The Easter ham was still cooking and I was trying to be polite at the family get-together when I asked my sister-in-law's new boyfriend, Rick, what he did for a living.
"I'm the Rover at Camden Park," he said.
I figured out the Camden Park part quick enough, but I'd never heard of an occupation titled "Rover." So, I took a sip of Folgers and settled in.
"What does a Rover do?" I asked. And for the next 15 minutes I listened to Rick explain how there is one guy--and one guy only--each season at Camden Park who is given the responsibility of learning to run all the rides, bark all the games and carry out a good bit of maintenance if needed. The Rover.
And for that summer, Rick was The Man.
I couldn't help but be a bit envious. I'd often wished I was brave enough to live the carny lifestyle, so I asked Rick to tell me more. The problem was, there wasn't more to tell. Despite the status the Rover has each season at Camden Park, there really wasn't that much to do at the small amusement park west of Huntington. After a revelation of how the Spider is unsafe, a gross story about a kid puking on the Big Dipper and some under-the-breath boy's talk about chicks wearing tank tops and Daisy Dukes on hot summer days, I realized there wasn't much more to being the Rover than long hours and low pay.
But still, Rick's stories were more entertaining than Adventureland.