As a kid, at the Jersey shore, I loved the amusement park. Just about every large boardwalk on the shore has a small amusement park. They have ski ball, pinball machines, a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl and other rides. The ride I liked the best was bumper cars.
Bumper cars was the most expensive ride at the park I went to. Fifty cents! When you consider you could get into a double feature movie for thirty-five cents, or buy a pack of gum for a nickel, fifty cents was a big investment for a three-minute ride.
But for a kid too young to drive a car, it was worth fifty cents to speed around a track and bang into other cars, driven by people you generally didn’t even know. If there was a cute young lady in another car all the boys would gang up on that car. Clearly blasting one’s bumper car into another again and again would be the catalyst to an exciting romantic relationship.
Well that never worked out, but it was great fun blasting another car, spinning it around and banging it head on and not allowing it to move.
A few years ago I took my then very young son for a bumper car ride. While waiting in line for an open car, I read the “Bumper Car Rules.”
My reaction was “Bumper car rules? There are no rules in bumper cars!” But oh, yes there are now.
Some of the rules made sense:
Stay in the car until the ride stops
Keep the bar down at all times
Keep your hands and feet inside the car
Do not hit another car head on
You must be over 43 inches tall…
WAIT! DO NOT HIT ANOTHER CAR HEAD ON!! WTF?
Bumper cars is all about hitting the other cars, and head on is the best way to hit them. The name of the ride is BUMPER CAR, and they don’t want you to bump other cars?
Oh, you can tap them, give them a glancing blow, even push them a little, but “DO not hit another car head on!” And they were serious. While we were waiting, they stopped a ride and warned someone about bumping head on.
My son enjoyed the ride. He thought avoiding collisions was fun. Me, I’ll never waste another fifty cents on this ride (five dollars now).
A bumper car ride where you can’t bump other cars?
What’s next, no tag at school recess?