Brian Matuszak column: Is it Canal Park, or Can’t All Park?So I used to think that “talk radio” on WDSM was the biggest misnomer in the Twin Ports (since their announcers can’t actually talk), but I recently discovered a place that not only possesses a whopper of an incorrect name, it’s also an ironic one: Canal Park.
So I used to think that “talk radio” on WDSM was the biggest misnomer in the Twin Ports (since their announcers can’t actually talk), but I recently discovered a place that not only possesses a whopper of an incorrect name, it’s also an ironic one: Canal Park.
I should say I REdiscovered Canal Park. Normally in the summer months, our family doesn’t get within a 25-mile radius of what we call “the summer pit,” the area between I-35 and the Lift Bridge that gets crammed to the armpits with tourists, all clamoring for a glimpse of lake water and then later paying to have a generous portion of that same lake water dumped into their cocktails at Grandma’s. But we had an August mission down on Park Point that we couldn’t avoid, so off we went.
As so often happens during a Canal Park summer, we were bridged once we turned onto Lake Avenue. For those of you who may be Twin Cities transplants, that means the Aerial Lift Bridge dictated the vehicle pecking order to the mere motorists by sticking itself in the up position and allowing every tall ship, short ship, space ship, and Vista ship to pass beneath freely beneath it.
Meanwhile, we were forced to sit and burn fossil fuels faster than Dick Cheney’s chainsaw.
As we sucked exhaust for hours, we had time to reflect on life’s eternal questions. What is the purpose our existence? Is there life after death? How many tourists does it take to figure out those new parking meters in Canal Park?
At one point, we watched a party of six out-of-towners pull up and get out of their car. Two of them searched their pockets for change while the other four started to wander away, naively assuming they had secured Canal Park parking. The first pair placed their bets and went to join their friends. Suddenly, one of them dashed back as if the meter had called his name.
“Feed me more quarters, Seymour! I’m hungrrryyyy!!”
Seymour tried to read the big sign next to the vehicle to see if he had to further feed the beast, but he seemed unsure. He called to his friend, who came back to examine the sign himself, both of them reaching entirely different conclusions on the legality of their parking situation.
Eventually the Pack of Four rejoined them to form a new tourist band, The Confused Travelers.
As we pulled away, two of them wanted to leave, two wanted to stay, one was holding her credit card, and the other was chewing his foot.
And that’s why Canal Park has the wrong name. Sure, there’s a canal down there, but it’s an impossible task — right up there with scaling the Himalaya Mountains or deciphering Bob Dylan lyrics — to figure out how to park by, near, or anywhere in it. With the word right in the name of the place, you would think it’d be a cinch to park in Canal Park.
But just like what you hear on WDSM, that would be wrong.
Brian Matuszak is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and invites you to follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rchickentheater or like him on Facebook at “Rubber Chicken Theater.” Also, if he needs to go to Park Point again, he’ll ride a seagull.