The Carnie Life

Every now and then I find myself thinking, “Max, what if carnies were real people? Where would they go? What would they do?” As it turns out, this summer I had the distinct displeasure of working at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk as a ride operator. My experiences there changed me into one of them forever.


These are the untold stories of Carnie life.






Child: I can’t get my seatbelt on. Can you help me?

Me: Yeah whatever, no one helped me in life. You can figure it out like I did.

Child: Doesn’t this ride go upside down?

Me: Maybe. I stop paying attention after I start the ride. Here we go!

-One minute later-

Prostitute: So, are we gonna do this or do you want to wait till the ride’s finished?

Me: Baby, I didn’t wake up at ten fuckin’ thirty for any of your fancy city talk. I did it to start drinking. Anyway, let’s have sex.

Prostitute: Oh yeah, let’s– OH MY GOD! Some kid just fell off that ride!  I think he’s dead.

Me: Don’t look at me. I told him to put his fucking seatbelt on.




_Basic Necessities


Grocery Store Clerk: You’re purchasing how many bottles of tequila?

Me: Just 10. I’m not very thirsty today. Oh, and I need a lime.

Clerk: If you don’t mind me asking sir, what do you eat?

Me: That’s what the lime is for, dumbass. That and scurvy.

Clerk: Okay. That brings your total to 214 dollars and 62 cents. How will you be paying today?

Me: With the green paper stuff. What’s it called?

Clerk: Cash?

Me: Yeah, that’s it.

  [Hands over green paper stuff]

Clerk: Sir, this isn’t money. This is just green construction paper that you scribbled numbers all over. Even then, it still only adds up to fifty cents.

Me: Read the back.

Clerk: “WYL U IZ REEDING THIS I IZ TAKING BOOZ AND RUNING.” God dammit, not again!






Me: So the point of my story is if you’re not careful you can end up with herpes in BOTH your eyes!

Woman: That…that’s disgusting.

Me: Hey don’t judge until you’ve tried it.

Woman: Okay yeah, I’m definitely leaving now.

Me: Just like my wife on my eleventh birthday last year? Women! You’re all the same. You’re more immature than my 3 year old son. Or his three year old, for that matter!

Woman: Did you say eleven? You told me you were Gary Busey! That’s the only reason I’m here!

Me: Naw, that’s my daddy.

Woman: I thought you said your daddy was Robert Downey Jr.?

Me: Naw, that’s my other daddy. Maw was pretty drunk. That’s why I got me a speech impediment.


_Safety Training


Boss:   So we don’t really know what this button does, or why it’s here, but legend is that it was pressing this button what gave Frank polio.  So don’t press this button.

Me:****   Right.

Boss:  Next up, this piece of equipment is really dangerous and shouldn’t be operated if you’ve been drinking.

Me:  But how am I supposed to get through the day without tequila?

Boss:****   Pssh.  Okay, if you’ve been drinking pussy shit like tequila, that’s fine, princess.  I meant _really _drinkin’.

Me:****   There’s a lot of sparks comin’ out of this wire.  What should I do about that?

Boss:****   Shit, we need more gum. 




_Hanging Out With Co-Workers


Jeb:   Damn, sometimes it’s just good to hang out outside of the workplace.  Specifically, in the parking lot.

Charley:   You gonna eat that cigarette?

Jeb:   Hell yes, the filter is where all the vitamins are.

Me:   You guys ever see that ghost that walks around the Fried Beer stand?

Charley:   Aw, you mean ol’ Carnie McGee?  He’s somethin’ of a legend around these parts.

Jeb:****   According to myth, he was president of the carnies, until he disbanded our union in exchange for half of a Meat-Lover’s pizza.  Some say he was struck by lightning while hosing off vomit.  Some contend he died of a broken heart after his wife left him for her other nephew.  Charley says he saw him get hit by a motorcycle.

Charley:   And he’s been haunting the park ever since, for a whole week.