Roller Coasters and Getting Shot: The Best and Worst Things About America

Ra Coaster 2You’re moving to China??!!  They run over their people with tanks!!

That’s what the guy who weighed our bags at the airport said seven years ago.  It made me question whether or not airlines had ever considered any form of “Things Not to Say” training for their employees.  It’s funny (not “funny ha ha” or “funny strange” but “funny disturbing”) how easy it is to build a complete understanding of a nation based  on the most shocking news that comes out of it.

My daughter recently turned ten.  Know how we celebrated?  

 

We rode roller coasters.

 

Real, American roller coasters strategically engineered by certifiable maniacs to flatten your internal organs against your spine, stretch the front of your face to the back of your head and cause you to scream like Little Miss Muffet on Fear Factor.

It was awesome.

I had groomed her for this day since she was nine months old when I would pick her up, fling her over my shoulders, flip her upside down and throw her in the air as high as I could (much to the dismay of her mother).  My reasoning? Roller coaster training.  I was ensuring that I would have someone to ride the rides with someday in the future.

 

My investment paid off.

 

The perfect day had finally come.  She had grown to the exact minimum height limit (possibly earlier that morning) and  more importantly . . . we were finally in America.  She had only dreamed of such coasters as she was growing up in China where most of the rides we had access to were more reminiscent of a county fair from the 1950’s.  In fact, before we left China, I learned that this might actually be her version of the complete American dream.

As we were packing our things I asked her how she was feeling about the big move.

“Eh  . . . good and bad.”

I actually smiled from the inside out because I’ve come to realize the absolute essential nature of processing the paradox of transition.  If it’s all good, you’re setting yourself up for a fall.  If it’s all bad you’re a real pain to be around.  I was thrilled with her answer, so I pushed for more.

“Yeah? What are you looking forward to?”

Without blinking, “Roller coasters.”

I gave myself an internal high five and tried to keep a straight face.  “Yeah me too.  What are you afraid of?”

 

“Mmm. Getting shot.”

 

Phuaw.  It’s funny (not so much the “ha ha” kind) how easy it is to build an understanding of a nation based on the most shocking news that comes out of it.

 

I guess it goes both ways.

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