Dr. Seuss can be scary

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 25, 2005

As with most plans, things started simply enough. The Gores would enjoy fall break at Universal Studios in Orlando, riding some rides, seeing some shows and generally taking it easy.

As it’s well known, I’m a giant theme-park chicken. I didn’t worry about any pressure to ride anything that was scary and was confident I would spend most of my time holding everyone’s glasses as they allowed themselves to be turned upside down at high rates of speed.

So, it still seems a bit strange to me that I agreed to ride &8220;The Mummy,&8221; one of the park’s newest attractions. We had just arrived at the park and emboldened by the successful trip, I was feeling confident.

Well, not exactly confident. I asked Greg’s son, Derek, who had been on the ride before, to assure me that under no circumstances was I getting on a roller coaster.

&8220;No, I don’t remember anything scary, just some little hills,&8221; he assured me. &8220;It’s not a roller coaster.&8221;

Because the attraction is inside a large building, I had to take his word for it. (See future column about taking a 15-year-old’s word for things).

We hopped on the ride, spinning our way through rooms of scary mummies and fake bugs but no giant hills or huge dips. Then, we wheeled into a dark room with a talking mummy. Flames filled the top of the ceiling, illuminating the path ahead. In front of us was a giant hill. We crept up the hill, with the horrible tick, tick, tick of a roller coaster sounding beneath. I gripped the bar and tried to imagine myself in a peaceful place. Just at that moment, the ground dropped beneath and we went plummeting down then around and back up. We curved around and then, finally, rolled our way back to the start.

It was over.

My hands were hurting from gripping the safety bar. My head was spinning and I left my stomach somewhere around hill two.

&8220;Oops,&8221; I heard Derek say. &8220;I forgot all about that part.&8221;

I didn’t say much, just stood up on shaky legs and swore never, ever to listen to either one of them again.

The remainder of the trip was more peaceful. They rode roller coasters; I fancied the merry-go-round. They soared through the sky; I drug them to song and dance extravaganzas. There was one more scary moment, however. I convinced both of them to ride a Dr. Seuss’-themed ride, something where brightly colored fish go around in a circle. We boarded the ride and then I learned the fish move up and down, rising some five feet off the ground. Once again, cold terror hit my stomach and my hands began to shake.

Who knew? I had overcome &8220;The Mummy&8221; only to be done in by &8220;One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.&8221;

Leada Gore is

publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and Madison County Record, and a former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at mailto:leada.gore@hartselleenquirer.com