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I don't think it's ever too late to try something, but there are matters that seem more apt when you're younger in order to fully experience. It's like a rite of passage; getting the sense of what it means to be an adult and (mostly) unafraid. Latest examples: riding a Ferris wheel and visiting a haunted house. Kind of like those John Hughes movies I wrote about a few weeks ago, you can experience those at any time, but there's more of a lasting impact when you're becoming an adult.

In one 24-hour period on Saturday, Jenny and I went on the Texas Star for the first time and went to Screams, a haunted amusement park, for the first time. We had a ball with both, and neither of us came away frightened or scared to go do those things again.

Riding the famed Texas Star, we (including my sister and one of her daughters) enjoyed an amazing view of the city and the rest of the State Fair. Motion-wise, it felt like we were in an elevator with a windy 360-degree view. My niece was a good sport through most of the ride, though she did have to bury her head in her mother's lap a few times. When we got out, she said she enjoyed the ride. I can only hope she wants to go on it again, because I certainly do.

With our visit to Screams, I had myself on the defense at all times, ready for anything to pop out at any time.  Jenny and I were jolted a few times, but didn't come away sickened or sentenced to ugly nightmares. Given my enjoyment of a good scare, while also knowing this was as harmless as seeing a play, I often said hello to actors dressed up as monsters. It was my way of saying that I was having a good time and I wasn't frightened. I knew these actors weren't trying to physically harm me; they meant to spook and nothing more. We heard a number of screams coming from teens and pre-teens, and it didn't feel like a One Direction concert.

While waiting to go through the Arcane Asylum for the second time, we saw someone who clearly did not have a good time. Running out of the emergency exit with her father, a pre-teen was red in the face and about to erupt into an avalanche of tears. We both felt for the girl and thought about how disturbing a lot of the images and shocks could be for someone of that age. I hope she grows up unafraid of the dark . . . someday.

I like a good scare, and still get scared. The most recent one was when I saw Insidious at home. The first gotcha moment came out of nowhere and I was lifted a few inches off of my couch. And after seeing The Brood and the first Paranormal Activity at home, I had a hard time sleeping those nights.

I hope I can go through these attractions next year, still unafraid. I'm pretty sure I will. I experienced plenty of scares when I was a kid (I still can't live down my "reaction" to E.T.) but those helped me say, "You're not going to prevent me from living a happy life."


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