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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Outstink the Hog and Win a Prize!

Now here’s a news tidbit that made me laugh out loud: A theme park in England is telling visitors they must keep their arms down on the rides, on warm days not for safety reasons, but olfactory ones.

It seems the atmosphere gets pretty intense when a hot carload of sweaty Brits crests the hill of a roller coaster arms-up, so the park has enacted a rule it calls "Say No To B.O."

You know, you just can’t make up stuff this good.

I can understand the reasoning behind the rule. We’ve all been there - behind the unshowered in a grocery store line, in an elevator with someone whose roll-on rolled off. I once found myself on an airplane behind a surfer who evidently believed his time in the ocean was sufficient for bathing purposes. He was wrong. All the way from Honolulu to Phoenix. And the further we went, the worse it got. I kept hoping for a sudden drop in cabin pressure so one of those little yellow oxygen masks would fall down from the ceiling.

And while I’ve never had the experience of riding behind a stinker on a roller coaster, I did recently encounter the Anti-Deodorant Family on one of those hot days at the State Fair. They were looking at the Grand Champion Sow and Litter and had one whole side of the pen all to themselves. Wowsers. When you can outstink the Swine Barn, you are ripe.

These are unpleasant experiences, so I can certainly sympathize with the people who came up with the rule, and the patrons who suffered before it went into effect.

The problem, same problem I see with a lot of rules, is enforcement.

Let’s start with identifying the miscreants. Simply put, how are you going to find them in an amusement park full of people? Say someone reports an olfactory malefactor on the Tilt-A-Whirl. How are you going to find the perpetrator?

"All right, everybody! Hands up! This is a Pit Stop!"

I can also see this turning into a personnel problem:

"All right, people. The gates are about to open. Ferguson, you’ve got the merry-go-round today. Milford, you get the Wild Mouse. Snerdly, you’re on pit patrol."

"No! No! Anything but that! Give me one of those little brooms and dustpans instead! I’ll sweep up cigarette butts! Put me on barf duty! Make me wear the Marty Moose costume! I’ll do anything, anything, but not ... pit patrol!"

Until they develop a B.O. screener like that wand they at the airport to catch terrorists who forgot to take their keys out of their pockets, Amusement Park Pit Checker is not going to be a popular job.

You know, the problem must be pretty bad when an amusement park has to make a rule against it. What happened? Did they run out of soap and water over there? Is there some sort of deodorant shortage? Did they just stop caring? Did they ever care at all?

Oh, well. Just add it to the list of reasons I plan to stay out of amusement parks. Especially the ones in England. On hot days. It’s the same justification I use to stay out of airplanes with surfers coming back from Honolulu: Too pungent.

Well, that plus I can’t afford another Hawaiian vacation. Which also stinks, but in a different way.




© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.