Stephanie Jeffery Carlino – Carnie Girl

“Carnie Girl” I call myself…and proudly. Working as a ticket taker in a local Carnival I’m no place I ever thought I’d be. Hell, on a good day I wouldn’t even go to a  local carnival! After all, when I was away at finishing school, I was up nights thinking where I was going to board my horses, NOT that if I played my cards right, I’d be selling tickets to a circus where people would pay to watch horses! That never even crossed my mind. But, because of my circumstances, that is exactly where I found myself for 6 long weekends, and there I was asking “How many tickets would you like?” The discount coupon was only good until 7 pm. “The dancing elephant (who knew elephants could dance???) starts in 15 minutes.”

These are phrases I repeated hundreds of times over the Fourth of July weekend—I repeated this phrase whether they understood it or not, and I know I have to learn Spanish for next year! It was humbling, especially this weekend, when in the past I used to host my party for a cast of thousands, complete with DJ and fireworks, at a modest cost of $5,000. So, instead, I swallowed my pride, gave up a family weekend of fun and worked 49 hours as “carnie girl”—but came home exhausted, proud and $490 richer!

In the past, that windfall, however modest, would have gone towards a splurge—Gucci shoes or Chanel sunglasses—this year, it went toward a car payment!

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