Sunday, December 24, 2006

End of an Era

I find it ironic that my Carny life should end just as the curtain lowers on the Carny Culture of today, it's last dying exhale.

The hard living, road happy people of yesterday are few and far between now, replaced with clean cut, drug free, South Africans or others the shows can import for cheap. Most of the big shows are owned by corporations now, not families anymore.

I met a guy this past summer who came over from South Africa to be a foreman on a big ride, he's some kind of engineer, he'd never even worked it before, now he's the foreman. Gone are the days when you worked your way up, season after season, sweating in the sun, setting up, tearing down, learning every inch of the ride until you got to the point you could "feel" when something was wrong. When you had "proved" yourself, you became the foreman.

All the Independents have been kicked off the show up in Canada so far, so the corporation can get all that action too, it's only the beginning, real carnies are becoming a people of the past.

I suppose it was the same at the turn of the century, when the industrial age came along and mechanical rides replaced the sideshow tents and girlie shows, fortune tellers, tattoo artists, and soon dominated the Midway. I'm sure the Carnies of that era felt much the same way.

Mark my words, the Carny world as it over; I've seen it and felt it, watched my "family" of friends disappear over the last few years, replaced with clean cut people that "fit in" to the corporate mold.

We Carnies were what made the show fun for the public. As fucked up and neurotic as we were, we were unique, we were the heart and soul of the show. Now it's bland and tasteless, the public are bored with Carnivals, that's why.

I'm surprised no one has noticed, I guess you had to be there.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Place In The Sun

I’ve always had an incredible long term memory. Aunts and Uncles have commented on it, amazed that I could recall a certain event or place, considering I was 3 years old at the time.

In the early winter of 1969 I was a couple of months from my fourth birthday. My brother and I shared a room, his crib was across from me and I would wake him up in the middle of the night on occasion to chat, though he could barely talk yet. I’ve always been a night owl.

On this particular night I was explaining to him, as he sat on my bed listening attentively, that the lights we saw glittering out our bedroom window in the distance were a Circus, and that one day him and I would go there and live.

One day we did. He and I traveled the road together for a number of years, looking out for one and other, growing from boys to men on the Midway. When he became a man he left, he had another calling, and he became a husband and a father and moved on. I stayed, it was my calling, and my idea after all.

My mother says that when I was little she had to watch me like a hawk; I was always taking off; trying to run away, get out of the yard, or run down the road to who the fuck knows where. I’m still doing it to this day.

There’s a place in the sun, where all questions are answered, and everyone gets along, where there is no struggle. That’s where we’re all headed; I’m just taking a shortcut.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Shauna (Do you wanna?)

I remember when Shauna was beautiful, back in the days when she turned every mans head.

You wouldn’t know it looking at her now though, the young beautiful Shauna replaced with the old worn out hag of a Shauna.

When I was a kid I used to follow her around, I had a crush on her and any little bit of attention she showed me made me feel fucking delirious with joy.

Shauna was always with some asshole, some fucking jerkoff that treated her like shit. Over the years she went from man to man, people eventually started calling her “Shauna do you wanna”.

A lot of the younger girls on the lot make fun of her, saying shit like “Oh my god, she is such an old bitch, and a hag, who would fuck that?” Then they laugh, thoroughly impressed with their own beauty.

I kindly say that none of them could have held a candle to Shauna in her day. I get looks of disbelief of course, it’s a fact I tell them, I was there, you weren’t even fucking born, and then I walk away.

A lot of people say Shauna fucked her life away, that she sucked too much Carny cock and it withered her away to an ugly old hag.

The truth of the matter is this….Shauna ate too much shit in life and it killed her spirit, like so many others, she’s only one example.

When a person let’s others walk on them, trades their dreams and ambitions in to please others, and to serve others interests, they die inside, and soon enough their outsides start to match their insides. They look old, beaten, and they are.

I see a number of the young girls who laugh at Shauna on the same path.

My advice.....don’t eat shit.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Sign

So I’m out for one of my late walks the other night…morning…about 2:00am. I walk up Main Street and the night is dead quiet, the air still, just the sound of the traffic lights blinking yellow.

I’m lost in thought as I walk along, thinking about a girl……a girl from a long time ago. I light a cigarette and my attention is suddenly caught by a familiar humming sound.

I look up and realize that I’m standing under the neon sign for the towns’ main hotel. It’s an eerie feeling. I worked at this hotel a long time when I was a kid and a teenager….during the off season, even before I was a Carny. I haven’t walked under it in many years.

The sign hums away…glowing… as I’m transported for a fraction of a second….back…before I was a Carny. The timing is perfect….this is exactly the time I used to get off work and walk under that exact sign…..timeless…humming for an eternity….while I get old.

It’s funny how smells and sounds can transport one back to a previous time, especially in autumn.

In that fraction of a second I realize that I would do it all again if given the chance….no regrets.

While all my friends were going to college…getting married…having kids…I was on the road…living in Carny land, seeing the country…living one day at a time.

The sign continues to hum and glow as I walk away, a lot older…disappearing into the night.

No regrets.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Where The Road Ends

This past summer was a frustrating one. The company downsized and my responsibilities diminished. There was a time when I was one of the few people that could do the job I do, not bragging, it’s just a fact.

I knew the company was downsizing this year, I had no idea it would affect my job the way it did. The industry is changing so fast, a lot of faces have disappeared over the last couple of years, and a lot more will in the very near future. A lot of us are becoming obsolete, we’re dinosaurs.

I’ve never said what my position is in the Carny world, there’s a reason for that. There are only a few of us that do it, if I specified, people would know who I am, and I would rather remain anonymous for my own reasons.

You see, I don’t have to work a joint or a ride, because of my position I had the freedom to wander the Midway day and night, and have for the last 17 years.

As a result of the industry changing, and the company downsizing, I’m not needed anymore, I can easily be replaced by a younger less experienced person that will work for less and take a lot more shit.

A lot of other people offered me jobs for next season, working in a joint mostly. But I can’t do it, I won’t, I’ve been free on the Midway too long. For me to go into a joint and make less money, and take orders from an idiot, would be a step down.

I’ve seen it with other people; I’ve watched what happens when they can’t accept that their time is up. They’ll take anything just to hang on, their pride disappears, one year they’re running stuff, and the next year they’re doing some shit job way beneath them, their pride gone.

I will not do that to myself, I refuse, I never forget who I am, even when others do. I paid my fucking dues in full; there isn’t a chance in hell I’m taking orders from someone that knows less than I.

So ends my 26 years on the road as a Carny….poof…..gone, where did the time go?

Sure I’m scared, so what, it’s a fact of life.

I’ve been working on my resume, it’s a little tough, and what do I write? “Professional Carny”.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, it’s scary. I’ll find a new profession I guess, if anyone’s hiring, let me know.

I’ll continue to post my stories and experiences from the road; it’ll just be “Diary of a Retired Carny” instead.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Home Is Where The Heart Is

The town looks the same, smaller.

My mother is thrilled I'm here.

Most of the people I knew are long gone now, time waits for no one, things look the same, but they're different.

I haven't seen my old friend Dave yet, he's working out of town, it'll be good to see him.

Late at night I go for walks, everywhere I look there are memories or ghosts from childhood, from someone elses life.

I'm an alien here, I don't belong, too many years, too many miles.

Home is where the heart is, mine is out there......somewhere.

We can't roll back time, we all become who we really want to be, whether we like it or not.

I blew in on the autumn wind, I'll drift out on a spring breeze.

Monday, October 02, 2006


I hopped on the Greyhound and headed home, it would be the first time I saw my hometown in 14 years.

I didn’t talk to anyone on the bus for that 5 hour trip. I stayed to myself and stared out the window, thinking, wondering what in the fuck had kept me away for so long.

Life’s like that I guess, shit happens, time passes, one day we wake up and we’re a lot older and hopefully wiser, the years have passed and though we think we’re the same, we’re not.

I fell asleep and I dreamed, I dreamed of lazy summer afternoons, summer holidays away from the prison they call school, being free.

I awoke realizing that I’d got my wish, no regrets.

I looked out the window at the familiar landscape and buildings as we pulled into town.

The bus pulled into the small depot and I got off, I was the only one getting off in this small town.

It was late afternoon.

I grabbed my duffel bag from the driver. I sat on the bench on the sidewalk and watched the bus pull away and head down the street, back to the highway.

I lit a cigarette and looked around, nobody in sight, just the gold leaves of autumn blanketing the ground around me.

The town looked smaller than I remembered.

I sat there a long time before I called a cab to take me to my mothers.

The Invisible Man

I'm invisible on the Midway most of the time, a wallflower so to speak. I wander and watch, mostly you people, the ones that come to play on the Carnival.

You don't notice me, but I see you.

I'll sit and smoke, watching, wondering what your life is like, if you're happy with the choices you've made.

I watch you women, wondering if that's your boyfriend, husband, or just a friend. Does he make you happy? Is he a "play it safe" kind of guy? Does he bore you? Does he excite you? Or do you wonder if there's more out there?

My guess is the "latter" for a lot of you. The look in your eyes gives you away, he's too wrapped up in himself to see though, or too childlike to comprehend.

The boyishness in a man is cute, but it soon becomes tiresome.

Where I Fit In

We fit where we want to fit I think, in this country anyway. We have it good here compared to other parts of the world.

To say that all I can ever be is a "Carny", would be bullshit. I do know some people who will only ever be "Carnies" though, they don't really fit anywhere else.

The "Carny" life did "choose me" at a young age, in a manner of speaking, I was naturally wired for it though, some are not.

My brothers tried it, they were given the opportunity, or curse if you will, they weren't built for it though. They went on to lead normal lives, get married, have kids, nice houses, white picket fences, then there's me.

No one in the family says it, but they all think it, I'm a waste, I could have done better. I see it on their faces when I roll into whatever city they're in to play a fair. They pick me up at the lot and take me home for a couple days, to visit nephews and nieces that barely know me, that might see me once a year, briefly.

Do I regret it? No.

I'll tell you why.

