“A nerd is a person who uses the telephone to talk to other people about telephones.” -Douglas Adams
The other day, someone asked me how I first became interested in roller coasters.
I grew up close enough to Disneyland to see the nightly fireworks from my house. I went as often as I could. Which is to say, as often as I could talk my family into taking me. Knott’s Berry Farm wasn’t too much farther away. It was different, but I liked it, too.
Visiting some relatives in Minnesota one summer, I got the opportunity to visit their local amusement park, ValleyFair! (It’s not that great. The exclamation point is part of the name.) I didn’t ride the coasters, though. They scared me. So did the ones a Knott’s. I loved the parks, but only Disneyland’s roller coasters were tame enough for me to try.
There was another park two hours north of where we lived: Six Flags Magic Mountain. I wanted to go. But there was a problem: No one wanted to take wussy Erik to a coaster park.
A deal was struck. They would take me to Magic Mountain, but only if I agreed to ride all the coasters.
I loved it. I rode all the ones at Knott’s and I loved them, too. I sought out all the information on roller coasters that I could find. But there wasn’t much, this being before the advent of the internet.
Maybe it always was.