The autumn breeze was crisp as we stood in line at the 1995 Georgia Fair. I’d nearly lost my stomach after the Tomahawk, so my group of friends– sympathetic to my plight– had agreed that we could take a break from the more vigorous rides and go for a spin on the high-flying swings. After getting strapped into our seats, the towering machine lifted us up into the air. The wind was even cooler, and the view of the fair at night from such a high vantage point was surprisingly lovely. As the swings began to build momentum, the operator/DJ began playing some sort of stylistic precursor to Darude’s Sandstorm. Around and around we went, and despite the intensity of the music, I felt like my stomach might be back under control. That’s when they hit the button that made the swings dip occasionally… adding an entirely different sensation.
With each drop and lift, my confidence waned. Cotton candy, a chilidog, most of a funnel cake, and who knows how much soda sloshed against the insides of my belly. I closed my eyes and tried to breath deep figuring if I could make it to the end of the song, I’d be home-free. As the music blasting through the speakers came to an end, the DJ interrupted with a scream, “ONE MORE SONG!”, and the opening of another frantic 90’s rave song shook the ground. Swinging around high above the fairgrounds, there was little I could do. I was a time bomb with no fuse left to burn. I leaned to the side to expel all the formerly delicious fair foods over my outside shoulder.
I could faintly hear someone waiting in line down below exclaiming, “Hey! That kid is throwing up!” That’s when I realized that the people in line were standing directly below the ride– those thoughts were fleeting, as I had much more throwing up to do. I leaned forward, sending the rest of my stomach between my dangling legs. As a rain of vomit fell on the (mostly) unsuspecting fair-goers, I was able to regain some semblance of social awareness. That’s when I really began paying attention to what the people below were saying. I’ll never forget the profoundly confident proclamation made by one angry man, “I’m gonna cut that little bastard’s head off!”
As we were lowered, I no longer cared that I was covered in puke. My very life was in jeopardy. Then a miracle happened. One of the ride operators, having observed everything and aware of my impending beat-down, rushed over and hurriedly escorted me out the back through a break in the guardrail. I bought a new shirt at the first vendor I could find, and never rode another fair ride again.