Look on the bright side: For the first time in decades, the State Fair doesn’t end tomorrow.
And that’s all I have in the “bright side” department for the fair. I don’t wish to dwell on the downside, because the chuckle-fest we call “2020” needs no additional laments. But I can’t help tote up what I didn’t do during the 10 days we usually get together.
1. I didn’t have a giant turkey leg. It looks like something eaten by a medieval king with gout. Goblet in one hand, turkey leg in another, calling for his fool to amuse him with bells and japery. It’s enormous! What sort of mutant bird has such legs? You could saddle that thing and ride it to work.
I didn’t have one this year. And I didn’t have one last year. Then again, I’ve never had one. Looks like you’re eating a stick of congealed grease. Yeah, but it’s grease with skin. So am I, after six hours on a hot day. Maybe next year.
2. Didn’t take the ride where you sit in a swing seat, and it goes way up and spins you around, and you take out your phone to film the incredible sight, and the phone slips from your hands and winds up braining someone at the all-you-can-drink milk stand, and then you descend and have your friend call you so you can find your phone. And when someone answers, there’s a lot of crying.
Didn’t do that last year, either. I’m not one for rides that go up. I saw that tall ride get stuck one year, and speaking on behalf of all people whose heartbeat starts to gallop when the elevator doors don’t open right away, the idea of sitting in a chair up in the sky for 20 minutes is the stuff of nightmares. But maybe next year. (Between you and me: only at gunpoint.)
3. Didn’t finish an entire cup of French fries. Never have. It’s a matter of self-respect, like not eating the entire bag of doughnuts. You leave a few fries, and you think, “I am not a glutton with no self-control who will google ‘spandex waistbands’ tomorrow.”
4. I did not see the hog large enough to have its own gravitational field. You know the one I mean — the champ, the prize porker, inert, staring blankly into nothingness. I haven’t made a trip to the Swine Barn in a few years because I feel bad for that guy, as if he’s there to make everyone else feel better about themselves. “Well, I may have eaten too much, but at least I’m not lying naked in public with itchy straw stuck to my gut while strangers point at my privates.”
Yeah, well, the night’s young, pal. Steer clear of the Beer Garden if you want to improve your odds.
5. Didn’t visit the collection of old tractors — same as last year, but only because I couldn’t find them. Surely they were somewhere, right? You cannot have a State Fair without old tractors, belching and huffing out that wonderful petroleum perfume, sounding like angry goats with bad hiccups. I fear they will someday disappear, and there’ll just be a guy with a small model of a Minneapolis Moline combine, making a bup-bup-bup sound with his mouth.
In short: Thinking of the things I rarely do makes me realize how the fair consists of watching people do the 90% of the things you don’t. And how we all get along while doing different things.
We needed that this year, more than ever.