We need a big Ferris wheel. London has one; it’s called the London Eye. Baku, Azerbaijan, has one; it’s called the Baku Eye. Delhi has one; it’s called the Delhi Eye. Orlando has one, and they call it the Orlando Eye. The one in Paris is called the Big Wheel. If it’s ever bombed, the temptation to write about the Paris Ferris Terrorist will be irresistible.
Chicago has a big new wheel on Navy Pier: the Centennial Wheel, named for the pier’s 100th anniversary — or how long it feels like when you’re stuck at the top due to mechanical difficulties. The previous wheel doubled as a Claustrophobia Diagnosis Capsule. It was creaky and slow and drafty, and you soon realized that you were stuck in this thing for a duration longer than the first manned orbit of the Earth. When you got out a guy said, “Hold on, let me splash some bleach,” because he knew you’d want to kiss the ground.
The new one is speedier and more modern, and I’m sure it has Wi-Fi so you can stare at your phone while you’re way up in the sky. Or, perhaps, you could send texts to friends on the other side of the car.
A giant Ferris wheel would make us World Class. Remember when our civic officials were obsessed with being World Class? We will have a World Class convention center, a World Class sports facility, a World Class University where you can take World Class classes (about the world).
It was like an official designation, as if there’s some international organization based in Zurich that meets in a stark, white room full of thin, black-suited Europeans with gray, neatly trimmed beards, handing out World Class designations.
“The Committee of the World has received your application. We have studied your petition to have your bus shelters’ illuminated notification system declared World Class. (Pause.) Alas (faint, weary sigh), the standard set by Tallinn, Riyadh, Singapore and Winnipeg does not allow for such designation at this time. You may, of course, appeal.”
It’s a good thing we’re no longer worried about being World Class, because it sounds pathetic and insecure. Better to be proud that something is Minnesota Class. So, our Ferris wheel should reflect our culture. Instead of sleek modern pods, which anyone can do, we should have a wheel that hoists ice-fishing houses into the sky. Some will be painted purple, in memory of that year Prince played tight end for the Vikes.
When you enter the car it’ll be hot and humid inside. As the car ascends, the atmosphere drops, and everyone enjoys the relief from the heat until the car gets to the top — at that point it’s down to 17 degrees, and you’re shivering and wondering why the devil you took this ride in the first place. Frost forms on the window. Everyone in the car tries to scrape it off with a credit card.
But then it descends, and the temp rises again. By the time you’re done, it feels like a warm day in May. You want to ride it again, don’t you? But one of your friends says, “No, are you kidding? Do you remember what it was like at the top?”
Not really. That was 10 minutes ago. Let’s do it again!
“OK, we’ll go again. … Hey, the taxes went up on the ticket.”