I work at a water park in the summer; it is a microcosm of modern society in a bathing suit. Let me set the scene, it is hot, satellite radio is blasting on speakers scattered throughout the park; it switches between the 80’s, 90’s and today’s hits. The lines are long and sometimes, the people are cranky. The air is permeated with the smell of flame broiled burgers, cotton candy, popcorn and sunscreen. Almost everyone is in a bathing suit.
Let us focus our attention on the cranky customer. I have seen some winners; there are always those who are “special.”  Now envision a hot cranky person in a bathing suit, yelling and swearing at people. If it’s later in the day chances are that they are donning stupid sunburn.
Then you have the “Olympians,” when their child does not meet the height requirement, they will assure you, “Johnny is a great swimmer.” Johnny should be allowed to move about freely, free of adults and life jackets, in and out of the wave pool, whirling around the lazy river, catapulting down slides. Even still compromising their child’s life simply put, some slides are not meant for people less than 4 feet or you will hurt your person. It’s not about being special or a “great swimmer.” The idea of a “Johnny” flying through the air, wizzing all the way to the end of the Pirates Plunge and landing on a vacant tube in the lazy river as it gently carries him away is one of my favorite thoughts..
Honestly, I work in the paint hut. These are all my observations, after 5 summers these particular ones are among my favorites. I enjoy fun times at the park. I imagine it is my charming personality that affords me the ability to create mild interventions within the park. It is either that or that my sisters work there. The idea of mischief always seems to captivate me. I have begun to experiment more with comedy and integrating it within my practice as an artist.
I do enjoy short stints in the food hut, calling numbers for food orders. Now and again I will call out number 73. No particular reason for the number other than its randomness, it forces all of the waiting customers to check their slips. One time this backfired, I called, “73!!!” A teenage boy stepped forward with his slip, I had nothing for him, and he was the real 73. We had a great laugh and soon after I gave him his fried dough.
I was able to influence a small group of people. I wanted to figure out how to change the context of the park. I was curious what I could do to create that effect and then what the response would be. I knew I could do it with the music; I had to get in the hut where the radio resides and do it at the right time. I decided to test it out on a quiet day towards closing time. The paint hut was slow. I was at the gate and convinced the girl in the hut to let me change the channel. She obliged and symphony music began to blast throughout the park. I was so sure that the first complaints, if any would be from customers. Not so much. The only complaints came from employees. A ride attendant said we had to change it because the customers were becoming too mellow and packing up to leave. (This I believe is a great resolve for days I noted above or on days when we reach maximum capacity). One of the other managers came over to change it back to the regular jams, he walked away and I put it back. A couple more attendants expressed their dismay regarding the new station. It was so funny to hear that type of music in the park. Then over the walky talkie, my sister, inquired as to what was happening and forced me to change it back, regardless, I could sense her amusement. It is unfortunate that events like this exist only in the memory of those who experience it. I hope to engage in this again next year during peak hours and at maximum capacity.

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The paint hut, complete with albino pigeon

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Corner image of Pirates Plunge, Lazy River and Running child. WATER PARK TIP: You are wet, concrete is slippery.

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