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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Not BIG Enough....

I'm Not BIG Enough

I've just returned from Dollywood for a brief visit to introduce my grandson to the joys of theme parks. We waited until we felt he would be old enough to enjoy it and big enough to ride most of the rides.

They have this wonderful device there and at most other theme parks I've ever visited. It is a stick with a yellow stripe at the top that lets kids know whether they are big enough for a particular ride or not. If the child is not as tall as the yellow stripe, they are not big enough to ride.

This was a point of contention with some children who thought they were big enough regardless of what the yellow stripe said. However, "yellow rules." I saw one or two children, who were overly-tired and whiney anyhow, crying and declaring they were big enough regardless of what the yellow stripe said.

Like the little kids, I didn't think the yellow stripe knew much -- but for a slightly different reason. The yellow stripe thought I was tall enough to ride some of that stuff, but I knew better. I only had to take one look at the twisted tracks of metal and the loops and twists to know that I was definitely not big enough.

You should have seen the face on my chiropractor when I told him we were going to Dollywood. "That won't be good for your neck and back," he mumbled. I didn't really need a doctor to tell me that. Or a yellow stripe.

I did stand on my toes to reach the yellow stripe and ride the wooden roller coaster. I suspect that I'm probably not big enough to ride it either, but I rode it in the front seat with my hands up most of the way anyhow. There's this unspoken code among roller coaster enthusiasts that you must keep your hands up and not hold on. I probably should have bought the picture to prove that I did it, but, oh well, you will just have to take my word for it.

Wooden coasters are one breed, steel monsters another. I am not big enough to ride anything that turns me upside down. Enough is enough!

We met one family of coaster enthusiasts there who belong to an association of coaster riders. They go park to park just to ride the coasters. Dollywood is not especially known to this group like some other parks with the biggest, fastest, or largest number of coasters. I don't know what they were doing there.

I've seen all the TV specials about thrill rides. The thrill has something to do with pushing yourself to the limits of endurance, facing fear and surviving, and all that kind of stuff. I don't really need to ride a roller coaster to do that, thanks. I do that every day out on the Interstate. Talk about thrill rides! Too bad there is no stick with a yellow stripe to keep people off the Interstate who are not big enough to know how to drive.

There are all sorts of other yellow stripes, though, come to think of it. There is the yellow stripe in the middle of the road that tells you which side to drive on and when you can pass. Those yellow strips are becoming obsolete along with two lane roads. Interstates have only white stripes, which do nothing to help people know how to drive, apparently.

Then there is the imaginary yellow stripe down your back, which tells you whether you are brave enough to do something. Come to think of it, maybe that is the yellow stripe that told me whether or not I was big enough.

I had plenty of time to watch other people getting on rides while I waiting for my group to get off. I heard some people mumbling that they wanted to ride the big coasters once just to say they had.

Personally, I have nothing to prove. I'm brave enough to admit I'm yellow. But when it comes to riding a steel roller coaster upside down at 70 mph, I'm not big enough.

Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss

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