I won’t step foot onto the Scrambler at your local traveling carnival. I think that once you have been traumatized by an event, you just don’t care to take another chance. And that’s how I felt about the Scrambler. I wasn’t personally injured, but I was scared so badly one evening that it took me a while to head to another carnival.
Oh, carnivals can have a certain element of excitement. There’s cotton candy and the carnival barker trying to get you to step up and win a nice fluffy stuffed animal. I even remember one time we paid a few dollars to see “Ronnie and Donnie the Siamese Twins.” That was wild. We got to walk through a trailer and see them through a one-way mirror as they watched tv. I thought that was really sad. But, not sad enough to go back through and really study them. I thought for sure they were fake. I mean, they were just a few years older than me. What parent would let their children be strutted in front of the public because they were different. But, the family did get some of my money, so I guess everyone won.
I got motion sick a lot , so I was just a lot of fun at carnivals. I don’t think anyone wanted to sit with me on the rides for fear of exiting with Vickie’s dinner all over them. So, I don’t know who I was in line with at this particular episode. I do know that it was a traveling carnival in Weirton, West Virginia, my hometown, and I was in junior high. My dad dropped us off and parked the car. We didn’t wait for him because we didn’t want to be seen with our dads. Just standing near us was embarrassment enought. Poor dads. Anywho…I was standing in line, waiting to ride my favorite, the Scrambler. I didn’t get sick on the Scrambler. I was able to get a focal point going and could ride it easily without throwing up. The only problem with the Scrambler is that if you sat on the right side, you got squashed. I was quite skinny back then, and never enjoyed being smashed at each turn by the Scrambler.
I was standing in line in front of a pretty nice looking kid. I had never seen him before. He seemed a few years older than me though. Our city was divided into two counties, Brooke and Hancock, so I didn’t really know the kids who attended any of the Hancock County schools. I just remember that he was talking loud to the person in line with him, and I was eavesdropping. I have no idea who I was standing in line with. But, this is how the conversation sort of went.
“Yeah, so, my brother said that a kid died on this ride last night when the carnival was in Wheeling……Well, I guess there was a ratttlesnake nest in the corner of one of the cars and the mom snake and the babies kept biting this girl……..she kept screaming for them to stop the ride, but the ride guy thought it was how everyone screams on a ride and didn’t stop it. She jumped out of the ride and was hit by another car.”
I was really eavesdropping by this time. It was also time to get on the ride. I didn’t think I wanted to ride the Scrambler. As we got on the ride, the boy was walking to get on the next car and was still talking to his friend….”Yeah, it was car #4 and I just heard that they only found one snake.”
I looked ahead and saw the number “3″ written on the back of the car in front of me. OMG, that means I’m in car #4.!! I tried to unstrap myself and get the hell out of the car, but it was too late. I put my feet up on the bench I was sitting on and closed my eyes. I screamed and screamed because I just knew I was going to get eaten by rattlesnakes. Whoever I was with (my sister?) yelled over at me that she didn’t see any snakes. That’s because they were probably way up under the bench seat we were sitting on.
When the ride finally stopped and I opened my eyes, I started crying. I couldn’t quit crying. But, the kid that was in front of me, pointed at me to his friend, and they started laughing hysterically.
Stupid urban legends.