I'm on my own path in life, we all have our own roads to go down. If you truly want to be unhappy, try doing what other people think you should be doing.

We all have an inner voice that whispers to us, all people have it I think, mine tells me not to worry about tomorrow, "things will be what they will be".

So I don't waste a lot of time worrying about stupid shit.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


So here I sit, the dawn creeping in the window of my hotel room, contemplating.

The end of the season is a confusing time.

Time moves differently in the Carny bubble, it's more compressed, you live a lot in a short period where the pace of life is so much faster

The people that come to the Carnival seem to be going in slow motion, we're speeding along, always rushing, fitting a life into so many half hour breaks a day, a trip to the bathroom is a fucking excursion.

Suddenly the end comes, we're thrust into the normal world again and it seems as if everything comes to a stop, but it's only going slower, the mind is still rushing but the body has no where to go.

In the old days I was drunk for a month afterward, alone, talking to my self in a hotel room, who the fuck was I talking to?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I'm sitting in a darkened motel room as I write this, looking out the window at the carpet of lights that are the last city we play for the season.

The silence is deafening, the big "Merry Go Round" has finally stopped.

I have a lot of stories to tell, but they'll go in the big pot of memories I have and come out this winter among the rest of the tales I'll write here.

I can't go in chronological order, my scattered mind doesn't work like that. Everything will come out as it should, let the chips fall where they may.

I have no idea where I'm going next, where I'm going to winter that is. I am going home for a bit, for the first time in 14 years, I don't know if I'll stay though.

My woman's sleeping.

I can see her sexy shape under the covers, unmoving, dreaming, catching up on all those late nights of screwing we did this summer, when we should have been sleeping, resting for the next days grind on the Midway.

Why she was screwing this "old guy" is beyond me, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth though.

Everything is so fucking quiet and still, except me, the Midway is still ringing in my head, I haven't adjusted yet, but I will.

The girlfriend has been getting pissed off at me these last couple of nights, telling me to come to bed. I can't sleep though, my brain is still in high gear and will be for a couple weeks yet, it's the way I am.

She finally resigns herself to the fact that I'm not coming to bed and go's back to her dreams.

Me? I"ll just sit here in the dark watching the lights of the city, smoking, wondering where the fuck the summer went.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Boss

My boss, the owner of the company, is a fucking prick. He can't help it though, he comes from a long line of pricks, he was born into this business and his dad was a bigger prick. That's just the way a lot of them in the business are.

Old timers remember his mom and dad, and everyone from this generation will remember him and what a prick he could be. At his funeral they'll all say nice things though. Everybody will get up and tell a completely different story than the one that actually played out in real life. The world is like that. I've seen it countless times.

No one will ever have the insight into him that I do though, they don't know he can't help the way he is, it's the "Carny World!" Plus I've been with him since I was a kid. It's a harsh business and there's a lot of pressure. There are a lot of pricks on the road. Not a lot of social graces.

I've worked for every kind of prick you can imagine, most are the same on the road, about as much class as an outhouse. But deep down inside every prick or bitch I've met and worked for on the road there was an actual person, a character, a soul.

Sometimes late at night when we'd be in the office trailer counting money, and the Boss had a few drinks in him I'd get a peek inside and see the "real person!" I never made the mistake of thinking there was any real emotional connection between us. There was a mutual respect however.

Some of the younger crew members don't know how to deal with the prickish boss, I do, here's a few pointers.

1. "DO NOT" try to be the bosses friend! You work for him. You trade time for money. Do your job!

2. "DO NOT" try to have a conversation with the boss, he could give two fucks about you or your opinion, or your personal life. He has enough of his own war stories. Yours won't impress him!

3. "DO NOT" try to win brownie points in any way whatsoever, don't jump in and trash someone when he's bitching about them to you, he's doing the same thing to you behind your back fool. Now he has no real respect for you. He's just the prick that pays you. Go find friends elsewhere. This is the way the world works.

4. "DO" show up early or on time and do your job.

5. "DO" tell him to "GO FUCK HIMSELF" if he unjustly gives you shit, or tries to blame his own mistake on you, he's probably testing you to see if you're a doormat. If you get fired, that's your problem. No risk, no reward. Risk being fired, reward earning respect. Take your lumps if they come. At least you'll have your dignity.

Just do your job, don't acknowledge him unless he does you.

In time he'll come to respect you and let you into his graces.

Most people will waste their time wondering if the Boss likes them. Who cares. Do your job. If you're that fucking needy I can assure you that you're in the wrong industry.

Many times over the years people asked me why I appeared to be so "bullshit" proof when it came to the Boss. Why did he not pull his shit on me? Why, when he was losing his mind on the whole crew during setup or tear down was none of it directed at me? Was he afraid of me?

Was I so fearsome that he wouldn't dare to yell at me? In the better part of three decades he never yelled at me. No one ever witnessed him yelling at me or treating me like shit. Why?

The answer is actually pretty simple and a good lesson to learn in any industry. Here it is. There was no "father-son" or "mentor-student" dynamic between he and I. Sure he had tried to take me under his wing when I was young. But I'd learned early on there was a price to pay for these relationships. That price was that you were now obligated to take their shit. To be an emotional punching bag.

Sure there were perks. They weren't worth the price though. Only weak people seek, or get sucked into these types of relationships.

I was one of his right hand people. My job was to carry out his will. My life was my own. I had a father, flawed as he may have been. I didn't need another one. I had a mother, imperfect as she may have been. I didn't need another.

No one takes me under their wing and tries to mold me into their image and then whips me because I can't be who they want me to be. My life is my own!

My Initiation

Freezing rain. I'm 14 years old and soaked to the bone, the wind is blowing through my wet clothes, my teeth are chattering, every part of my body moves stiff and slow I'm so cold.

I'm kneeling beside the big tent we just finished putting up, the canvas flaps are being whipped by the wind and hitting me in the face. I'm holding a stake upright on the cold cement, waiting for the sledge hammer and that dull metalic "thud" as metal meets metal.

I'm scared, terrified, the boss tells me not flinch, or look. He yells above the howl of the wind that if I do he'll end up "shattering my fucking hands". That's exactly the way he puts it.

I hold the stake straight and look away, in that moment I learn to focus, the ability never leaves me, to this day I can still focus in any crisis while I watch others fall apart.

From that day forward I held the stakes while the boss windmilled that sledge hammer, I never flinched and he never missed.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Out in the Cold

I've been kicked to the top bunk, the equivalent of the couch. My woman and I had a little disagreement guessed it, sex.

I was actually quite mature about the whole thing, I shut up and moved to the top bunk.

Not so many years ago I would have booted her cute ass right out the fucking door in a heart beat.

I'm older now, sober, clean, and a lot more docile in some ways, I just don't have the jam to scrap about that stuff anymore.

I'm still pissed off though, maybe I'll torture her tomorrow for awhile.

Sorry I haven't written, I couldn't, no time, zip. I work my ass off every day, plus there's always some fucking crisis I have to deal with.

I have a lot to say and write when the end of the season finally get's here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Circles Of Life - 2 (A Secret)

A long time ago, when I was a kid, I was friends with an old Romanian woman that traveled with the show, as a psychic. She was nice to me and told me some things. She was from a real Gypsy family and community in Romania, she came to this country some years before.

She read cards and tealeaves and even had a crystal ball. People just ate that shit up; they were so desperate for any insight into their confused lives. She made a lot of money. She passed away years ago and most on the show have long since forgotten her, I haven’t.

How I met her was through my boss at the time, he was friends with her husband, our trailers were usually parked close to theirs.

Her and I would sit and talk the night away sometimes, usually after a setup, and while all the other crew were at the bar, I was still too young to get in so I was stuck at the lot, I was a kid.

She was the one that taught me about the “Circles of Life”. No ones life goes in a straight line, the past always intersects with the future. If we leave a loose end, we will return to tie it up; fate will make damn sure of it.

Our lives will be a series of circles, some small, some large, spanning many years in some cases, making great loops, and sometimes-small ones, spanning days, weeks, or months.

Pay attention to those things you leave unfinished my son, you will return one day to complete them, perhaps when you’re young, perhaps when you’re old, fate is not bound by time like we are.” She said, smiling at me over her cup of tea.

Those were her words to me on that warm summer night so many years ago.

I’ve completed a few circles in my day, and have more to go. This is one of the secrets to telling the future, look at your circles, they cosmically bind you, and you can plot your life by them. Your circles are like a vague map, spooky, but true.

Her mother taught her this, her mothers mother taught her….and so on, for generations, and she taught me.

She taught me some other things too, but those are other stories, maybe I’ll tell them someday, maybe I won’t.

I’m tired, good night.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Circles Of Life

I'll miss the town I've been spending the last three off seasons in. It's quiet and out of the way, far from the busy Midway, and a number of miles off the main highway.

As I was leaving on the bus, it struck me that I would never be back. There's no reason for me to ever go back, I ended up there quite by chance and I know I'll never pass through that way again.

I watched the tree's go by out the bus window, thinking back over the last three winters. I met some good people there, but I'll never see them again, such is my life, always moving on.

I had all my bags by the door that evening, it was beautiful outside. It just rained, the sun had come out, and everything was a dark green. I called a cab and went upstairs to say goodbye to my roommates 4 year old daughter.

Her and I have spent a lot of time together these last three winters, I watched her grow from a baby into a bright, creative little girl. I got to her doorway and just watched, she was playing with her Barbie’s, engrossed in her own little world. I just watched for a while until she noticed me.

I hugged her and said goodbye, she tells everyone that I live at the Circus, and that some day she’ll come to the Circus and live there too. It was hard to see her waving goodbye as we pulled out if the driveway, I had to look away, I do that a lot.

I love kids, not having any is my only real regret in life I think.

When I left my hometown years ago, I left loose ends untied. When I finally go home this fall, that circle will be complete. I left no loose ends here, there is no circle to complete, that’s how I know I won’t be back.

The Carny House

The Carny house is a beehive of activity. It’s hard to get any time alone, even though I have my own room. We’re just getting some equipment ready for an upcoming show, there’s nothing really interesting to tell. There are only five of us at the house right now.

