Horror Writers Association Member

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Johnstown Pennsylvania is nestled in the Western wilds of the state. If one were to draw the state of PA (pronounced Pee-AYYE, like the Fonz), in the form of a man, Johnstown would sit dead center in his armpit. Visualize the area’s lush trees and thick vegetation as axillary hair, which is the technical term for "pit pubes."


Johnstown is home to the steepest inclined plane in the United States (suck it Pittsburgh) and the infamous Johnstown Floods I, II & III (the latter, as is the case with all trilogies, being the lamest). Johnstown is also known for the Historic Stone Bridge, Coney Island Hot Dogs (yum) and for housing the corpses of long dead steel mills which old-timers remember fondly for their living wages, alcoholism and mesothelioma.

Ahh...those were the days.

But that’s not all. Johnstown is home to a few other hidden gems as well.

So if you ever find yourself in Johnstown, what are some things you can do?

For starters, I recommend asking yourself “Why am I in Johnstown”? Chances are the reason is one of the following:

  1. It is late June, and you've been lured by the seductive aroma of motorcycle exhaust and overpriced chicken lips-on-a-stick that accompany the town’s Thunder in the Valley motorcycle event.


  1. It is August, and you’ve followed the sweet sound of music until you found your way into the Flood City Music Fest at People's Natural Gas Park (aka “Fart Park”). Perhaps you even splurged and got the GOLD tickets so that you could use the gender-specific VIP bathrooms! And yes, that is a real incentive.


  1. It is any other time of year, and your drug dealer is having a tough time making bail so he can't make the usual drop off, Wally World (Walmart)- and to make matters worse your ride out of town got twitchy and left you here.

Regardless of your reason for stopping by, you’re here now. You’ve seen what you came to see. What's a tourist to do now? Well, I've taken all the guess work out of it for you.

In no particular order...

1. The Johnstown Flood Museum

Nothing says FUN like going to a museum based on a natural disaster! I love the simulated Conemaugh River ride where you dodge huge logs, jump from roof top to roof top to save drowning townsfolk just in time to make it to Polka Fest (on the first weekend in June) where you are rewarded in Perogie* dollars and Haluski** points.

2. Central Park


Ah, now we’re talking. A metropolitan oasis…778 acres of nature surrounded by tall skyscrapers and visitors from all over the globe. Maybe you can take a horse and buggy tour or even…

Slow down globe trotter. You’re not at THAT Central Park.  Johnstown’s Central Park is a bit more…Johnstowny. You will find some similarities though. Both parks have benches. And at Johnstown’s Central Park you can even sit on one of those benches and take in the glorious sights of single men from the halfway house, begging for money or relieving themselves in the town shrubbery. From noon to 5 pm watch as pregnant females push their strollers with 4 kids in tow, trolling the park in search of baby-daddies and prospective 'hotties'. It's like an exotic white trash wildlife episode.

3. The Tree (Also in Central Park at Christmas time)
Look closely into the tree. You'll find little presents. Oh yeah.

It's a 36 ft. Christmas tree decked out in lights that frenetically dance to beautiful holiday music. So after you ooh and ahh over the display, visit all the quaint boutiques and open store fronts. Wait. You say there ARE no quaint shops and boutiques? So, the Cricket Wireless store that sells burn phones isn't an attraction? What about Subway or the liquor store? No? And town closes at 5 pm? The hell you say! But pull back the tree's ornate boughs and you'll be delighted at the surprises that are tucked away. Are they presents for good little boys and girls, you ask? Well, sort of. Nestled in the branches, away from prying eyes of inquisitive little scamps otherwise known as the Po-Po, are tiny stamp bags of DRUGS. Merry Christmas to you Charlie Brown!

4. Sheetz
This is the food mecca of this area. It's a 'convenience store and so much more', founded in Altoona, PA (approximately 45 miles from Johnstown). Food items and their wares are given 'the Sheetz touch' by adding a 'SH' to each word. For example, muffin becomes Shmuffin, pizza becomes Shmittza, newspaper becomes Shnewspaper, and gastroenteritis becomes, well, you don’t want to know. They also are the inventor of the M.T.O (S) which stands for a Made To Order (S)andwich. Sometimes it means, Mine's Too Oily and Meat Tainted Oh Shit.  So in Sheetz-speak if you overhear someone saying, "I had dinner at Sheetzese and had some chocolate Shmilk, an M.T.O and a gob*. Stay clear of the Shitters." It means....just that. Stay out of the Sheetz Shitters. Although, when not defiled they are usually pretty damn clean.

5. The Conemaugh River

The Conemaugh is as long as the Amazon River in Africa and twice as deep. It holds many exotic creatures like the Reticulated Waterlogged Moccasin (smuggled in from China and rarely found in pairs), the ever buoyant Nut Gobbling Brown Trout and the relatively new species, the Eastern Syphilitic Manatee (which recently migrated from out East, duh). Just why the Johnstown Housing Authority keeps promoting its waterways as a 'fantastic place to live' to these manatees is beyond me. The unemployment rate is pretty high in these parts. And it's a known fact that manatees don't have thumbs or legs...or can't work without 14 cigarette breaks. And don't even get me started with their whining about how they have to stay in the water or they'll die. It's a damn cop out if you ask me.

Johnstown has a few other places to visit but you can discover those on your own while you're riding your hog during Thunder in the Valley or running from the cops for fingering a box of gobs while you wait for Sir Jeffery of Cornwall- who may or may not show up with your, 'ahem,' package at Wally World.

Enjoy your visit to Flood City! Don't say I didn't warn you...

*     Perogie -   Hunky food (I can say that because I'm part Hunky)
**   Halushki - More Hunky food. (Look it up, I'm not doing all the research for you)
***  Gob - -     A dessert with... stuff in it.

This is meant as SATIRE. If this article makes your butt hurt I don't wanna hear it. My butt hurts too ya know.

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