I have an obsessive personality, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that after riding the Wacky Worm (or, for those in the know, The Caterpillar) for the first time at last year’s Big Butler Fair, the hope that it would return in 2011 was one of the few things that kept me from hanging myself with a hobo’s necktie over the winter.
Who the fuck is this kid in the red shirt and why isn’t he cheering? You’re on the Wacky Worm; get stoked, motherfucker!
As soon as Janna, Chooch and I had our ride-all-day wristbands slapped on (so proud of Janna for sucking it up and going all-out! Henry, however, remains a pussy) I suggested we take a preemptive stroll around the fairgrounds. I was trying to stay cool about it, but the truth was that my pulse was quickening due to the fact that the Caterpillar was not in the same spot it was in last year and I couldn’t even begin to imagine a day at the fair without it. Especially since I spent an hour the night before coaxing and bribing Chooch to want to ride it. (He punked out last year and in that moment, I was no longer looking at my son, but at a 40″ failure. And you better believe I let him know it! And you better believe Henry lectured me for letting him know it.) So while I pretended to be interested in the money-guzzling midway games boasting oversized Rastafarian bananas as prizes and the joyful beam on my kid’s sweaty face as he rode on some kiddie truck ride (which was actually pretty awesome and I should have went on it too, why didn’t I go on it too?), I was actually craning my neck to see overtop tents and pendulating cages of death, in search of just one glimpse of my beloved Caterpillar.
THANK GOD IT WAS ON THE OTHER SIDE, YOU GUYS.
“Why do you keep laughing like Pee Wee Herman?” Janna asked me, herself laughing quite nervously as we embarked on the first of many frivolous journeys.
“I don’t know, I’m just having so much fun!” I answered a little defensively, like I now needed to prove I wasn’t going to whip out my penis and coat the Caterpillar with my gooey joy.
Corey met us there an hour later and immediately joined the fan club. I think we rode it like, 18 times, with no promise of ever slowing down. I’d still be riding it right now, if I could. I think The Law Firm should have one in the building. As a stress reliever. You know. Fuck yoga.
Unfortunately for Corey, who is six-foot-alot, he was unable to join us in raising the roof each time the Caterpillar cruised down the hill.
“I’ll for sure break my wrists,” he announced when he realized how low the track was above us. I let him believe that that’s what would happen, when I really know that his arms would most likely get gruesomely divorced from the rest of his torso. And it would still remain the best ride ever.
At one point, I noticed that older kids started lining up for it.
“That’s because they hear you screaming and now they think this ride is fun,” Henry mumbled.
“Um, it is fun,” I corrected him.
“No, you’re just an idiot,” he sighed. How would he know when he wouldn’t even ride it? What the fuck, Henry. It’s because he was too scared. TOO SCARED OF EXPERIENCING 60 SECONDS OF SHEER DELIGHT. It might actually force him to crack a smile, possibly even tack on a few more minutes to his miserable life, god forbid.
So instead of joining us, he stood off to the side like some purse-toting pedophile, while all the other moms stood nearby and encouraged their respective children to cheer each time the caterpillar carried us past. Of course, this made me carry on even louder, like I was single-handedly trying to bring back the Arsenio; sometimes I would even shout Henry’s name and then point at him so everyone would know we belonged together.
He was really enthused about that.
This guy and another younger Mexican were the official Wacky Worm operators of the day, and let me tell you—they tired of me real fast. I mean, REAL FAST. I was about as amusing to them as border-crossing and I’m certain they mistook me as mentally challenged. Or on drugs. Why? Because no one has that much fun on the Wacky Worm? Damn right no one has that much fun on the Wacky Worm! I am the champion of the Wacky Worm!
Anyway, I’m glad he decided to fuck with the ride’s foundation while Corey and Chooch were on it, and not me.
Furthermore, why wasn’t I on it that time?! I have no idea. I’m sure I must have had some sort of reason to willingly pass up a joyride on the back of my beloved Caterpillar, but the only thing I can think of is that’s when I was giving a blow job to the Dunk-a-Clown under the bleachers during the tractor pull.
Let me try to walk you through the glory that is the Caterpillar (or Wacky Worm, whatever you feel most comfortable, as an adult, calling it). It’s like riding in Jesus’s lap (that can go either way you want, holla to the religious porn addicts) as a caterpillar ascends you up to the Heavens, far away from all the grouchy grown-ups, while tiny angel-dusted kitten paws knead biscuits of lost childhood memories on your belly, and all of a sudden you remember what it felt like to score that coveted Scratch n Sniff sticker you needed to fill the page and to not have bills to pay and a house to make sure isn’t exploded by your kid and a boyfriend who might have even been the same age as you, and it feels great. Great like freedom. You absolutely want to ride it 87 more times. Caterpillar, take me away.
I got to do something that I missed out on last summer: riding the Caterpillar at sunset. Nothing is better in life than riding the Caterpillar at sunset.
We never got to ride in the front seat, though we came close on our second-to-last go-around but the dumb bitch in front of us in line caught wind of our plans and pushed her way to the coveted front spot. Or it could have been that her beer-bellied dad was hollering, “GET THE FRONT, GIRL. GET IT!” when the carny opened the gate.
I tried to get Henry to act as a placeholder while we were on the ride. You know, have him stand alone in line, saving us a spot in the front; but he refused, mumbled something about not wanting to be the only adult male in line for a kiddie ride, at which point I had to argue that Powers Great American Midways mistakenly lists the Wacky Worm under the “kiddie ride” section of their website when they obviously meant for it to be under “spectacular rides.”
The next morning, Chooch came over to me and said, “Thank you, Mommy.” The fact that he said this earnestly and with no hint of sarcasm gave me pause.
“For what?” I asked hesitantly.
“For making me ride the Caterpillar yesterday. It was so awesome.”
That was my proudest moment as a parent.
Since I’m friends with Powers Great American Midways on Facebook (laugh all you want, it’s informative!), I know that they’re affiliated with the upcoming Fayette County Fair which is happening on my birthday. You better believe I’m going! I went to the PGAM website and filled out the contact form with a very pressing question:
They haven’t responded to my pressing inquiry yet. Until then, I will just watch my video continuously until Henry takes the Internet away from me:
(Henry thought I pushed that girl out of my way at the end. I promise you I employed great restraint not to. Also, I apparently wasn’t holding Janna’s phone properly BUT WHO CARES IT’S THE FUCKING CATERPILLAR YA’LL. Henry really wants me to stop calling it that. It’s apparently a completely different ride.)