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Lemonade Doesn't Make for Good Hurricanes

LAUREN PEACE, HOST: And next in our ongoing commentary series, Tay Glass asks why we tell stories over and over, by telling one of his stories again.

TAY GLASS, BYLINE: There’s this story I always tell. I’m not sure why I keep coming back to it, but it’s a go-to.

I grew up in a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and every spring there was this carnival in the next town over, called the Orange Jubilee. It was your classic, small-town festival with funnel cakes, kettle corn, lemonade, the merry-go-round, the drop tower, the Gravitron.

It was the end of my 8th-grade year. I was 13 and most of the girls at school were taller than me. I longed to be noticed by them. But as a nerdy theatre kid, it seemed like only the football players and the skateboarders could talk to girls. I couldn’t summon the courage.

One evening in early May, which felt almost like a preview of summer, my friend Michael and I went to the Orange Jubilee. He had somehow gotten a pair of those neon-colored bracelets that let you go on any of the rides. So Michael and I rode every ride and ate every greasy, sugary snack we could get our hands on. After a couple of hours, the rides and the sweets started to make me feel queasy.

And then two girls - two popular girls - waved us over. I don’t remember their names. But they wanted to go on a ride together.

I was surprised - I didn’t think it was possible for girls to be interested in me. But... my stomach wasn’t feeling up for it. Michael glared at me, - we had to go on a ride with these girls. And I saw his point, this seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

We got in line for the Hurricane, a sort of gargantuan spinning top. The central pillar was lit up with rainbow lights. I sat next to one of the girls on a hard plastic seat and the Carney came and locked the lap bar into place.

The ride started to pick up speed and our carriage rose up into the air. The centripetal motion of the ride made the girl slide towards me until her shoulder touched mine.

And then the queasiness surged up… and I started to vomit. And because I was twenty feet up in the air, spinning around on the outside of the Hurricane, it flew everywhere. Down below on the ground people ran, covering their heads. The Carney laughed maniacally and dialed up the speed. The girl tried to push herself away from me, clawing against the centripetal force.


When I tell this story, that’s where I normally stop. People laugh and that’s where it ends. I don’t say that on that day, my fears about girls had been confirmed. Their interest was a fluke that had ended in a disaster.

So why do I keep retelling this story? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe ‘cause it represents some complicated feelings I’m still dealing with - that I’m eternally awkward. Part of it might also be out of sympathy for the young me, that kid. And maybe by retelling it, I’m showing that I can make people laugh, that I can control the narrative, to some extent.

I still sometimes feel awkward on first dates, but at least now I know to avoid sugary snacks and dizzying rides.

PEACE: These days Tay enjoys roller coasters and theme parks. But it might still be a while before he gets on another Hurricane.

((MUSIC: Credit music

PEACE: This show goes out in dedication to James Hannaford, a veteran and loving grandfather to Tay Glass.

CECILY MAURAN (Host 2): Uptown Radio is available on iTunes, Soundcloud and on Friday evenings. From all of us here at Uptown Radio, thanks for listening, and stay safe.


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