We talk and laugh late into the night, remembering people and experiences from seasons past. We meet here every spring, usually the same people; we go our separate ways in winter.

Martins back, we call him “Smarty” because he’s ….well…not all that smart. He has a good heart and he’s a hell of a worker and a friend.

He’s been trying to quit the Carny life for the past few years, dreaming of living a normal persons life. His wife has finally had with him though and told him she’s done with him, this time for good. Smarty’s only real sin in life is that he doesn’t fit.

He’s pretty lost right now, I see it in his eyes, the blue of the TV screen on his face in the dark, staring past the screen, at nothing. He won’t talk about it, but he’s deeply wounded. He only fits here. Smarty will never be the man his wife want’s him to be.

Larry is here, he’s bigger than ever, and he looks older than ever. His drinking has really escalated over the years and there are whispers that he’ll be found dead in his bunk sooner or later. Larry has never fit anywhere else either, he’s spent his entire adult life out here, we’ve known each other for 20 years.

Larry was supposed to be looking after his health this winter, I lectured him several times last year. Larry just works and works, he doesn’t take care of himself. I remember years ago he had a wife, I was standing close by the pay phone when she told him not to ever come home again, he never did, he’s been here ever since.

Teddy Bear’s here too, we’ve known each other since we were kids. Teddy Bear has a “father son dynamic” going with our alcoholic fucked up boss, which means he’s an emotional whipping post.

The boss is constantly yelling at him, then getting drunk and singing his praises. Teddy Bear and I’ve talked about it a number of times, I’ve advised him to tell the boss to go fuck himself and quit. This would establish a line, the Teddy Bear is a third generation Carny, he can get a job anywhere, on any show, anytime.

He knows all that, at some level he needs to be abused though, these types always do, men and women alike.

Trina is back, this is only her second season. Trina is a young pretty thing, somewhat sheltered, but learning fast. She’s trying desperately to find her place here, she doesn’t belong, I’ve told her that. We’ve had a lot of late night talks in the time I’ve known her. Trina is too sweet to ever make it here, she has too much virtue in her. I doubt she will last this next season, and that’s a good thing.
Me, I’m just me. People say I’ve been around forever, and it sure fucking feels like it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What Matters To Me

Character matters the most to me. It’s one of those things no one can take from you. I’ve met a lot of people that had nothing in this world, but they had character, experiences, they were interesting.

I’ve also met people that had a lot going for them in the material sense, and they were the dullest fucks, no story.

Life is about experiences to me. I can save them up and pull them out anytime I want, no one can ever take them, I can share them though.

I’ve never been interested in chasing money, not more than I need anyway, what a boring life that would be. I’ve lived out of a duffel bag for a long time, I can pick up and go wherever I want, no material ties, that’s freedom to me.

People with kids can’t do that, and I wouldn’t either if I had kids, but I don’t, so I can do what I want. I don’t let people give me negative opinions on my lifestyle, I tell them to shove it up their ass generally. As long as I don’t hurt anybody else I can do what I want, and I do.

Right now, as I sit on this bus, rolling along, I have nothing but what’s in front of me, down this highway.

I have a couple grand in my pocket, a guitar and two duffel bags packed away under the bus.

Life’s pretty good, no worries for today.

I hope I get laid soon.

The Greyhound

I’m on the Greyhound right now, how many times have I made this trip this time of year? Everything is dark except for a light on above the seat near the front, a woman’s reading.

I’ve just been sitting here staring out the window at the blackness, thinking. I’ve been thinking about past seasons, when I was excited to be on the Greyhound, now I could give a fuck.

I’m just like a plumber or a construction worker, just a guy going to work. I’m sure they don’t get all giddy and excited when they're heading to their job.

It’s funny when you’re sitting on a Greyhound, you have so much time to think, replay previous conversations, ponder your life, ask yourself questions. I’ve been on this damn bus so many times.

I hate flying, it scares me, when I get scared I get mad, when I get mad I’m like a bull in a china shop and I don’t give a fuck about anything or anybody.

I flew to a spot one time, it was storming, lightning, shit, the plane was bouncing around, and I was fucking mad. I was hanging onto the seat and my fucking hands were white. I was incredibly rude to the flight attendant and a couple other people.

I can be an intimidating person, I’m not the handsomest guy, and I look rather mean and get a dark expression when I’m pissed off , and I have a rather sharp tongue, people usually don’t bother me.

Just when I thought I was going to blow my fucking lid this nice looking woman comes down the aisle out of nowhere, a passenger. She takes the empty seat next to me, puts her hand on mine, looks at me with the bluest eyes, and says in the softest voice,

“Don’t be afraid, I don’t like flying either, let’s ride it out together.”

She knew what was wrong with me; everyone else thought I was an asshole. I calmed right down and fell asleep on her shoulder, I felt like a fucking baby after. Mr Macho man, fuck.

I like the Greyhound though. It kind of moans, crawling along the highway, I sleep easy on a bus, any vehicle, always have.

So I sit here, writing, watching the blackness outside the window, the lights of the towns as they go by. Fuck, I need a cigarette.

I'm Wireless

So I got my wireless for my laptop. I’ll be online this summer and won’t have to go seeking Internet cafĂ©’s in various cities, though I know where most of them are now.

I still won’t be able to post as often as I would like because of the hours I work, but I will be able to post more often than if I didn’t have wireless.

I love my laptop. I remember a time when it was a bitch to find a payphone to call home when I was younger, now I have a connection to a world wide web, technology, who knew.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

On the Road:Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was a self destructive drunk and a good enough writer I think. His book "On the Road" was a fictional story. As a fictional story I think it's good.

So why then did a generation accept it as true and set out "On the Road?" Because they were fucking idiots, that's why.

Most of them were fairly "Well to Do" little snobs that watched too many movies and read too many stupid books and thought it would be cool. Then reality set in.

Jack was a bit of a fraud in some ways. Reading the book and living "On the Road" in some form or fashion for many years of my life I can tell you it's not near as exciting or romantic as he portrayed. That tells me he was full of shit.

It was a fictional story and I believe that's what he intended in the beginning. But a restless generation accepted a lot of it as fact and created a Jack that never really was.

You wouldn't believe some of the morons I've met in "This" generation that embrace that book as the "Real Thing".

We are the real thing, us Carnies. We are the real "Road Dogs". We are tough, and resourceful, "We" know how to survive.

Over the years I have met so many "Pseudo Road Travelers" pretending to be something they're not. Running home to mommy and daddy when reality sets in and they realize it's not the grand romantic adventure they read it would be.

I can survive on fuckall, I've done it. I've traveled, hitchhiked, two thousand miles without a dime in my fucking pocket. I can tell you it wasn't too romantic. But I can do it if need be. I am the real thing.

I met a number of them with guitars on their backs too, imagining they could sing for their supper I suppose, fucking fools. They sucked on the guitar as well, I know, I can play for real.

Go home to mom and dad fools, it's where you belong. They paid for you to get that degree you have, use the fucking thing, I would. Leave the road to those better equipt for it.

Do you think any of these fools ever listened to any advice I gave them? No. Why would they, I didn't paint a romantic picture, I told them to go the fuck home and quit being stupid.

Do you think they were interested in the "Real Thing?" No. Why would they be, they wouldn't know it if it jumped up and bit them in the fucking ass.

Survivors are born, they see the world from a different perspective and this allows them to see loopholes, scams, ways to get by that others don't see. That's what Carnies are, they're survivors in a sense.

We have real stories to tell. The media, hollywood, and book publishers aren't interested in us though, they want shlock, bullshit. Ask Barbara bamberger Scott, writer of a supposed Carny book with a bunch of made up contrived characters and stories.

The funny thing is that the true stories are far more interesting than the romantisized, contrived shit that get's published and passed off as truth. Funny fucked up world.

It's the same thing with music I find. People are more interested in the image than the actual music.

Speaking of music, as I said, I play. The most interesting music to me is blues, simply because it's the sexiest and most earthy I guess.

I play a lot of slide type stuff and record some once in awhile. When I get a feeling I make it into an instrumental on my guitar and record all the parts myself in the winter when I have a few months off.

I have to play everyday, and I do on the road too, in the morning before the lot wakes up.

The song I will leave a link for you to go listen to was one of many I've put together. I made it up when we were busted down on the side of the highway and I was on my way home, so I was a little depressed and it seemed I'd never get there.

The recording is a little shitty but I thought I would just give you an idea of what I like to play, and another glimpse into me.

Heres the link. Just click on the "Music" link in my profile when you get there.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Back To Carnyland

I'm heading back out on the road and don't know when I'll be able to post again. I'll post as often as I can but my posts will be few and far between until late fall.

Here I go again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

So You Wanna Be A Carny

Why? You can run, but you cannot hide. People have fantasies of running away, dropping out, leaving all the bullshit behind. I've met lots of people over the years that were running away.

A Carnival is a good place to hide, no one really gives a shit who you "really" are. You can give a fake name, fake SSN, I know all the tricks. No one will find you if you don't want to be found, and no one in Carny land will ask too many questions.

But again, why?

Life has a funny way of following us no matter where we go, because we have to bring ourselves along. We can't leave ourselves behind with all the other shit. No matter where I go, there I am, fuck.

The Carnival lot is like a little self contained society that travels around, it's easy to disappear there. You can live and travel for years at a time off the radar if you do things right, and keep your mouth shut.

I can't count the times I've told people to go home and face their shit. It's the same thing with a lot of the younger people I meet on the lot, or on my own crew, the ones with some kind of promise......."Go the fuck Home".

There are "True Carnies", and then there are the "Runaways", and they're not all young by the way. "True Carnies" are transient by nature, "Runaways" are just doing it because they think they have no other option.

There's always another option..."Grow the fuck up" it's called.

Even if I weren't a Carny, I would be some kind of transient drifter. I would be on the road in some form or fashion.

