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August 24, 2008

Lake Compounce

Because school starts next week, as an end-of-summer treat, yesterday we took the kids to a local water/amusement park. Lake Compounce is located in Bristol, CT (proud home of ESPN), and it was surprisingly awesome. Normally when I think “local amusement park,” I think “potential place to contract trench foot,” but Lake Compounce is clean and well-maintained. Even the floating Band-Aids in the wading pool were less pus-filled than normal.

The highpoint of the day came for me when my seven year old son announced he wanted to ride his first grown-up roller coaster, a wooden jobber called “The Wildcat.” It’s a very proud moment for a father when his son tells him he wants to brave a roller coaster. The low point came when we actually rode the thing, and I realized that while my son was thrilled, I was actually terrified. Those old coasters are absolutely brutal. After the first drop, I really thought I’d suffered whiplash. By the first turn, I was sure I had. When did I turn into one of those people who gets off a roller coaster concerned about whiplash? Answer: yesterday. Also of concern was damage to my spine, ribs, and spleen. I honestly felt like the roller coaster molested me.

When my newly minted second grader asked me if I thought the ride was as awesome as he did, what was I supposed to say? That daddy is a pussy? No, I couldn’t do that. He’ll find that out soon enough. I assured him that, yes it was awesome, and when he asked if we could ride again, I said almost without pause, “Absolutely.” Then I said, “In a little while,” which is what you say to your children when you are encouraging their immature short-term memories to fail. But of course he did not forget, even hours later after I had distracted him with Whack-A-Mole and cotton candy.

A child’s memory is a curious thing. Last night, for example, after he had been in the bathtub long enough, I told him to get out and dry himself off. Not thirty seconds later I came back in to check on him. He was still in the tub. “Why didn’t you get out of the tub when I asked?” I said. “I forgot,” he said.

My daughter also enjoyed the amusement park. She is five, thankfully still too short to ride roller coasters and other things whose sole purpose on this earth is to make me throw up. She spent much of her time with my wife at the children’s area. Is there a children’s roller coaster? There is. Did we ride it as a family? We did. Despite its small size and miniscule thrill factor, was it still kind of scary? I plead the Fifth.

Rides are terrible. Ultimately, what is their raison d’etre? I will tell you what: to make me feel even worse about myself than I already do. I never need to experience gravitational forces greater than the ones I am already dealing with. I already feel the weight of the world on my shoulders; one Earth G is plenty, thank you.. When you add more, and then throw nausea on top of that, I’m not necessarily thinking to myself, “This is great!” What I’m usually thinking is, “Please make it stop.”

Certain rides are fun: the Ferris Wheel comes to mind. I am not one of those ninnies who is afraid of heights. Everything else, yes, but not heights. The Ferris Wheel, in my book, is a relaxing way to get a view of the surrounding countryside and to spit on people’s heads. So we did that. Another good ride? The carousel. As long as it doesn’t go too fast. Also, any miniature train. I like those because miniature train are not scary, even when the engineer is kind of drunk, as ours appeared to be. Monorails, on the other hand, are terrifying. Thank God they didn’t have one.

As the day ended, my son was in an uproar about my promise to go back on the Wildcat with him. My wife refused to ride in my stead, particularly after I described how I was bleeding from my ass after my last trip. Plus, she’s an even bigger pussy than me, and considerably older. I was worried her frail heart might give out, so in a generous concession to her age, I agreed to get back on the stupid roller coaster with my stupid son. The line was short, and within about ten minutes we were strapped in. I tricked him into sitting closer to the front than we had last time, reasoning that sitting in the back of the roller coaster is probably like sitting in the back of the bus. My thinking was that if we sat more towards the middle, maybe the ride would be smoother. No. It was still bone-rattling and awful. I chipped most of my teeth and fractured my tail bone, but when we got off and my son asked if it was even more awesome the second time than the first, I said yes, and when he asked if we could ride just one more time, I said no. “No,” I said, “Because if we ride it again, Daddy is going to die.”

School can’t start soon enough.


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This was a fantastic blog - I so love hearing about your real-life weekend activities with the family!

I have also found that as I get older I have gotten more fearful of amusement park rides. I've always had a fear of heights (ninny), but I used to ride those things with abandon in my younger years. Now they just make me dizzy and nauseous. Thanks a lot, middle age!


wow,we had the same experience a few weeks ago,except we're in MO and I'm not a very famous person. My evil 'coaster is called "Fire in the Hole" and boy howdy, you can just let your imagination run wild on that one!
I'm so inspired by your bravery that I too will admit that I can no longer handle anything but the ferris wheel.

