Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interesting Story of the Week: Being Carnies

What would you say if I told you that Jonathan and I, two relatively reclusive artists, managed to also work as carnies? You'd laugh, right? Imagine us, or really ANY artist at that, screaming "STEP RIGHT UP" from a game booth, complete with the stuffed animal prizes and old-fashioned just doesn't fit with an artist stereotype, right?

Right. But it still happened. Jonathan and I were, in fact, temporary-hire carnies. And not only were we carnies, but we were HIGH CLASS carnies , or "entertainers", as our boss claimed.

Picture this: It's July 4th, at the ritziest country club - complete with rolling green grass and top-of-the-hill views - that is home to "the richest people in Arkansas." The wealthy men are sporting polo shirts and khaki pants, making all of them look identical to one another. Their wives, some trophy and some not, are wearing either a maxi dresses or dress pants with tall heels. Their kids look like carbon copies of their parents. There are roughly 700 of these people, all sauntering between the fully-stocked, outdoor bars while chatting it up with one another. They are all waiting on one of two events - the skydivers or the fireworks show. Now throw Jonathan and me into the picture, both wearing old shorts and aging t-shirts with "Royal Events" caps on our heads. Needless to say, we stuck out like sore thumbs.

Royal Events, an entertainment company owned by a round-about family member, needed extra hands for a contracted event at the Little Rock Country Club. The club had ordered a medley of kids play-things, from carnival games to inflatable play houses. So, ba-da-bing, we became carnies as a favor for our family.

Jonathan's job was to sit at the top of this inflatable slide and make sure the kids were not bouncing.

(Royal Events's Fire Engine Slide)
Many kids did bounce. And, therefore, many kids grated Jonathan's nerves. But, those are different stories for different conversations.

I got put in control of the game trailer. More specifically, I ran the cork gun shooting game.

(Royal Events's Carnival Game Trailer)
As you can imagine, 5-year-olds trying to shoot a cork gun is entertaining to say the least.

We also had to help set up these doozies:

(Royal Events's Rock Wall)

(Royal Events's Kiddie Play Place)

(Royal Events's Mechanical Bull Ride)

The event, that had us out of the house by 10:oo a.m. and not home until midnight, was a lovely reminder that sometimes, it is good to be thrown out of your element. Silly (and sometimes snotty) club members aside, we ended up having a blast. We were even paid for our day of play!

Simply put, being a high-class, "entertaining" carnie turned out to be one of the neatest experiences. So, that begs the question, what jobs have you done in your life that have pleasantly surprised you?

-Until another day,
Kateri Joe.

P.S. All of these photos are property of Royal Events. And hey, if you're curious, here is the Royal Events website:

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