Keeping Up With Jones - The Missourian: Opinion

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Keeping Up With Jones

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Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 1:32 pm | Updated: 9:18 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

It’s Fright Fest at Six Flags, but it wasn’t the zombies walking around the park that scared me the most.

Many people like a good scare, and there was plenty of that Saturday night when Jami and I went to the amusement park.

Employees dressed as zombies and creatures of the night stalked passersby, but never uttered a word, which added an oddly frightening experience.

It wasn’t the Mr. Freeze ride that shoots thrill seekers backward 150 feet into the air at 70 miles per hour.

It also wasn’t The Boss roller coaster with a 150-foot drop that made my blood curdle.

Nope, it was the swing set — the SkyScreamer — that scared me the most during Fright Fest.

The SkyScreamer is not a traditional roller coaster, but a giant spinning swing set that makes someone feel the size of a chipmunk at the school yard.

The ride is 236 feet tall and those who dare start on the ground, then spin toward the top at speeds that reach about 43 miles per hour.

I have looked at the fairly new ride from afar and said I could probably do without riding giant playground equipment.

But Saturday night there was something in the air that led Jami and me toward this terrible decision.

We rode Mr. Freeze and had adrenaline flowing through us. We made our way to the SkyScreamer and waiting in a very short line.

It isn’t the height that scared me. I think the tower is just as tall as the Superman which I have ridden several times before.

The problem was when I sat down, strapped in and looked up.

I saw the chains keeping the swing’s seat from hurdling through the air and I thought to myself, “That’s it?”

The chains that hold the swings to the spinning cylinders should be chains made of titanium or some extra terrestrial metal stronger than anything on Earth. But these chains looked like aluminum — and they really aren’t that big.

The seats of this massive swing set were attached with the same size chains that were on the swing set of my backyard.

It terrified me when I looked up knowing that I would be flung through the air with my only protection of elementary school recess-grade metal chains.

I think these swings should have been held up by the kind of chains that pull trucks out of ditches.

Chains that are used to lift 10-ton air-conditioning units onto roofs.

As I soared through the air, my only thought was the chain could break at any minute and I would go on a trip of a lifetime ending in the middle of Interstate 44.

I am sure that the equipment is safe. It has been tested over and over before it is allowed to be used by the general public.

That doesn’t change the fact that there are accidents at amusement parks each year.

I do enjoy going to Six Flags, and even can brave the 45 minutes (or longer) lines, but I really don’t want to end up at the front of the line for the Batman ride because I was flung there from the SkyScreamer.

/opinion

Jobs