Carnival of the Mundane!

When Dean asked me if I would be interested in hosting one of his blog carnivals, I must admit that it was with some reservation that I accepted. Not because I wasn’t into the concept – I think it’s wonderful to create a forum for showcasing the work of a diverse group of bloggers – it’s just… well, the carnival thing.
I’m sure that for many people, the idea of a carnival conjures up happy Technicolor memories of cotton candy and roller coasters, corn dogs and stuffed animals. For me, when I think of carnivals, aside from flashing to scenes from this one really horrible B-movie [I think it was called The Funhouse] where a deformed man terrorized teenagers in a carnival, I am hurled into a series of painful childhood memories that I worked hard to repress:
Painful Memory #1:
I was probably five or six years old, and my parents brought my brother and me to a carnival. We spent the day happily riding the tilt-a-whirl, popping balloons, and throwing ping pong balls into goldfish bowls. As we were leaving, we walked past a sign that advertised all sorts of oddities of nature – a good old fashioned freakshow. My brother asked my mom if we could go in, and she inexplicably consented. My parents waited outside as my brother held my hand tightly and led me up the stairs.
I remember walking up to a booth with a window – it was like the ticket counter at a movie – where sitting quietly inside was a woman with what I now understand must have been a horrible skin disease. Her face, hands and arms were covered in scales, and she was billed as The Alligator Lady. I stood silently in front of her booth, and she smiled, then reached her hand toward me. I pulled back in horror, grabbed my brother’s arm, and ran outside. To this day, I still feel guilty about it.
Painful Memory #2:
I was about thirteen, and some friends and I decided to hang out at the local carnival that would miraculously appear overnight in the American Motors parking lot each summer. Somewhere halfway through that ride that spins you around really fast so you stick to the wall, I got my period. I’m not going to get into any graphic details, or discuss the mechanics of centrifugal force, but I will point out that I was wearing white shorts, and found out the hard way that carnival Port-o-Potties do not have sanitary napkin dispensers.
Painful Memory #3:
It was 1979. I was celebrating my 8th birthday. My aunt hired a clown. His name was Yummy Yummy.
So… yeah. Carnivals.
Okay – who’s ready for some Carnival of the Mundane?! Can I get a “WHOOP WHOOP?!
[Dean is now cursing the day he ever invited me to host this…]
But really – this story has a point. And that point is this: I found it ironic that my own recollection of carnivals is one of fear and shame, and somehow, every single submission that people sent me revolved around those exact ideas. Apparently, these are the most mundane of emotions. And here, I always thought that was love.
If you don’t believe me, just read for yourself:

  • First, a certain Mr. Faltenin from Dreamwalkers fills us all with the fear of letting love slip away.
  • Then we have Leesepea from But Wait! There’s More… who now has a fear of sitting next to her grandmother in the hair salon.
  • Next up is Tracy from Kaply, Inc. Based on this story, Tracy should actually work on developing a greater fear of neighbors. Hell… I’m scared to death of her neighbor now!
  • At Time’s Fool, Mata H. helps us understand how to overcome our fear of loneliness.
  • Ever the problem solver, Kevin from proposes a few ideas to resolve our fear of missing the all-important season finales.
  • Brandon at GT seems to have a fear of not being funny. Don’t we all?
  • Over at Frugal Wisdom, Wenchypoo shares her fear of losing her star standing in the Clean Plate Club.
  • What do I even say about Jillifer at egg in spoon? I mean, sometimes you think you know someone, until you find out they’re terrified of baby T’s. How am I supposed to deal with that?
  • At Nature’s Aria, Sunny comes home with a vengeance as she shares a deep fear of mine: running out of ink. That’s why I bring no less than three pens to every meeting.
  • I wasn’t aware that they had opened up a McDonald’s in The People’s Republic of Seabrook, but apparently they have, because Jack is really afraid of it.
  • Recently-published famous author Cheryl Klein from Bread and Bread opens up about her fear of becoming a glamour girl.
  • What’s this? Another person who’s afraid of the Golden Arches? Poor Sandra at Internal Monoblog – she’s got that Hamburglar Monkey on her back.
  • I actually just diagnosed myself with the same phobia that Graig at Geekent has: fear of finishing a book.
  • Wee little Shari from Eclectic. She’s so, so afraid of receiving toxic mail. Oh, and she’s also horrified at the thought of being called cruel, which is how I tricked her into submitting an entry.
  • Aw, now come on, Ms. Sizzle. Your story just scared the shit out of me!
  • Marisa from Apartment 2024 for some reason isn’t afraid of a Philly cheesesteak, but I tried one on my only visit to Philadelphia, and let me tell you, those things are nasty. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • Rennratt of Rennratt, descended from the Mayflower Rennratts, discusses her fear of public name-calling.
  • Over at Hyperion Chronicles, Hyperion is terrified by unexpected dinner guests.
  • The gentle pirate, Lady Jane Scarlett, scares the bejeezus out of some peacock mantis shrimp, and tries to confuse me by saying things like, “proteomics” and “ligand-target interactions” and “egad.”
  • Sween. Sweeney. The Sweenadian. He shares the horrific tale of when wild beasts attacked, leaving a trail of meat and mustard in their path.
  • Dean Abbott, also known as “The Wizard,” makes us all wish that some people were more afraid of acting like complete asses in public.
  • Ben from History Toaster explains why he has recurring nightmares about burnt toast. :::shudder:::
  • Rick from Rick Sincere News and Thoughts has a dream of a world without the fear of bad plumbing.
  • Oh, Fitèna of C’est La Vie! Life. Est-ce qu’elle a peur aussi? Mais bien sur! She is afraid, as we all should be, of deep frying a chicken too long.
  • And then there’s Colorado Katie. Why is she so haunted by CornNuts? Is it the sound? The smell? We may never know.
  • The proprietor of Sucky Blog, Jack, gets night terrors when he thinks of eating health bars. He also coins my new favorite phrase with, “ShitKat.”
  • Oh, Postmodern Sass. Will she ever come to America? Maybe, but she’s terrified of having to give up her crusty buns.
  • Josh at Multiple Mentality has my full support in his fear of censorship. Fight the power, my brother! If the government wants to censor what I have [edited for content] they can just [edited for content] my [edited for content].
  • Beej over at Kiss My Sass lies awake at night, afraid of never finding true fortune.
  • Muse from Me-ander worries that she may never satisfy her sweet tooth.
  • Kim at Life in a Shoe tries desperately to cover up her fear of over-exposure. Apparently band-aids help.
  • And last, but oh man, certainly not least, is Kevin. Kevin fears the ‘fro, yet embraces it all at once. But then he betrays us all.

