Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Life in Review: Roller Coaster

When I was a kid being introduced to an adult, it was almost always with the disclaimer: he's shy. A bit of an oversimplification really. I was very nervous around new people when I was little. Downright unnerved by the thought of being left alone with strangers. Even if they were friends of my family. I was also scared to sit with Santa Claus or greet Ronald McDonald, but that's a different thing altogther. I know beyond reasonable doubt that they're evil.

Still, one fear often forces us to overcome another, showing what a thin line it truly is between bravery and cowardice.

Soon after I turned four and shortly before my family left California, we went to Disneyland. I loved it as any kid would. I had no problem going up to the fluffy tall Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck. We walked around for hours participating in various games and rides. It was everything a four year old could want from a trip.

But then in the middle of it, everyone other then me wanted to ride a roller coaster. It was designed so that a kid could ride as well as an adult, but I wanted no part of it. As we stood in line, I watched others zooming around through a hill, blazing along on the track. To me this seemed wrong. Why would I want to go zipping around when I could stay safely planted on the ground?

Still the others insisted, and so, when it was our turn to board, I didn't fuss or whine, I just told my mom I was too scared. My family did their best to convince me that it was safe and that I would have fun, but it was no use. Finally after a brief discussion with the guy who ran the ride, my mother informed me that everyone except me would be getting on and that the guy who opperated it would watch me till they got back.

This is where that whole 'shy' thing comes into play.

Everyone boarded and was seated. I stood next to the strange man, looking from him to the others. I watched as my family was secured in place. Then the man flipped the switch and the ride began to move. Like that I was done weighing things out in my head. I ditched the guy operating the controls and chased after my family, little legs a blur.

I can't imagine they were going too fast if I was able to catch them, but everything is relative when you're that small. As I came up beside my family I lept over the small gap into the section they were in. The rows were all full and there was no place for me to buckle in, but I was held onto tightly as we rode. I found it to be nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined, and was actually disappointed that the water fall didn't hit us as it looked like it should have.

Was it bravery that turned me into a miniature daredevil? No, it was fear. But it helped me to overcome another fear, and after all, isn't that part of being courageous; overcoming our fears? Besides, how many other people can say they've jumped onto a moving roller coaster? Not many I reckon. But that's just a day in the life when you're a former four year old bad ass like myself.


  1. Shyness seems so common in children. People laugh at pictures of children crying in portraits with Santa, but I really don't find it funny: it's traumatic for the child.

    You were so brave to go on the roller coaster despite how scared you were. And you enjoyed it! I'm impressed by how vivid your memory is. I don't think it was right of your family to pressure you to go onto the coaster.

  2. That's a pretty good story...I'll bet your family was scared shitless when you jumped on with no place to sit!


  3. Dude, can we classify 'It's A Small World' as a roller coaster? lol

    I don't remember much of my childhood (other than pop culture and toys), but as a father of two, I completely understand. My son and daughter stick to my wife and I like rice.... It's ok to want to be with your family. And look at you now, you're so close to your brother that you live with him!

  4. Good think it wasn't an amusement park like Westworld. You might have mugged that cowboy robot for his gun and went on a ten state killing spree. You with your new found bravery.

  5. Loveable, they were alright, they just didn't want me to miss out on an experience.

    Chuck, yeah they were actually. Since I was outside of any restraints.

    AsBlack, I said it's all relative to a kid. lol

    Cal, I am so up for Westworld. I would so take on Yul and win.

  6. Wow! What an amazing story! I can't imagine how many heart attacks you must have induced that day, between your family and the roller coaster operators! Soooo glad you lived to tell the fantastic tale!!

  7. awww little four-year-old ts, i love this story. ironically today, i stay clear of all roller coaster EXCEPT disney roller coasters. they're the only ones that don't scare me for some weird reason.

  8. Oh I love you TS but this is YUL BRYNNER we are talking about here - not YUL NEUSBALM from your neighborhood nurnip shop. Just saying. Trying to save you some embrassment here. Hey, even a robot Yul would have kicked my ass so I am no great shakes.

  9. Anything, I'm sure all the attendants had visions of lawsuits flash through their head. lol

    Ally, Well Disney shouldn't be scary, it's all supposed to be set up for kids. My excuse is just that I was 4. haha

    Cal, Alright then, you and I will take him down together. The real Yul we never could, but I think the robot we can.

  10. I would love to tell you I would put my full strength and attention into that battle but I suspect half through I would look in those cold robotic eyes and declare - "I love you Yul, he made me do it." and throw you totally under the bus. But damnit I would feel bad afterwards for at least a week.

  11. We are looking at going there next month but not too sure I will brave or fast enough to jump on the moving coaster, hmmmmm going to think about this one.

    Seriously I would have liked to have seen the looks on both your parents and the attendants faces I know the hair was standing on the backs of their necks.

  12. So the real question here... do you still ride the coasters?

    My kid had always been the polar opposite of shy, but if she ever ran at a roller coaster and hurled herself at it, she'd learn how to be shy!

  13. You were on a roller coaster at the age of FOUR?!!!! You ARE a daredevil! I think I took my first roller coaster ride when I was about 10....and I thought for sure I was gonna go flying out of my seat when we took that first dip.


  14. You the man!

    I was scared of both Chip and Dale.

  15. I pictured that one, and it was a very cute image.
    I was always shy too, and my parents used the same line "She's just shy/quiet." Plus, I was chicken of rollercoasters and still am. Never would've done a daredevil jump like that.

  16. Wow! I bet everybody was freaking when you jumped on the coaster car. The guy running the thing must have soiled his official Disney uniform...

    I'm sure that did change things for you...

  17. that's some crazy stunt. Did you get in trouble? Was your mom mad? Are you really a superhero?

  18. So this was your first step in becoming an assassin. Here I was thinking it was when you sniped the Malaysian ambassador from a rooftop at the age of five.

    Great story. You're mad man.

  19. wow!
    that's so funny. (i mean, looking back.) i'm sure it wasn't funny as it was happening....
    sounds like the matterhorn.... or thunder mountain?

  20. I was a shy kid who was also afraid of roller coasters. I totally think you made the right choice. Strangers = much scarier than roller coasters!

  21. Why does everyone always want to assassinate the Malaysian ambassador? I found his quite personable in a dictatorial sort of way.

    Strangers are much more worrysome because roller coasters can't drive windowless vans.

  22. Ha! That sounds familiar. My son had a sudden fear of elevators our first night of vacation. He refused to get on and I barely reached around the luggage rack to keep the doors opened. Faced with being left behind, he jumped in, spilling my venti java chip frapp all over the floor.

    Now when it comes to roller coasters and other amusement park rides he starts out brave, but is famous for bailing at the last minute, or even after the ride starts!

    About that fear of clowns. My son would get so scared he would take off running. So now picture two white adults trying keep a young, hysterical, hispanic child from running away at crowded fair. Yep, they thought we were kidnapping him! I've carried id's, photos and his fingerprints in my purse ever since then!

    Hmm... Bad Ass or Sensory Integration Dysfunction?

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  24. Hi, Nice to see a pretty professionally done blog on the this rich subject.

    Hi, Nice to see a pretty professionally done blog on the this rich subject.

  25. Its a great post.i will definitely share it with my friends.

    work at home


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