During my family’s last trip to Las Vegas, my daughter insisted on going on The Manhattan Express at the New York, New York casino. Never do this. It’s a harrowing rollercoaster ride, but, even more of a deterrent, it’s right by Nine Fine Irishmen. So what’s a good father to do? I sent ‘Vegas Great’ Bald Tony on with her, of course, and started toward me Guinness.
“It’ll be fine,” I said. “It’s a ride…what’s the worst that can happen?” Famous last words…
The rollercoaster monkeys made both of them empty their pockets before boarding. So I stuffed all of their personal belongings into my own pockets and then my wife and I watched as the two made their way up to the coaster platform.
“Could you stick around until they’re off the ride?” asked my wife.
Drat. The pint would have to wait. When I asked an attendant where the ride let out, I got some mumbled vague answery point kind of thing, complete with a caveman grunt. There were only two possible exits so my wife and I each picked one for the stake out. And then we waited, and we waited, and we waited, but still nothing. Oh, and to make this situation even more frustrating, you can almost see the entrance to Nine Fine Irishmen from where we stood. Then I realized, no one was going into this little gift shop nearby, yet lots of people kept streaming out of it. I refused to believe it was a TARDIS and, with some investigating, I soon discovered it was where the coaster people were exiting. Of course, Vegas = commerce. What’s a $30 wait without a $20 I Survived the Manhattan Express t-shirt?
So we entered the gift shop but still nothing. I started to see people coming off of the ride who had gone on waaaay after the dynamic duo. Then I heard the overhead warning list about riding this particular ride:
DO NOT RIDE THE MANHATTAN EXPRESS, IF YOU HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, IF YOU SUFFER FROM HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, HEART DISEASE OR ANY HEART CONDITION, DIABETES, NECK OR BACK ISSUES, MOTION SICKNESS, ANY PRIOR ORTHOPEDIC SURGERIES, HISTORY OF BRAIN INJURY, HISTORY OF CONCUSSIONS, HISTORY OF SEIZURES, OR MALE-PATTERNED BALDNESS.
And those are the only ones I could remember!
Then I started to think, what if we missed them when we were watching the wrong exits? Or what if there’s another exit entirely into some dark alley? What if this really was Dr. Who’s TARDIS? Then I looked into my pockets. I had all of Bald Tony’s meds! He, of course, has all of the conditions listed on the overhead announcement and several they didn’t even mention! Then I relaxed, “Well, at least he’s not pregnant.” In my other pocket, I pulled out all of my daughter’s belongings: cell phone, iPod, camera, sunglasses. OK, so I have all of her gadgets— gadgets she can’t live without for more than 45 seconds—which meant they have no way to text or call us. I popped one of Tony’s Xanax.
My next vision was of Tony lying in an alley, clutching his chest, while my daughter frantically digs in her pockets for her cell phone. Not because she wanted to call 911, mind you, she just wanted to text her friends about the really cool ride she was just on.
So I asked the attendant at the gift shop, “Uhhh, is there any other way they could have come out?”
Just then the missing coaster twins emerged. Tony was as white as a sheet.
“What happened up there?”
“Your lovely daughter insisted we wait until we could get into the front seat,” stuttered Tony. “It took a while.”
“Do you need a bag?” I asked.
“I assure you my stomach contents are now quite empty,” he replied.
Then my daughter looked at me and added, “And Tony cursed through the whole ride, Dad. Some words I’d never even heard before. Can I have my cell phone?”
As I turned Irish pubward, my daughter asked, “Can I ride it again?”
Tony said, “Don’t look at me, boss.”
“Ugggg.” I emptied my pockets, popped another Xanax, and climbed up to the platform.