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 was...is 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.