Friday, July 07, 2006

Of Amusement Parks, Music, Complaints, and Crashes

We took our family to Lagoon, the local amusement park yesterday. This was our second visit of the season. We went several weeks ago with my employer’s annual fun day. We thought it would be fun to return on a day that would probably be less busy (at the heavily discounted $7 bounce-back price). The weather was nearly perfect for the occasion. It was never too cool, and it only got into the mid 80s during the day. The lines for the rides were shorter than they were during our visit a few weeks back.

A couple of years ago when we took the family to Lagoon, we noticed that music was played throughout the park. Pop music was played in the general areas of the park. Children’s songs were played in the Kiddie Land area. Western themed songs were played in Pioneer Village. And yet another pop rock genre was played in Lagoon-A-Beach, the water park.

A lot of music played in places like that is rather inane, as might be expected. However, I was quite shocked at the nature of the music played at Lagoon-A-Beach. The fare included songs with very explicit sexual lyrics, rap numbers (I can’t really call that art form music) that included the most foul swear words in the English language, at least one song inviting listeners to engage in Satan worship, and songs glorifying prostitution. This was not what I expected to expose my pre-teens and toddlers to while trying to enjoy some time at a venue that classes itself as a family oriented business.

I also didn’t care for my kids commenting on the large and intricate tattoo featured on the exposed back of a 50-something female water park patron that looked like a 200-lb+ pile of cottage cheese, but I figure that the Lagoon management didn’t have much control over that.

A couple of days later I wrote to Lagoon’s management about the music we were treated to while attending Lagoon-A-Beach. I received a personal letter back from David W. Freed, President of Lagoon Corp. He was very sympathetic to my complaint. He explained that the music was part of a subscription to a nationally broadcast radio program that was classed as “teenage contemporary.” He also said that as a result of my complaint, Lagoon had immediately switched to another more benign program.

As we frolicked in the water at Lagoon-A-Beach yesterday, I noted that the music being played was mostly top-40 songs from the early- to mid-80s. I thought it strange that my teenagers were quite familiar with most of these songs from 20 years ago. It was pretty inane stuff back then, and it’s still pretty inane stuff today, but at least it’s not patently offensive filth. It felt somewhat rewarding to think that my little letter a couple of years ago made a difference.

Despite the pleasant weather, the manageable crowds, and the milder-than-expected freak show, most of my family was complaining by 6:00 PM that they had had enough. Most wanted to go home, but a few caught a second wind. Having brought two vehicles, as we could not fit our entire family plus tag-along friends in a single car, I stayed behind for a couple more hours.

I was rewarded for this act of benevolence by witnessing a nasty collision just a mile down the road. As we headed toward the I-15 entrance, a spiffy new Mazda 6 with an air foil on the back ripped past me and whipped over into my lane as I was approaching an intersection where the light for our direction had just turned red. The sporty Mazda displayed no break lights as it cruised into the intersection. My passengers and I watched helplessly as we could see the makings of a crash.

A smaller vehicle that was a few years older was heading through the green light at a pretty good clip. The driver couldn’t see the Mazda until the last moment due to the intersection being at the crest of a hill and having a vehicle waiting to make a left turn blocking view of traffic coming from my direction. The smaller vehicle struck the rear passenger door of the Mazda with convincing force, causing the Mazda to do a 360, so that it stopped in the same direction as it was headed, with air bags deployed all over the place. The smaller vehicle spun a 180, and then rolled backward powerless to the shoulder of the road. Its entire grill remained firmly embedded in the side of the Mazda.

Fortunately, the driver and passenger of the smaller vehicle were wearing seatbelts, so they were not seriously hurt. The driver of the Mazda jumped out of her vehicle and ran over to the other car to make sure they were all right. Without safety equipment, the collision would have been a serious tragedy. I immediately called 911, but a sheriff/paramedic vehicle pulled up even as I was speaking to the dispatcher. Soon a Highway Patrol officer arrived, followed by a local police officer. I remained on the scene (as required by Utah law for witnesses of a crash) for about 20 minutes to fill out a report of the incident.

My teenage passengers thought the crash was the most remarkable event of the day. It led to a discussion on the way home about automobile insurance and ambulance-chaser trial lawyers. I can’t say that all of my remarks were charitable.

While I appreciate Lagoon’s change of music, given the crabbiness of my family members on a nearly perfect day (not to mention the exorbitant prices of everything inside the park), I’m thinking that we will probably avoid doing the theme park thing for a while.

1 comment:

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