A walk in the park and damaged feet
Dad didn't believe that until I went with him to Great America - under great duress - when we were engaged. First ride up, I barely made it off before losing breakfast. I think they renamed it the Tilt-A-Hurl in my honor.
Roller coasters? The point escapes me. I don't experience the thrill of the rise and fall. I feel the pain of the whip lash and the rib-crushing constraints.
There comes a time, though, when you have to take one for the team. My time came Wednesday, after Dad convinced the guys that they needed to visit Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
"They have Thomas Town there!" he said. I glared. We went.
The first mistake came before we left. After making sure the guys were adequately shod, Dad and I picked the wrong footwear.
He wore an ancient pair of tennis shoes even though I told him the Clown Shoes - the bright red running shoes that look ridiculous but carried him through basic training - fit better.
I grabbed a new pair of Nikes - those would be better than the 7-year-old pair with collapsed arches, I thought.
The second mistake came as we let Big Guy jump on a ride that goes down a 60-foot waterfall. Ten minutes inside the gate, he and Dad were soaked.
Distraught that he was too short for the waterfall, Boots conned his way onto a whitewater rafting ride. The guys were thrilled when waterfalls dumped on us. My hair never recovered. Three trips later, it was the beginning of the end for my feet.
All that happened before the guys discovered the rest of the rides. Kiddie roller-coasters that delight children as they screech to a halt but give adults whip lash. A trip on Thomas that is amusing the first time but becomes a tad predictable after the sixth trip. An airplane complete with allegedly working controls that the guys always wanted to fly when we were 100 acres away, on the other side of the park.
And a pint-sized version of my old nemesis, the Tilt-A-Hurl.
This one had square buckets with a wheel in the middle that let riders start spinning before the ride started.
"Show Boots how to do it," Dad said as he and Big Guy spun happily.
"Not on your life," I said.
Ay, but one the buckets started flying and dipping there was no stopping the spin. I held on, but only because I hadn't eaten in a few hours.
"Go again! Go again!" the guys pleaded.
"I. Can't. Do. It." I said, stumbling out and shoving Boots in Dad's and Big Guy's direction.
I have to admit smirking when Dad started turning green midway through the second trip. He, too, kept his lunch but didn't need to be convinced that that would indeed be the last ride of the day.
A painful hour later, we made it back to the car - we took a shuttle most of the way, but Boots' exhausted butt was dragged. Except, of course, when he wanted to veer off course to run around a tree and then cry because Dad was so far ahead of him.
As Big Guy peeled off his shoes and socks in the car, Boots gasped. "Ewww! Your feet are damaged!"
Which they weren't. They were just excessively prunish from a day in the water.
Dad's feet, though, were definitely damaged. So were mine.
It runs out that there's a toenail problem, with new shoes and summer feet used to flip-flops and sandals. As in, toenails that are too long bang painfully inside the tips of new shoes. Once that game's over, they decide to gouge neighboring toes and create a series of painful blisters.
My stomach still turns every time I think about that last ride.
I suppose some good came of it, if the guys grow up to be normal roller-coaster loving adults instead of thrill-ride averse Tilt-A-Hurling freaks.
Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.