Trauma World Park - “We Make the Tragic!”

Jennifer Dines

A Special Message from Your Trauma World Hosts: 

This guidebook was created to support you in navigating our park. We have included information on all you might need to navigate the most exciting attractions, scrumptious dining choices, and retail therapy opportunities of Trauma World Park. We wish you luck as you descend into the circles of your personal history. 


Relive the memories of yesteryear in this 3-D montage guaranteed to trigger you over and over! Scenes include Dad flipping the dinner table causing a ceramic plate to chip your tooth — because you begged to attend that 7th grade sleepover — and Mom smashing up the piano with a hammer after accusing you of liking your piano teacher more than her. 

House of Tragic 

A museum of miniature mementos of your parents’ arguments. Family photos behind cracked glass, audio samples of swears and insults, and commemorative portraits of denial — all free of scratches, bruises, scowls, and tears. 

Pirates of Your Vulnerability 

An ensemble cast of pirates and privateers inappropriately plunder the fragility of your budding adolescent sexuality. Villains include your guitar teacher and a rotation of adult men who hang out at the coffee shop where you work. 

Off the Edge of the Map Espresso Bar 

Ash Marlboro Lights into a tiny cup of coffee as your seventeen-year-old self ponders where exactly your mother ran off with your sister when she left your father. And why she didn’t provide you a phone number or a forwarding address. 

The Loose Cannon 

Practice hitting the deck as your father fires off verbal ballistics that remind your early-twenty-something self why you are “a little bitch who should mind your own business” — the precedent being a discussion about his health — his smoking, drinking, gambling, and spending time in the hospital and in jail. 

Terror Jets 

Board our miniature fighter planes and endure our threatening skies. While all the other passengers smile and take photographs, you will experience violent shaking, profound nausea, and a pounding heart beat. This unforgettable experience is accompanied by an original Karlheinz-Stockhausen-inspired score of whirs, dings, and buzzes.

The Hall of Lost Friendships 

A dramatic presentation of former friends that you lost when you started binge drinking every night — each character offers detailed monologues of your self-destruction. Repeats every few months or so. 

The Weeping Cup Café 

Order up a TraumaWorld souvenir mug and fill it with your own warm tears. Free refills. 

Carousel of Intergenerational Mental Illness 

A showcase displaying a century of hard liquor, beer, wine, prescription painkillers, and flat-out psychosis. After the show, enjoy a complimentary consultation from a TraumaWorld Gentle Guide at guest services. Additional therapeutic services can be purchased for the rest of your life. 

Celestial Paradise 

Ascend into tranquil skies accompanied by a TraumaWorld Gentle Guide. Float amongst the stars of faith, love, and hope. 

Phantom Mansion 

Ghosts and goblins of your past rise from their graves at spookily uneven intervals. An exorcism at the end of each ride quells the spirits, but not for long. 

Guess What’s Next! 

A lot of construction — and destruction — is going on around TraumaWorld Park, so you’ll have more reasons than ever to feel anxious, depressed, manic, suicidal, and maybe even temporarily stable. There is always room for you in the Mental Suffering Kingdom!

Jennifer Dines is a teacher in the Boston Public Schools and a mother of three daughters. Jennifer has been recognized by the US Department of Education, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lady Gaga and the Born This Way Foundation, the World Literacy Organization, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for her work with her students.

She has struggled since her teens with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, alcohol abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jennifer enjoys cooking, pilates, reading, and especially watching her young daughters' growth in both creative and academic skills. She has been married to David Dines for fourteen years.

More of her writing can be found here: