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Good riddance, Zipper

August 17, 2008 - Per Peterson
The county fair season in the area came to a close this weekend in Slayton and they put on a pretty good show. Last week I watched my first rodeo in person and got to see my 6-year-old 41-pound daughter “ride” a sheep during the mutton bustin’ competition. She scored a 66, by the way. Not bad for not being able to get her arms around the sheep's neck. My family also was recognized as a Century Farm family earlier in the day Thursday which is a very cool distinction for any family to earn. Up until Saturday night, the fair graded out pretty well. That is, until I let my 11-year-old daughter talk me into riding “The Zipper.” Note to all 36-year-olds out there: Stay away from “The Zipper.” First of all, that’s a stupid name for this ride, much too innocent. “Wheel of Nausea” is much more accurate. Secondly, humans just shouldn’t be forced to spin head over feet that fast that many times before the ride even begins. After we got locked in, the nice carnival employee, who never even took my tickets (my impending sickness was on him, I guess), spun our carriage for about 30 seconds. I suppose that was for effect. “This is how they do it,” Caitlin excitedly explained as I clinched the death bar in front of me. “C’mon, it’s fun!” As she laughed at her dad, I noticed traces of past victims of "The Zipper" in our carriage — scratch marks on the walls, two-week old vomit by our feet, an inscription etched into the ceiling that read: “Get out if you still can.” The ride lasted four about 45 minutes. OK, it was about two minutes long, but it FELT like 45 minutes. My daughter encouraged me to keep my eyes open saying if I did, it wouldn't be so bad. I grounded her. After we exited the death trap, I staggered away from the ride, still feeling like I was spinning and desperately holding in whatever it was I last ate. I’ve never gotten sick on a ride in my life. Then again, the last time I was on such a ride I was about 17. Didn't puke, though, which I'm rather proud of. I’m glad I took on "The Zipper" though. I took the bullet for my kid, which is what all good parents should do to make sure they have a good time. Besides, she humors me by riding my favorite ride all the time. I call it “The Couch.” On this ride, what you do is, you sit down, put your feet up on the surface in front of you (optional), hold onto the remote control (also optional) and, well, do nothing. It sounds dull, I know, but it’s like the best ride in the world and you don’t need a ticket to ride.


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