On Friday evening Toney noted that none of us were scheduled to work the next day, and suggested we seize the opportunity and spend the day at Knoebels. It’s a great old amusement park an hour or so from here, and we try to go a couple of times every summer. So far this year, we hadn’t been.
And it wasn’t horrible — the boys seemed to have fun. But the place was incredibly crowded, and bubbling over with white trash. I’m not sure if we’d ever been there on a Saturday. We always go on a weekday, when it’s not so… colorful. On Saturday it felt like we’d been sucked inside a Walmartnado.
Some recurring themes:
Sideshow-caliber obesity I’m not exactly petite, but felt like a tiny sprite of a man on Saturday. If your self-esteem needs a booster shot, I recommend a weekend afternoon at Knoebels. You’ll come out of it feeling like one of the beautiful people, and find yourself holding up a pinky while drinking and eating, for at least 24 hours.
Godawful tattoos At this point in history I don’t have a problem with tasteful tats. They’re so common, I barely even notice the good ones anymore. But on Saturday there were lots and lots of bad ones. You know, things like cartoon characters flipping the middle finger, and profanity-laced phrases. Anything “bad ass.” Also, tattoos on necks, faces, hands, and backs of thighs. Those, I notice.
Clothing from a different era I think many people stopped paying attention to the world around them the day they downed their first Milwaukee’s Best. That’s my theory, anyway. They got stuck there, and have continued to wear the fashions, listen to the music, and use the cultural references that were current when they had their first beer. Hence: Flashdance shirts, stone-washed denim, t-shirts with fringe on the bottom, REO Speedwagon cassettes, and “Lighten up, Francis.” Am I wrong?
Recent injuries On Saturday I saw dozens of arm slings, casts, crutches, and neck braces. What the hell is going on?! Did these people just return from a battlefield somewhere? The whole thing had a distinct Civil War feel to it. I expected to see muskets, and little kids playing drums and marching into the sunset.
Communicating via hollering Once again, I’m confused. I just don’t understand why so many people insist on arriving at a place, going off in different directions, and YELLING to one another. “Colt! Don’t eat that!! Get over here! Colt!!” How about just staying together, and talking in normal conversational tones? Is that too “uptown?”
Perpetual anger You’d think that people who defiantly live life on their own terms would be happy and fulfilled, right? Folks who live by the mantra “I don’t care what anybody thinks of me” should theoretically be the happiest amongst us. Yet, they’re seemingly pissed-off most of the time. Go figure.
It was an interesting exercise, that taught me a valuable lesson: never again on Saturday. It started out PACKED, with Disney-like lines at every ride, and only got worse as the day progressed. I’m assuming many of the parents had to sleep one off, and got a late start? I’m only guessing.
I love Knoebels, I really do. But we’ll be visiting on weekdays from now on, thank you very much. For a Question, I’d like to know about your encounters with the Walmartnado. Where have you tangled with it recently? Please tell us your tales in the comments section below.
And I’ll see you guys again tomorrow.
Have a great day!
Now playing in the bunker
Use the Surf Report’s webhost: HostGator!
We’re all God’s children, but some of us are trashier than others. I’m just saying.
WB in OH says
We just went to Idlewild/Soakzone. On a sunday, it was nice. But you described it perfectly. I’ll be sending you a picture I took of what I consider an unfortunate tattoo, I hope she doesn’t read this site.
Not even close
Root 66 says
The family just went to the Ohio State Fair last week. They witnessed humanity at its best. I refuse to go (even though I’d the smallest guy there, with the fewest tattoos and the most teeth) because I tend to point and stare. The husky fair patrons might get offended and come over and whoop up on me…and ain’t nobody got time for that!
Walmartnado just went into my lexicon!
Lori F. says
My office has a constant parade of the great unwashed coming thru the door to pay their bills. I don’t have to wait on them but I see them waddle by my window and I find myself uttering the phrase “Oh good God” many times a day. Sigh……..
I’ve managed to stay out of Walmartado alley. I got a feeling though, my times a coming again, can’t stay out of the path forever but I’ll certainly be trying.
Both truck stops I hit going to and from Cincinnati a week ago. I don’t suppose that’s much of a revelation, really. They’ve always been a smaller version of Walmart, just right next to the freeway.
The Mole says
I just got back from Disney World and I right there with you on every point. I felt as if I was on stage at Jerry Springer.
Yep. I have to go back in November and my overwhelming impression from last time was someone had dumped every MidWest Walmart into the place. I have never seen so many obese, slack jawed people. I’m overweight, but c’mon.
To quote a favorite mockumentary:
“Why do you like Disney so much?”
“I think it’s because I’m very stupid”.
