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.

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