Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer 2K9: Schlitterbahn (pt. 1)

It shouldn't be of any surprise that the closest to a Mecca that exists in Texas is a waterpark. Every summer, hundreds-of-thousands - perhaps even a million- flock to New Braunfels to bathe in the recycled pee-filled churn that flows through "America's favorite waterslides." It was no surprise that this summer, one of the hottest on record, broke the mold in terms of sights wished unseen, thanks to the sheer number of people that packed the thousand acres of park.

What could I have possibly gleaned by taking my little brother to Schlitterbahn? I would argue that within this park, one could finally begin to understand what it means to live in a "red state." No, of course I don't want to imply that I overheard or took part in any lively political banter. Hell no.

What I mean is that most of the people that you find hurtling down the "Master Blaster" like flailing manatees are probably the same people that spew unintelligible scream-talking at Town halls about health-care, or brandish their assault rifles at an Obama speaking engagement. To my horror, I finally understood that Schlitterbahn must be German for "Redneck Bathtub." Perhaps I just live in some liberal vacuum or insulated bubble (Austin), but the best way to describe these people is simply to break them down into classes:

Fatties in bathing suits to be more precise. I don't know if there is a "Fat Convention" out where the hand out pamphlets, or perhaps it's the Schlitterbahn marketing team, but the obese flock to this water park; come to think of it, it also could be what's on the menu. From sausage on a stick (or the "Meat Yard") to the gargantuan turkey legs, Schlitterbahn caters to its largest customers.

The trip to the water park becomes a sort of fatty Christmas where all their greatest desires are fulfilled. I am speaking of the ability to find a body of water large enough where their bodies can be fully submerged and they finally clean out that elusive back-fold, all while wading through the water drinking a beer and chomping on a giant turkey leg, oblivious to the life-guard's whistle trying to alrert them to the fact that turkey legs and a mountain of chlorine do not mix.

Like raptors, the fatties often hunt in packs. The scene is usually a group of 2+ kids stumbling around the park, while the mother rolls after them yelling and the father, spirit broken from the fact that his wife has made him uncover himself in public, sullenly carries a cooler of buffalo wings and beer while spilling out of the sides of a his favorite XXL middle of nowhere D5 school football shirt (the one that eventually he will wear in the water as well). The greatest evidence of this herd mentality is in the park buses that shuttle people from Schlitterbahn West to Schlitterbahn East. Not only do the breaks sound like screeching harpies from the ever increasing girth it must transport, but it isn't good when the bus' back rows of 14 seats are taken up by 7 fat people. There is a point where the bus driver himself, responsible for counting and maintaining the people to chair ratio, goes blank in panic when a fat family gets on. Suddenly he has to make a judgment call on whether the 150 pound 7 year old counts as 2 seats or 1, and then actually has to turn people away. When fat starts making you do math = evil.

But perhaps the greatest visual eyesore has to be the fat guy with a tattoo. You know the one guy that obviously was smaller when he got it, but then as he got bigger the tattoo started resembling a sad clown. Listen I am not against tattoos, but I don't want to be stuck in line for an hour behind a fat guy with a goldfish on his back that now resembles a squid. It's like a car wreck.

(Pt. 2 following...)

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