Child Faces Near Decapitation on Birthday
The following events took place on July 11, 2007 and are strictly my account of what happened that day. This post has been very hard to put into words because of the emotional toll it has taken on my family and that is the reason for it taking me so long to write it, that and I’ve been lazy as hell, lately.
In a freakish turn of events during a family outing, a four-year-old girl, my daughter, almost lost her head on of all things, the freaking Tilt–A-Whirl.
Most parents celebrate their child’s birthday in a special way and we’re not the exception. We had a bunch of kiddy and not-so-kiddy rides put in a local park and let both children have at it… sort of. We didn’t actually supply the rides ourselves, some sort of festival did that, but we did bring our eager birthday girl and her two-year-old sidekick, my son, there to have some fun.
The local forecasters, who are actually right about fifty percent of the time, predicted it would rain and the clouds seemed to back them up, but being the positive thinking adventure types we made the short trek anyway. I probably should have contacted our family meteorologist, Aunt Weather, for her analysis on the precipitation possibilities, because she might have sided with Don Paul and she’s usually right about sixty percent of the time.
With the wind blowing at a mild 30 mph we purchased a few ride tickets hoping to get the cheap thrills out of the way before the storm hit. The first monster raindrop came down as we walked toward the giant slide and many of its bigger friends soon followed. By the time we were near the ride the rain became a downpour so we changed course and rolled the double jogger under a shelter that filled up fast with drenched frolickers. Since noon was upon us we decided to wait out the shower with some cotton candy. The whining stayed at a minimum because I couldn’t talk with my mouth full.
Eventually it was game on, when the rain lightened up and we exchanged the tickets for bracelets that gave the kids a four-hour pass to ride all the rides as much as they wanted. I didn’t get one for me because I can usually convince the ride operators to let me join the kids for their safety. Suckers! The aforementioned ride operators were your typical carnie types. You know, they’re like a poor man’s Steve Buscemi without the looks. One of them was nice enough to wipe the mud off of the kiddie jet boat ride, but the rest didn’t seem to care how muddy our daughter’s birthday dress got. Apparently she didn’t either because she didn’t slow down one bit.
After sampling all the kiddie rides we ventured around the park to see what else they had. My daughter pleasantly surprised us by suggesting that she go on a thing called The Tornado so I obliged. The operator let me protect my daughter for free. Like I said, suckers. My brave son didn’t accept this situation well because he wanted to join us, but was just too damn short. The boy gave his mother fits as father and daughter soared and spinned through the air pointing down at him and laughing, er I mean, waving. As a result, my wife had a brilliant idea, why not take him on the Tilt–A-Whirl since there was no height requirement and it’s obviously a simple ride that doesn’t throw you around and scramble your brain. Right? Right? Wrong!
My daughter and I exited The Tornado just in time for me to join in on this egregious error in judgement. I sent her up the stairs with a smile on her face and even photographed the happy riders as they waited to enjoy their amusement ride from Hell.
A wave of guilt swept over me within the first orbit of the ride. My son’s face revealed pure terror and my daughter looked different, bad different. The only female ride operator who actually had all her teeth noticed the same thing and told me she would stop the ride. I nodded appreciateively and did what any responsible parent would do; I stood there and took an “after” picture of my wife and kids stumbling off of the ride to go nicely with the “before” shot from two minutes earlier.
My daughter gripped her tilted neck while trying to smile and my son buried his head in my dizzied wife’s shoulder when they reached wonderful muddy earth. My wife relayed what my daughter told her during the brief stint on the ride, “My head is falling off.”
She wasn’t trying to be meladramatic, she actually thought her head was coming off and it took a little convincing on our part that it was still attached as before the incident.
Kids being kids, they rebounded nicely and enjoyed many more (kiddy) rides before we went home to nap. The little ones slept, too.