Some day soon, we are going to take you to Disneyland. We have to plan it just right, to hit that sweet spot of free admission for you while making sure you remember the first time you went to Disneyland.
After all, it’s the Happiest Place on Earth.
Disney are marketing geniuses, Blue. By adding on that superlative, it really does make Disneyland the absolute happiest place on Earth. Not because it actually is, because it’s actually not. In fact, on most days, it’s more overcrowded than an Indian subway, the lines are way too long, and the tickets…whoo boy the tickets. Let’s put it this way. It costs more for a season pass to Disneyland than it does to buy a pass to every other park in the area, including San Diego. That’s crazy.
But it is happy. Mostly because everyone paid so much to be happy. No one wants to be the sourpuss who gets mad at Disneyland, because if you’re the person who is unhappy in the Happiest Place on Earth, what does that say about you?
Because of this notion, it’s rare to see anyone mad there. It’s exceedingly common, however, to see someone almost mad, just before they realize they Must. Be. Happy.
You know, for the children’s sake.
We used to have a pass, your mother and I. Back when it was more reasonable. We’d go so often we got bored with the rides and started making up our own entertainment. One of our favorite games was one I named Rupture.
Here’s how you play Rupture.
The goal of the game is to earn the most points by walking in between other groups of people walking together. Sounds easy, but we quickly found out it can be exceedingly difficult to walk through a group of people. Most will do almost anything to stay together, moving away like globs of oil refusing to come apart. Points are earned based on degree of difficulty. A large group of teenagers, for instance, is not worth a whole lot because they’re easy to walk in between.
The smaller the group, the higher the points. There’s a hierarchy in place. Towards the top is the young family with kids on leashes, the senior citizens in power strollers with grandchildren orbiting around them like obedient moons, and the ever-elusive overly affectionate couple. You know, the ones that all but have their hands melded together with the guy draping his arm over his girl’s shoulder.
This is the Rupture white whale, and the melted couple is by far the hardest trophy to attain. How do you walk in between that without getting punched in the face?
The most common strategy falls somewhere in the realm of “Fortune favors the bold.” Charging headlong into a group usually works just fine, but the melted couple requires a little more tact and deception.
Enter your mother. She’s a Rupture wizard.
We’re there one day, traipsing around through California Adventure. These are good grounds for Rupture because they’re less crowded, thus making the challenge higher.
Your mother spots a melted couple walking down a windy path between the Hollywood Tower of Terror and A Bug’s Life. It’s impossible. I mean, impossible. The two of them are locked together, with his arm around her, cuffed around her neck. She has her arm wrapped around his waist.
“How many points?” she asks me, nodding her head at the couple.
Note: We score Rupture like we rate tornados. 1, 2, and 3 point ruptures are your average, run of the mill groups. 4 is a significantly higher challenge, whereas 5…there has only been one 5 in the history of the game, and that’s this couple heading in the direction of your mother.
She walks directly toward them. As she gets closer, she looks down at her phone, pretending to read an email as she walks. A wise strategy. Typically, if a group sees you walking in their path, they’ll start to veer slightly away. Weirdly, they’ll usually keep walking right toward you if they see you are on your phone and not paying attention to where you’re going.
As she walks towards them, I wonder about her next move. There’s not many options. Couples are notoriously hard to rupture because they move as one, and any move to go in between them looks too obvious. Obvious moves are bad because it makes people angry, and even at Disneyland, you don’t want to piss off a guy with tattoos on his face.
Your mother is a brave, brave person.
She’s also very clever, because just as she’s about to get into the danger zone, she abruptly turns around, acting confused and lost. She scratches her head, and starts trying to read a sign. With no time to react otherwise, the couple uncoils and slips around your mother. One on each side.
5 points. And the best rupture in the history of the game.
I stood back, admiring her accomplishment with a well-deserved round of applause. Your mother bows gracefully with a big smile on her face, and we head off to ride Toy Story.
Which, she also won.
It was not my day.