I have a confession to make; I have spent time on the carnie circuit. Not just any carnie circuit, but the Wyoming carnie circuit. I know what you’re thinking, “Wow that sounds really glamorous. I bet you have spent many a night frolicking in the wild outdoors with devastatingly handsome homosexual cowboys.” And though you wouldn’t be that far off, the truth is I actually sold twelve hour old chili dogs to demolition derby fans with eight kids, seven teeth and names like “Bucky” and “Trampus”.
To really understand this life I need you to remember back when you were in high school. Remember the fourth of July? There would be a big celebration in the park, all of your friends are eating ice-cream and giggling because Johnny hit Suzy with a water balloon, it was pure adolescent magic, right? Remember how your mom owned the “Weenie Wagon” and remember how you had to ask Johnny if he wanted sauerkraut on his bratwurst? Oh you don’t remember that? Huh, that’s weird. The neon track suit your mom used to wear to pick you up at school doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Sure sometimes a fly got stuck in the nacho cheese, and when given the choice to get my fingers covered with orange cheese food and fly pieces or stir the winged bacon bit in, I chose the latter. Sure, sometimes I sold one or several corn dogs that were still “slightly” frozen, but hey it was hot outside, and Bucky with his glorious white belly peeking delicately out from under his “No Fat Chicks” t-shirt probably enjoyed his meat-cicle. And at the end of the day we most definitely sold the grey, over boiled, split weenies for half price. The scariest part wasn’t that we had a split weenie sale every night, but that the split weenie sale sold out in no more than five minutes… ever. I once even over heard a busty woman adorned in a wolf t-shirt which was tucked into skin tight pocket-less jeans (I’m assuming to create a “smoothing” affect) say that she actually preferred the split weenie because, “It keeps the fixin’s in.”
I’m not ashamed of my days as a carnie. In fact, I might return back to my roots this summer. My mom still owns the “Weenie Wagon” but it is now parked quietly behind her house in the Wyoming countryside, a quiet reminder of the glory days. Now it is only used as an outdoor bar during family barbecues (and when I say “bar” I mean we keep the cooler of beer and a couple of handles of whiskey out there, and there’s a great chance that we’ll find one of the aunts passed out in it before the morning). I have no doubt that someday I will again let my carnie flag fly, and a word from the wise: if you ever find a fly in your nacho cheese, consider yourself lucky because if us carnies would have known we’d have charged you extra for the additional protein.