July 1, 2008

The County Fair

The county fair is underway and the little one is chomping at the bit to get there. He has already missed one night because of baseball. Carnies, elephant ears and flirting with the chicks -- summer life of a fourteen year old boy. I feel sorry for you city folks who do not have a county fair. It is the best place on earth to view the multitudes if trailer trash. Fat chicks with tattoos, mullet wearing guys in wife beaters, grandmas in halter tops, pregnant teens in midriff shirts, skanks in pajama bottoms and flip flops: it is like WalMart on steroids. The fair is a no man's land of teen fashion. The goths, the punks, the skaters and the preps all mingle in a week long social melee. Where do all these people come from? The midway game operators shouting for attention competes with the smell of fried dough, veggies, Italian sausage, body odor and livestock to give you sensory overload.

There is the tilt-a-whirl, the Ferris wheel, the bullet and zipper for thrown together, I hope they tightened all of the bolts, did they grease the bearings thrills. The little kids love the giant slide and laugh with delight as they "drive" the motorcycles and race cars round and round on the kiddie ride. It is always a hoot to stand near the exit of the crappy funhouse. You can hear the plaintive cry "I spent four tickets for that?" as the pre-teens race into line to go again. Sparks fly at the bumper cars and screams of delight battle the thump of rock music at the alligator roller coaster.

When I was a kid they used to have the mouse game at the fair. It was a spinning wheel divided into wedge-shaped colors. The operator would open this box and drop a mouse onto the wheel. The mouse would run to a hole and whatever color matched that hole won. You would place dollar bets on like-colored slots. It was mouse roulette, if you will. The prize was always cartons of cigarettes. There was the fishbowl game. They offered giant stuffed animal prizes because it was impossible to win, other than pure random dumb luck. Lots of kids spent lots of money trying to pick up cool prizes with the little crane. I never wasted much money on the games, when there was so much food and so many rides to enjoy.

Did your county fair have a demolition derby? Next to wrestling, there is nothing white trash enjoys more than watching their friends and neighbors crash into each other in an old car. At the county fair old guys flock to the harness racing, and the old ladies love the cutest baby contest at the grandstand. 4Hers show their prize-winning (fill in the blank) and farm animals. The churches, merchants and politicos give away free stuff. Yardsticks, bumper stickers and trinkets all seem cool until you carry them for about two minutes.

I am getting all teary-eyed with nostalgia here. A porkchop sandwich and grilled corn on the cob sounds pretty darn good. I think I am going to the fair tonight too. Which night is the demolition derby anyway?

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