Years ago, when I was young, I said "Fuck the Carnies". I went drifting around by myself. I hitchhiked here and there, worked for a bit, moved on, and did it again. I met every kind of weirdo you can fucking imagine that summer.

I found it interesting how some seemingly "Normal People" act when they think they will never see you again and that no one gives a shit about you.

I had "seemingly nice" old guys wanting to suck my cock, wanting me to suck their cock, all the while showing me pictures of their wife and kids, talking about what a good life they had. I spent a lot of hours riding in vehicles with "normal looking" fucking weirdos.

I returned to the Carnival after that summer. It's a lot safer, and it's home.

Things That Haunt me

In the early summer of 1985 we pulled into a small city out west to do a show, I was 19 that summer. We had a whole day off after setup. I wanted to spend that day by myself and explore a little bit, rather than get shit face drunk with the rest of the clowns and waste it.

I took a cab downtown and walked around, it really was a nice place, and then I saw her. She was a dark skinned beauty close to my age. She was sitting outside on a bench just beside the mall doors. Being young and full of myself I went and sat down by her and we started talking.

I told her why I was in town, we talked awhile and I asked her if she wanted to smoke a joint. She said ok and we went for a little walk and puffed one. She really was something to look at though. It turned out she was born in Greece and her parents had immigrated when she was a baby.

It was a warm beautiful summer day and we just strolled around downtown and chatted. I still remember her name, it was Christina. I asked her if she knew a place we could go for a drink and so we walked to a nearby Pub and had a few drinks.

We eventually ended up at a motel fucking the night away. In the wee hours of the morning I told her I needed to go get cigarettes, and I never went back. Once I had what I wanted I didn't give a shit about her. That's the way I was in those days, a fucking prick.

I'd like to apologize to her, and countless others, for being a rotten fucking prick, not that they hadn't already figured that out, but just so they could hear me say it, admit it.

I did a lot of fucking in the "Pre Aids era", before it became a big scare, with Carnies and locals. I never gave a shit about any of them. As long as I got what I wanted I could fucking care less. I treated a lot of them like animals. I knew what they wanted to hear and I said it to get what I wanted.

I can't count the women I've slept with, and I don't say that with any fucking pride. How many of them did I know for one day and never see again? I can't count. Their faces come back to me sometimes.

How many of them had kids by me? I will never know. Maybe somewhere out in this world, there is a young woman with a kid of her own, struggling, with no one to help her. Or a young guy, always in some sort of shit, banging around in the world, both, or either of them, wondering where the fuck they fit.

There's a good chance they're my kids, that I'm the transient Carny asshole their mother knew for a night, the prick that treated her like a fucking dog. Maybe she tells them they wouldn't have wanted to know me anyway, that I was a no good prick.

Theses are the things that haunt me sometimes late at night, when I'm alone with my thoughts. The faces of those young men or women, the ghosts of children I may or may not have helped to bring into this world. We will never know each other, even if we were to cross paths in this life I will never know them.

These are the the things that haunt me. In the end I have to stuff it all, this is how I deal with it. There is nothing else I can do, it's the only way I can live with it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Moment Of Clarity

The rain is beating against the windsheild, I can't see it though, I'm too high. Dale is driving, he's my best buddy on the road, I've known him for years. He's giving me a lecture and I'm trying to listen but I want to nod off, it takes everything I have to keep my head up. I took too many fucking Perc's again.

I stop trying to focus on him or the beads of rain on the windsheild. What started out as a conversation has turned into a fucking rant by Dale, I'm getting mad.

"It's one thing to party and have a good time, look at you? You're fucking killing yourself!" He says.

I tell him to "Go fuck himself!", I try to point out that he's no fucking better but my arguments are weak and I know it, Dale does his job, I've been dead weight for awhile now. I'm only around because the boss likes me, and believes I'll straighten up, but that's quickly fading, people talk, I'm a fuckup.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I don't even know you anymore, and other people say the same thing, you don't give a fuck about anybody, and everyone has to do your fucking job for you!"

His voice is bouncing around in my head, echoing, and he's right, I don't give a fuck, I'm about to pass out. My head falls against the window and I can barely make out the landscape through the side window, I can feel drool running down the side of my face, I wipe it away with my sleeve.

He ends his lecture quietly with "Somebodys gonna find you dead in your fucking bunk, or on the lot somewhere"

My mind goes back about 600 miles and two stops ago. Stacey and I are behind one of the trailers and she's yelling at me about not caring, about my being high "All the fucking time!", destroying myself, and not giving a fuck about her or us. I smile at her, I can't feel what she wants me to feel, I get nervous and smile, she smacks me hard in the mouth twice and turns and walks away crying. I'm numb.

There's blood coming from my lip and I wipe it away as I watch her get in the van with the rest of the crew. I know I love her but I can't feel anything most of the time anymore, I'm to high. I can't stop.

The truck hits a bump on the highway and my head bangs against the window, it snaps me back to the present. The window feels cold. I grab my jacket and use it as a pillow. The last thoughts I have as I lose consciousness are questions.

Is "Everybody" wrong? Am I really that fucked up? Deep down I know the answers though.

Two Worlds

When I'm on the road, the regular world seems a distant memory, and when I'm off the road, the Carny world seems a distant memory.

The "Normal world", as I and many others call it, is a quieter more stable enviroment. Workers have rights and get paid decently, they get breaks, there are labour laws, attitudes are better, and people aren't treated like dogs. People work 40 hour weeks and have benefits, most cases.

The Carny world is a harsh, dysfuncional, fucked up world in a lot of ways. It's dog eat dog, though the normal world can be like that too in some instances. A majority of the people that are workers on a Carnival lot are generally the highest form of incompetence society has to offer.

I'm not talking about the owners or the long time Carnies, I'm talking about the people who last a half or maybe two seasons. The people who piss anything and everything they have in life away, no matter where they are. There is an incredible turnover in staff on any Carnival lot.

Life on a traveling Carnival is fast paced and stressfull; living and working with the same people for 15 hours a day and months at a time really wears on a person. The negativity and attitudes can become unbearable at times, even my own.

When I was younger and the season ended, I'd be drunk or pilled up for a whole month trying to adjust to the quiet and slower pace of the normal world. People I knew, friends, family, thought I was fucked, and I was.

The end of the season is like being on a "Merry Go Round" that suddenly comes to a dead stop, it's hard to adjust. Now that I'm older and clean and sober, I deal with the adjustment in a different way. I'm a recluse for the first month, I decompress, I spend a month away from people, as much as I can anyway.

My attitude is incredibly harsh and I'm not fit to be around regular people for the first little while, so I stay away.

On the road I am constantly prepared for a fight, an argument, a crisis of some kind. I can be just as big a prick as I have to be, only the mean dogs last. If I interact with the normal world to soon, people look at me funny, like there's something wrong with me, because there is.......I'm fucked in the head from the road.

When the "Merry Go Round" stops, and all is still and quiet, there I am, standing on an empty lot, different colored leaves swirling around on the ground, the summer gone, replaced by autumn.

It's time to go home, wherever that may be.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Forecasting And Predictability

People are generally predictable. We follow patterns and programming within us. Most people will simply follow the crowd, this is called the "Herd Instinct."

It's also the reason a "Pitchman" will call a couple people in and ask them to hang around while he does his pitch. Of course others in the "Herd" see these people watching and follow suit, either wondering what's so interesting, or just doing what they see others doing, that's human nature, and so a crowd gathers. A crowd always starts with one or two people.

I have my own way of looking at things and breaking them down, I put the majority of people in three catagories. "Leaders" "Followers" and "Followers that think they're leaders"

"Followers that think they're leaders" seem to be the easiest to manipulate in my opinion. All you have to do is pretend to follow them, acknowledge their leadership, and then make subtle suggestions in a way that they think it was their idea, then back them up on that idea and they will follow through on it.

"Followers" on the other hand need to be lead directly, they will always gravitate to the strongest person. You must be blunt and to the point with them, you must "tell" them, not "suggest". Also, you must be unwavering, confident, if you waver, they will follow someone else.

"Leaders" cannot be lead, that's why they're leaders, but they can be persuaded. It must be put forth as a collaberative effort though, or they won't do it, "leaders" collaberate, they don't follow.
Again, confidence is important, one cannot waver, you must be straight and to the point, and strong.

These are things I've learned about human nature on the road, working with the public, and working with Carnies on a crew.

Midways are set up in such a way as to direct the "Herd". It works the same way with Casinios. The Midway is setup so that the public will move in a certain manner and direction.

People can be predictable at a personal level too. I liken it to predicting the weather though, you can learn to give an accurate forcast but unforseen circumstances can change certain variables and throw things off.

I learned a lot over the years from the old guys, some Game Agents, some Pitchmen, and a couple Sideshow people.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Reason I Started This Blog

I didn't know people would actually find it, I didn't know anything about Blogs a month ago. I am learning a little now. The reason I started writing here was because I kept losing shit I wrote on my computer.

I would write something and file it in a folder and then either delete it or lose it somehow. My computer is full of shit, programs, downloads, folders, folders in folders, there's a lot of stuff. I'm a packrat and save every little thing, then when I try to clean it I end up deleting a folder that had a folder in it with something I wrote.

So, a friend suggested that I just put all my stuff on a Blog and told me where to go to sign up. Everything I write stays here, I don't delete it by accident, cool.

The reason I write this stuff isn't because it's important, it's not really, only to me. I write mostly to myself and that keeps me honest, and that's what's important. If people like reading it, if they get something out of it, I think that's a bonus.

All the stories or thoughts I write here are rough outlines of what the story will eventually be. I find writing very difficult and only started doing it this past winter. There is so much more I could write into each thought or story but it takes everything I've got to get that little bit out. Hopefully I will get better with practice. You don't know how often I sit here with a fucking dictionary looking up a word...I had to look up dictionary for christ sakes.

My plan is to eventually get it all written, and then rewritten, and rewritten, until I get it out the way it is in my head. Then I will go to a Vanity Publisher and publish one copy of a book, it will be something for me to look at when I'm old and remembering being a Carny.

