Spent our nation’s birthday with the GF on a long-overdue pilgrimage to the Valley Forge and Gettysburg of fanciful geekdom, Coney Island. Took in a talk by degreed antiquarian and gourmet flimflam man Trav S.D. on the more impressively numbered birthday hitting that holiday weekend, P.T. Barnum’s 200th on July Fifth. In between patriotic tap-dance and ukulele rousers timewarped in by Lorinne Lampert with a swing-for-the-bleachers smile belting ’em out so they can hear it in 1910, Trav gave an illuminating oration on the hucksterism that got us where we are today and the honesty we’re only just catching up with.
Filled out the day putting born-sucker theory into delirious practice on the undying midway and in the edifying dime reliquaries. It’s a sacred, seedy battleground swept by crashing waves of working-class revelers and marauding developers, pristine sands and the ash of long-gone plaster fantasy castles, sideshow troopers hoisting new freak flags and happy huddled masses who keep the ghosts chased away. Came out with two plastic spider rings and at least one poem:
Right This Way (Coney Island, NY)
It was America’s first skyline, sketched in with pure light
A spark that sent the whole thing up
Giving way to the cinders of tall cities
Concrete altars cast up by long shadows across the land
Have a wonderful time,