Fan Dads!Somewhere on vacation with Lynae, a specialty zoo with a quirky-healthy-family vibe, uniquely Mormon/Utah. We decide to go back a second day — something we’ve never done before. Get there late in the afternoon, so late I wonder if it’s still worth it. Paying admission is a long chore… exchanging coins for a donation slot, Lynae finally making change herself from the cash register, leaving notes on slips of paper for the individual drawers. There are some obvious indications of a seedy underbelly: repeated graffiti pieces and tags on the Old West log cabin facade (a consequence of being so far out on a country road), a hollowed-out warehouse across the street, where local teenagers congregate. I witness a bizarre and memorable instance of albino giraffes galloping through a dilapidated Fort Ord-like building of broken glass, rusty support columns, and families with young children.
We climb aboard a personal paddleboat-steamer-themed mini train and go through a set of swinging saloon doors. I immediately spot a few large folding knives in a water feature. I retrieve one (hey, free knives!) and it’s comically huge, the size of a sword, branded as ‘Bowie’ — not a Bowie knife, though. Turns out people have a habit of discarding their knives in this particular ride after they stab someone. Like I said: seedy underbelly.
I make my way out of the visitor areas of the park and access a back room with rows of rickety shelves, like a rural garden nursery, stacked with curious merchandise. They’re aging avocado water here for instance. Here I find what is certainly a unique marketing demographic: Fan Dads! That is, men of a certain age who enjoy working with all manner of circulation systems, professionally or as a hobby, who nurture a passion for controlling flow of hot/cold, water/air/oil, or rotational propulsion! I see a beautiful silhouette of myself testing one of these boy-toys, plumes of air or water billowing from my face. Of course I manage to tip over a weathered old shelf and just catch it before disaster strikes. Gah, the maintenance with this place! To be fair, I wasn’t supposed to be there.
I don’t know why I find Fan Dads inordinately hilarious, but… Fan Dads! I’ve been saying it in my head for like 2 hours. Fan Dads!