Toronto Mike

In Defense of Carnies

It just so happens that my shower radio is tuned to 102.1 and my morning showers last week coincided with a bit where the CFNY morning guys made fun of carnies working the Canadian National Exhibition.  Throughout the CNE it's common for carnie jokes to resurface.  I suspect carnies are the last sub culture it's still socially acceptable to belittle.

Because somebody's gotta do it, I'm coming to the defense of carnies.  I feel just in doing so, having worked alongside these people for over sixty days spread across three years in the late 80s and early 90s.  You can read about some of my experiences working the CNE.

In my experience, carnies are loyal, generous, salt of the earth people.  As a collective, they would give you the shirt of their back if you asked and look out for one another without question.  They may not be the most educated bunch, but they're typically sharp and resourceful.  When you need a helping hand, there's no where better to turn.  I'll never forget that 1990 August day.

I was scared.  It was after midnight, we were locking up the booths and a larger, inebriated goon was there to kick my ass.  If you want the deets as to how we got to this scenario, read the entry.  In no mood to take a severe beating, I called upon the only people who I thought could help me.  I turned to the CNE Conklin carnies.

They responded perfectly.  I can see him pounding that pipe into his hand right now.  Conklins saved my ass that day and I'm sure I'm not the only one with a story like this.  Cut the carnies some slack.  Find another sect to ridicule next time you need a Jerry Springer pick me up.  You'll never meet a better class of people.

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