It's times like these when one reflects on their own mortality. Usually, it involves something a little more traumatic, like a car crash, or falling off a ladder.  In my case, it involved corn dogs, caramel apples, and vertigo.

Full disclosure: I am 54 years old and incredibly impulsive. There are days when I feel like I'm 24 and have no idea what my body is still capable of, which usually involves my body clapping back at me and telling me to "knock that shiz off." This is one of those times. And it involved a Saturday visit to the Panhandle South Plain Fair.

After perusing the exhibits and vendor buildings with my wife's 15 and 18-year old children in tow, we made our way down the midway to the rides that populate the north end of the fair. The kids seemed mostly disinterested, yet were convinced to try a couple of rides. Mercifully, we started off with something nice and serene in the Ferris Wheel, which allowed me to take some lovely aerial shots of the fair.

Image: Lance Ballance-Townsquare Media
Lance Ballance, Townsquare Media

Breathtaking. Which was exactly what was about to happen.

After a moment, we decided that we were bold enough and strong enough to give the Super Himalaya a shot. The ride basically involves being hurtled around in a circle at high speed both forward and backwards. As I sat on the outer edge, I felt my innards being compressed slightly, which was just an appetizer for what was to come.

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Next, as the kids opted out of any more fun, my wife decided on a lovely ride called "The Scrambler" (or something like that), which involved riding in a car that shoots you back and forth as if you were doing a continual criss-cross in a wrestling ring at high speed. Each time we reached the edge, I felt my hip being forcefully crushed against the hard plastic car, yet without any neurological damage.

Finally, it was this bastard's turn:


We walked to the next ride and I started to feel a little unsure of myself. We stopped at The Orbiter, which was named due to its similarity to actual astronaut training. Although, the 'Brain Scrambler' may be a more apt title for this experience.

The ride itself spins you like the Tilt-a-Whirl, and also lifts you up and down rapidly to simulate being hurtled to the ground by the Incredible Hulk. Perfectly fun for a 20-year-old. For a probably dislodged a blood clot.

As I stumbled off of this spinning nightmare, I felt a sense of unease that I'd never felt before. I couldn't focus on objects, and for a moment I couldn't even remember where I was. Finally, I gathered myself enough to announce that we were leaving, but not before getting a caramel apple.

As I drove home, by the time I was about a mile from my house I actually started to feel the world spinning and a serious sense of vertigo. I fumbled with the house keys and promptly laid on my bed for about a half-hour just to make sure that I wasn't having a stroke. (Spoiler Alert: I was not.)

So yeah, the South Plains Fair is awesome. So much to see and do, as long as you know your limitations. And I certainly realized mine.

I'm gonna go look at Blue Ribbon quilts for a while...

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