November 6, 2016
Yesterday, Kim, Kate, their friend Dexter, and I went to the World Championship Punkin' Chunkin' in Bridgeville, Delaware. There were over 100 contraptions - air (pneumatic), catapult, torsion, trebuchet, human-powered, and some combinations thereof – flinging pumpkins thousands of yards. The air guns shoot pumpkins at 500-600 mph, and it is impossible to see them with the naked eye at any point in their trajectories. The mechanical devices, especially the human-powered ones (people on hamster wheels, bicycles, etc.), are more fun to watch because you can actually see the pumpkins leave their chunkers. Unfortunately, you can't see them bounce off the moon or explode when they hit the farmer's field in front of you.
We arrived before 10:00 – unfortunately, in time for one of the founders to sing the National Anthem. To say that she was only pitchy would be overly kind. Granted, it's a difficult song to sing, but when I hear it butchered it makes me feel almost as bad for the country as the prospect of either Clinton or Trump becoming President. She followed with the official “Punkin Chunkin” ballad, the lyrics of which are so awful that perfect pitch couldn't improve them.
As we meandered toward our first launch, a couple started talking to us. Now that I'm well practiced in engaging strangers, I inquired about their residence. When they politely returned the question, I said that I am full-time-RVing. They spent a month in their Class A this summer, and they were in it for the weekend for the Chunkin. I spent 20 minutes talking to them – exchanging RV experiences, while they educated me on how the Chunkin works, where to stand, where to look, etc. I mentioned that I think that people who home school there kids should buy RVs and use the traveling experience to teach US History, geology, cultural anthropology, etc. The couple said they met a 40-something couple from Oklahoma who were doing that: they had two Class A RVs to transport their 15 children. That, isn't home schooling, that's Little House on the Prairie on wheels!
Punkin Chunkin is a stupid white people thing to do. I can say this because the MIT team notwithstanding, Jews, Asians, Hispanics, and black people do not look at food and wonder how to build a machine to hurl it. They cook it. In kitchens. They also don't win Darwin Awards. I asked Dexter if he's ever bothered by being the only black man at an event. He said he no longer notices. I prefaced my question by noting its indelicacy. I am white, and I have rarely been in a situation in which I'm a minority. I can't always walk a mile in other peoples' shoes, but I can always ask them how it feels to walk in theirs.
Leave a Reply.
Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.