Cuz I’m a 21st Century Digitalboy

May 18, 2008

CarnyLingo

Filed under: Random — digitalboy75 @ 1:44 pm

I’ve always had a real interest in fairs, carnivals, and the like. Probably because my birthday is in late September, and as a kid we always went to the county fair, which was a BIG event in a small rural town. So when I ran across this little gem of a page, I thought it was pretty interesting. And of course, slang, cants, and the like have always interested me as well, so a few things popped out at me. Taken from the following page: http://carnylingo.pbwiki.com/

Beans, or Beanies — Amphetamines ("stay awake for days" pills), often found in truck cabs during jumps, right next to the bulk package of condoms. Invaluable when you have to take down a ferris wheel late at night after closing and then drive all night and all the next day. Captain Don Leslie, interviewed for the Sideshow Central website in 2004, said that one-day stands with the circus were particularly taxing: "You were working 18 or 22 hours a day, you can’t keep that f'n pace up very long. At night, when you’d go to the office, they’d give you an envelope with gas money for the truck and there’d be speed in there. The show gave them to you, so you wouldn’t wreck their f'n trucks."
Cake Eaters — Locals, rubes.

Cake Cutting — Short-changing.
Carny Marriage —A Carny marriage is a couple that live together but have not engaged in any legalized ceremonies. The sign that they are "married" in the eyes of their fellows is a ride once around on the carousel or ferris wheel; a divorce is less formal, sometimes with a ride turning in the other direction, but more often at the end of the season or when both parties just say "to hell with it."
Chester — A child molester. A carny might be more likely to notice someone's undue interest in and behavior toward children because he is always observing the behavior of individuals in the crowd, and because venues like a carnival, where there are a lot of children and more than the usual chaos, tend to attract such predators.
Donniker — A rest room or toilet. Possibly derived from the need to pull down one's knickers in the outhouse. In Australian slang today, an outhouse is a "dunny".
Geek — An unskilled performer whose performance consists of shocking, repulsive and repugnant acts. This "lowest of the low" member of the carny trade would commonly bite the head off a living chicken, or sit in a bed of snakes. Some historians distinguish between "geeks" who pretend to be wild men, and "glomming geeks" whose act includes eating disgusting things. See the 1949 movie "Nightmare Alley" for a good geek story as well as for an excellent depiction of the mentalist’s technique

Half-and-Half — A hermaphrodite, a very valuable blowoff attraction often forbidden by local authorities. Some were real freaks, others were “made” by (at the least) shaving and making up one side of the body, or by the use of hormones to grow breasts so a performer born male could also display his upper “female” half. “Now folks, behind this curtain you are going to see the most bizarre attraction you have ever seen — and I’m going to introduce her to you all right now. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Albert-Alberta. This beautiful lady is our star attraction, but she is so unusual we are banned from advertising her on the outside. And since she is not advertised on the outside, she is not included in your general admission ticket, there is an extra charge for what you are about to see. We make no apology for this policy, because when Albert-Alberta goes behind this curtain, and you go with her, you are going to view her entire body, and you will plainly see that she is, in fact, a hermaphrodite. You’ve heard your neighbors talking about the half man/half woman, but Albert-Alberta is not half man/half woman … she is all man and all woman. You will see her body in its entirety, as bare as my right hand that you see before you right here. Now you must be between 18 and 80 years old to enter, because if you’re under 18 you wouldn’t understand it, and if you’re over 80 you couldn’t stand it. When you enter I want you to go right up to the edge of the stage. Get as close as you can so that you can see Albert-Alberta’s body in every detail as she displays herself to you, unadorned, unashamed, unlike anything you have ever seen before. The fee for this attraction is 25 cents, it’s time to go in right now. And those of you who are under 18 years of age, please step down to the other end of the tent where you will be entertained by our magician on the main stage.”
And on and on…. check the link above for a LONG list of carny lingo.

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