Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Coaster caution

Good news for us chickens! There is now a serious, studious, medically-sound reason for not riding roller coasters: They make blood clots on your brain.

That's right, we no longer have to admit to being scared or worried about wetting our pants or losing our lunches. Neurologists in Japan have found that riding those super-monster-mega roller coasters that every amusement park is erecting, each one more towering than the last, can actually rupture tiny blood vessels in your head, causing subdural hematomas. Who knows exactly what subdural hematomas are, but they sound nasty, and you need to have surgery to remove them. Victims have suffered from terrible headaches before being declotted. One 73-year-old man died. And what was he doing on a roller coaster, anyway? His grandkids have a lot to answer for.

Kids, of course, think they're bulletproof; they'll never say, "Wow, that roller coaster looks awesome, but I might get a subdural hematoma. Better go on the merry-go-round instead." They'll gladly risk blood clots for a few minutes of sheer terror. And that's why they have parents. To ruin their fun, dampen their sense of adventure, and guard their tiny blood vessels. It's a thankless job, rife with wrestling and whining, but one I'm up for.

Especially if it means I don't have to ever ride a super-monster-mega coaster ever again.

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