Thursday, November 5, 2009

On 6 Flags: Lost Tales of Woe

I hadn't mentioned this story because, frankly, the entire time we were at 6 Flags a couple weeks back was amazing, barring the last 20 minutes when the skies opened, lightning crashed and the rides closed down, forcing us to meander back to the car whilst simultaneously learning exactly how waterproof each of our shoes were in order of person.

And that was still pretty cool in its own way.

Well, there was also one moment that wasn't so great.

There is this ride. It's a wooden coaster. It's called "Rolling Thunder."

Now there are two wooden roller coasters at 6 Flags, New Jersey. One is called El Toro. El Toro is amazing. Go on it in the day. Go on it in the dark. It will frighten and amaze you. It will make you want to go home and make babies with your sig-oth. It makes you want to live as fast as you rode. We were warned of this beforehand and we were not disappointed. It is everything you ever hope a wooden coaster could be, and that's coming from a guy who grew up near the historic PlayLand Amusement Park and its ancient, decrepit wooden Dragon Coaster that actually has its own list of confirmed kills.

Sadly, as awesome as El Toro is, Rolling Thunder is just as bad.

I cannot stress this enough. Rolling thunder will make you believe there is no God.

Which is really inconvenient as you'd really really like someone to pray to to get you off the ride.

To begin: I was aptly warned. However we were also told everyone needs to experience it. I agreed and after another two rides on El Toro to cleanse the palate I was dissuaded from warning away other potential passengers. Waiting on line you see a car leave with smiling faces, but on return there are only two or three, and they're laughing at those around them who can only manage grimaces of rage and pain and atheism.

The car: Just awful. For one thing, the roll bar does not actually touch you in any way. It is simply there in front of you to stop you from being hurled forward by punching you directly in the stomach every half second or so. This would be less of a problem if the seat belts could be tightened to securely secure anyone with smaller than a 36" waist (women, children, me, etc.). Additionally, the seat is a two-person plastic bucket seat with a little bump to divide your legs, just in case you were preparing to brace against anything. I mean there's no back to the seat ahead of you at foot-level, so there isn't much hope for bracing, but just in case you tried, no. In fact, this bump is harder and just slightly farther back on the seat than any other leg-divider-bump, ostensibly so that that my balls rest comfortably on the bump and not the safety of the seat or my legs or something.

Oh, and as I pointed out to my seatmate Jay, I could physically tighten and loosen one of the car's screws with my fingers as we waited for launch. This was the first time Jay believed we were going to die.

The second time Jay thought we were going to die, more genuinely this time, was the moment our car lifted very briefly off the track and we were legitimately airborne.

However I did not notice this, because if you will recall I mentioned a slack seat belt, an angry safety bar and a ball-based leg divider that has personal space boundary issues.

Yes, on the very first bump I was launched into the air, around the roll bar because I am not overweight and caught by the exceedingly slack seat belt as the car dropped a solid few feet downhill before rising back up, slamming me down and crushing my testicles between my body mass and an entire roller coaster.

Honestly, my eyes closed mostly and I leaned out the side of the car in case I threw up from the pain. In fact all I recall was that intense fear of the pain that you know is going to come, then doesn't come because you're so hopped up on adrenaline so you relax for a second and exhale and then hits you full on like, well, a kick in the balls. Women, try to imagine having a spontaneous miscarriage in the middle of your mensies after getting food poisoning at an Indian-Mexican-Thai restaurant.

And then I had to deal with the entire rest of the ride.

Which, yeah, was not nearly as bad, but it's quite difficult to brace oneself against body blows and guy punches from all sides while one is simply trying not to cry or pass out from a brutal ball crushing.

In the last few seconds of torment it also started raining again, so that we were whipped in the eyes by the first few drops of water as we careened through the same space, aching and whimpering.

I recall pulling up to the car house and hearing a woman just to my right question her willingness to take the ride. "Oh they're wet. I don't know if I want to get rained on!" she lamented.

I'm surprised now I could get it out, but cold, wet, and utterly tragic I managed to let out, "Rain is the least of your worries."

This last bit completely confounded her, leading to such a wonderful question, "What does he mean? What does he mean by that?" I vaguely recall wiping what I hoped was only rainwater from my eyes and then managing to pull myself out of that wretched car and shamble away in the general direction of the exit. If there was any doubt as to whether or not I took my agony like a true man, I wiped at what could not have exclusively been rain water at least once more.

But eyes watering at an excruciating nut shot is actually an acceptable male response. If it ain't running down your cheek it ain't crying.

Still, I kinda just wanted someone to hug and cradle me for a while after that. I settled for gently caressing my spleen until it returned to its natural, upright position. My testicles meanwhile have re-descended, but have threatened me with a 100-yard order or protection if I ever bring them back to the horror that is Rolling Thunder.

Honestly, the rain and lightning were a blessing after that.

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