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Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

I am a fearless woman, spiders, snakes and mice, notwithstanding.  There’s not a lot in life that scares me and I’m pretty darn sure that I can do any old thing that I choose to do.  I have a pretty good handle on life and I am a good judge of the times we should be afraid and avoid danger and the times we’re just being silly.  If you’ll allow me to toot my own horn a bit more, I daresay that I’m rarely silly.  (About fear, anyway.  I’m almost always silly about everything else.)

Enter the roller coaster. (cue the Psycho music)

In recent years,  we finally deemed the kids old enough to have a good time at an amusement park.  I know we’re pretty late in the game for this kind of thing, because I know for a fact that people routinely take small children and toddlers to, Disney World, for example, and have a lovely vacation.  That’s not our bag.  Amusement parks are for one thing and one thing only.  Roller coasters.  (Also, I’m fairly certain I have the only children on earth who turn up their noses at all things Disney.  We passed this along on the DNA with my bad temper and hubby’s blue eyes.)  So, we held off on the amusement parks until the kiddos were old enough to ride some good rides.  Once we hit that magical time, we packed it up and carted our young’uns off to the amusement park, where I was in for a horrible discovery.

These people have a death wish.

Friends and faithful readers, I don’t like roller coasters anymore.  In fact, they SCARE me.  GASP!!!

I have an analytical mind and I simply can’t let something like this pass without a period of painstaking and methodical self-assessment.  Here’s what I learned about myself.  Some bizarre marriage of cynicism and the awareness of widespread poor work ethics has convinced me that roller coasters are not safe and anyone who rides them will end up dead or maimed, thanks to a lazy engineer or a safety inspector who was late for lunch.  I am a mother!  I can’t take those kinds of risks!  And while my children aren’t having any part of the roller coasters, either, I rode one with my nephew (I believe he was nine at the time) and it was more stress than my poor heart can take.  I didn’t show it, I swear, but I held his hand in a vice grip the entire time, convinced that, in the inevitable event that someone’s safety harness failed, I had damn well better have a hand on that child.  Just in case.

I know this is not logical or rational but what it really comes down to is trust.  Do I trust the people who design, build and maintain the roller coasters to keep me safe?  No, not really.  Why on earth not?  I trust airplanes and cars (to a certain degree).  The only conclusion I can draw is that somewhere in the recesses of my twisty little mind I assume that because these things are built purely for fun, they must not be as serious about safely.  Shhhhh!  I know that’s not true!  I KNOW.   But knowing in my head isn’t the same as knowing in my gut and my gut tells me NO. NO ROLLER COASTERS.

It’s been sad, this reluctant goodbye with those twisty turns and sudden drops.  It’s also been difficult for me to come to terms with my new fraidy-cat status.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I actually have come to terms with it.  I have had some vague and unformed plan of avoiding amusement parks until…forever, but it now occurs to me that that’s stupid and cowardly and any fearless and badass girl such as me would go back and show those roller coasters WHAT’S UP.  Soooo, who’s up for a trip to Busch Gardens this spring?  I have a score to settle.

(If you don’t get the title, you need to know that The Big Bad Wolf was THE roller coaster in my day. Sonny.)

Photo swiped from www.ultimaterollercoasters.com. Thanks, Google!

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