I know my days are numbered in this industry, the end is in site, a long chapter of my life is drawing to a close in the next couple years. All I have to show for it are my memories and my experiences, I decided I would write them before they fade with age, and they will.

When I die, they can put that book in the ground with me.

Jackie Brown

I can't remember Jackie's last name, I haven't seen her in a decade or more. I just remember she hated it, so I called her Jackie Brown.

She was short and well built, attractive in an odd way, and had an explosive temper. Her parents were hardcore bikers and she had grown up in an incredibly fucked up enviroment. Jackie was very hard to get to know, she didn't trust people and her walls were thick.

I don't know why she let me in, but she did, and we got to be good friends. We spent a lot of nights drinking until the break of dawn, when the birds start singing.

Jackie was reserved, but not shy, always watching, distrusful, I suspect she lived in some kind of personal hell, demons everywhere, I could tell her insides didn't match the outside.

When she drank she got mean, violent mean, but she had to be provoked. She fought like a man and she hit hard and didn't miss. None of the girls fucked around with her, and I only ever saw her fight men, a couple times.

One night we were drinking and made our way to someones hotel room. Some ride jock said something to her, I can't remember what, she was a blur as she rammed the side of his head into the corner of a dresser, there was blood everywhere and his eyes were rolling back in his head.

Everybody was screaming and she was screaming, "Fuck him, he should watch what he fucking says....fucking cunt."

We left. Hotel securiy came and he went to the hospital for a concussion. The cops showed up on the lot but no charges were pressed, they chalked it up to Carnies fighting amongst themselves. The hotel didn't care, as long as everyone left. That was Jackie.

Sometimes at night she would fall asleep on my bunk with me. We never had sex though, that's not what she needed anyway, just someone there beside her that she trusted.

She told me once that it wouldn't be a good idea for us to become a couple, she said she knew I'd eventually fuck around and that she would end up killing me. I believed her. We stayed friends.

She ended up leaving after getting fired for punching a customer that was drunk and insulting. That was Jackie.

I didn't see her for about five years. I ended up in a Detox in a city I landed in. I was seriously fucked up from a summer of working my ass off and smoking crack. I was a real mess that year.

Guess who was there? Jackie Brown. We did some catching up, she looked as bad as I did. Jackie was in horrible shape and looked like death. Her walls were thicker, I couldn't get in, she was like a familiar stranger, things weren't the same.

One morning she got into a verbal argument with one of the Detox staff, she called her a "Cunt" and stormed out. I don't know what happened to Jackie after that.

I still think about her though.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Late At Night

Sometimes late at night, when I'm laying in my bunk and can't sleep, I open my window a crack and listen to the young guys and girls on our crew partying.

I chuckle to myself when I'm listening to them, all their shit talk, laughing, music. They say youth is wasted on the young. I don't think so. I'm not jealous of them, it's there time, I had mine, I want them to have fun.

I get a kick out of their attitudes though, they are me, 20 years ago. Sometimes they like to give me a hard time....the young ones.

"Hey Dad, you sure you don't wanna beer?"

And I say, "Fuck, I've spilled more beer than you've had the time to drink yet, you little bitch."

Tim and Donny are two brothers on the road, we've kind of adopted each other in a way. When we're traveling to a new spot and pull in at a truckstop, I'm always introducing them to the waitress as "My two asshole sons". I then remind them in front of the waitress that they're both "The loads there Mamma should have swallowed".

I've yet to meet a waitress that didn't crack up when I say that. They all think the boys are my kids. I guess they and some of the other young ones are the closest I'll ever come to having kids.

I'm always there for them as best I can be. I'm usually a buffer between a lot of the younger Carnies and the boss. He doesn't seem to remember being young and stupid and has very little patience with the younger ones among us.

He constantly mistakes fear for respect, this is a mistake, fear is not loyal, it works in the short term. Respect is built on caring, people know when you really care for them or not. Even when I lose my temper the odd time, and am extremely harsh, the young ones know I care. I remember being their age so well, like it was yesterday.

So I lay there listening to them, and I fall asleep to their laughter, it's music to me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lot Lizards

They exist on every Carnival lot in the world I'm sure. We've all had our turns with them, well....most of us. I haven't touched one in years.

They're easy, they take no work or effort, they'll fuck anybody. "Rode hard and put away wet" is the term. They're rough looking and it's not hard to tell they've been fucked a hundred times.

When I was young I was mean to them, treating them like shit, throwing them out of my bunk into the rain when I was done. I told more than one to go crawl back in her hole.

I'm older now and see them for what they really are, just deeply wounded human beings that no one ever gave a shit about. Most of them are runaways or girls that bounced around in the fucked up system their whole lives.

Lisa was one I met a few years ago. She was working on a ride, getting paid shit, and trying to survive off shake. The guys on the ride were getting most of it though. Lisa was trying to live off four dollars a day in change.

Lisa wouldn't take charity though, she had a fierce pride about her in some ways, it was all she had I guess. She'd fucked and sucked her way across the country on the Carnival, that's how she survived, that and shake.

I'd be sitting in the cookhouse when it was raining, drinking coffee, and pondering the universe. Lisa would come in soaked, looking like a drowned rat, counting her change, rarely having enough to get what she wanted.

She knew I was an easy mark for a cigarette and would eventually make her way over to me and bum one. We'd sit there under the bare light bulbs and shoot the shit about whatever, small talk usually.

Finally one cold rainy night I said to her, "Why don't you just let me feed you?"

She started in whith her "I don't take charity" attitude. I told her to cut the shit, told her she looked like a fucking ethiopian, she relented, dropping her guard.

She was also sleeping in a possum belly at night, which sucks by the way. So after that, whenever it was wet and cold I'd let her sleep in my trailer on the top bunk.

All the guys thought I was fucking her but I wasn't. I don't know what happened to her, she just didn't come out one year and I never saw her again.

I see a lot of them on the road, they come from broken fucked up homes, and with all the screwing I did out there years ago, who knows, one of them could be my kid.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Cincinnati Kid

His real name was Trevor, but no one called him that, just "kid", or "Cincinnati". He wasn't a kid at 32, and he would be the first to tell you he'd never even been to Ohio.

He got that name from an old Carny years ago that he hustled in a pool game, he was always in shit for that, he was a pro.

He was good looking and knew it, and he could out think most people in his sleep, he was sharp. he could talk you into anything, and you never saw it coming.

A lot of woman bitched about his conceit, but then they'd be the first to fuck him if they got the chance. I never met a woman he couldn't manipulate, or bend to his own will.

I learned a lot about human nature from him. He always knew what to say, who to say it to, and when to say it.

"People always want what they can't have" he'd say, "And that's how you hook them"

"Give them a little taste, then pull it away, women included"

"Women put nice boys on a shelf so they can chase the bad ones, if you aint bad, you're fucking boring."

I can't count the times or towns a fight broke out because of him, and someones girlfriend. Locals didn't like us as it was, and really didn't like us when he was in the bar. He punched a lot of locals out due to the fact that he was a boxer.

We'd end up in jail, and the boss would come and get us, no lecture, just told us to get our fucking asses back to work, "And stay out of the fucking bar" he'd yell at us.

The "Kid" always took it as a compliment when someone didn't like him, "It means they see you as a threat at some level" he'd say, it's the truth in most cases.

I think about him sometimes, and I miss him. He went to prison for three years for pulling a gun in public. Nobody's ever seen him on the road since.

Maybe he settled down somewhere, but I doubt it, I just hope he's still alive.

Riding In The Van

It's 2:00 am somewhere on a long stretch of highway. Everythings quiet except for the drone of the wheels on the road.

The inside of the van is dark and everyones asleep. I can faintly hear a walkman playing music near the front, I'm way in the back smoking a cigarette and staring out the window at the blackness.

Shawna, one of the girls that works for us is awake too, she's giving me a blowjob in the dark, fuck I hate the Carny life somedays.


As you can see, I've changed a few things. Ok, I figured out the "Comments" thing.....duh. They're the zero's at the top of each post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lines On My Face

While having a piss this morning, lost in thought, I happened to glance in the mirror, it was like a stranger was looking back at me. Where did the young guy go?

It's funny how I often remember myself as I was, younger, fresher, I think a lot of people do it. But I'm not, I am my age and it shows, right from the white in the stubble on my face to the lines and creases emerging.

I remember a fortune teller on the lot told me when I was young that I would live to be 84. If that's the case, then I'm not middle aged yet.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Carny Culture (Prejudice)

I ran across this awhile back, sound familiar?

The Gypsies also faced prejudices about their way of life. The Gypsies' travelling lifestyle aroused suspicion because of the common belief that "itinerancy served merely as a cloak for a deviant range of predatory, parasitic, and criminal activities" (Mayall, "British Gypsies" 8). People were distrustful of Gypsies simply because they moved around a lot. Accompanying this mistrust was "a belief in the superiority of the settled over the nomadic culture and the incompatibility between the two" (Mayall, "British Gypsies" 8).

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I hired a guy no one wanted, they said he had a habit of only showing up when he felt like it, I suspected what was really going on was that he only showed up when he had some kind of pain medication, the "Pain of life" kind.

He was great the first day, one of the best helpers I had, he did the job in half the time as my other helpers had.

Sure enough he didn't show up the next day. The day after that he did show up, but at the office looking to get paid for the one day he worked.

I pulled him aside and asked what was wrong.

" have bad legs, and a bad back and ......uh.....I was gonna come back but the pain was too I gotta quit, sorry"

I'll translate what he was really saying to me. ("I'm an opiate addict as well as an alcoholic, I can stay sober long enough to do the job but when I run out of my dope I have to go scrounging for more, so I can't work because I need this measley 70 bucks I'm getting to go see if I can find some, by the time I get back you will have hired someone else".)

Addicts are like that, they intend good things, they do want to work, their addiction just gets in the fucking way of everything, I know, I was one for a long time, I'm no better than him, just luckier.

His pain was deep inside him, it wasn't physical, it was emotional and spiritual, I knew that.

I needed him, he needed a paycheck, and he was on the street so he needed somewhere to sleep, but he also needed to be medicated or he couldn't function.

