July 24, 2011

Aging showing through distaste for wild fair rides

I have officially become an old man.

I say this not because of any impending birthday or arbitrary date.

No, it's not because of the frequent AARP offers in the mail. It's not because my bones ache when I walk two blocks, or my elbow throbs when it's going to rain.

It's not because of any urge to trade our thrifty compact car in for a Buick the size of Rhode Island.

It's not because of the tufts of gray sprouting on my head and face, nor the increasing size of the hairless spot on the top of my skull.

The reason I'm declaring my youth over? I have completely lost all desire to go on carnival/amusement park rides that spin at great speeds.

I didn't even know this had occurred until presented with a plethora of dizzying options this week at the County Fair. Should I spin backwards, forwards, sideways? In the past, my choice would have been "all of the above."

This time my choice was to feign indigestion — "Oh, guess I better cut back on that fried dough" — and send the kids on the rides by themselves. Not that the stomach being upset was completely fraudulent.

When I was young — last year — I could eat three slices of pizza, a giant pretzel and a 12-pound hunk of fried dough and go on any ride without feeling the tiniest tremor in my belly. I could wash down the ride with ice cream, cotton candy and french fries soaked for four days in pure lard, then get in line for more.

Now, just typing this, I'm starting to feel a little queasy.

I don't think the problem is fear. I still love roller coasters, of all heights and speeds. Loop me, turn me upside down, send me backwards, it doesn't matter. I'd gladly commit to a trip to Cleveland right now if it meant a day at Cedar Point, the nation's roller-coaster capital.

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