carnies and rockstars

About a week ago Katie and I were at the grocery store with the boys. At the end of the checkout counter they had one of those carnival style Crane/Claw games where you try to scoop up the candy, or toy, or stuffed animal or whatever. Obadiah wanted to try to play it so badly. He asked us every single time we went to the store. Katie and I had decided that we would go ahead and let him try. He would play it once, lose his 50 cents, suffer pain, humiliation, and heartbreak, and never ask us to play again. That was the plan. So, he begs us to play, I grab two quarters and tell him, “knock yourself out man!”

Wouldn’t you know it, first shot, nails it, and wins the ugliest fluorescent pink/fluorescent green stuffed crocodile!!!

Katie and I stare at each other, shocked and dismayed, feigning excitement for our son’s good fortune. At this point the entire checkout area has stopped all activity to look at the young man clinging to the fluorescent crocodile and cheering quite loudly “I WON!!! I WON!!!”

I turn to Katie and the cashier and wonder aloud, “Has anyone ever won anything from that game on the first shot?” As the cashier is shaking her head Katie bursts out with some comic brilliance, “Maybe a 40 year old CARNIE!!! HA HA HA!!!” I laugh along as I nervously scan the checkout line for twitching, overly tan, 40 year olds with armloads of Sudafed.

As we walked away from the cashier Katie was laughing aloud both at her joke and at my nervous reaction to her joke. When we got home I saw from a flyer we got in the mail that the county fair had indeed started. So, may I point out that it is not entirely out of the realm of possibility that a 40 year old carnie could be in the checkout line at Safeway!

Anyway, a few days later we went to the fair and had a great time! It was wristband night so Obadiah got to ride all the rides he could stomach for one low fee.

The cows were a little stinky but other than that we had a great time. The boys loved the rides. We spun until we came within inches of tossing our cookies.
We even saw real, live, overly tan, twitching, carnies talking to themselves, and lighting one cigarette from the stub of the previous one… ad nauseam.

We also saw a rockstar!!!
I’ve seen this guy around town quite a bit, so apparently he lives in Santa Rosa. I’d seen him several times and each time told Katie, “I’m pretty sure that guy’s a famous rockstar, or actor or something.”

Turns out he’s both.

Katie told me I was full of crap when I thought I recognized him. But I was positive I had seen him on TV or movies and I was pretty sure his name was Tom Waits. I told her I would google him when we got home and take a look at the pictures to determine if it was him. As soon as the google image page finished loading there was no denying it, it was definitely him!

Tom Waits is a Grammy award winning composer/performer, and is an Academy Award nominated Actor. I’ve never been exposed to his music but I know that his influence is huge and his reputation as a songwriter is legendary. You often hear his name mentioned alongside names like Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison. I remember him as an actor from parts in movies like “Short Cuts”, “Bram Stokers Dracula”, “The Fisher King”, “At Play In The Fields Of The Lord”, and “The Two Jakes”.

And there he was, just chillin’ at the fair. He was running around with his wife, kids, and a few friends. It’s just weird to see someone famous behaving like normal human being. Just like the rest of us.

I guess there’s not really a point to this story. Just that you never know who you’re going to run into. Could be a carnie, could be a rockstar.


the perkins(es) said...

Hey Jimmy...came across your blog by chance, read the introduction about 'culture-driven life' and was really excited to have found it! Awesome stuff, keep in touch. :-) P

Natala said...

jimmy , if you like software, oh my gosh! go there now! wow! aren't you so lucky? ;)

how did he know you liked software.
god is good.

(spammers, have a special place in my opinion)

the crocodile is the best.
and the cotton candy.

Roman said...

At first I saw the animal, I thought it was a hippo.

jimmy said...

I deleted the spam comment. So if you want free software... google it, like everyone else in the free world!

josh said...

You saw Tom Waits? And you don't know his music? He's one of my all time favourites... and though he's not a professing Christian, he writes some amazing "Whisky Gospel" covered by the likes of The Blind Boys of Alabama... Check out mule variations, esp. "Chocolate Jesus" and "Come on up to the house"... He plays a bit fast and loose with the gospel but he's on to something... twisted. Man, go out right now and buy the album, and then the whole back catalogue... peaceout. josh.

ben said...

Tom Waits is a legand but it is funny how some people, (sorry, but) like you, being a musician and all; did not reall know who he was...funny how guys like Waits seem to fall through the cracks because they tend to speak to either a different generation or just a different mindset altoghether.
Awesome that you saw him though, next time walk up and say howdy.

On a lighter note...
-There are two things that scare me and one is Nuclear War!
-And the other?
-The other thing that scares you?...
-Ahh, Carnies...Small hands, you know; Smell like cabbage.

Jenny Jorg said...

Obadiah has got some natural talent. This Sunday at college group we somehow got started on saying how Katie and others made fun of Morgan 'cause he had a big head when he was younger. Fortunately he gre into it. Then someone said that Obadiah reminded them of Morgan. Here's the funny part: Morgan said "Lucky guy!" So watch out 'cause that talent and killer looks good combine, as well as his "big mouth". I'm looking forward to seeing how he's going to turn out!
P.S. If you saw the cows at the fair you might have seen My Aunt. She brings her cows to the fair eveey year, it might indeed be because she owns a dairy. Does that make her a carnie, or does that in turn make me a freak?

Signed a confused, maybe freak.

jimmy said...

"If you saw the cows at the fair you might have seen My Aunt."

Jenny, it sounded like you were saying that your Aunt is a cow. That gave me a good laugh!

josh said...

and then i thought about it and i realised: carnie? rockstar?... tom is sorta both...

Jenny Jorg said...

Hey hey now, I have to right to say that my Aunt is cow, however you don't! Why you gots to be talking bout my mo...Aunt like dat?!

nah just kidding, it's all good.