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Salvation from Mickey

I remember the first time I visited Disney World. My Mom wrote notes to my teachers informing them of our educational retreat. My Dad drove us to Orlando in the family car.

It was magical, because I was 19 and tall enough to ride all the rides. My parents didn't have to take me to the hotel for an afternoon nap, I didn't nag for a hat with mouse ears, and thankfully no pictorial record of me wearing such a get-up exists.

Call me crazy, but the very suggestion, which people often do, of taking my progeny to an amusement park knocks the wind out of me. Dropping $180 at the entrance with that contemptible lady behind the glass leaves me choking back bile. I am of the opinion that if I'm about to cross the gates of hell with my whole family, I should get a warm smile, a close parking spot and some discounted sunscreen.

The next thing I know I'm inside the park (that's a misnomer if I ever heard one) of 1,000 degree cement, wearing my T-shirt, shorts and sensible shoes. Yet all the other women I see have on tube tops, short shorts and three-inch high-heeled sandals. Do they know something I don't?After standing in line for three hours for the sextuple loop gravity defying roller coaster, that only three of the six of us can ride, next to a woman wearing the above described ensemble (including a white tube top that just got soaked on the Wild River Ride), I should have thought to ask her "Why?" Necessarily, though, I busied myself distracting my husband and curious children for the duration.

Unfortunately, I didn't distract my cotton candy crowd, who just road a roller coaster for a mere 120 seconds, long enough to miss her exiting the ride with the afore mentioned top dangling from her pony tail like a worn out scrunchie. Amusing, but not worth the wait.

We recover from that scene in time to make one of our own. Sugar and excruciating heat rising off the pavement tunnel through our brains piercing a hole in filial civility, at which time everyone starts moaning, whining, begging, growling and lying on the ground in sheer agony (that's me).

What do we do next? We go wait in line at the simulated plummet to your death ride, where the attendant would rather go home and shoot his own dog than smile or, worse, say pleasant words to us. Then, weak from our lives flashing before our eyes, we visit parents' purgatory, otherwise known as the souvenir shop, to buy four $12 trinkets, valued all total at $3, destined to litter the floor of my home until on the 16th pick-up I come to my senses and discard them, lamenting the $48 dollars I threw away.

In the midst of clicking open my compact and begging Scotty to beam me up, we notice that a child has turned up missing. At that crucial moment I begin inventorying what he wore that day. I draw a blank. Our child proclaimed to us on the way that he didn't wear any underwear, so I use that as my starting point. I should have dressed them all in their matching church clothes.

Moments after alerting security, we find him, only 10 feet from where we stood, dozing on an empty bench. I take it as a sign from God that he has chosen us for salvation from this place, sending us out to warn others not to go in.



Web posted on Thursday, July 15, 2004


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