Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Carnival of Trademark Infringement -- and Humiliation

I picked these up separately.  The brown one last year and the white one just this past Saturday.

I'm pretty sure Charles Schulz didn't get any royalties from the use of Snoopy's image. 

The white one is marked "Made in Hong Kong" while the brown is unmarked.  I'm guessing these are from the 60's or early 70's.

I remember getting these at school carnivals growing up.  They were typically given out at the Duck Pond or as consolation prizes when you didn't pop a balloon or land a ring on a bottle.

My memories of carnivals bring both smiles and a little queasiness.

One memory I have is of a haunted house attraction when I was in second grade.  These were generally constructed from a semi trailer and packed with blacklit, neon-painted scenes, jets of air and sound effects.  This particular attraction had bars on the front like a jail so you could see the patrons entering.  Along that same area were sets of rollers that made it very difficult to walk.  I'm sure it was for the amusement of people watching.

I convinced my mom I was brave enough to go through, and she reluctantly allowed me to go.  I made my way past the rollers fairly easily, even laughing a little.  Then I entered the darkness.  I only remember entering the first room which had a scene of a coffin lit by green light.  Suddenly, someone jumped out from behind and screamed.  I didn't stick around to see who it was and ran out the way I came.  I distinctly remember crying and yelling my head off as I tried to run on those rollers, only to fall, get up, try to run again and fall yet again.  Even in second grade, I was humiliated.  To rub salt in my wounds, the carny refused to refund my money.  I later found out the person scaring people inside was my older brother's best friend.  Although this is much more elaborate, it is reminiscent of what I remember these haunted house attractions being like.

My second memory involves my 5th grade carnival. My first to which I took a girl. The object of my affections was Pam and I had pined for her since the 4th grade, an eternity at that age. We arrived around 10 in the morning on a bright clear-sky morning. I immediately went for the cotton candy, mistake number one. But how could I resist? It was a carnival! When else do you get cotton candy? My second mistake was I didn't eat anything else. How could I? I was full of cotton candy. Which, by the way, makes an excellent derogatory accusation: "Ah, you're fulla cotton candy!"

So Pam was a bit of a daredevil. She wanted only to ride The Octopus and the Ferris Wheel. I was a bit more reserved and would have been happy on those little motorcycles that stay firmly on the ground and go around in slow circles. But in a lesson learned in later years, the male of the species will do whatever it takes to appease the female. So I rode the Octopus and the Ferris Wheel alternating back and forth for at least a dozen times -- third mistake. Getting off the Octopus, I knew things weren't right, and I told Pam -- *begged* Pam, "Let me take a break." Her response was, "No, c'mon, let's do the Ferris wheel one more time." See above about the male of the species. So, I got on one more time -- final mistake. It was pure misery as we revolved around, up and down, coming over the top for that descent down. I got off and promptly began running. I made it to the grass and projectile-vomited pink fluid. I then ran into the cafeteria making a beeline for the bathrooms, more pink spewing onto the tiles of the cafeteria floor. I completed the task in the toilet of the boy's bathroom. Once again humiliated, I returned to Pam, knowing I was that much less in her eyes.

That Monday at school I overheard one boy talking to another about the carnival, "What was that pink goo on the cafeteria floor?" I knew, but I wasn't saying.


  1. good heavens - that's a pair of horrible stories. they didn't even happen to ME, and i totally felt embarrassed while reading it as if they DID.

  2. oh -- i have to add: i know somebody who collects those snoopy peanuts knockoffs. she said due to a typo on one of them, she now calls them "Snoppies"

  3. best pathetic geek stories... EVAR!


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