Monday, July 16, 2007

1.36 - The Lost Carousel

MONKEY ISLAND, DECEMBER, 1990 - One of the biggest crimes perpetrated against the good people of Monkey Island was committed not by common thieves, but something far worse: Public officials acting in the supposed common good.

To wit: A treasured roadside attraction, a small, family-owned amusement park, cherished in the memories of numerous generations. Property values were skyrocketing on the island in the 1990s, and the owners, long past retirement age, sold the land to commercial developers who wanted to put an auto-parts store there. All well and good, as most of the outdoor rides were somewhat dowdy, but when the owners announced plans to sell their treasured antique carousel, there was an outcry among the generations of now-grown children who'd ridden it, who'd brought their own children to ride on it, and had hoped to bring their grandchildren there as well. Worse still, the ride would not be sold as a unit, but was to be taken apart and auctioned.

The shame of the world today is that such an item as this carousel is worth more in pieces than as a whole. The hand-carved horses alone (41 of them) were expected to fetch tens of thousands apiece. Then there were the two chariots and a lion, as well as the original organ. It was a great moral dilemma for the owners, who were already past retirement age. They were seen to be squeezing as much as they could from it, yet, isn't that what an asset is for?

Local officials jumped at the opportunity to suck up to the public's goodwill and condemned the carousel, paying the owners a pittance whilst promising to 'restore' the ride and open it to the public at another location.

But it certainly didn't seem to be in need of 'restoration'. It may have been a bit run-down, but it was almost 90 years old, you'd expect it to be run-down; that was part of its charm. Yet, however run-down it was, it still ran fine, up until the day they closed it, took it apart, and carted it away.

No progress on the 'restoration' has been reported since at least 1997.




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