A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.
On day two at Luna Park I was in Coney Island again. Sitting atop the giant slide again. And operating the Turkey Trot again. And there were kids as before. And adults who were hesitant. But there were a few of each that stood out.
The first kid looked cool. Like, James Dean cool. And it seemed effortless. His mom was well dressed, but not nearly to the same level. The boy couldn’t have been older than eight. But he wore untarnished sneakers, fairly skinny jeans, a leather bomber jacket over a white tee, and a greased fly-boy comb over. He looked ready to hop on his mini-motorcycle and ride off with the girl to go grab a milkshake. He moved effortlessly and had no hesitation about the ride, though he wasn’t too eager either.
This was in stark contrast to the other well-dressed boy who stuck out. Unlike mini-Ace, mini-hipster had failed. The whole look was fine, but it was the pants that made it not work. Skinny jeans accentuate legs, and if you have strong legs and the jeans are only somewhat form-fitting, that is understandable. But this kid had gone with fashion over function. His jeans were too tight. To the point that he was having trouble maneuvering in them. The slide requires that you put down a mat with a pouch at the front, and then, sitting on the mat, put your feet in the pouch. Kids have no problems because they are still made of elastic. Adults seem to have trouble with this because it requires bending knees a bit beyond ninety degrees. But hipster kid had limited his mobility with denim so much that I had to let the other track go rather than wait for him to get situated.
The adults that stood out all fall into the category of awesome. The first was a hardcore-looking guy. Black pants. Black denim jacket. Mohawk. Bad-ass facial hair. The whole package that didn’t quite say biker, but said to avoid this guy in a mosh pit. And as he went over the edge he emitted a sound that I had not yet heard on the slide. It wasn’t a scream. And it wasn’t forced. It was a mirthful half-laughing, half-woohoo. It was the sound of childlike enjoyment coming out of a guy I would hire as a bouncer on looks alone.
The other pair of adults reminded me that I miss Jamie and Jonathan. It was two guys who I would put in their late twenties. They found me smiling on the job and asked me about it. “Everyone here seems so happy. Is that for real?” I confirmed that I loved it getting paid to be a goofball. And I asked what two grown men were doing here. “We had a couple hours to kill before plans for tonight and thought, ‘Hey, let’s walk down to Luna Park!’” And they appeared to have made this decision without the aid of alcohol or drugs.
They proceeded to get on a ride that seems to entertain kids who aren’t ready to take on large slides yet and laughed, goofing around and making jokes to each other. They were adults, but they were able to find the joy in what they were doing when most other adults wouldn’t.
About ten minutes later I looked across the room and almost peed myself laughing. One wall of the building lies behind a fun-walk of sorts. Floorboards that move back and forth. Jets of air shooting up. And a rotating circular section about half a meter across. When I looked over the taller of the two guys was standing in Communist propaganda statue position, feet shoulder-width apart, one arm down at his side, the other raised in a fist slightly out to the side and slightly forward. He held it motionless, face stern and determined, as he rotated on the circle.
Onward to victory indeed.