I learned today an icon from my childhood is about to be put to rest. An icon from many childhoods, in fact.
I know, times move on. Technology moves on. Hell, I moved to Silicon Valley in part for that reason. Maybe there's no room for an old, aging, wooden roller-coaster in this new world of steel bars, titanium hips, and kids who still won't stay off my god damned lawn.
No doubt it'll be replaced with an amazing feat of engineering. And it will be beloved by all. Smooth, fast, and fun. And we all like that, don't we, eh? eh?! Ahh! You don't get it.
I'm entirely sure it's all nostalgia that makes me even remotely wistful about this. My personal story goes that the first EVER roller coaster I was on was the Blue Streak (also of Cedar Point fame). I loved it. Then someone in my group suggested the Mean Streak.
Well, I mean "streak" was in the name, it couldn't be so bad right? It had to be a sibling of my beloved Blue Streak!
Turned out it may not have been a sibling. Maybe more that one cousin no one talks about.
That ride was one of the scariest things my young self ever went through. And I went through puberty (I think?)! The way it shook, shimmied, slammed you around in the seat... It was terrifying.
Then it ended.
And I wanted to go again.
But not before a nice soothing Italian Ice. Or some Dippin' Dots.
I'm a big fan of Kathleen Madigan's concept that as teenagers we're all too inexperienced to know what real horror and fear are. And I think the Mean Streak fits into that.
The bumps and bruises were a near badge of honor: I survived. And not just survived that Pokémon Gym over there by the Italian Ice stand. Honestly, they were part of the terror. It...hurt to ride it. Nothing that wouldn't heal in a day or two, but, for those days you could say, "yeah, I was on the Mean Streak."
Maybe it's one of those rare times we can bond with the next generation. Pokémon seems to have a lot covered, but, missing is that terror bit. We could scare the everloving hell out of the children, whilst we sit back and look all cool.
Conceptually anyway. Honestly, I've never rode it without gently weeping afterward.
I'll forever remember the Mean Streak. Nothing lives up to it's moniker quite so well. But what I do hope is whatever replaces it captures that same level of terror and fun.
And helps us remind those young whippersnappers who's really brave...
...Those young whippersnappers.
- Title stolen entirely from Kathleen Madigan's entirely brilliant special, "Madigan Again". Watch it however you can, immediately. I recommend Netflix.