A Tour Of The Wasteland Theme Park This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Hello, welcome to a brand-new world the likes of which you've never seen. Admission isn't much; it's probably the best deal you'll find. Enter at your own risk, we're not responsible for the loss of your sanity on our premises. Images will fly by you at the speed of light; you'll be bombarded with images that are all strange but true. Come one, come all and tell your friends to come to this brand-new amusement park. We call it The Wasteland, because it is the place where pop culture goes to die.

Now that you've signed your release forms, come along and allow us to take you through a guided tour of this wonderful place. Hop into the tour car and away we go. The car is a lovely piece of machinery that can change from a Rolls Royce to a Pinto with the flick of a switch. We can also change it into a boat or a helicopter, but these features are still experimental and the last tour group is threatening legal action for using them as guinea pigs.

First we go through the lobby where television screens play images from our lives. On one we see President Nixon resigning and on another we see the 1986 World Series as the ball goes through Bill Buckner's legs, again. We enter the Room of Popular Sayings as loudspeakers remind you of times when you would say "Power to the People" "Make Love, not War," and worst of all, "Have a nice day." As we travel from room to room , be sure to listen to our lovely piped-in music as it changes constantly from disco to Ice-T to Neil Diamond, and back again.

Excuse me as I swerve the car to avoid the flock of Coke bottles that fly by. If you look down, you'll see that we're not on a road, but the car is flying. Don't ask how we do it; it takes way too long to explain. I'll just tell you that there are things out there we can't possibly comprehend. But, back to the tour, as we go through the entrance to the Hall of Commercials. One screen shows us everyone from Rodney Dangerfield to Marv Thromberry trying to get us to buy Miller Lite. On another, people are singing and telling us that "we deserve a break today" so we should spend it at McDonald's. Turn to your left and you'll see that Apple Computers commercial. You know that big, expensive one from about nine years ago that you never quite got and still don't today. If you quickly turn around, you'll see Dionne Warwick telling us about the Psychic Friends Network.

Allow us to take a small break for a musical interlude now. I'll stop the car for a moment as a procession of tax attorneys sing you songs from days gone by and a group of cows provide the background music. This has absolutely nothing to do with pop culture, but we just thought it would be cool to have tax attorneys and cows singing to you in the car.

But back to the tour, we'll stop for a moment in the TV Programs That Make You Cringe Room and watch a few episodes of "Dynasty," "Three's Company," and the most disgusting television show of all time, "The Brady Bunch." Then we'll stop in the movie room where you can see everything from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" to "Hudson Hawk." Alas, our time has run short, we won't be able to stop in the Michael Jackson room, the Stupid Fashions of the '70s Room or any other of our numerous attractions.

If you come back soon you can see new rooms that are now under construction. You'll be able to go to the Home Shopping Network exhibit and we were able to create a whole room out of the whacked-out conspiracy theories Oliver Stone has presented us over the years. So come on in and bring your family with you. It'll be the best time of your life, provided you check your brain at the door. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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