One of my favourite summer jobs in my college days was working at this place, Paragon Park, just four miles from where I was living in Hull, Mass. (so I could walk there when I had to). I worked there in the summer of 1984, which turned out to be the last summer of its existence. (I was bummed that in the following summer I had to work as a bagger at the Purity Supreme grocery in Weymouth instead.)
This isn’t my video, but it was taken during the time I was there:
One of the main rides I worked on was the Bermuda Triangle, glimpsed here at 0:22:
(The other two were the Ghost Train and the Tilt-a-Whirl.)
Plus this is where it was located:
On a less idyllic note, running the Tilt-a-Whirl also involved cleaning up the resulting vomit from drunken teenagers.
The Bermuda Triangle was my favourite.
And I had to clean up nasty messes at Purity Supreme too, so it’s really no contest.
Re the coaster: all wood, and dating from 1917.
And when the park closed, they didn’t destroy the coaster — they just moved it, to a Six Flags park in Maryland, where it is STILL IN OPERATION:
When I was apprenticed to run the Ghost Train, I had to learn the historical speech that the driver gave, about the park and the coaster and World War I. Once he retired (he was older than the coaster), I switched to giving a humorously “spooky” speech instead.
He used to complain about algebra: why do they use letters like x, y, and z? Why don’t they just use the actual numbers? I tried to explain that algebra uses variables because a) often we don’t know the actual numbers, and the point of algebra is to find out what they are, and b) in any case the further point of algebra is to illustrate general principles that apply to many different specific cases, regardless of what the numbers are.
His response: yes, but why do they use letters like x, y, and z? Why don’t they just use the actual numbers?
“His response: yes, but why do they use letters like x, y, and z? Why don’t they just use the actual numbers?”
Yeah, I get your consternation, but if x=4 and 2x=8, and the unit of measurement is miles, what he’s saying is not that much crazier than what you’re saying. I’d have felt better if you’d said, “It was x miles there, and 2x round trip.”
Ayn Rand, in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: “Let those who attempt to invalidate concepts by declaring that they cannot find “manness” in men, try to invalidate algebra by declaring that they cannot find “a-ness” in 5 or in 5,000,000.”
Maybe you should have explained algebra to him by way of the problem of universals?
Well, (b) was my attempt to do that.
OK, let’s take this slowly. Your workplace was “just” four miles from where you lived, so you inferred that it was walking distance?
If it was four miles there, wasn’t it four miles back? So we’re talking eight miles of walking to a job at an amusement park to clean up vomit?
I feel like I’m missing something here. And I feel like you were, too. Like, for instance…a bicycle?
The subjective disutility of a long walk is inversely proportional to the prettiness of the scenery.
Plus I didn’t have a bicycle.
Also, the walking wasn’t usually two ways. I might have to walk there while my mother was at work and had the car, but by the time my shift was over she’d generally be off work and could pick me up.
When our car wasn’t working and the ferry wasn’t running, I had to walk to and/or from Hingham, which was seven miles each way, to catch the bus to Quincy to get the train back to Cambridge.
(And uphill both ways! You young whippersnappers, etc.)
Seven miles each way sounds insane. Was mass transit that bad in Massachusetts? And that close to Cambridge? Even New Jersey is better than that. I can’t think of a plausible New Jersey scenario in which you’d have to walk seven miles each way to get to work. You might have to spend three hours on five buses each way, but walk seven miles two ways? Come on.
That said, having spent yesterday walking through the “valley of the shadow of death” (meaning literally: the one in the Bible)–also known as the “valley of unremittingly brutal sunshine where any kind of shadow would be a relief”–I’m not as impressed with your walking stories as I was a few days ago. Honestly, it’s a mystery to me how those biblical weirdos lived out there in the Judean Desert. Forty days and forty nights? In *that* desert? Fake news. My guide through the valley, a refusenik from the Israeli army, cheerfully told me that he loved the austerity of the desert, that he’d been adopted by a Bedouin family, and that he lived in a hut somewhere. I don’t think I would have lasted another day.
I climbed Masada a few years ago with a couple of friends. We got to the top just before dawn. As the sun rose, everyone us around began to cheer and sing. I just sat there wondering: “What kind of idiot would have fought a battle over this goddamn thing? It’s just a big ass rock in the middle of nowhere. And I climbed it. For what?”
I do get why they’d commit suicide, though.
Train transit between Cambridge and Quincy was very reliable.
Bus transit between Quincy and Hingham was fairly reliable.
Bus transit between Hingham and Hull/Nantasket technically existed, but was highly unreliable (both in the sense of a limited schedule and in the sense of not predictably sticking to the schedule). And taxi service to Hull was like one guy, who was sometimes available and sometimes not. (Kind of like Auburn when I first came here,) Plus pricey.
The ferry from Boston to Hull was reliable in the sense of sticking to its schedule but unreliable in the sense of having a limited schedule: once each way on weekdays, no service on weekends, IIRC.
Possibly transportation in the Hull area has improved since the early 1980s; I don’t know. (Taxi service in Auburn has improved since I got here. Public transit, by contrast, has gotten worse.)
“having spent yesterday walking through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ … I’m not as impressed with your walking stories as I was a few days ago”
Were you carrying a suitcase though?
A suitcase? No, just a rod, a staff, and a backpack that felt, after a few miles, like I’d packed it full of lead.
But at least you weren’t in Alabama. Hence the line “I will fear no weevil.”