Saturday, September 11, 2004

SLC Was Just a Practical Joke, Says Former Designer

The Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster, a design cloned at scores of amusement parks worldwide, was just a pratical joke, says a former designer at the firm.

"Yeah, I was just horsing around with the boys," indicated Theodore van Bentheusen, 50, a former employee at Vekoma. "We were all trying to come up with a ride, and kept getting stuck without any useful concepts, and it was getting pretty grim and depressing after a few weeks of that. I figured I'd lighten the mood by cracking funny, so I threw together some plans for this ridiculous thing I called an 'SLC' in about five minutes and submitted it to the rest of the design team."

"It was really an amazingly funny prank I played," said van Bentheusen. "Simply the most idiotic coaster design ever. Anyone who rode one of those things would come off with cranial damage so severe they wouldn't remember their own name! I was snickering openly the whole time I was writing the proposal, so I was very proud of myself for keeping a straight face when I turned it in. I mean, it was hilarious seeing the rest of the guys wasting hours thoughtfully poring over the designs for something no one would ever possibly want to build!"

Sadly, none of the rest of the design team or management at Vekoma noticed that van Bentheusen's SLC, now known affectionally by coaster enthusiasts as a "Hang 'n' Bang," was actually a practical joke. Instead, the company rushed the model into production, and dozens of eager park owners fell all over each other trying to buy one or more of the contraptions for their establishments.

"A couple years ago, I had this other really great idea for a prank to play," said a wistful van Bentheusen. "I figured it would be hysterical to submit a design for this ride where the passengers bend over, and then this long barbed pole gets rammed deep into their anus, and then they go zooming around on a high-speed, rough coaster course filled with inversions while supported only by that barbed pole shoved up their ass. But then I remembered how everyone took my last prank seriously, and I didn't want to be responsible for unleashing more pain on the world."