Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why Go Do Freaky Things?

I enjoy strange attractions like Ripley's Believe It Or Not and The Mutter Museum. Destinations and pit stops brought to my attention by Roadside America and Weird NJ and Geocaching thrill me. I am interested in the odd and off-beat. I also enjoy passing on my penchant for the weird to my kids.

I recently took Gavin and my niece to see David Blaine stand on a podium, covered in metal chainmaille, the target of 7 Tesla Coils producing 1 million volts of electricity. Gavin pointed out that people who went and saw Houdini perform his stunts, didn't know he would become an icon - or die doing one of his famed stunts! Good point - so we went.

Why go? Why spend the effort and energy and often $$ to see these things?

The Journey

Whether we are headed to a big city or the middle of the country, I just like the process of going somewhere. When we visit NYC, if we are not in a rush, I have enjoyed trying to master the subway system. I don't mind a long car ride and always manage to find other unintended spots of interest. I like finding a new spot to spread a picnic blanket. Getting there really is half the fun.

The Excitement

It's fun to have something to be excited about. Going in search of an obscure landmark or a freaky tombstone (yep!) has a way of breaking up the mundane. I find it interesting to read about something, see pictures of it and then actually get there.  The idea of hearing about something and then seeing the real thing can be really fun.

'Back here you can see her booty and the baby's booty!'

Bragging Rights 

Just being able to say 'Been there, done that!' is great. We are slowly ticking off statues in Central Park as we visit. Lots of people visit for the usual stuff, but I want to make sure we've seen Balto, Alice in Wonderland, The Tempest and Christopher Columbus. There are also lots of 'secret spots' in Central Park'. 

This is not a 'secret' spot - this is strawberry fields, a tribute to the late John Lennon
Of all the people who come in and out of Union Station in Washington DC every day, how many know that the roman soldiers that seem to stand guard had to be reconstructed to add the shields they hold today because the were deemed obscene due to their very conspicuous cod pieces (that you can still see if you can stand just at the right angle - which we did).

Will you be able to say that you've been in St. Joseph's Catacombs, Lucy the Elephant or the wax museum? How about participating in the crowd that stands outside the GMA show?

Educational Value

What?! How can wacky spots across our state and others be 'educational'. When my kids see new things they ask new questions. Because of some of the places we've visited, my kids have investigated interests like electricity and magnets, JFK's assassination, watched countless documentaries (most recently about owning exotic animals), compasses and sundials, art mediums, robotic surgery, the Mayans and Egyptians, anime, lighthouses and other topics. We've seen shruken heads, terracotta warriors, a collection of automata, The Dead Sea Scrolls, the country's first lifeboats, more than a few 9/11 memorials, spots that famous early Americans died in duels and plenty of other obscure items of intrigue.

Why view great works of art? Why watch sporting events? Why shop for clothes or listen to music or watch movies for that matter? Some of these I 'get', and some I don't - mostly don't.

So, do what it is that you like to do, because that's part of what makes life what it is. While you're doing that, I'll be looking for The World's Largest Frying Pan.

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