So, now that I’ve gotten over my complete-photography-based-breakdown, I can safely say that I survived. I was even able to salvage a few pictures from one of those corrupted cards using some very smart recovery software. So, moving on…
We went to Disneyland. As a Florida native, I don’t know what I was expecting, but as you can imagine, there was a lot of standing around in lines. It wasn’t until the next day, when I was admiring the blisters on my toes, that I really started thinking about it. I am not a parent, but I have parents (which is usually the way it goes). My parents were patient/insane enough to take 3 screaming, fighting, spoiled, poorly-behaved children to The Magic Kingdom year-after-exhausting-year. What the hell were they thinking? Was life so bad that the fighting, waiting, and sweating was actually a step-up? Or were they just over-optimistic about the potential for fun?
In spite of it all, the suffocating heat, the never-ending lines, the sticky hands, and crying fits, we managed to make some actual memories. Personally, it’s not the rides that I remember, it’s the lines. My most vivid memories of those childhood trips always take place while waiting in line for a ride. There was the time we stuffed my sister’s sneakers with napkins so she would be tall enough to ride splash mountain (which she hated). There was also the time I cried so hard, while waiting in line for the Tower of Terror, that an employee had to walk me out of the building (I am a chicken-shit and still hate that ride).
And then there was the “Nazi incident“.
The “Nazi incident” took place while we were waiting in line for the ‘It’s a Small World’ Ride (where else, right?). I should mention that my family is Jewish. Not only are we Jewish, but my parents are immigrants of mixed racial heritage. My father also used to wear a Star-of-David chain around his neck, snuggled warmly in a bed of salt-n-pepper chest hair. We’re practically the poster-children for the diversity-tolerance and acceptance message touted on the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride. As we were waiting in line, there was a man, standing in the row in front of us, who was constantly looking over his shoulder and sneering. When his mean-mugging did not have the desired effect, he rolled up the sleeves of his white t-shirt to reveal a black swastika tattoo.
I’m not saying that Nazis shouldn’t be allowed in Disney World, I’m not even saying that the Disney Corporation should take any kind of stance on In-Park-Nazi-Shenanigans. But did this guy seriously not know what he was waiting in line for? This ride’s one message is that “we should all just get along”. What did he expect? Either way, this was the early nineties in central Florida, so it wasn’t our first trip to the bigot-rodeo. My dad, in a classic macho-man move, told us all to stay where we were, walked over to the gentleman, looked him in the eye, and kissed the Star-of-David on his necklace. I was eight years old and this was the tensest moment of my life.
The man said something inaudible to my dad, to which my father very loudly responded, “Yeah, very nice to meet you, motherfucker!”
My dad said “MOTHERFUCKER” in line at Disney World.
Then he walked back over to us, and proceeded to act as though nothing had happened. We got on the ride, had a nice time, and never talked about it again.
It was truly magical.
*Big Thank You to my friend Ryan for taking us with him, even though I spent most of the day talking about turkey legs.