I was just about ready to put the Jersey shore behind me. In truth, I already had. But there in the rear view mirror, a blinking twirl of ferris wheel lights shimmered blue and red by the rising moon. As with all things sparkly, I was drawn like a moth to flame.
It was just like I remember from 1976. The glaring, flashing lights, girls’ screams drowning out crashing surf, the slightly creepy carnies running rides that threatened to kill or maim with cruel indifference. Rip-off games and crappy prizes. Knots of menacing kids from other towns. Bikinis and suntans, budding sexuality and teen lust.
I am 15 again, only with a lot less hair.
I could ride the Tornado and the Cliff Hangar. The Speedway and the Arctic Circle. Plus try newer thrills like mechanical bull riding and the Tower of Fear. I could fill up on taffy, pizza and ice cream at the Midway Cafe and chuck it all up inside Starship 2000.
But I don't.
I content myself watching a knot of youngsters take over the bumper car ride. As soon as the power came on, high voltage sparks fly from their aerials as they swerve and collide, cut each other off and hurl verbal abuse.
It was like everything I'd seen on the Garden State Parkway, only with better manners.