A roller coaster is really just a crude metaphor for the turbulent, gut-wrenching path our lives take as we slowly ascend the years with bellies full of sickening dread to the inevitable plummet towards death, so why bother with the lines and expense of an actual theme park when you can experience the same terror and turmoil in the comfort of your own home? We’ve compared a few famous roller coasters to their familial counterparts to help you craft your own perfect “Stop the ride! I want to get off!” experience.
The Oldest Operating Roller Coaster In The World vs. Your Grandma
Leap-The-Dips in Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania ain’t got nothin’ on your similarly aged grandmother! Sure, this roller coaster uses nothing but the law of gravity and physics to clasp itself to the track, much like the tenacious claw grip of your grandma’s will to dominate that keeps her barely clinging to life, but if you pitted the two in battle, your grandma would beat Leap-the-Dips down to a mangled pile of wooden bones with her death stare and raised spatula alone.
Fear of heights is nothing compared to fear of God, and your grandma shoved that shit so deep inside your subconscious you’ll never be able to “om” it away completely. L-T-D has old world charm, but your grandma has old world guilt, and she will never let you forget all the ways you’ve let her down. Why don’t you bring her a Scotch, ask her what things were like in “her day,” and really get into it? And by the way, why aren’t you married yet Are you a homosexual?
#1 Wooden Coaster vs. #1 Dad
He was never around. You don’t even consider him to be your father. But this year, he actually sent you a birthday card somewhat near your actual birthday, and he actually said he wanted to see you. Is he dying? You should find out. Go to his crummy apartment and see what he wants. Of course, he wants money.
Maybe it’s time to tell him how angry you are at him for abandoning you and your mom, always letting you down, and coming around less and less frequently as the years passed until you nearly forgot his face and all you could conjure in your mind’s eye when you thought of him was your searing white hot rage. Maybe it’s time to tell him one of the driving forces that pushed you to be the best athlete, the best student, and the best doctor was the aching pit inside of you that yearned to be filled with his love and approval.
But you don’t. Your words get caught in a lump your throat and you’d rather die than let him see you cry. You just give him money and leave, thinking about the El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey. He said he would take you there once. Yeah, the man who couldn’t even manage to take you to the Baskin-Robbins down the street said he was going to take you on a world tour of all the best roller coasters. And you believed him.
The Darkness Of Space vs. The Darkness Within Your Sister
The coolest thing about Space Mountain in Disney World is that it reminds you of your big sister. It was always your favorite ride on your family trips to Orlando because you remember it made you feel like you were finally in her league, like you could be equals. After you enter through the flashy blue hyperspeed light tunnel, you enter a black void. You’re completely at the mercy of the ride, taking tight twists and turns and dropping suddenly without warning. This really reminds you of your sister, because asking an innocuous question like how she’s enjoying her salad can sometimes shoot you suddenly through hyperspace and into a meltdown about how alone she is, which quickly veers into a tirade about your responsibility for her unhappiness, only to death drop to a full hour of silence and then emerge from the darkness and into the Florida sunshine like nothing ever happened and the salad is fine.
Theme parks might be fleetingly fun, but I think you’ll agree that emotional roller coasters are the way to go. After all, roller coasters are only about two minutes long, but trauma is forever.