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Carnie Knowledge

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 2 CommentsBy admin | June 23, 2009

I hate corn dogs and enjoy regularly bathing, but still, I dream of being a carnie.


But do I really want to sleep in a trailer
with someone like this every night?

I have a few recurring fantasies. One is to head to Las Vegas in a red Cadillac with the top down, my lawyer, and a trunk full of booze and drugs to re-enact Hunter Thompson’s trek in Fear and Loathing. This is problematic, since I don’t do drugs or drink. I’d also love to run off and join the circus, but only if it’s a giant puppet circus. And then there’s my broad array of fantasies of living off the grid, one of which involves becoming a Carnie. I have no idea what the allure is; I don’t have Carnie Hands, I don’t like my food on a stick, and I rather like bathing on a regular basis. Still the allure remains. I think it stems from the almost surreal childhood memories I have of the weird mixture of excitement and creepy disappointment that seem to hover quietly but menacingly around a carnival as a summer day ends, the sun goes down, the rides light up, and emaciated, tattooed guys with teeth missing start inappropriately scoping the teenagers. It’s like the scary clown thing I guess. In any case, if you’ve ever shared this fantasy, real employment opportunities exist. Companies like Modern Midways, Wade Shows, and Strates Shows all have colorful and inviting employment pages. They seem to leave out some of the possible downsides of carnie employment though; for some “behind the midway” insights, check out this hilarious letter that a National Review reader and former carnie sent to John Derbyshire, who apparently had made some unflattering remarks about carny people in an article. The letter explains, for example, things like “Carnie Teeth” with colorful brevity: “….the smoking, the sugary diet and the poor dental habits account for the rotten baked beans your average carny man calls his teeth…” and gives a well-rounded view of why carnies are the way they are in general.

Read Comments

  1. Posted by kristin on 06.23.09 7:02 am

    in undergrad i had a prof who went “underground” to study carnie people and their behavior. i thought it was so cool. of course, i can’t remember his hame.

  2. Posted by » Help Pick The Dissociated Press Best Of 2009 - Dissociated Press on 12.29.09 12:07 pm

    [...] probably never meet (or want to) like Gore Lolitas and Juggalo Furries, offered up some tips on running away to join the circus, and explained why it’s okay to take cuts at the body-mod [...]