You’re at Spring Fling and you’re about to get on the Zipper. You probably paid about $7 to ride this. You waited for the tickets, and now you’re waiting in line again. You can hear the screams of actual terror above you, but if anything, it makes you smile.
After about ten minutes, the couple in front of you boards the cross-linked cage. There aren’t any harnesses inside, the paint chips off the outside, and you imagine that the ride creaks slightly. For only a second, images from the Ohio State Fair accident last year flash into your mind.
It’s your turn to get in, so you step onto the platform and sit in the cage. You are joined by the stranger who was behind you (your friends didn’t want to ride). The stranger is sweaty and smells like Vienna Sausages.
The door closes over you and a metal bar locks you in. You begin to think that this ride would have been praised in the Middle Ages as an excellent torture machine. You wonder why you got on the ride at all, logically. Why would you pay money for terrible experiences?
In less than 20 seconds, you’ll feel like you are going to die. In two minutes, the funnel cake you just ate will be very angry with you. In about two hours, you will have only almost-won three carnival games, and you’ll be waving goodbye to your friends, left with a sore neck, lightheadedness and a stale taste of curly fries in your mouth.
People try to rationalize carnivals in many ways. I don’t think most reasons make any sense. Some say that fairs are actually healthy, that walking around for a day and going on rides gives us about the same workout as we’d get spending an hour and a half at the gym. Though, I think that these people foolishly assume I’m not going to eat ice-cream, a corn dog, a funnel cake and maybe a slice of pizza.
Some say a trip to a carnival is great for our emotional and mental health too. It relieves our stress and improves our mood. You know, that’s probably true. But I’ve heard that running does the same thing, and it’s far less expensive. For added measure, you can even scream while doing it.
Or, some say you should go for the “high.”
I’m not even going to get into that one.
Because we’re on a college campus, sometimes we think too much. Although we should think critically about many things in life, not everything deserves the scrutiny of economic rationality.
We are happy doing unjustifiable things all the time, like spending two hours watching a terrible movie or impulsively baking banana bread. Carnivals exist in this special category of things that we shouldn’t question.
For some reason, the objectively terrible experiences at carnivals create some of our favorite memories.
I urge you not to miss Spring Fling just because you start thinking about it too much. Carnivals don’t make any sense. But maybe they shouldn’t.
Toni Marcheva is a sophomore who enjoys digesting funnel cakes while spinning rapidly on carnival rides as much as the next person. Follow Daily Wildcat on Twitter.