Higher standards for being a carnie

imageWhile walking through the carnival today, I saw this “help wanted” sign posted in the elephant ear booth. The sign makes it clear that the standards for this position are high. But don’t worry. For those with a blood alcohol above .30, there’s always The Scrambler or Squirrel Cages operator position.

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

65 thoughts on “Higher standards for being a carnie”

          1. I used to work with a guy that had ridiculously short arms for his body…..T-Rex short!! We actually played golf with him once and I’ll never forget the image it burned in my mind. From that moment on, his game was called “Carnie Golf”.

            I will never hear or read the word Carnie without thinking about him. Sad, but true.

  1. LOL BEST photo I’ve seen all day! Who knew there were such strict rules for being a carnie!? You need a SS card AND an ID? Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when all you needed was a jug of moonshine and a shoddy trenchcoat?!

  2. ….well crap. Me no speaka no englia yoquirotacobell. Damn Jose. And I think I lost my id somewhere too. You know carnies want cash money. Wait…I might be thinking of another cash up front business….

  3. I wouldn’t want to live the life of a carnie but I am very curious about the people who do. I actually met a carnie at a bus station, a year or so ago, and pestered the poor man until he talked with me. I like to believe there is a compelling story in every person I meet, in spite of the fact that experience has proven otherwise. Apparently, I am a slow learner.

    It’s been a while since I’ve had to apply for a job. I didn’t realize sobriety had become a prerequisite for employment. Thanks very much for keeping me apprised of expectations in the world beyond the flat screen.

    1. Yes, the job market has apparently gotten pretty competitive, even in the elephant ear manufacturing industry. Being sober gives you an advantage over other, potentially more qualified applicants now.

    1. The more I look at that sign, the more I think it means you only have to be sober if you’re 18 or older. If you’re 17 or younger, you can work there intoxicated.

    1. We’re a classy bunch here in Oregon. We don’t just let ANY questionable person run potentially hazardous thrill rides. They may look like serial killers, but at least here you know they are sober.

    1. Exactly. Or the Scrambler just because you’re sniffing glue? I totally hear you. The best ride I ever had at the carnival when I was a kid was when the guy operating the Ring of Fire walked off to get his fix. That was the best hour of my life!

    1. I already work at a circus β€” clowns, fire breathers (after lunch), tight rope walking, a ringmaster β€” and no rules about drinking. Why would I leave that? Although the free elephant ears are hard to turn down.

      1. You would have a shot at the bearded lady position. Once you’re on staff, getting the cushy jobs is usually easier.

        I did note that the requirement is that you APPLY sober. Once you are hired, apparently that requirement is no longer important, even when dealing with hot oil.

        1. I’m hoping to work my way up to washing the elephant lady, which is a full-time position. That, I would definitely have to do drunk. And by “do,” I mean washing…

          1. Only the elephant man can “do” the elephant lady. I’m not qualified, either. My describes me as a quality guy, not a quantity guy. That there is reason to be proud.

  4. Fortunately, paint and methamphetamines don’t cause insobriety, otherwise the traveling carnival industry would grind to a halt like a poorly maintained carousel

  5. god there is just something about the carnies, they live a rough and tumble life on the road, no one to answer to, love that there are standards. – when i was 12 and my sister 13 i remember going to the local carnival over and over just to gaze at the tilt a whirl guys. we imagined them as macho cowboys. most manly group of ‘men’ we’d ever laid eyes on. apparently we lived lives that were a bit sheltered…

    1. You guys must’ve gone crazy when the hot train hobos came through town, glistening with sweat and smelling of diesel fumes and Colt 45. Talk about macho cowboys πŸ˜‰

      1. we lived a pretty quiet suburban existence, this was the most exciting thing to happen in our area each year. bring on the hobos!

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