It’s tradition for us to go to Kennywood on Father’s Day. I can’t remember how it started. I think Henry randomly heard someone say that it’s one of the least crowded days of the years (all those deadbeat dads don’t wanna leave their couch and beer cases, I guess?) so we went when Chooch was a baby and it was pretty awesome. But for an amusement park like Kennywood, even the supposed “least crowded day” is going to have some lines in which to wait and count prison tattoos.
Unless you go during a rainstorm!
But we almost didn’t go. It was raining so terribly hard when we woke up on Sunday morning that I almost made the decision to not go (because it is ALWAYS my decision). But deep down, I had a really good feeling that it would turn out to be OK. One of the best Kennywood experiences of my life was back in the late 90s when my friend Lisa and I went on a day that called for thunderstorms — everyone thought we were nuts, but we sure showed THEM. (I think?)
It stopped raining for about two hours before we got to the park, so we were all smug on our drive out there. Of course, rain began to drop in torrents right when Chooch got off the first ride of the day….
…which was promptly shut down as soon as the ride ended.
I wasn’t about to let the rain get us down, so I led Henry and Chooch toward rides that are under cover, like the Musik Express and the Exterminator, which is kind of like an indoor Crazy Mouse but a million times better and usually has a long wait time.
But once we walked inside the building that houses the Exterminator, we discovered that there were only about 10 people in line in front of us. Smugness reactivated! I have NEVER been able to get on the Exterminator that fast before ever! The downside is that it eliminated the opportunity to get the inherent need for humanity mocking out of my system. But another upside was that we didn’t have to stand in an endless queue under a roof amid sweating Yinzers for an hour – like being in Hell with a lid on and having to endure the otherworldly stench of rotten underpits and nicotine breath.
Speaking of nicotine, the rain took a long enough smoke break to enable Chooch and I to ride the Jack Rabbit — another 0 minute wait in line — but then it started up right after Laura arrived so we took shelter in the arcade, which was coincidentally the first time in my 33 years of visiting Kennywood to ever give a shit about the arcade.
It was still pouring — the kind of rainstorm that comes down so hard it actually hurts — so we figured that would be a good time to eat….under a roof.
“I just spent $30 on food and all I got was a lousy soft pretzel and my dirty kid’s germ-fingered leftovers. And also, this sick Tom Selleck ‘stache. So…priceless, I guess.”
Chooch kept going on and on about wanting to on “God’s Boat Ride,” which was what he was calling Noah’s Ark all day long, without a single pelvic thrust of irony given. It was still raining kookas and albinos by the time we finished our lunch that rivaled the price of park admission, so for once I was on Team Chooch and agreed that we should run for our lives to the nearest Noah’s Ark post haste. We were halfway there when I finally bothered to notice that Henry wasn’t with us.
“He was still eating,” Laura said in a sad tone, like she couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t notice something so significant as my life partner mid-lunch. But clearly the rain was affecting her tone, because duh — of course I wouldn’t care to notice something like that. Hahahaha. Hahaha. Hahahahah, oh god.
(I have residual Kennywood giddiness and it is ALL I CAN DO NOT TO WRITE THIS ENTIRE THING IN CAPSLOCK OK OMG.)
Noah’s Ark ended up being one of the only rides we stood in line for all day long, I guess because it was still raining at that point and Noah’s Ark screams SHELTER to all of us wet fucks at Kennywood. God, I’m so good at sleuthing.
My favorite part of Noah’s Ark was when they completely changed it from its original glory and made it into one of the crappiest, pointless rides in the park. J/K. My actual favorite part was when I hid behind a corner and scared the hemorrhoided SHIT out of Henry, he was looking in the opposite direction at the time, making him even more startled, which he will deny but I saw the way his eyes bulged out behind his dumb black-rimmed glasses. That motherfucker be scared.
The best part of Noah’s Ark is the bouncing floor that makes everyone involuntarily twerk, two-by-two. Suck on that, Noah.
Even Henry’s hemorrhoids be twerkin’.
Too bad Chooch isn’t still in CATHOLIC SCHOOL. Maybe they’d let him wear street clothes for a day if he told them he twerked on down in God’s Boat Ride. Until they wiki’d “twerk” and find 40 ways to connect it to the Devil.
There was an old man in our group who only had a stump for a right hand and I prayed a little right there in God’s Floating Church that Chooch wouldn’t notice.
(He thankfully did not notice.)
(I really wish that guy would have been creative with his stump. If you’re not going to strap a bayonette on it, at least draw it a fucking Sharpie face, for Christ’s sake.)
And then I got REALLY giddy, you guys. We decided to go on the Racer….
OK, I know this going to be really hard to understand, but the Racer is a RACING rollercoaster with TWO TRAINS that RACE EACH OTHER OMG.
Chooch and I ran to the backseat of the red one, and Laura, fearing the outcome of being our opponent, opted to sit in the same train as us. She’s smart.
Henry, however, chose to sit ALONE in the blue train, which made Chooch and me die with evil laughter. You would have thought this was the funniest thing ever, the motherfucking Kings of Comedy tour on the goddamn Racer at Kennywood, with the extent of our Level 10 belly laughs. Everyone around us had undulating “STFU” thought bubbles above their rain-frizzed heads. Henry kept turning around to glare at us.
Then one of the guys working the ride made the mistake of getting on his microphone thingie to ask everyone if they were having fun, and of course Chooch and I were the only motherfuckers who responded obnoxiously.
RIDING ALONE AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Oh shit, we heckled the motherfuck out of Henry the entire way up the inaugural hill. It was the FUNNIEST THING IN THE WORLD to Chooch and me, you guys. HENRY! RIDING ALONE! ON FATHER’S DAY!
DON’T STAND UP, MOTHERFUCKERS.
From the very first hill and on, I proceeded to fake-scream as obnoxiously and blood-curdling as possible.
“My God! You sound like you’re being murdered!” Laura shouted over her shoulder, which of course made me channel my inner Janet Leigh/Jamie Lee Curtis Scream Queen until even the people on the other train were looking around for the source of the nails on chalkboard. Most notably was the older man in the backseat of the blue train. He was riding with his young granddaughter and straight up SCOWLED AT ME when our train whizzed by at the very end, bringing us to sweet, sexy victory.
“YEAH! WE WON! YOU’RE ALL LOSERS!!!” Chooch shouted across me at the assholes on the blue train. We continued our asshole parade all the way off the ride until we met up with Henry near the exit for his side.
“WE EVEN BEAT YOU OFF OF THE RIDE!!!” I screamed, laughing so hard I had to squat to keep from peeing. (This is my signature move. I perform it at work at least thrice weekly. However, I’ve already met my quota today alone.)
Henry acting like he doesn’t care that he lost, because with family like me and Chooch, he’s clearly a winner.
Walking backward to mock Henry some more.
Then I came across the old man who was scowling at me and realized it was the librarian from my high school and I totally fucking lost it. Oh my god, I was laughing so hard that my breath was caught in my throat. I was such a pain in that man’s ass when I was a teenager, so it was only fitting that I put a aural blemish on three minutes of his Father’s Day all these years later.
Then we rode the Jack Rabbit, another wooden coaster, on which I proceeded to scream like an elderly lady from the 1920’s getting a sexual tickle from a feather.
Henry, as much as it must have pained him, actually cracked a smile during that one, though, if you can try to imagine.