I don't know who would ever want to read this, but the memories bang around in my head and have for a long time, "My life as Carny" memories.
My stories will be random, no real order, maybe I won't even write more than a few, I don't know.
I started in 1980, maybe it was 81, a long time ago anyway, that was my first summer as a Carny, and what a summer it was. I was a kid on the road for the summer while all the other kids out of school were at home doing chores, playing ball, going to the pool, summer stuff. I was hopping from city to city, Midway to Midway, barely able to comprehend it all.
The lights of the Midway were dizzying to me at times as I recall. Everything was exciting and overwhelming, the Carnies, the cities, the long jumps, and I loved it. A lot of the characters I met that summer would be my friends up to this very day.
A lot of people try being a Carny and never stay, I don't blame them, they're usually fairly normal people, normal people have better things to do in life, they fit into society, Carnies don't, and I know why. We don't give a shit...period. We're not worried about what others think, keeping up with the Joneses etc. We don't want stuffy college class rooms, mortgages, to be tied down, saving up for the future. We live today, we love today, always moving, we can't stand still, if we do, we sink.
The people who stay working and living as a Carny are fuck ups according to society, maybe so, I prefer to think of us as transients. A lot of people call themselves Carnies. Some of them are, some aren't, working a season or two on the road can be a little adventure for some, it's a phase, they don't stay. The people I'm talking about are the lifers, they're the Carnies.
I've been doing this job for 26 years off and on, I took a couple of years off when I got clean and sober, I went back to the normal world, didn't fit in, and returned to the road; I suspect I will die there, some part of me wouldn't mind.
I love the Carnival, the lights, the crowds, blasting down the highway at 3:00am to the next city.
I love the Midway late at night too, or the wee hours of the morning, just before dawn, when everything is shut down and quiet. The rides remind me of sleeping monsters looming in the dark.
It's a rough life, the hours are long, and the pay never worth it, but I don't fit anywhere else. I don't really want to fit anywhere else I don't think. The last day of my first season I will never forget. We had worked all night tearing down and it was early morning, my boss paid me and told me to grab my stuff, he would drive me to the bus depot. I was a kid, school would be starting in another week and I had to get home, I didn't want to go home, ever. I said my goodbyes to everyone and hopped in the truck and off we went. On the way to the bus depot I told him I didn't want to go to school, it was boring, I wanted to stay here and one day soon I would be able to. He told me not to be fucking stupid in his gruff manner, I'd be looking up a dead horses ass if I didn't finish school, life, home, none of it was the same after that summer.
I don't look forward to the beginning of the season like I used too, I'm getting old," It's a young mans game", and I grew old quick." The years flew, Carnies came and went, some died, some were born, and I was there for it all.