Not a girl,not yet a cougar,

me again

I'm surprised/glad that you deleted the Fark thing.


This was a treat. I like the visual of the whole family on a miniature rollercoaster! YAY! Everyone all crunched up...knees up to the chin...

This was a fun blog, of which I (and my entire campaign) heartily approve of. It's all about you, Michael, the father and daddy, the host with the most.

But, you have GOT to be kidding me right now with your rollercoaster avoidance! I'm older than everyone here combined times 3 so listen up. You and your old fart internet buddies are only missing out on one of Gods finest pleasures - stomach dropping. There is NOTHING more exciting and gigglemeisterly than that (except for an orgasm, but duh). That swoopitydoopity feeling in the bottom of your tummy as you descend straight down at death defying speeds? I'm ready right now!

Here's what you do. You take some Ibuprofen and once the magic of the anti-inflammatories kick in you're good enough for any thrill ride out there. I take about 8* when I go to Six Flags and I'm loose as a goose. My head and neck bounce and bobble around right along with the rest of my coaster-riders, who still have acne. Plus, I get an adrenaline fix that will take me through for about 4 days straight.

So there's your tip, get on your bikes and ride! I never want to hear about this rollercoaster avoidance again.

*throughout the day, not all at once. I'm not Marilyn Monroe you guys.


Okay,Renee. I actually don't mind the new,smoother ones. I have a problem with the rickety,wooden coasters that look as trustworthy as the dudes who try to lure me over to play their deceitful carnie games.
You know you're getting older when you carefully read the sign at the ride entrance and breathe a sigh of relief when you find out you're disqualified. Where do I sign up for Meals on Wheels?


This kind of reminds me about when I realized that I was old.

I was at a packed, standing room-only concert. I looked around, and instead of experiencing my usual gleeful anticipation, I thought "Man, this place is a firetrap."

It was all downhill from there.

Andre aka thetokenpuertorican

I along with my wife are about to take our 2 daughters to Great America. Their ages 10 and 12, so we have been going for a little bit. I have noticed a change each year since starting to take them and an incredible change since going with my parents when I was younger.
It seems to me that the older you get the closer you want to stay to the ground. Odd because sooner than later we will all be in it. But we must remember - these are not our fathers amusement parks. When I was a kid the closest we came to extreme was going through 2 loops and a corkscrew. Now that couldn't get a rise out of any tween. No, now you must be strapped in upside down, then accelerated at 181 mph through a zillion loops pulling 10 g's, over some water and then stopped on a dime!!! Now that's a ride...forget it.
The tweens can keep it. I'm going to be arthritic, diabetic, glaucoma'd and just plain old soon enough. I don't think putting my body through astronaught training is going to give me any extra thrills or excitement I need.
However it is for the kid's. So my suggestion is this, every year it gets to be that time, invite one (only one), of your child’s best friends. You also have to make sure they are ride compatible - meaning they are both at the same excitement level. You wouldn't want one kid to like coasters and the other scared to death of the merry-go-round...ya' know? Anyway I found this works well for my family. If and when you get the balls to go on a ride just do so. When it comes time for the wild shit - that’s where little BFF Cindy, Billy, whoever comes in. You still get all the glory of being #1 dad/mom, the kids get to go on every ride and the most important part - you won't need a chiropractor or rehabilitation when you get back home.
Just something to think about.


I am sorry to hear about how you got violated by a rollercoaster. That's not true. I quite enjoyed it.

I, myself, have never been on one and never plan to. You heard about the kid that got decapitated at Six Flags this summer, roight?


It's experiences like these that make me glad I don't have children to force me to go on crappy wooden roller coasters 50 times.


This brings back memories of when I rode "The Boss" at Six Flags STL. I got to ride it when some guy was trying to set the world roller coaster riding record. He got three freakin' rows to himself and he was eating McDonald's whenever they were loading/unloading people. That ride raped me in a way I didn't even know was possible. When it was over there was a little bridge on the walkway and I had to chunk it so I thought I'd do it over the bridge so no one would see. Wrong! Apparently some idiot built the bridge over a go-kart race track (that you had to pay extra to ride) and it just so happened that some of my lovely chunkies landed on a go-kart that someone was occupying. Did I stick around to see the aftermath? No. Would I ride it again? Hells yes. There's no feeling quite like the one when you realize you've made a horrible mistake by getting on the coaster but it's too late to get off of it.


Cam, one of the best rides at Six Flags is their old bomber wooden rollercoaster. It's the very idea that I may die, right then, on that ride, that turns me on.

