Look out ladies, the boys of summer are back.And I’m not talking about the jocks in tight pants. That’s the real reason baseball is America’s favorite sport, in case there was any doubt.I’m talking about God’s gift to women who like cheap thrills and greasy food.He holds the key to the Zipper and I mean that literally. He can decorate a bedroom ceiling with square AC-DC and Eminem mirrors.He knows that a poorly-sewn stuffed animal can melt a woman’s heart. Throw in a lemon shake-up, a corn dog and a fried Snickers bar and it’s a done deal.He is the carnie.Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs is just one of many stops for this North American man of mystery. It’s hard to keep a good carnie down.Of course I speak from personal experience.Each week, it’s a different town with new, eager faces and soggy, sweat-soaked dollar bills to collect from cocky teenagers. Like lightning bugs at dusk in the summertime, carnies bring with them hours of mindless entertainment.It takes a carnie to know one, and I didn’t know much about carnie life until I dated one. I was quite aware they love to flirt with the pretty ladies. I didn’t come upon my collection of those feathers-attached-to-roach-clip things I wore in my hair in the ’80s by accident.Funny how those “hairclips” would always turn up missing and my older brother had no idea what I was talking about.For the carnie, life on the road can be hard especially when the living part is done from the back of an old school bus. Dinner is often limited to the walking taco or meat-on-a-stick. Mix in some tired ex-cons with a little Texas heat and humidity and you’ve got a fistfight waiting to happen. Sounds like an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. There’s more to the roundhouse kick than meets the eye.Dating a carnie is not all fun-and-games, either. There’s always the far-fetched chance the girl working the funnel cakes joint is a skinny, budding supermodel waiting to be discovered.Hey, it could happen.I’m still waiting for that fun-house mirror I’ve longed for to arrive on my doorstep. Just think of it, a mirror that always makes me look tall and thin.My luck I’d get the one that makes me look short and stout. The teapot look doesn’t do much for me.Unfortunately my man no longer lives the carnie lifestyle. He hit the big time and now runs the log ride at Euro Disney. Well, not really.I’m not too worried, though. I can order a fun-house mirror for around $325 online. I couldn’t have more fun if I were riding bumper cars when I have to tinkle.And with enough limp dollar bills and flirting, I might take home some new mirrors and stuffed SpongeBob dolls from Strawberry Days to decorate my apartment.I heard carnie couture is totally in right now.April E. Clark misses her summer hometown carnival, the Holy Spirit Festival. There, the beer garden and Tilt-a-Whirl go together like Chuck Norris and bad guys. She can be reached at email@example.com
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