The Last Word

Issue #490

July 2015

Golf course still a royal disappointment
I find it hard to believe it’s been 18 years since I went on
a trip to Chicago and was confronted by a ridiculous miniature
golf course called Par-King Riverside Fair—or as I call it, ParKing Riverside Unfair. Anyone born at the time that this
celebrated incident occurred is grown now. Time flies!
We’re working-class people, and we all busted our asses
to be able to go on that trip. Inexplicably, however, a family
member insisted one evening that we all go play miniature golf
—which made no sense, because there were miniature golf
courses all over the place back home. It’s like on our Virginia
Beach trip when they just wanted to sit in the motel room and
watch TV. (On the other hand, it poured down rain most of the
time we were in Virginia Beach—but we could have at least
found something interesting there besides going to the mall and
getting our tires slashed.)
Long story short: We got kicked out of Par-King. Long
story longer: We protested this snub by visiting a nearby Denny’s
restaurant and publicly bubbling. No, not the gum kind of
bubbling. We blew bubbles in our sodas through the straws until
the beverage rose to the top of the cup and streamed down the
To repeat, this wasn’t the gum kind of bubbling. No
bubble gum was blown. Rather, it was the hilarious drinking
straw kind of bubbling.
While we bubbled, we tried thinking of ingenious ways
to fight the absolute monarchy of Par-King. You have to consider
though that this was 1997, and for most people back then,
thinking outside the box usually meant wearing a blue polo shirt
instead of gray. So—for lack of a better idea—we kept bubbling.
That must have been the bubbling heard around the
world, because—although Par-King is still around—it’s
attracting more public criticism than ever. I had thought Par-King
had gone out of business a few years ago, but we weren’t so
lucky. All they did was drop the Riverside Fair name from their
website. These days, the course is under critique for its policy of
not admitting kids under 4 feet tall. This policy is of course
preposterous, because I remember going to a different miniature
golf course long before I attained that stature.
One reviewer on a review website said...
“Height requirement basically rules out 6 year olds and below. Interesting that family was
the first tab on their website...cause I would submit you have to hate children to do what they
did to my family AND the family behind me in line this past weekend. We both left with crying
children. The family behind me had 1 child that was short by less than an inch. Turned away.
Very nice. … least they were rude about it...”
Now, the thing about this is that all of us were well older than 6 when we encountered Par-King. Just
because we blew bubbles in our soft drinks at Denny’s doesn’t mean we were under 6. All it means is that we
were cool. I guess Par-King disdains us coolsters just as much as children.
A reviewer on Facebook said...

“Our son can ride the Space Mountain roller coaster in Disneyland, he can ride the Beast
roller coaster at Six Flags and can play a real par 3 golf course but can’t play miniature golf at
Par King. Thanks for disappointing kids everywhere.”
Par-King replied with a stock response saying that this rule was put in place for insurance reasons. How
corny. Notice also that I say the reply was from the golf course itself—not from a person employed by it. Like
other large businesses, it’s a faceless enterprise capable of producing nothing more than robotic responses.
A would-be Par-King customer on another review site said they drove for miles only to discover the
course was closed because some Really Important People had rented the place. Another said, “Hope they go out
of business so reasonable owners and management would take over.” Regarding the height requirement, another
mockingly opined, “This must be one dangerous miniature golf course.” Still another declared, “I’ve never seen
more little children cry at a miniature golf course than I have at this place.” This has reportedly been going on
since at least 1975! 1975!!!
If my brain could crap its pants at being treated so shabbily at Par-King, it would have.
Our ‘97 Chicago trip was also when we saw Sun Myung Moon and his bodyguards in an elevator. At least
we think it was Sun Myung Moon. A family member agreed. But this isn’t absolutely confirmed, unlike my
confirmed sighting of the equally right-wing Westbozo entourage at Occupy the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in
2012. I captured this photo of the Westboroists (with bystanders’ faces fuzzed out)...

Another photo...

I also noticed that Westboro was protesting against Occupy more so than the Super Bowl—which shows
how influential Occupy can be when it wants to. Occupy in 2012 was better than the wussified mess it is today
that doesn’t fight for anything. Now they’re too chicken to fight.
As for Par-King, that facility gave off a strong, fart-like whiff of elitism. Par-King was a bit like a snooty
record shop in Connecticut that I read about that refused to stock “angry records.” I don’t think Par-King actually
uses the height requirement as a measure of safety. I think they try using it as an indicator of maturity—which is
much more subjective. I know families in which the children—who are no older than preschool age—behave in a
much more mature manner than the parents. I know many adults who are greedy, wasteful, and obnoxious (as my
5th grade teacher would say). They make real spectacles of themselves (as my 5 th grade teacher would also say). In
the topsy-turvy world of the minigolf monarch, that seems to be acceptable.

People wiped their butts with poison ivy at Big Bone

Since a miniature golf course bans 6-year-olds, maybe Big Bone Lick State Park should require everyone
to have their butt amputated before visiting. It makes about as much sense—i.e., none.
As many of you know, Big Bone is a nice little park not far from here in northern Kentucky. It calls itself
“the birthplace of American paleontology.” I’m not sure what that means. I remember once in 5 th grade, some
really smart kid said they wanted to become a paleontologist, but I never really looked into what that meant.
But I’d say it was probably around 2 nd grade when a really cool kid did something really cool. We went on
a school field trip to Big Bone, and this really cool kid wiped his ass with poison ivy.

I know this, because that really cool kid was me. Right when we got to Big Bone, I had to desperately
drop a deuce. So a teacher recommended that I go in the woods.
However, the woods was out of toilet paper. But I detected a small, green plant among the vegetation. It
wasn’t Gatewood Galbraith’s favorite herb. Rather, it was poison ivy!
Now, I knew I wasn’t allergic to poison ivy, so I scooped up a handful of the leaves and started goin’ to
town. When I was done, I simply deposited the feces-caked leaves on the ground—like other animals who
peopled the park (and other people who animaled the park).
I was worried that the poison ivy leaves didn’t adequately do the job. I carted around a few extra leaves in
my underpants just in case. And, for the rest of the day, I had to be careful when I sat down. I sat at sort of an
angle. Like most other cool people, I didn’t want poo traveling into my drawers. Sometime later, when my mom
did the laundry, she angrily asked me why there were leaves in my underwear. But at least I avoided the far more
embarrassing specter of poopy trousers. Best all, I never suffered a reaction from the ivy.
Soiling oneself loomed large in those days. I’m pretty sure it was also in 2 nd grade that the teacher—
seemingly out of the clear blue—asked a student, “Did you pee your pants?” This question remains unanswered
after 35 years. Maybe a paleontologist will someday figure it out.
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