Thanks for participating everyone!

14 Responses to “Carnival of the Mundane!”

  1. jackt Says:

    I don’t like carnivals either. I’m scared of clowns.

  2. Fitena Says:

    Mais comment tu as deviner que j’avais peur!? lol! Bravo! c’est super! c’est très bien!

  3. Dean Says:

    Great job handling a big, messy job, Jenny.

  4. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Way to go, Jenny! Enormous, disparate list, tied together quite nicely. Well done you!

  5. Jessica Says:

    Too fun, Jen!

  6. Kevin Says:

    Did it strike me that there were a lot more participants in this one than in past ones?
    Great job, by the way. You could’ve said that I also have a fear of seeing Bushie on the tube. That would’ve worked as well. I think it’s called Presidekaphobia. Could be wrong on that one.

  7. sween Says:

    I LURVE carnivals!
    However, My Lovely Wife WILL NOT go on the rides with me. EVER.
    And so we don’t go. Which makes me very very sad.
    Will no one go to the fair with me?

  8. jenny Says:

    jackt: Everyone should be afraid of clowns – they’re just plain creepy!
    Fitena: Merci beaucoup!
    Dean: Setting up the carnival isn’t so messy, it’s always the clean up afterwards, though… ;)
    Tracy Lynn: Thanks – it was fun!
    Jessica: Hey, thanks – you’ll have to join in the next one!
    Kevin: I think the last few have had quite a few entries, but yeah, there were a lot! And Presidekaphobia – that’s got a nice ring to it.
    Sween: Please don’t make me regret becoming Canadian! I thought roller coasters were illegal in Canada!

  9. shari Says:

    Masterfully done, Jen! I bow in your general direction.
    I was wondering though, since I’m wee and little, can I go the carnival for free?

  10. kb Says:

    jenny- you’ve given such heart and soul to stories of poo, toast, and bad hair. nice work!

  11. jill Says:

    I started reading this post at 6:30:47 a.m. and have JUST NOW finished reading. My clicking finger is cramped and my brain is numb from the all the voices. Oh, God, the voices! The horrors of the mundane. I’m tired. I have thoughts. But I can’t think. Thank you, Jenny. You’re a marvelous Carnie Master.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    I can’t possibly read all these blogs, can I?

  13. jenny Says:

    Shari: Since you’re such a wee lass, you can certainly get in for free. But that also means you can’t ride the scary rides.
    kb: If only there were a story about poo, toast, and bad hair all in one…
    jill: thanks for participating! And for risking carpal tunnel!
    Vivian: You can, but you will need to have some cheese and wine next to you for sustenance.

  14. Sunny Says:

    Whee! That was quite fun to read – not to mention that I’m rather relieved to hear that I’m not the only one to carry multiple pens wherever I roam.
    Though this is the first time I’ve brought pens to a carnival!