rollin" playing*
+2 days *Shaky, blurry camcorder video sped up and "Yakety sax" music playing*
+4 days *Every goddamned person you know talking about the stupid yakety sax version*
+7-8 days *Video disappears from Internet completely*

Personal account
"Boy this ferris wheel sure is fun. I can see the deep-fried candy bar stand from here!"
*creaking, breaking noise*
"Oh no! Stop the ride! No, nooooo!"
"SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!SHIT!" (repeat ad nauseum)

So, as you can see, perspective definitely skews how we view a situation. Also, don't ride ferris wheels, because this is bound to happen some day.


At 7:29 PM, Blogger ChickyBabe said...

Internet Account:
+12h - Every second blogger will counting down for +7-8 days!

And perspective always skews our interpretation. Who to believe...

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Scorpy said...

I knew someone on that was on that wheel...We'll not actually on the wheel but I know this guy that knew this girl, who's boyfriend, father's, sister's, aunties milkman was standing at the Deep fried lettuce emporium exactly one year before...

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Fitèna said...


I like the use of the word "apparently" for the news account and the way they introdune the next isuue " a donut factory!"

Deep fried ice cream!? lol! This is too good! And you are so right!


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Knows It All said...

If one is backward enough to be interested in a vertical merry-go-round, ran by questionable get what you pay for.

In Portland, there used to be a homage to a horrible roller coaster accident. Now those poor souls, at least they were going for the gusto. But ferris wheel----get a life. ;)


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