Jeanne, I'm not buying your "old" stuff...I looked at your profile and you're adorable and wrinkle free. So kiss mine, sweet-pea. ;-)

ChloeJ - your profile page isn't loading. And even though I know who you are, the rest of the world is waiting...

Andre' - excellent idea for all of you parents who don't like being "hands on". (I'm joking, I'm joking). If we get to know each other well, you and I, can I take your kids to Six Flags for you? I'll point out all the shirtless hard body Sailor boys to your daughters and nudge you every time a wet halter top wearing 19 year old saunters by.

Just pay for me, ok?

Tom Lewis

Michael, I thought this was really fantastic.


That was a great read, thanks. Although I was briefly reminded of some painful memories at Disneyland. The "Snow White's Scary Adventures" ride used to scare the shit out of me.


I love Lake Compounce! My favorite ride is Boulder Dash, although it whips you around quite a bit. The Wildcat is even worse...I also felt a bit of whiplash after riding that roller coaster and I'm only 17! Sheesh.


Know what the best part about rollercoasters is? Anyone can have a seat restraint "accident" and "fall" off the top of the hill. And should they happen to "die", nobody will ask "questions" because it was an "accident."

Of course, this would probably apply more toward situations where you're riding next to your mortal enemy, and less toward when you're riding next to your children. Unless your children happen to BE your mortal enemy(ies), in which case things are probably going to be very awkward at Thanksgiving when you're carving the turkey and the rest of the family is silently staring at you, surmising that the purchase of a child coffin was just a little too conveniently timed before the fatal rollercoaster ride.

DISCLAIMER: Reptar does not encourage shoving children off rollercoasters. Even if they are your mortal enemy(ies). Next time, try sending them to Raymond Moses's boot camp for God's sake.


Ha! This was hilarious. And this line, "My wife refused to ride in my stead, particularly after I described how I was bleeding from my ass after my last trip." made me spit coffee out of my mouth. :D I too have noticed I can't handle the rides like I used to, but I'm only 24 so what the effing hell??

Camille! May I surmise that you live near Branson? B/c "Fire in the Hole" used to be my FAVORITE roller coaster at Silver Dollar City! I haven't been there in years...aww. I loved that it was in the dark and the all the creepy animatronic(?) characters made me feel uncomfortable as a child, and probably rightly so.

Another line that made me choke on coffee (which i will never drink while reading this blog again) was leanne's firetrap memory. Funny.


You (unfortunately)are correct,Jenny!

(Oh,and I loved the Band-Aid line.)


I loved every bit. Always so funny, every line.

Nickel Jean

I loved this one, too! I really relate to the blogs about family life since I am currently in the trenches as a stay-at-home mom (sounds better than "housewife"). I use "in a little while" all the time, along with my other old standby, "We'll see."


Firsties! Good for you Preston, ha ha. I was literally _just_ wondering where the Firsties-phile had been hiding.


You called your kid stupid. That's hilarious :p

When I was a kid, I delighted in staring at a spot on the floor an spinning my guts out until I bumped into things. Now it hurts (the spinning. Not the bumping. Well, the bumping too, but that always did.)

Now? Ring around the rosy is almost too much for me. That is crazy! I challenge my body to get over it! (Is it weird to yell bossy exclamations at your body's physical reactions to extrnal stimuli? No? score!)


I had a friend who broke 3 ribs on that ride. And I think you need to fight Tucker already and stop being a pussy


I actually live right near Bristol, CT, and I, too, have suffered the wrath of the "Wildcat" at Lake Compounce. I went on when I was probably 10 and I barely remember it because I could only focus on the pain and the feeling of my mom squeezing my head to try to prevent me from getting whiplash. She's apparently one of those people, too.


We have season passes to Lake Compounce. It was my husband's idea. I look like I'm about to throw up in my picture, because I did, indeed, throw up about three minutes after the picture was taken. Could've been the ice cream, could've been the swing ride. Could've been listening to my daughter throw a fit because they wouldn't let her on the ride where the floor drops out from under you because she had on sandals.

My husband is obsessed with taking my children to every theme park known to man because my daughter loves roller coasters. He even paid $40 to have her ride the SkyCoaster at Great Escape in Lake George. SHE'S F*&@#IN' EIGHT YEARS OLD!!! I thought I was going to vomit watching her raised 175 feet in the air (although this time, I did not). She loved it. I'm in so much trouble when she's a teen.

My hubby also complained about the WildCat and I think bruising was involved. And the Thunder and Lightning thing scared the crap out of him because he's 6'4" and feels like he's going to fall out of a lot of harnesses. My second grader (as of tomorrow...*sniff*) is only 46", so two more inches and I'm screwed because I will be expected to ride those damn things with him.

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