Funtown Splashtown Meltdown


Warning: As I am writing about Funtown/Splashtown, there is definitely some sassy [NSFW] language in here.

I could see that she had a tattoo between her shoulder blades that I’m fairly positive was intended to conceptualize world peace, and that was the immediately evident irony. There, on her back was a baseball-sized, deep blue and bright green earth and what I believe were figures of people united around it, bound by clasped hands. She turned, walked away from the fight she had just started, and as she passed me said aloud to no one in particular—though it was very clearly audible to everyone around us—“I need to walk away before I fucking ruin my family’s entire fucking day.”

Because I don’t have a frame of reference for how busy Funtown/Splashtown typically is, I don’t know if this day was busier than normal for a Summer weekday afternoon. Before this visit with my daughter, it had been about two decades since I was last there and that was around when Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” which I heard twice on this most recent visit, was actually a hit on the radio. By the time we arrived, the now-classic indie theme park had been open for less than an hour but the parking lot was nearly full and there were a half dozen busses parked in front with kids from local camps flooding out of them. On the left was a ticket booth for season ticket holders and those who had already purchased in advance. On the right were a series of booths and windows for us idiots who didn’t know any better and showed up empty-handed.

World Peace was not present for the majority of the 45 minutes we stood waiting for tickets. The line slowly chugged along, we baked in the direct sunlight, and it fast became apparent that—even though there was no way to tell based on sight alone—we had picked the wrong one. As the line eventually got significantly smaller and we got closer the window, the guy two spots in front of me was approached by two women—one of whom was World Peace—and three elder adolescents / young teenagers. World Peace immediately launched into kill mode.

I think that they were married or brother and sister and, in her words, this was the last time she was going to let him take care of anything; from now on she’s going to do anything that needed to be done right. He was a dumb fucker. It’s difficult, ultimately, to know exactly why she was so angry. Maybe he’d forgotten the sunscreen and she knew what I’d later find out—that the park sells tiny bottles of it for $11. THEY HAD BEEN WAITING. Where had he been? She needed her cell phone! This was the wrong line. Again, he was a dumb fuck. And so-on. Then she walked in my direction, delivered the “ruin my family’s fucking day” line, and got about 25 feet out before she decided that she was not above ruining her family’s fucking day and turned around to finish the fucking job.

There had been a number of occasions in which I wondered when I was going to allow myself to intervene and tell her that she was actually being terrible, which is something I have done a number of times when people are being both publicly and uncontrollably obnoxious. It often feels glorious when I engage, but becomes immediately evident in retrospect that such engagement doesn’t do much to alleviate tension for anyone but myself. A month or so back, I saw a man in an airport eatery seething about the service he was getting and, in all likelihood simply exorcising that feeling of total powerlessness and lack of agency/humanity we all feel when we go to airports. He kept saying, “If that waiter doesn’t give me my eight dollars, I’ll, I’ll…” I finally inserted myself and asked, “You’ll do what? What exactly will you do?” He asked me what I was doing, why I was a pussy, why don’t I go fuck myself, why don’t I leave he and his girlfriend alone, or, or, or…” “Or what, exactly?” Defeated and embarrassed, he finally just looked at the ground and told me to go fuck myself. Fair. I told him I hoped his day would get better and walked away feeling like an asshole.

But I didn’t hesitate to intervene in this particular sun-baked madness out of a desire to become better or to do the right thing, but because I selfishly really wanted to know what she was going to do next. To be fair, entry to Funtown/Splashtown felt insane and maybe World Peace was particularly sensitive to that. There were all those campers and everyone reclaiming their Groupons. From where I was standing, there was a great deal of anxiety among those in the cluster of lines for the day-of ticket purchaser, as, for no evident reason, the lines move at much different speeds and if you are—as we were in ours—moving slower than everybody else, you are perpetually faced with wondering how you could be such a know-nothing piece of shit and pick this terrible fucking line. When you’re not doing that, you eye fuck all of the families in front of you for clumsily trying to figure out who is going to pay for what, or for negotiating with the guy in the ticket booth about how over or under 48 inches their kids actually are. It, like being at any airport for any amount of time period, is enough to make people temporarily nuts.

Or maybe she was just regular terrible.

So finally they’re at the front of the line and the guy is engaging with the kid in the ticket booth but World Peace is continuing to disintegrate. To this point the second woman hadn’t said anything, but finally, after the 12th or so “fuck,” she told World Peace to quiet down because there are children around. That was it. World Peace lost her mind and started mimicking that concern, and making fun of the woman—her sister? sister-in-law? care-taker? Dr. Eugene Landy?—in the faces of children they were waiting with and fake-laughing and belittling as the woman stared at the ground, deflated. It wasn’t until this moment that I even considered that my daughter could be privy to all of this, but I looked down at her and she was looking at the sky and singing a song to herself, totally oblivious of the melt-down. The kids, who very well might have been World Peace’s poor kids and have to deal with this all of the time—or her nephews and nieces who have to deal with it some of the time—looked like, “Oh, here we go getting mortified by being dragged into this shit again.” But then, magically, as she gets her bracelet and is the last of the group to gain entry into the park, the tone of her voice changes and becomes airy and sweet—like when the devil finally vacates Regan MacNeil—and she says to the guy at the window, “Thanks so much!” in a way that made it seem as though she wasn’t actually Satan. I wouldn’t see them again until I was leaving the park 6 hours later and they seemed to be having a blast by a pool, and by having a blast I mean it looked like they hadn’t beaten each other to death yet and it appeared as though the dumb fucking guy who would never again be tasked with anything important was smiling. I think?

Anyway, with the concerns of the second woman in mind, I laughed a few hours later when standing in line at the Thunderbolt, which is the fastest and most puke-enducing of all of the spinning rides at Funtown. I noticed that the kids waiting in line, kids who were were mostly prepubescent boys or pubescent girls, were dancing and mouthing the lyrics of Iggy/Charli’s XCX’s I’m so Fancy:

First things first, I’m the realest (realest)
I’m still in the murder business
You should want a bad bitch like this
Drop it low and pick it up just like this
Cup of Ace, cup of Goose, cup of Cris
High heels, somethin’ worth a half a ticket on my wrist (on my wrist)
Takin’ all the liquor straight, never chase that
Champagne spillin’, you should taste that
Let’s get drunk on the mini bar
Make the phone call
Feels so good getting what I want
Yeah, keep on turning it up
Chandelier swinging, we don’t give a fuck

Iggy. Jeez. There’s kids around.

PHOTO CREDIT: Funtown WordPress

Ps. For more on Funtown Splashtown: The urinals of Funtown Splashtown USA featured on Urinals dot Net

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.