The Coney Island Win
So the other day I took my nephews out to Coney Island for some good ol' seedy carnival fun. Every time I head out to Coney Island I'm always amazed how 'the same' Coney Island is. (Like how this thing still running? Really? Still!?) That'll leave a mark. Anyway, my nephews did up some of the creaky round and round rides and played a whole bunch of the win-a-prize games for junky stuffed animals.
At some point we walked up to one of those 'shoot the watergun at the target' games. A row of 15 guns. There were a bunch of kids and grownups getting ready to play in the next round so we stepped up. My nephews took the end two seats and there was one extra so I decided to play too. I was psyched! I hadn't played one of those in so long! I remember how I used to love the carnival watergun thing...
We all take aim.... the buzzer goes...and we're off! Watergunnnnnning! I was doubly psyched because the target was moving around! I had never seen that before! The targets I shot at as a kid just sat there- but this one moved back and forth! So I'm shooting away and getting flashbacks to teen me at Rye Playland watergunning. I remembered my old technique! No looking up! Just keep aim and keep keeping aim.... Focus. Keep shooting. Oh yeahhh... Wattterrgunnnninnng...
The end-game buzzer goes off and I was snapped out of my flashback trance. Number 12 was declared the winner! A siren light swirled around my station! Whoa! #12! That was me! I won!!! I won! And I had a few brief seconds of personal glory--- before I realized what I'd actually done.
With a big smile, I looked down the row at the other shooters. ALL of them were kids! The adults that seemed to be on the line before getting ready to play-- were only setting up their kids No other adults were actually playing! I didn't notice! I just friggin beat like 14 kids at the watergun shoot! And they were all looking at me like 'WTF, old man?!!' I got the same looks from the adults. (And from my nephew too a little although the little one was excited that I won). I threw my arms up in the air and said 'Yay...' because I didn't want to look unappreciative-- but I think that might have made things worse. I don't know.
The carny comes over and asks me which prize I want. I look up and there's only oversized stuffed animals. I was hoping for a shrimpy stuffed frog or some crap so it was less of a big deal-- but for whatever reason there were only big-ass prizes only for this game. I asked the nephews which one they wanted and they picked it and I immediately gave it to them. Big baseball dog. I quickly walked away in total shame from the grumbling parents...
I guess I sort of zoned out or got caught up in the moment because I forgot that I wasn't actually supposed to win (or even play really). But it was like the perfect storm of adult forgetfulness. Parents I guess know naturally to never win in a situation like that. But as the uncle we're at that mid-way place between regression and adultness-- and it's easy to slip.
It's sort of a maturity no-man's land for us grownup uncles sometimes... Especially at the carnival.
PS. Here's some pictures for the week!