Yesterday, I was reading Barry’s Explorer blog, which is the first thing I do every morning – well sometimes I read the funnies in the paper first. There were lots of sympathetic comments about the healthcare roller coaster he is on. I had been wondering what to write about next and, free associative mental digressions being what they are, I began to think about the roller coasters of my life.
Not the metaphorical ones, of which there have been many. But the real clankity-clank whoosh ones. Frankly, there are only two roller coaster rides that I can remember and they are thirty years apart.
BAGMAN: Just two! Good! Your readers just let out a collective sigh of relief. Just promise you don’t have videos. And please don’t go into detail about the 30 intervening years.
My first roller coaster ride gave me an undeserved reputation as a tough guy but second one (tomorrow’s installment) proved the opposite. The first one happened back in the 60’s. You know, I often talk about being a child of the 60’s and…
BAGMAN: Oh God, here we go on another digression!
…and most baby boomers immediately identify and nod their heads. But for me, “The 60’s” is really an amorphous pile of chronologically challenged poorly remembered mush that may or may not have actually occurred between 1968 and 1971.
BAGMAN: Pleeeese get to the point!
On one particular Monday morning within this time warp, after a particularly ruinous weekend of behavior, I regained consciousness with a small group of friends and people I did not know, on the livingroom floor of my apartment. My bloodshot eyeballs confirmed what I had known for a long time – that I would never get my security deposit back.
After calling in sick to minimum wage jobs we would soon be losing anyway, and after debating who had the greenest complexion, we started looking about for what to do next. It must have been Bagman’s psychotic belief that he was omnipotent but I announced, “Let’s go to Nantasket and ride the roller coaster.”
Nantasket was home to Paragon Park and the Wild One Roller Coaster. Checking the Internet, tells me that Paragon Park is now all gone and replaced with condominiums. But back then, we all grabbed our jackets and stuffed pockets full of mind-altering substances and jumped in my VW Bus and managed to get there fairly quickly with only a couple of stops for my less omnipotent passengers to recycle contents of their stomachs.
I don’t really remember much of the morning. I remember riding the roller coaster which was made of wood and creaked a lot and didn’t seem very scary. And I remember that immediately after debarking from the ride, I pulled a half-pint of rum out of my pocket, took a deep swig, lit up a cigar and suggested we get pizza.
And I remember my green compatriots staring at me in awe then rushing off to various nearby trash bins to continue recycling whatever gastric remnants still remained.
I’m not really proud of that part of my life…
BAGMAN: Phooey! Then why are you blogging about it at such length?!”
BUTLER: He’s just providing an object lesson for the younger generation who might be reading this. To show them what not to do.
…but even years afterward, when I ran into surviving members of that trip, they would say, “Oh yes! You were the guy with the rum, the cigar and the roller coaster!”
In any case, in July of 1976, I gave up rum and all other alcohol for good. 4 or 5 years later, I gave up cigars. And only one other time since Paragon Park did I ever venture forth on a roller coaster and I’ll blog about that one tomorrow.
BAGMAN: Whoopee. I can’t wait for that one. As of one roller coaster blog isn’t enough. Whatever happened to blogging about sex?