Phil Jett says
Attended a portion of the world’s longest yard sale in Northern Kentucky. Enough said.
Thought I’d try out our new Steak ‘N’ Shake last month. I went about 2:00pm, thinking it would be a down time. WRONG!! The place was PACKED with Walmartians! In fact, I told the person with me, “It looks like Walmart just let out!” The couple beside us were two big obnoxious rednecks with tats everywhere, and the woman had lots of real estate to put them on. They looked like had been done in a barn. The place was incredibly loud. No hushed tones. Everyone was yelling, even to a person 2 feet away. Food was meh. Junk on the floor. As we left, another group of droolers passed us as we exited. No more S ‘N’ S!! Oh, yea: this place is at the other end of the mall from Walmart, so they must make the two stops an afternoon outing.
Joe T. says
Walmartnado is fantastic.
Ruthless Dee says
The Puyallup Fair (now known as the Washington State Fair) on any day, any year that I’ve been there. Lord have mercy, where are all of these folks hiding until the fair begins? And watching them spend hundreds trying to win a cheap stuffed toy! I love the families that dress alike in hideous tie died t-shirts. The only place I’ve ever seen these is in a fat guy’s catalog that randomly started coming to my home and I found the concept of these colors in 8X inexcusable.
The closest I’ve seen to that is the Greater Baltimore Hamboree and Computerfest, although those people are more like Comic Book Guy than Walmartians.
Funny you should mention Knoebels… I’m halfway through Stephen King’s “Joytown”, which is about a young person’s summer job at an amusement park.
Phil Jett says
Just finished Joytown while on vacation in North Myrtle area. Lot of places in the book are around there. Great read.
I screwed it up. The book is called JoyLAND. JoyTOWN is a song by Kevin Gilbert.
I was looking at a people of walmart site and there was a old friend’s picture.
he is a little strange I will agree but to put him in with a bunch of room temperature IQ types was a bit too much for my tender sensibilities.
My friend and I used to go to concerts and yell out the year people got stuck in. Like your beer theory, ours was that some people thought they looked good in one particular year with one particular look and have never strayed from that for decades. We could be found at various classic rock band shows pointing and yelling “1982!” or “1979!” and laughing hysterically.
Is it just me or does American seem to be getting “redneckier”? Maybe it is because we are all a little bit poorer now….
The US is definitely getting “redneckier”. There are a lot of trends, which may all be manifestations of the same thing. Yes, we non-bankers have become poorer, but also: anti-intellectualism has been strong for some time; there has been a steady move towards the political right since the late 1970s; the baby boomers have gone from young-and-naive to old-and-crotchety. I’m sure there’s more.
Who the *&! are you calling old and crotchety? Get the *@*!@ off my lawn!
Erik in WV says
Just got back from Kings Island, was there Sun, Mon and it was exactly the way you describe. At one point we actually did the pinky in the air with our “Golden Elixers”. Day two we learned the beauty of the Fast Lane. Get One! No more suffering the tats, shirts, and useless conversations that make up the Walmartnado. Plus the rush you get from riding 3 big coasters in about 10 minutes, whew!
My local ShopRite. Jumpin’ Jesus on a palette of canned corn, I can’t understand where these people come from. Getting through the parking lot is a course in survival. You have some fatass waddling through with 3 hicklets sticking their buzzcuts out of those shopping carts shaped like a school bus, all a’screamin’ and a’hollerin. For some inexplicable reason, you go through the front door into this small vestibule where they set up produce and whatever Nabisco products are on sale so there’s a clusterfuck of idjits drooling over Chips Ahoy! and Oreos on display. The produce is a ruse – nobody looks at it.
Then when you actually enter the store, the noise level assaults your eardrums like you were stuck in an elevator with The Who.
And everyone knows one another. They think nothing of stopping in front of the meat counter and holding court. I’m just trying to grab a set of porkchops and get the hell out of there. But no, I have to reach around Wilma White trash and dodge a passel of hicklets gone wild. And every boy has that long lock of hair down their back. Some children under 12 even sport tatoos.
I try not to go there. I shop in the more expensive Hannaford beause the extra money is worth the serenity. And I dare not sttep foot in ShopRite near any holiday. Unless I’m tipsy and need a good laugh. OK, which is often during the holidays but that’s another story.
The office I work in looks like auditions for the Thriller video each and every Monday. I could not imagine leaving my house in sleepy pants and flip flops. Or slippers….or belly shirts with jeans so ripped they are hanging on by a thread. My mother would swirl in her urn.
Root 66 says
Sorry…but “swirl in her urn” totally cracked me up!
And yes, I have no idea what would possess a person to roll out of bed and think, “OK, I’m ready to go.”
