Go with me on a journey, won’t you?
You hop in an old motorcar from the early 1900s. You don’t really know where you’re going. You’re sliding all over the road, almost in a drunken manner that would surely get your license suspended after breathing inebriation into a Breathalyzer. You drive your car into a library with stacks on stacks on stacks of old literature and encyclopedias that explain the wonderment of a new world. Your friend, MacBadger, is on top of a ladder next to a wobbling stack of books. The books come crashing down through the fireplace, spreading glowing embers and ash everywhere. You avoid the broken fireplace and a subsequent falling suit of armor.
You crash through a set of double doors to get out of the disarrayed library and into a hallway. There is an enormous mess of chaos in this hallway, capped off by weasels hanging from chandeliers. You drive through the hallway, still fishtailing and completely out of control. You find yourself next driving through a dining room where a man called “Mr. Mole” is eating supper. You narrowly avoid barreling through him, and yet still manage to knock him down to the ground.
You finally take your old motorcar out of this building and back into the countryside. You can see meadows that fade off into the distance like one of those modern day infinity pools. You pass by friends’ homes instead of through them. Perhaps you’re sobering up a bit, but you’re still aggravating those you come into contact with. Policemen are furious with your driving. You’re antagonizing a farmer’s sheep as you cruise through the country. Tired of the ruralism of your surroundings, you take a sharp turn back into town, heading for the docks.
While it may appear to anybody watching you that you’ll catapult your vehicle off the docks and into the bay, you handle your vehicle like Dominic Toretto escaping danger as you change direction immediately and head into a warehouse. Unfortunately, you haven’t escaped the clutches of impending doom. This warehouse is full of dynamite, barrels of explosive chemicals, and loads of illegal fireworks. Normally, you’d wonder why such a precarious wooden building would be housing enough explosives to recreate a Michael Bay production, but you really don’t have time to figure out such poor decisions.
You escape the warehouse and crash through a brick wall. If you had one of those pansy-type of Prius or new fangled sports cars, the frame of your automobile would have crumbled instantly. But you’re driving a steel frame like they used to make and you’re able to withstand the impact into bricks and mortar. You barely miss a delivery truck and send it careening off into the distance. Considering you’ve done some damage with your Need For Speed tactics, you decide to get off the streets of London and refuel. Except, you’re not refueling your car’s gas tank.
You head into Winky’s Pub. It’s a place you’ve visited many a night. Remember the time you arm wrestled that Civil War veteran and then bought him a conciliatory pint to ease the embarrassment of losing to a scholar in a feat of strength? Anyway, you see Winky behind the bar, spinning mugs of beer on the palms of his hands like some sort of warlock. If this were Salem, he’d be tied to a stake and awaiting to be engulfed in the flames of public paranoia. Freshly intoxicated, you head back onto the road and terrorize your fellow townsfolk. You’re weaving in and out of potential vehicular manslaughter charges in the middle of your town’s square.
Unfortunately, your escapades remind people less of Janet Jackson and more of Nick Nolte. The police catch up to you and you now have to go to court. An anger-filled judge won’t have you defend yourself or hear anything of it. The case is apparently clear-cut and it’s as if the Bill of Rights don’t even apply to you. He finds you, “GUILTY!” as he points his finger at you, raining down great vengeance and furious anger.
You go to prison, but due to horrible zoning oversights it has train tracks running right through the middle of it. It’s like you’re trapped in Leonardo DiCaprio’s dreams in Inception. As you’re figuring out a way to bust out of your incarceration, a train comes through and ends your drunken existence. Because you had no regard for anyone else’s safety while you imbibed socially and your beliefs in the scare tactics of common religions turned out to be true, you now find yourself in Hell.
There are small demons everywhere. They hop up and down and antagonize you. You come across the Devil himself and it looks nothing like Elizabeth Hurley in a red dress, tricking Brendan Frasier into thinking he can get the love of his life in exchange for wishes and his soul. This Devil looks exactly like the judge who sentenced you to a similar fate as Ray Brower. The Devil points again at you in an accosting fashion, only he’s not sentencing you to more doom. He’s giving you redemption.
You head toward the light, all of a sudden back in your car. You’re going to take advantage of this second chance. You’re back in the real world, sunlight breaking and entering into your swelling pupils. You’re going to get out of your old car and change your life. Drinking and driving is not going to be a part of your day anymore. You see a line of people heading down the road you just traveled, but it’s up to them to make this journey without warning of what’s ahead. You know need to exit your surroundings and go eat a churro or turkey leg as you find another “wild ride” to partake in.
The journey we just went on is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and it’s my favorite thing to do at Disneyland. Even for Disneyland, it’s classified as a little kid’s ride because it’s relegated to that area behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle that has a carousel, Dumbo’s ride, a Peter Pan adventure and more.
The reason it’s my favorite ride in Disneyland is because of the little things that go on during it. It’s the ideas that a stack of books can crash through a fireplace or random suits of armor just tip over. It’s a ride that basically shows kids the perils of drinking and driving, hammering it into their subconscious at an early age.
My favorite part of the ride is the judge. The randomness of the story encapsulated into a brief two-minute journey is capped by going from an explosive warehouse to the countryside, to the docks, to inside a bar and then finally a gigantic judge from above points his finger and exclaims, “GUILTY!” in a booming baritone voice.
I have no idea why this tickles me so much every time but it’s what I miss most about Disneyland. You can still have fun there as an adult if you learn to avoid getting caught in the massive crowds and find the small things that you really enjoy.
Now that we’re getting basketball placed under our Christmas trees (you know, if you celebrate that type of thing… in related news, what’s up, Ethan?) and we seemingly no longer have to worry if we’ll get to enjoy a 2011-12 basketball season, I’m realizing that the little things about the NBA are coming back to us.
There are going to be a couple of rookies that unexpectedly burst onto the scene and into our list of favorite players. There will be more Landry Fields and Gary Neals from this class that we never saw coming. We’re going to get random Tuesday nights in which we lament the fan selection of NBA TV’s game of the night as two down-to-the-wire contests are finishing up and we’re stuck watching Lakers-Raptors. We’re going to be clamoring to find a team that will sign James White long enough to get him into a dunk contest during All-Star Weekend to hopefully have an epic showdown with Blake Griffin, Terrico White and Iman Shumpert as we try to decide if this rivals the exultation Vince Carter gave us back in Oakland in 2000.
We’re going to look at Andray Blatche’s new uniform design, what’s on Chris Paul’s knee, and what Nuggets are covered in new ink patterns. We’re going to judge the waistlines of Ron Artest, Boris Diaw and Glen Davis. We’re going to see if Kevin Love’s weight loss will affect his childbearing hips and the damage they help create under the boards. We’re going to look for improved shooting forms from John Wall, Tyreke Evans, and Ricky Rubio. We’re going to see how Pierre McGee and Nick Young interact on the court to see if it rivals how they act off the court with each other.
We’re going to have blogosphere office pools about which rookie is going to baptize an opponent at the rim first with Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely and Tristan Thompson to choose from. There are going to be incredibly stupid photoshops that I hastily put together as Noam Schiller and Jovan Buha keep the crowd warm in the DDL. And this is just a modicum of the small things about the NBA that we’ll enjoy over the next 8 months.
The big storylines of the NBA are what drives the casual fan through an NBA season. But for basketball nerds like us, it’s the little things that keep our romantic basketball lives spiced up. We’re going to celebrate the minutia of this league as much as we care about who is playing their way to a championship ring. It’s the little things in life that help you appreciate the bigger picture.
I’m so ecstatic that the NBA is back and I couldn’t be happier that we get to go on this journey together again.