Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five Attractions at My Fantasy Theme Park

Just before I woke up this morning, I dreamt I was at a theme park that seemed to be based on the "Grammar Rock" cartoons of my childhood. It was a good dream, and I didn't want to wake up, but once I realized it was a dream, it was over.

A cup of coffee later, I'm still loving this idea. Does anything like it exist? In Los Angeles, I briefly dated a man who designed rides and "experiences" for theme parks, and I wish I'd learned more from him about how that process works. (And no, even my insatiable thirst for knowledge is not enough for me to want to get back in touch.) But if I won the lottery — slightly less likely than it might otherwise be, since I never play the lottery — I might build my own Grammar Rock theme park, and these would be some of the features. Of course, every sign in the park would be spelled correctly, and nothing would end in a preposition.

1. Unpacking Your Adjectives. Every park visitor would receive a package of ten large magnets, each bearing a random adjective — "big," "shiny," "crunchy," "moist," and so on (okay, maybe not "moist"). Almost every entrance or attraction in the park would have a surface where visitors could leave their adjectives, like refrigerator poetry. If you wanted more than 10 adjectives, or a specific set of adjectives, you could buy more in the gift shop.

2. Conjunction Junction. A bumper car ride with a difference: one side of your car would say "and," but the other side would say "or," and the sides would say "but." If you hit another car with "and," you'd be briefly connected; if you hit one with "but," you'd repel each other, and "or" would let you slide right by. Too complicated? I'd have engineers figure it out.

3. Apostrophe Avalanche. Every theme park needs a rollercoaster. This one would teach riders about the proper use of apostrophes by building the tracks around the consonants removed to form contractions. You'd be pulled up the Disappearing A, drop through the Missing O, and swing around the Unnecessary E. It would be a two-track ride that would end with parallel cars hooked together, to illustrate the use of the apostrophe for possessives.

4. The Plurals Fun House. Primarily a hall of mirrors, this would also have detours, drops and surprises for irregular plurals such as "children" and "mice."

5. Interjections! would be some kind of bouncy ride — a bungee drop, or a trampoline, with a light show that would suggest G-rated interjections: "Hey! Wow! Gosh!" Once a month, we'd open the park for an adults-only evening where the interjections would get a little rougher.


Anonymous said...

There should be some kind of attraction that involves an onomatopoeia or two.


Anonymous said...

How about a House of Horrors built entirely around "lie versus lay". You would be presented with an example and a choice of which to use at every turn, and every time you made the wrong choice, something horrible would happen, and you would be drawn even further into the maze. One hopes that if you couldn't get it right even once, you would never get out ...

By the way, how intimidating is it to make a comment about anything to do with grammar?

L. Miller

AnswerGirl said...

Lynette, I've already gone into this post twice to correct things I thought might be questionable!

Negative-reinforcement training for grammatical errors is a brilliant idea, but the Geneva Convention would probably interfere my plans . . .