Monday, April 07, 2003

Enthusiast Shocks Friends With Obscure Knowledge Unrelated to Coasters

Baltimore enthusiast Elroy Carr, 50, has been pleasantly shocking his friends recently with his surprising knowledge of events totally unrelated to roller coasters, sources tell ARN&R. Carr has, like most roller coaster aficionados, been infamous for boring family members and non-coaster-loving acquaintances with descriptions of favorite rides, parks, and ARN&R articles for a substantial percentage of the last few years. However, these friends of Carr's claim that the enthusiast has suddenly changed his tune this week.

"All Elroy ever talks about is how much Six Flags wipes his ass," said Leon Bartlett, 46. "But then, this week, it was like something came over him and made him a new man. He told some of us at lunch about how there was going to be a new moon throughout the Midwest on the last weekend in May, and then he went on to tell us interesting facts about obscure Indiana towns."

Bartlett added, "like, I never knew that the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame was in Jasper, or that Tell City has fast food establishments of nearly every imaginable type, but for some reason doesn't have a Burger King. It was pretty weird that Elroy knew these bizarre facts, and I'm not sure where he'd heard all this stuff, but I'll take weird over Swiss coaster design firms any time."

"Usually, I can't get Elroy to tell me anything except about the coaster trips he takes all over with this pal of his," stated Linda Murai, 47. "But then, out of the blue yesterday, he explained Indiana time to me in intricate detail. I'd always wondered what was up with those people, but I could never figure it out. Elroy said that most of the state was on Eastern Time all year, but that they did not follow Daylight Savings Time, effectively making them seem like Central Time Zone for the summer. Exceptions are a few counties near Chicago and Evanston, which are on Central Time and also follow Daylight Savings, and a few very eastern counties that are on Eatern Standard, but do follow Daylight Savings."

Murai added that "Elroy has taken a load off my mind with this intriguing discussion about something not remotely affiliated with coasters."

Dean Fetter, 61, was particularly impressed with Carr's recent interest in nineteenth-century American literature. "Normally, Elroy seems to just read travel guides and coffee-table books with big color photos of roller coasters. But he's spent the last several days reading the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Washington Irving. He seemed particularly obsessed with the poem "The Raven" and a story called "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." He talked about those works for literally hours the other night. He also told me he'd been listening to lots of music, especially Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz, Night on Bald Mountain by Mussorgsky, and the theme from Halloween. I'm very proud. If this is Elroy's Evil Clone, I don't want the Good Elroy back!"

However, there are those who speculate more sinister motives from Carr, ones unrelated to a seeming desire for the coaster fan to expand his horizons. Says Burl Weiss, 65, "I'm deeply suspicious of all this purported knowledge and brain activity. Sure, Elroy's taken an interest in Poe and Irving. But if he knows so much about American literature, why hadn't he even heard of The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, or Catcher in the Rye? As for the music, I know for a fact that all he ever listens to are "Love Rollercoaster" and "Down at Palisades Park," so this sudden intimate awareness of Berlioz is pretty creepy.

Weiss also went on to declare the following: "It's pretty odd that Elroy would know so much about these tiny Indiana towns, but not anywhere else. For instance, I can't figure out why he'd know or have any concern with a state baseball museum when he failed, upon direct questioning, to remember that the professional baseball team in his own town is named "The Orioles," or that Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Jackie Robinson were baseball players. He thought all three of those guys worked for Arrow! I don't know what's going on here, but I do know that I'm going to be watching my damn back around this freak from now on."

{Editor's Note: Due to space restrictions, ARN&R was unable to print an exquisite article about how excited enthusiasts are gearing up for their yearly pilgrimage to Holiday World's Stark Raven Mad event. We deeply regret this inconvenience.]

Family Schedules First Enthusiast Intervention

Tommy Wadley, 33, recently walked into what he thought was a winter gathering of fellow "coaster buds" to find that his family had put together an intervention. Decked out in an Alpengeist t-shirt and Six Flags St. Louis biker shorts with the slogan "Have YOU done the Boss?" adorning his crotch Wadley thought he was in for an afternoon of the movie "Rollercoaster" followed by the entire "America's Greatest" video series. "For some reason my parents felt that I needed a lifestyle alteration, but how can I alter anything when coasters are my life?!" he said.

"We felt it was time for a change," said Tommy's father Chip. "Its okay to have a hobby, but this was ridiculous. He spends every weekend at a park, works at a video store and hasn't accomplished anything in life. Well, I guess if you consider riding Shivering Timbers 100 times in a day an accomplishment, then, yes, he has done something of note."

Gloria, Tommy's mother, agreed. "We just don't understand why he can't balance his coaster fun with a life. The problem right now is that he doesn't have a life to balance the hobby with."

Tommy was shocked that the family felt a need to hire counselor Tom Hutchison. "I think that my life is well-rounded now. I eat at McDonalds and Checkers, chat online with friends about the Cedar Point & Magic Mountain coaster war and pleasure myself to 'Amusement Today' when I get horny. I know a lot of people are jealous of my vagabond lifestyle, but I think of myself more as a Renaissance Man, uniting everyone. And I live in my parents' basement as a way to help them out!"

The counselor, Hutchison, who ordinarily works with multiple-year heroin addicts, was amazed that someone could get so wrapped up in a hobby. "I have seen lots of people that have some sort of dissociative disorder or regressive social skills, but this guy takes the cake. Usually some people take time out for kids, friends, baths, and the like, but this guy has a one-track mind. In my professional opinion it is kind of, well, pathetic."

Gloria and Chip were rather dismayed at the intervention's outcome. "We had hoped he might shift some of his priorities around, but he just seems more intent than ever to ride. We are going to make it a little harder for him by choosing to stop paying his grocery and AOL bills. I guess it is time for Tommy to grow up."

"I really don't think anything was accomplished," said Wadley. "I am still going to up the ole' coaster count and be the king of the annual ACE eating contest at Coaster Con. There's no slowing me down!"