when i was a little kid i rode in one of these that went too fast for me and i couldn’t catch my breath. my mom begged the man to stop the ride. he refused. she screamed at him that i couldn’t breathe. she begged him and the gathering onlookers. i struggled to breathe. it was a feeling i was familiar with. a feeling i felt often as my small asthmatic lungs would tighten and an invisible elephant would sit on my chest. but it had gone on too long and i began to panic. the onlookers began to harangue the man to stop the ride, to consider my plight, to give a shit. my father ended everything. he struggled to the front of the gathering crowd carrying my older sister. he handed her to my mother. then he calmly tried to end the ride himself. as the carny man attempted to block him, my father simply knocked him down, stepping over him to slow the ride to a stop. or at least this is how the story has been told to me by my mother. all i really remember is the blurred sensation of prolonged breathlessness and panic.