Great Caesar’s Ghost–don’t you even OWN a mirror?!?
I might be fat, but I’ve got my dignity. I don’t even slum around the house in some of the clothes (or lack thereof) I’ve seen people wear to the store/doctor’s office/amusement park, etc.
You should see them in my office. Jesus H. Are you washing your car in the parking lot or scheduling meetings for your executive???
And I know this is an old fashioned concept but I’m going to throw it out there anyway… does anyone still own an iron??? For chrissakes, what’s with the “unmade bed” look? Get an iron and some spray starch for the love of all that’s holy.
Phantom Railfan says
There’s a year-round flea market near where I live that draws the trashiest (and frequently scariest) masses of humanity I’ve ever seen, and from every possible ethnic group. I can’t even begin to describe what it’s like to see a 70-year-old white woman in a bikini top, an elderly black man in a dashiki, an Indian woman in an elaborate sari, a pre-teen with a “If you can read this the bitch fell off” T-shirt, some androgynous teen with dreadlocks and a Barry Manilow shirt (?) and a droopy-lidded Mexican guy dressed like Gene Autry all loudly dickering over the same pile of rusted garden implements. And those are only the customers. The vendors are another story altogether…
Bill in WV says
Yep, the Milton Flea Market (Milton, WV). Go there on a Saturday or Sunday and you’d swear they were shooting scenes for one of the “Wrong Turn” movies. And, the B.O. GOD, THE B.O. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anybody else ever heard of the Wal-Mart theory?
If you’ve lived in your current city/town for a little while (couple years), go to your Walmart at any time of day. If you stay for a minimum of 20 minutes, you WILL see somebody you know.
Before I moved to Columbus I never proved that theory wrong in my home town. Try it!
Lew in bama says
I live in Alabama, you just described my entire state. Luckily I’m in Huntsville, known more for it’s NASA, missile defense, and rockets. We have more actual rocket scientists here than any other city.
However, when navigating our lovely little town, stay close to the downtown/medical district area. Just a few miles strayed too far and you’ll end up smack in the middle of redneck-white trash-bammer fan world. Trailers, camaros, mullets, and above ground pools abound. Rickys and Tammys as far as the eye can see…
I used to work in a tiny hospital in north Alabama. Horrifying.
Back of the thigh tattoo? I don’t generally have an issue with tattoo placement, but who the hell is seeing that? Not the owner of the tattoo. Not anyone close enough to be poundin’ the pudding. Was that put there incase they are ever a contestant on “Name That Ass!”
Hey, “Lighten up, Francis.” Is one of my favorite quotes. You are terrible person and everything you believe is wrong.
We ain’t at church Mr. Kay. If I wanna talk at my kids by yellin’ across the table you and yur kin are sitt’n at, then this is ‘Murca and by the grace of baby Jesus I can do it.
Man, I wonder what it would be like if Walmart DID have a theme park?
Every Wal-Mart has a theme park, even if they didn’t intend to.
I just found out that there is a Taco Bell one street over on my route home from work.
Looks like two dinner’s a day for this guy until my Cheese Steamer Rollup induced heart-a-stroke.
I once let a girl give me a cheese steamer rollup when I was in college.
Becky in Canada says
Was that you?
Was this in Cleveland?
Possibly. It’s like getting a glass bottom boat tour of the cuyahoga.
Wordnerd knew how to do this with Style and Grace, but I’ve been out of style for decades and Grace is busy dancing on the Main Stage: What, in Heaven’s name, does dinner possess in this construction? day? guy? That high calorie sex act?
In the spirit of Wordnerd I only point this shit out if you’ve previously been high-talkin’ your job, economic position or education.
These kids today…
Buzz in Wheeling says
It’s comic, but it’s also sad. People just don’t care anymore, a good many of them anyway. They don’t wash, they don’t cook and probably don’t do laundry all that often, let alone iron clothes.
Folks, this is learned behavior. If you are a lousy parent, your kids are going to turn out just as bad and probably worse. Our local soup kitchen is across the street from our library. Many’s the time I’ve looked across the street to see some slob or slobette sporting a new tattoo, puffing on a cigarette and looking to be at least 50 pounds overweight.
I hate to say it, but I’m glad I’m 70 and not 20.
Root 66 says
Speaking of libraries, when it stop being proper etiquette to be QUIET there! People come in there sounding like a pack of hyenas in heat. Indoor voices people, SHEESH! I guess when I want to go somewhere quiet, I’ll have to go to the bowling alley, or airport or something!
Root 66 says
oops…”when DID it stop…”
Never go to knoebels on a Saturday on to the Bloomsburg fair on the last day of the fair…