For the last few years, my primary means of earning a living whilst I complete my Criminal Justice degree is traveling with a carnival in the south. I have been considering writing a book about my observations and only recently decided I should perhaps write a post or two along these lines.
So here it is.
I know you are wondering about the title, well, that is because there are three observations that are semi-linked.
Let’s begin with parenting. One of the strangest things I have noticed working for a carnival is how many parents just let their kids run unattended on a carnival lot. Of course, we do watch out for the kids, but we cannot assume responsibility for them. We are workers with a job and that description does not include baby-sitter. Yet, that is often what we are. Do parents today really believe their kids are safe in an environment full of bad people?
Take carnies for instance. I am pursuing a career in law enforcement, yet I see raw bigotry daily as people come to my game (which I designed to be challenging, yet very winnable) and call me a crook. I wonder if these same people would call me that when I am saving them from the real bad guys. Yet, these same people, who don’t trust us to deal honestly and fairly in a game, will allow their children to roam unattended. And we wonder what is wrong with America.
Then there are the parents who repeatedly tell their kids, “That’s too hard…you can’t do it.” These are the folks who are going to be chiding their 20-something adult child later with the words, “Why can’t you do anything?” Uh, maybe because all their lives you told them they can’t? Just an observation.
But then there is the tough side of parenting. Protecting your child from REAL danger. Just tonight, what has been termed a “hood fight” broke out near my game. My baby (that is now 1 year) was in his crib and the fight flowed quickly in our direction. All I could do was get between him and the fight. I proceeded to cover over him with my body while kicking the fighters as hard as I could until they moved the other way. I don’t know how many ribs I broke on the one fellow, nor do I care…my boy was in real danger and I reacted. That was only 1 out of nearly 20 fights that broke out all over the midway tonight. This took place in Mansura,Louisiana at the Cochon Du Lait, which means, the Roasting of the Pig.
It is a nice festival and I have come here for many years. Most people here are fine, but on Saturday night, gang-bangers from nearby Marksville come to Mansura looking to fight, to prove which group of junior thugs are toughest. Most quickly learn that the Police Task Force members who enforce the law on the fairgrounds are far tougher.
I graduate soon and have been thinking of continuing for my Masters. If so, I will likely do a Masters thesis on something along these lines: Why do people become their worst at places like a carnival then show their best during tragedy?
I guess the point I am trying to get across is this: A carnival is a wonderful place to live, work, and play. I cannot speak for other shows, but the one I work with is family-oriented, honest, and clean. The only thing that makes any of it ugly is bigotry and foolishness, brought on by those we are there to entertain. I see this now as a parent and cannot help but wonder why people get in an environment where all is fun and games then turn into the vilest sort of folks imaginable.
Just a few weeks ago, I was in my former hometown DeQuincy, Louisiana. I shall never return. People I have known for years completely ignored me and I never met with more rudeness at any festival anywhere in the nation. I was sickened and disgusted by my former neighbors and classmates who treated me as if I were a theif sent to take all they had. One “lady” (or to all appearances she was) found three different ways to insult me while smiling and commanding that her child could never win my PRIZE EVERYTIME GAME. THAT is ignorance. I say former hometown because whereas I went there with a carnival in consideration of moving back to raise my son, I quickly decided that the bigoted and ignorant city DeQuincy would not be a proper place for my child. DeQuincy prides itself on being a religious town and a good place to raise a family. I disagree. Looking back at DeQuincy now would be like looking back at Sodom–foolishness and folly. You see, as a parent, I see things very differently. Just as I had to protect him from the hood rats I have to protect him from the psuedo-christians in Sodom. Strangely, the safest place for him is the place many parents send their kids to be babysat–the carnival. Maybe I will remain longer than anticipated.
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- Parents. (kylesieg.wordpress.com)
- New Poster and Stills Released for CarnieVille (dreadcentral.com)
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- £100 parenting vouchers from Boots (express.co.uk)
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