I will help any addict I can, if he wants to clean up, I will help him, if he doesn't and is suffering, I will medicate him, I know the pain, I felt it for a long time.

I told him I understood his pain, without going into detail. I asked him to wait for me, that I would be back shortly. He did.

When I returned I had what he needed, I asked if it would help with his pain, would he be able to work. His eyes lit up, his demeanor changed in an instant, I understood, and he knew it, the lights went on.

So I gave him his medication every morning, he worked the whole spot, never missed a day, never late from a break, he was the star employee.

When the spot ended, and he got paid, he thanked me and said he would be waiting for me to pull in next year.

He will be there, if the street or his addiction hasn't swallowed him yet.

Addicts die, they're dead long before their body dies, it's just a fact, most will never make it. If he is there this coming season I will be surprised.

Someday he won't be there, and I will know what happened to him.

The Rat Race

I've been chastised many times for not joining in. I've never seen the point, I never got it, maybe I'm fucked, or maybe I see things clearly.

Some people spend their lives building monuments to themselves, desiring to leave their mark, monuments the next generation will just tear down and shit apon anyway, never remembering or giving a fuck who slaved over them.

Or aquiring fortunes, fortunes they can leave to their children, and generations after them. So they can squander it. Some will use it wisely, but most will stick their dick in a gift horses mouth, it's human nature.

Do they really think the next generation will look at their old faded pictures with reverence?

I'm a grain of sand among billions in human history, no one will remember me in generations to come, and I could give a shit.

Death is the great equalizer, we all go to the same place, the dirt. It's not a negative perspective, it's a liberating one really. It aleviates a lot of the stress of life. We only have today, and our experiences really.

During the months that I'm working, I only worry about the coming winter, I save my money for the most part in the summer. I relax and enjoy my free time in the winter, writing drivel like this, or doing some of the other things I enjoy, then it's back to work.

We pay taxes like everyone else, so spare me the shit about the next generation taking care of us, we don't count on them, we live in today.

I know there are those of us who piss everything away, fools, they're the same no matter what they're doing.

As for me, I'm not going to waste my valuable time, full of self importance, leaving my mark on the world.

I have better things to do, like walking the Midway on a hot summer night.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Lady Luck

I can't remember her real name, she told me once, but I forgot, we just called her Chance. She worked one of the wheels taking peoples money, and I'm sure that many a man lost it just to stand there and talk to her.

She was a beautiful little blonde thing, and what she saw in a road beaten fucker like me, I'll never know.

So I took my chance on the wheel girl, I knew better, what the fuck was I thinking? The fault was mine, she was so young.

We were close for most of the season that year, she was warm and everything a guy imagined she would be. She became more than a warm body.

We laughed a lot, made love a lot, shared everything it seemed.

But young women dream young dreams, and old guys just remember them, and so we started to drift apart and I tried to hang on.

Lady Luck never favours a desperate man.

I had plans, she had other places to be. We broke up. She got a better offer on another show and was gone.

So I returned to my lonely bunk, I felt empty for a long time.

Danny Boy

Everyone called him Danny Boy, he was hardly a boy at 60 something. A lot of people saw him as old and grizzled, mean even. He wasn't, all the miles jaded him sure, but I liked him, we had a lot of laughs.

Danny was slow as hell, and he seemed to take for fucking ever at anything he did, but he got it done right, and that's what counts in this world where everyones in a hurry.

Danny was an old Carny and had been around forever, he worked rides when he was young, then games for a long time. He loved to tell stories about the old days. He would sit in front of his bunk in a lawn chair half pissed, drinking beer, and talk to whoever would listen.

I was one of the few that would listen, ask questions, I guess that's why he liked me so much. The younger people on the crew couldn't be bothered, but then again, they were too busy making memories of their own to be bothered with someone elses.

30 years from now it will be them sitting in their lawn chairs, drunk, telling stories that no one gives a shit about.

Even old guys get laid on the road. Danny hooked up with some local lady that worked on the lot, she traveled for 2 more spots. He had his own car so he ferried her ass around and doted on her. He talked about "Marks" a lot in some of his stories and as it turned out, he was a "Mark" for her.

She ended up taking him for a few bucks and a lot of rides. I had to get in between them on the Midway finally, him screaming what a " Fucking cunt" she was and her calling him a "Little man", taunting him.

The "Boy-Girl" game go's on long after people have outgrown being a "Boy" or a "Girl" it seems.

Danny Boy ended up quitting a few days later, saying it was because the boss was "Too fucking cheap" to work for. He was drunk and I listened to him ramble for awhile as he packed his stuff.

She was the real reason he left though, I knew that, I guess our hearts get a lot softer as we age, I've seen it before. He had a place out on the west coast, or so he said. I called the number he gave me late one night, but there was no such listing, so who knows.

I never saw Danny Boy again after that season, I don't know what happened to him, no one does. The last time I saw him he was waddling down the Midway, headed towards the gate, with all his stuff, muttering to himself.

I think he died, somewhere alone, I just get that feeling.

The Rain

I love the rain. People bitch about it, but it's a godsend to me some days. When the weathers hot and the crowds are thick, and I've been busy every fucking day, it's a treat.

It's one of the few times we slow down. The crowd thins out, the Midway is is full of puddles, and the buildings become congested, only until people realize it's not going to stop, then they trickle off the lot and go wherever they go.

In the early spring, before I go on the road, we get a lot of rain, it washes what's left of the snow away. I leave my bedroom window open so I can listen to it as I'm dozing off, the sound puts me to sleep, and I dream.

I love the rain.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Thousand Miles From Nowhere

So I'm standing outside the truckstop, it's warm and the rain is trickling down my weather beaten face. The trucks are being fueled up and everybody's wandering in and out, cranky and tired, some still half asleep.

I'm watching the cars and trucks roll by on the highway, thinking about a warm bed, not a bunk, a real fucking bed, maybe a warm body in it too.

The rain doesn't bother me, I love the rain.

I'm smoking a cigarette and contemplating the fucked up universe, I come to the same conclusion I always do, I fit, we all do, or we wouldn't fucking be here.

A young woman walks up to me out of nowhere,she has a knapsack, she's soaked and scraggly looking, her dark hair dripping into a pretty face that looks like it's seen too much. She's not wearing a bra, I can see her nipples through her black t-shirt, she's shaking.

"Got an extra cigarette" she asks.

I give her one and a light and keep watching the traffic.

"How far are you guys going she asks"?

"A thousand miles that way" I tell her.

"Think I can catch a ride"? she asks.

"Only if you want a job" I say.

We talk about it for a bit and she ends up leaving with us, she has nowhere to go, she fits right in, she belongs with us.

Over the next hour she chats up a storm, then gets sleepy and quiet. She slowly inches closer to me, she looks up and askes if I mind, I say no, she cuddles up close, shivering, and falls asleep.

She's warm.

The Long Road Home

In 1992 I left my home town to go on the road, just like all the previous seasons. I had every intention of returning in the late fall, but I never did.

I've been banging around ever since out in the world, living here, living there, always landing somewhere but home in the off season. This year I'm going home, I have to go home, it's been 14 years.

I always intended on going home, I just never made it, something always came up, or I would get an idea about living in a certain town or city and I would land there. Not this time.

I have the strongest urge ever to go home.

Maybe it's a mid life crisis or something, maybe I'm just returning to the starting point, I haven't quite figured it out yet, but that's what I suspect.

My mother still lives there, I'll be staying with her for awhile. She's getting older now and not in the best of health, she'll be happy I'm home, I told her I was coming, she was thrilled.

I never hated my home town like some people I know. I didn't not return because I hated it, something else always seemed to come up, that's all.

I wonder what I'll find when I get there. My mother has kept me up to date on some things over the years, like so and so got married, such and such had a baby.......there's a new mall, that kind of stuff.

Most of my old friends I grew up with are all gone now, married, jobs, kids, life. My best friend Dave is still there, my Mom see's him and his wife and kids from time to time, he always asks about me of course.

We had a lot of fun when we were kids, me and Dave. We had a lot of "firsts" growing up together.....first time getting drunk...getting kicked out of school for smoking in the bathroom....I got laid for the first time at a party at his house....that kind of shit.

Dave saw me off in the spring of 1992 at the bus station. I shook his hand and told him I'd see him in the late fall.......and I never came back. We kept in touch by phone for awhile, but we drifted apart, lifes like that.

I talked to my Mom the other night. I told her to tell Dave I'll see him in the late fall.

Finally.....I'm going home.

Trite and Meaningless

That's how I feel about my life some days, when I'm not thinking clearly of course.

There have been times when I wondered if I was pissing my life away, I'm not, I'm doing what I want to do, so I can't bitch.

I hate being tied down anyway, I like to keep moving, always.

I have tried a normal life a few times though, the end result was always the same, I got bored, started fucking shit up, lost momentum.

In the off season I don't go out much. I'm pretty much a hermit. I spend my time reading, playing guitar, smoking, and writing meaningless shit.

I have a few friends off the road, not many though, I don't go out enough.

I have the odd girlfriend off the road, but it never lasts, they always get pissed off at me because of the way I live, and am.

I have no structure in the off season, so I could be up all night, and sleep all day, and then the next week turn it all around. This of course burns their ass, my world should revolve around them I guess.

If I start a book, or a website, or writing something, I can go for hours and hours, all fucking night, I don't stop until I'm done. I get up when I want, and sleep when I want, no structure.

I can't count the times I've heard "Honey, get your fucking ass into bed", but I can't, I'm in my zone, there's no place there for anyone else.

I'm an incredibly calm person, it takes a lot to rattle me, this also pisses them off. When they get all bent out of shape about something, especially to do with our relationship, they think I should be, but I can't.

I detatch in times of crisis, it's just the way I am, and it serves me well on the Carnival when everything is super busy and the boss is screaming his fucking head off.

I really don't think I've found my place in the world yet, I'm just on the road till I get there.

The "Public Hates Carnies" Myth

I think most are just indifferent toward us, some are curious, and some do look down on us.

