I am Y.P.R.'s Boring Logo
Fun, Fickle Fiction (for Free!) Fact, Opinion, Essay, & Review Spectacular Features, Calendrical Happenings, Media Gadflies Poetry & Lyric Advice, How To, & Self-Help Listicles Semi-Frequent Columns Correspondence (Letters To and Letters From) Interviews The Book Club Letter from the Editors Disquieting Modern Trends Birthday Cards to Celebrities New & Noteworthy The Y.P.aRt Gallery Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera The Y.P.aRchives Submit

 Atøm | Spanish
supportbar.jpg Bea!   Creative Commons License
This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons License and powered by Movable Typo 4.01.
Y.P.R. & Co.

The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Friday, January 26, 2007

Design Notes for the Richard Ford "Existence Period" Roller Coaster in Haddam, New Jersey

With the dignity of a man who has become adept at the art of camouflaging the deeper scars of life’s skirmishes, a passenger of a range mass of 40 kg–120 kg will enter the car that resembles a fire-wreathed, smoke-snorting everyman—a small perversity it’s best to take with an open heart, for it says we perhaps are, all together, damned, and a shared, morose humor will be our only comfort. The first rise (radius value 20 m) of the Existence Period features standard variable-radius design in circular structure for low N (normal forces) at the top of the rise and high N at the bottom, with a parabolic “back side” to give the passenger the sensation of a freefall.

As the first wave of kinetic energy is spent and velocity declines to approx. 25 km/h, the passenger will barely even have a chance to notice the glittering leaves on the red oaks trembling in their dour assent to fall, harkening the time for leather baseball mitts to be stowed away and rakes removed from sheds (painted over season after season as if somehow loath to revisit regrets), before reaching the 40 m drop (see attached free-body diagram), propelling rider at approx. 70 km/h in rough accounting of both potential and kinetic energy loci (see attached diagram), with a suddenness that makes the passenger wonder if the drop and its attendant speed (< 480 N, or 4x maximum mass of 120 kg) has in it a sinister aspect that hides the balefulness of accidents and emergency--the passenger can imagine the grease-smeared ride technician, earlier, fatally waving off that last round of wheel bearing checkups as he trundles heavily behind the canopy that houses the ring toss to have a cheese sandwich, a cigarette and maybe a nip of Jim Beam from a thermos, to ruefully ponder troubles at home in Jersey City, maybe a son with a lazy eye, a wife grown dolorous and practical, given to vague, melancholy sighs--at which point passenger will encounter the first (35 m) of three clothoid loops, whose variable radius at the top (r1) is 16 m and bottom (r2) is 20 m, the mere sight of which brings to the passenger a twinge of terror in the throat that moves him to wonder where real fear ends--the wailing, white-eyed stuff of nightmares and murders--and a fundamental lack of faith in the accountability of others begins, and whether plain fear itself belies some soured, squint-eyed, arms-crossed posture toward this enterprise of ours that, when it doesn't fail sweetly, fails with a shuddering magnitude that can break a human heart.

Second and third clothoid loops (both 25 m, 12 m [r1], 18 m [r2]) result in car velocity of 30 km/h, marked by the way it flutters the passenger's hair against the collar of his chartreuse polo shirt, a decidedly summery choice but somehow forgivable in this fall season that seems to smell of longing and encrypted reluctance, a reaching back for promises that weren't ever fulfilled, but ones the passenger never had the lack of faith to think could expire. (Note that a per-passenger mass > 120 kg may require safety braking to bring body to rest.)

Andrew Kiraly was born and raised in Las Vegas, and he's still recovering. He is managing editor of alt-weekly Las Vegas CityLife.