The Mind Scrambler

Posted on June 30, 2007. Filed under: New Jersey, News, The Sopranos |

THERE has always been a part of me that dislikes amusement parks. Despite the festive atmosphere of the average park, I always find the noise, the dirt, the bad (but expensive) food, the filthy restrooms, the sweltering parking lots, the interminable lines, the predictable rides, and the toothless, often savage-looking faces of some of the ride operators disgusting. Then there is the behavior of some of the guests. I remember once walking with my young son in a park and looking on in horror as a man removed his ribbed wife-beater undershirt in front of us. Tattoos covered every inch of this man’s body, which was, incidentally, covered with wall-to-wall hair. My son thought the man was the character “Grover” from Sesame Street. “No,” I said. “You’re just in New Jersey and this is how one group of your fellow citizens dress and decorate their bodies. You are never to emulate this man. I would prefer that you forget that you ever saw him.” When his cell phone chimed out the latest 50 Cent single, he spoke into with a mouth full of gold teeth. And I forgot to mention the games of chance. These stupid games are, of course, insulting to anyone with an average level of intelligence. The prizes, such as they are, are inevitably of the lowest quality. But since almost no one ever wins it hardly matters. The whole experience is like participating in a confidence game, and bearing witness to a freak show, which is, of course, part of the history of amusement parks to begin with. So much for a wholesome day with the wife and kids.

What made me think of this? The recent death of a young woman at Playland, an amusement park in Rye, New York. The ride was called “The Mind Scrambler.”


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One Response to “The Mind Scrambler”

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There are certain experiences in life that we look at with a cynical, adult eye and forget that for the child, it is filled with newness, innocent wonder and fun. OK, aside from the disturbing image of half-naked adult male Grover, I am sure your child had a fabulous time.

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