The ones I've met that looked down on us usually looked down on others too. Mommy, or someone else told them they were special early on in life. Being the "niave fucks" they are, they believed it.

One such person is of course, Mr Derbyshire, ( You go to a carnival, you’re going to see carny people. Where do they come from? Is there some ranch out in the Mojave desert where they breed these surly, slack-eyed, pony-tailed, tattooed, nicotine-stained wretches?).Those are his words.

I wonder if he's looked in the mirror lately. I've seen pictures of the prick, and he's not exactly a chick magnet himself.

Only some people give the public a bad name, in my opinion, and only some people working at the Carnival give us a bad name.

Most people are just given the wrong impression of this industry and it's people due to stupid books that are full of shit and movies.

Thanks Hollywood.

We're just like other people, our lives are just a little more colorful.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I learned more on a Carnival lot than I ever learned in school I think. I was kicked out of school at a young age for not giving a shit.

I never did, not in school, I was too busy staring out the window, wondering what the fuck was going on out there.

I never did homework, ever, I was always in shit, I was some kind of anti-hero to the kids in my grade. They thought I was cool, but they didn't have to bear the consequences.

The teachers made no sense to me, maybe I was A.D.D.

Some counselor told me he thought I was, one time a few years back, whatever.

Finally one day, the principle told me to go, he said I needed to be out of school in the world, get a job, just get the fuck out, we don't want your kind here.

I agreed, thought it was a wonderful suggestion, so I left.

(I'm writing this as I watch the kids walk by my window on their way to school, poor little bastards)

My parents weren't to thrilled, but they saw it coming for years.....I never did anything in school....ever.

I had already been on the road during the summer for two seasons, I didn't give a fuck about school anyway.

I pittied those poor pricks that had to go and sit in the classroom, listening to fat ass teacher that had the raunchiest breath, so I figured, "Fuck them".

Since then I've made one attempt at school, I went to University for a year (I got in as a mature student), that was enough, it was the same old bullshit to me, doesn't work for me, never will.

I have my own way of learning.

One season the boss pawned his girlfriends kid off on me,

"See if you can teach the little prick anything" he slurred, drink in hand.

He told me what a little attitude case he was and apologized for dumping him on me.

He was a great kid, just needed some attention, from a male that would teach him something, instead of just yelling at him.

He busted his ass for me because I treated him like a lot of the older guys on the lot treated me, they taught me a lot.

There's a lot to learn on a Carnival lot, and there are a lot of good teachers who will help you if you drop the attitude and listen.

There are a lot of different ways to get an education outside of the school system.

Listening is the first great skill, if you can't listen, you can't learn.

Crazy Carny Women

Not all Carny women are Crazy, but there's a few. Of course I seem to be some kind of fucking magnet for them.

I've been punched, bitten, slapped, screamed at, almost stabbed...twice....lucky I'm quick.

I'm a magnet for the nuttiest ones at times. If there's a crazy wacko Carny woman on the lot, you can bet your ass she'll make her way over to me sooner or later, the crazies love me, on and off the road......yippee.

They certainly are possesive little creatures. Me, being the friendly guy I am, can work them into a jealous frenzy in no time flat.

I had one a few years ago that used to let everything build up over the day. I would come back to the bunk at night and she would explode, I mean freak, over the stupidest shit.

"I saw the way you were talking to so and so".

Of course I would say,

"So what", "I've known her for years, she's just a friend"

Then she would say,


She'd get violent at times.

Finally I kicked her ass out, threw her and all her stuff out and told her to fuck off.

I had a hell of a time getting rid of that one.

That's one tiny example.

I think I'm just to nice at times, I think I have a soft heart and niavely think I can help them, dunno.

It happens a lot less often now that I'm older, I just don't have the patience for all the dysfuntional bullshit anymore, I have enough with my own ass to look after.

Getting laid is nice, but it's not worth going through hell for.

The psyhco's always move their shit right into my bunk too, every fucking time.

I'll be out workiing and come back to my bunk for something and there's all her shit piled in my bunk.

I'm not as nice as I used to be, I'll generally tell her to get it the fuck out, screwing once doe's not mean you can move in.

It doesn't happen as much as it used to when I was younger, but the odd time, I try to nip it in the butt right away.

"Sigh"....I'll probably always be single.

When I Die

If I never get off the road, and I die there, here are my wishes.

Just dig a big hole on the side of the highway somewhere out west, throw me in it and toss all my stuff out of the bunk on top of me, no marker, just fill it in with dirt.

Then I can rest in peace, listening to the cars and trucks drive by me, day and night, that's one of my favorite sounds.

My Biggest Ground Score

So I'm walking down the Midway a few seasons ago, there right in front of me is a thin black wallet.

I picked it up and looked inside, nothing, not even any I.D.

I almost chucked it, but it was a nice wallet, so I decided to keep it. I had it in my bunk for weeks.

On one of our jumps I took it to the truck with me and was transferring my stuff from my old wallet when I noticed another pocket in it.

I was going to put my credit card in their but couldn't because there were 10 american $100 dollar bills, ground laughed and laughed.

I Remember When.....

I remember a time, and it doesn't seem that long ago, everything was stick joints, there was no such thing as a "Roll Off".

Setup took for fucking ever it seemed. You had to put all the plumbing, sinks, electrical...etc in your joint once you got it framed.

Now everything is "Roll Offs", and the young guys bitch about that. I like to give them the old "I remember 18 hour teardowns" speech, and then tell them to "shut the fuck up" and quit whining.

I also remember when it wasn't that uncommon for a problem employee to get a punch in the mouth from the boss, or a boot in the ass.

Years ago, when I was a kid on the road, I saw an old Concessionare take his belt to a guy that had been caught stealing from him, he whipped him pretty bad, really gave him a lickin.

Those days are gone now of course, things are different in our politically correct world where all the "Lumps" in society are protected.

I also remember one time when I was a kid there were some older local guys going around causing trouble. They came by my joint and told me not to talk to a certain girl that was hanging around the lot.

Of course, being a smart mouth, I just had to tell them to go fuck themselves. They were on either side of the joint trying to grab me and I was waving my knife around like an idiot.

Some of the game guys saw what was going on and chased them off.

They came back later though and started shooting their mouths off to some ride jocks, the wrong ride jocks.

The ride jocks got a hold of them later and beat them with booster cables, I never saw them come back after that and the cops didn't do anything because they already knew they were assholes.

I remember when I could drink and fuck all night and still do my job the next day.

I remember when $150-200 a week was pretty big money, and draws were limited to $10 a day.

I also remember when the end of the season was a sad time, and girls cried and guys hugged, and people wrote stupid poems about the road.

Fuck I'm getting old.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Shitty Help

These are the people that give the rest of us a bad name. They are called "Bodies" or "Lumps".

This Industry attracts a lot of them, they never stay, they work a season or two and then they're off to make someone elses life and workplace miserable...good riddance.

These people will often self identify as "Carnies", they're not, they're "Lumps" and they give the rest of us a bad name.

They're the ones that always shirk their responsibilities, fucking off during setup/teardown, taking long breaks and not giving a shit, never stopping to think that it all falls onto someone else.

Real "Carnies" may play hard, but they work hard too, they are duty bound, they are company people and make good team members.

"Lumps" just play hard, that's why they are there, they're no fucking good at anything else, they don't like to work, they would rather you do it.

They always whine and bitch about everything, they suck, and I can't stand the "Lumps".

They are in every work place, but we get the worst of them out on the road.

"Lumps" are a fact of life on the road, they're sometimes thieves too.

Whenever I'm on the hunt for a thief in the company, I need go no further than the "Lumps".

Guess who got busted for dope on our crew? You guessed it, two "Lumps", proudly calling themselves Carnies.

Real Carnies usually have some sort of brain, and being fairly streetwise they know how to be discreet about their personal business after hours.

The "Lumps" almost always make specticles of themselves, at the expense of the rest of us.

So let us separate ourselves from the "Lumps".

I don't stand for them calling themselves "Carnies" around me, I call em as I see em.

On Being Prepared

It never ceases to amaze me how many people walk around in the rain soaking wet, and freezing their asses off, setting up.

Here's what I take on the road.

1. Three pairs of pants, two good ones (There will be the odd night off) and one for setup/teardown, there will be the odd day it's cold.

2. Ten pairs of shorts, most days will be hot, or shorts weather.

3. Three shirts, Two good ones, (most of the time you will be wearing a company shirt anyway), one for setup/teardown. I don't know how many times I've listened to people bitch that they wreck their good clothes setting up or tearing down.

4. A rain suit, not a flimsy one, get one from Costco, their $50 bucks and will last the whole season. I've had my latest one for two seasons now.

5. A pair of rubber boots, for those rainy muddy days you're wearing your rain suit, if your feet are wet you'll freeze your ass off. If you are prepared in this area ( rubber boots, rain suit) you'll be warm and able to do your job while all the idiots are freezing their asses off and bitching. Also, two pair of runners, prefferably "Nike Air" or some kind of air sole, One pair of steel toed boots for setup/teardown.

6. Socks, you can never have too many of these.

7. My bathroom stuff.

8. Sleeping bag, two pillows.

9. Cell phone, even a "Pay as you go" one is good.

10. Three towels.

11. One Credit Card, most motels and hotels require them now. If you can't get one, do a search on the web for the new "Prepaid Mastercard". It cost's you $30-40 and then you can add money to it, they are invaluable on the road yet most people don't know about them. Or get a secured one through "Capitol One".

Every modern Carny with a brain should take my advice on this. When you're traveling a credit card is good to have and almost a necessity. Also, it means you will have to depend on others less, which is good.

12. My guitar, I get up early in the morning, (Because I don't party all fucking night) have my coffee, and play for awhile, having some kind of hobby or expression of my own helps me to keep my sanity.

I pack as light as I possibly can, there's no point in bringing your whole fucking house on the road so you can jam it in a bunk and your bunkmate can trip over all it all season.

Another thing that never ceases to amaze me is all the stupid fucking shit the new people bring on the road, then they piss and moan when their expensive stuff gets stolen or wrecked.

