Friday Funhouse 16: Jersey Boy

union onion

Welcome back to the Funhouse! That thing up there is the World’s Tallest Watersphere located in Union, NJ. It is visible from either approach to the Union Toll Plaza on the Garden State Parkway and when my sister and I were young’uns, we dubbed it “The Union Onion”. If you’re a kid living in the filthy, overpopulated industrial wasteland that is Central New Jersey, these are the kinds of things you have to do to amuse yourself. Our parents would cart us to the depressing towns of Kearny or Belleville every single weekend to visit equally depressing (and/or drunken) relatives and we had no other choice but to make jokes about every aesthetically unappealing sight (and smell) that bombarded our young senses in the back seat of the family Dodge Dart. I was also a fan of the gigantic billboard affixed to the Tuscan Frozen Pops factory featuring a monster-sized image of Buddy Hackett advising Parkway travelers to “Give ‘Em A Good Pop In The Mouth!”

In almost every way, my sister is infinitely wiser and more well-adjusted than I. Except for one: I had the good sense to move 2,000 miles away from the ridiculously named “Garden State” while she still chooses to call it home. But a week from today, due to some successful coercion from family and friends, I will be taking my first trip back to Jersey in over 5 years. This makes me grumpy. I love my sister and my nieces and the handful of friends that seem incapable of escaping the centrifugal force of New York’s dirty ball sac, but that still doesn’t make me feel any better about this looming trip to the Ninth Circle of Hell. The only upside to all of this is that when I return to Albuquerque the following Tuesday evening, I will feel extremely grateful to be living anywhere but the most densely populated and needlessly stressful state in the country.

This also means that next week, I will once again be handing the Funhouse reins to Merbear74 should she choose to fill in for me for the second time in less than a month. Show her some love, Y’all.

I can think of nothing more appropriate to punctuate today’s Funhouse than the late, great George Carlin’s gleeful ode to catastrophe.  Enjoy, entropy fans:

13 thoughts on “Friday Funhouse 16: Jersey Boy

  1. Thank you for this. I got to hear this Carlin routine on a satellite radio comedy channel the other day while driving. It, like you, are fucking priceless. Chin up and all that, and may the universe safely guide you back to your desert sanctuary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul, good god. You have steered me away from any future plans to visit New Jersey. Your descriptions made me feel like I was there, staring up at that onion momentarily stuck in the Ninth Circle of Hell. My god. You and I should have a ‘home-off’ sometime and see who can rip the souls from our readers the fastest with dark stories of where we grew up. Sounds horrible and depressing, but could be kinda fun. Ha! I am so weird.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think if you and I engaged in a home-off, it would be one of the most entertaining things ever blogged. I’m sure you realize that usually when I’m ranting about shit on here, I use a lot of intentional hyperbole for effect. That doesn’t apply to my description of NJ, though. It’s really as awful as I said. But there are a couple of things that help to counteract its awfulness: Bruce Springsteen, the Screaming Females, and Jon Stewart.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. There’s another kind of swamp in New Jersey – the Great Swamp… The first dedicated Wilderness Area in the US.

    Strange I know. But, there you have it.

    “The Great Swamp in New Jersey became the first National Wildlife Refuge with formally designated wilderness in 1968”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, George, you would have loved the news today. The entropy has sailed right past profound, bubbled up above ludicrous, and has entered the realm of “stranger than fiction.” We live in the MOST interesting times of all. If there’s an afterworld he is certainly sitting in it, laughing his ass off with whatever deity inherited his soul.

    Paul, I am late again to the Funhouse, as my day started with the kind of home and work chaos that even George Carlin would abhor. The wife caught my bug, and it’s gone straight to her gut, and everything is coming right back out. At work, I was left alone with a 147-piece appliance order to process before noon. Or else. As fate would have it, customers decided to keep pouring in the store this morning, making that anxiety more … anxious.

    But the Funhouse has cured what ills me and I am ready to face the afternoon. Thank you for that.

    As for your trip, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell myself after I come back from such a sojourn: it always turns out better than we thought. So, have a wonderful trip to the homeland and know that Mer will have things well in hand whilst you go.

    And if not, think of all the fun chaos that might ensue. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I often think of what George would have made of these troubling times — based on the clip I used, I’m guessing he would have reveled in it. Thanks for the optimism about my prodigal-son-returns-to-NJ trip. It’s only 5 days, so my whining is a bit melodramatic, but I’m sure Jesse won’t think so when he finds himself unceremoniously deposited at a friend’s house on Thursday evening. By the way, I’m spinning your Liebster questions into something far longer and more convoluted than I had originally planned, so thanks for that inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

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