Monday, April 10, 2006

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.

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