Why the fuck would someone bring their TV on the road??? When will you ever get the chance to watch it??? Or their play station??? Fuck me, I've seen it all I think. No doubt I will go out this season and some new person will surprise me with something even dumber.

The more prepared I am, the less I have to depend on others. (Life lesson #One).

Pack light, pack smart.....think think think, don't be a fucking idiot.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Wear and Tear

My back is giving out, I'm faced with the reality of getting older, my body is not what it once was.

I've got my wits though, and I use my head a lot more than I use my back as I get older.

I am faced with the reality that I will have to give it up within the next few years, or sooner perhaps.

As much as I hate being a Carny, at times I still love it, and it will be a sad day when I have to go.

One day, I'll be one of those people that shows up at the lot to say hi and see how everyone's doing. We'll talk about the old days, me and my buddie's, we'll laugh, then I'll leave and go back to my boring life in the regular world. I'll be sad I can't leave with them.

I've seen this happen to other people, watched them walk off the lot, knowing they really wanted to stay, envying me.

And at some level I knew that my time would come too, I can feel it drawing nearer, it makes me shiver.

Being tied down.

Our Industry Is No Worse Than any Other

We're no worse than anybody else, we're a legitimate Industry.

There are Sales Agents in a lot of sectors selling in society, our Game Agents are called "Hucksters" or "Cons", why? They're selling, where's the fucking crime?

Our Concession people are no different, you eat in dirty fucking restaurants all the time, we have health codes to you know, and for your information they are enforced more on us than a lot of the resaurants you patronize, so spare me the shit.

Our rides are inspected also, and regulations enforced, they are safe. Sure there is the odd accident, where isn't there the odd accident when you're dealing with large machinary.

You have no problem getting into your own vehicle which probably hasn't had a safety on it in how long, or driving your kids around in it, or other unsafe public transportation.

A bit of a double standard I would say.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Happens To Old Carnies?

They fade away, that's what. I've seen it happen before, time and again.

When you reach a certain age, and you're not physically capable of doing the job, making money, you're ignored, and you fade away.

Old Jack worked in the cookhouse for years, he was there long before I came on the scene. Finally a few years back he was too old anymore and had to retire.

A couple seasons later he showed up at the cookhouse for a visit, to see the old crowd and say hi. He told everyone he was doing fine but he wasn't really, he was lonely and felt useless you could tell, he had no place in the world and it showed.

He hung around for a couple days, he told me he was going to get back on working in the cookhouse, it was sad really, watching him hang around like that, basically ignored.

His hands shook bad all the time now and he couldn't do much, it was obvious no one really gave a shit about him anymore.

I had coffee with him a few times in that two day period. We talked about that time he walked into my motel room years ago and my buddies and me butt naked, playing strip poker with some Carny women.

We laughed it up each time we had coffee, he really missed it all.

The guy that owned the cookhouse just ignored his request for a job. Told me he wouldn't hire him to peel potatoes even, didn't want him dying in one of his bunks.

Jack never came back after that day, and no one ever saw him again or knows what happened to him.

I remember when he was a real popular guy. He's dead now I'm sure.

That's what happens to old Carnies.

Fooling Myself

I met a woman a number of years ago. She was perfect in so many ways. Her name was Cindy and she was a beautiful "Girl next door" type.

She had a lot going for her, what she saw in me I have no idea to this day.

Anyway, our romance progressed, she was they type a guy marries, the type their Mom loves. What the fuck was she doing with me?

We had all kinds of plans, like couples make in the real world. We were totally committed to each other in every way.

I started fooling myself, not facing reality, thinking I was just like regular people, then it happened, as it always does. I got the urge to go.

It over powers anything and everything, I am a transient by nature, I cannot settle down, a lot of us can't.

I made a couple calls and had a job and a spot to be at.

I called her from a bar and broke the news that I was fucking off, and there was no explanation, she was heartbroken, so was I.

She's married now.

I haven't seen her in years. I still think of her sometimes, and what never could have been.

When I was A Little Kid

Before I was on the road, when I was a small child, I could see the highway from my bedroom window.

I used to sit and stare out it on warm summer nights, listening to the cars and trucks whisper as they went by, watching their red tail lights fade away down the dark highway.

I used to wonder where they were going, who they were, and what was down that highway, I always wanted to go to.

I imagined great sparkling cities, and wild adventures.

I was a kid, what the fuck did I know, yet that feeling has never left me to this day.

Sometimes when I'm on a long jump to another city, and my back is killing me from the last teardown, and I need a fucking shower, those memories of me when I was little come floating back.

I go to sleep feeling good, knowing that I'm in one of those vehicles heading down the highway, my tail lights fading as someone else watches, wondering who I am and where I'm going....what's down that highway.

Letter From A Carny

I read this letter a couple years ago actually, now I will tear it apart.

(Dear Mr. Derbyshire,As a big fan of your work, it pains me to have to complain. However, as I was reading the latest National Review, I was deeply distraught by some rather bigoted, ignorant remarks you made about an already much maligned group of professionals: the carnies.

Your comments suggested to me that you do not have an adequate understanding of what it means to be a carny. As a former carny (now a political science student interning in D.C.), I feel that you are in need of enlightenment.

Carnies live in an insular civilization all their own. They are very much cut off from the outside world. In fact, if a man wished to escape from mainstream American society and live the rest of his life off the grid, the carnival would be a good option.

Carnies do not pay taxes, most do not have an address and they do not stay in the same city for more than a week or two.That unusual odor that one detects around carnies is mostly B.O. and cigarettes. I will not deny that this scent is rather unattractive.

I spent a week working with a very large carny woman who did not change her shirt once that entire period. The fact that she worked next to hot grease all day and had a tendency to perspire heavily apparently did not impact that decision. To be fair, halfway through the week she decided to start wearing the shirt inside out. She reasoned that by doing so she could go twice as long without washing it.

Needless to say, I did not agree with that assessment.However, there are practical reasons for poor carny hygiene. Carnies have few opportunities to shower, brush their teeth or change their clothes. They often work seventeen-hour days and then retire to their trailers. At the end of the week, they must spend a day tearing down all the rides and packing up the various Elephant Ear stands and obviously rigged games.

They then travel incredibly long distances in order to reach their next locale. What little free time carnies have is typically spent in an alcohol or drug induced stupor. However, every once in a while, a carny will use that time to scrape off the diverse collections of crud that have gathered in all of the nooks and crannies of his body.Though it depends on the carnival, many carnies are paid under the table. In fact, although most carnies are paid pitifully low wages, a man could find himself with a rather ample bank account after a single season.

Consider for a moment that a carny will work at least seventy hours a week, pay no taxes, and only spend money on Jim Beam and whatever nicotine product he prefers. Most carnies also have a second source of income. Please realize that when you purchase anything from a carny, it is more likely than not that the part of the money will end up in your carny's pocket.

The management must realize this, but seem not to care. Every couple of weeks someone is caught in the act and fired. But no sustained effort is made to crack down on this practice. Instead, carnivals make up the lost revenue by charging $5 for eight ounces of soda.Most carnies eat for free.

Unfortunately, their diet consists exclusively of carnival food (corn dogs, nachos, cotton candy, etc.). This explains the physique of your average carny. Women carnies usually work in the food booths. And, although these booths are not know for their sanitation, no one is allowed to smoke inside. After a period of time, all women carnies develop a particular body type.

For the sake of civility, let us just describe it as "ample." Carny men typically work outside. They have the luxury of being able to chain-smoke their appetites away. A carny man usually has the diminished physique normally only seen in infomercials for the Christian Children s Fund. The smoking, the sugary diet and the poor dental habits account for the rotten baked beans your average carny man calls his teeth.One should also note that the distinct lack of physical attractiveness that has become a carny trademark does not hinder their sex lives.

Because carnies typically do not romantically interact with non-carnies (aside from occasional cat-calls uttered by ride operators), they develop an entirely different set of standards. For example, obese carny women usually do not have a problem finding someone to share their shack with at night.OK, I realize that I have not given a very impassioned defense of the carny way of life.

When I began writing this I had planned on sending you a vigorous defense of my former co-workers. But maybe, now that I think about it, "surly, slack-eyed, pony-tailed, tattooed, nicotine-stained wretches" is a pretty fair description.

Still, in my experience, carnies are decent people. And, as much fondness as I still have for them, there is very little else most of them could do. We can thank the nation's carnivals for taking literally thousands of prospective bums, and giving them a place to live and work.I am thankful to have left the carny life behind.

I think I have finally rid myself of that despicable smell (although I remain tattooed). I also realize that I may be the only former carny in America studying for the GREs. But still, I think carnies are not deserving of the contempt you have shown them.

Your Loyal Reader,George S. Hawley)

First off Mr Derbyshire, you can kiss my Carny ass.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mr Derbyshire who writes for (National Review) wrote this himself and passed it off as a reader.

This letter is so ludicrous, I find it hard to believe otherwise, how stupid do you think we are Mr Derbyshire?

Whoever wrote it was not a Carny, that much I know, there's nothing factual in it, it's too full of sterotypical shit, and I personally believe Mr Derbyshire wrote it himself.

I've got some news for you Mr (Smarty Pants) Derbyshire, we're not as stupid as you think we are.

Once when I was younger and dumber, I thought I was a smarty pants too, so I went to University where all the fucking smart people were.....or so I thought.

I was sorely disappointed. What I found were a bunch of Idealists and theorists, their heads jammed in their asses so deep they were convinced they were smart.

They had long winded debates that went nowhere and solved nothing.

My Philosophy Prof gave a lecture one day on the merits of Philosophy, and why learning it was important. It took her a whole two fucking hours to tell us one little thing, the purpose of her course was to learn to think critically.....too fucking late......I had already learned that on the road as a kid.

So I left the halls of Academia and returned to the real people, the ones who know how to survive.

I've met more smart people on a Carnival lot than I ever met at University.

So keep talking out of your ass Derbyshire, that's what makes you a shitty writer anyway.