I want to go to the fair.
I don't want to go to the fair.
"Fascinating," you say in a bored tone; "do let us know how that plays out."
No, hold on. I'm not the only who feels this way, I'm certain. Suddenly it's a looming issue. The State Fair, the Great Minnesota Get-Together, has announced a "mini-fair" on Memorial Day Weekend, and for many it's tempting. Except for the whole "Get Together" part.
First, what's a Mini Fair? Does that mean everything is half-scale? That would be amusing. Instead of big lumbering cows, there would be very small cows (or as those farm kids say with their special country lingo, "calves"). The big swing ride on the midway goes up only 7 feet, which is great if it gets stuck. In normal times when it ceases to operate and everyone's dangling, you don't have the "hop off" option.
Well, you do, but it's not advised.
What else would a resized fair have? Half-sized neon-hued yardsticks, which would work as walking sticks only if you went around on your knees — which perhaps also would be mandatory under the miniaturized theme. Fairchild, the mascot gopher, would be replaced by an actual gopher, manipulated with marionette strings to make it walk erect. (Note to the person who has to put on its clothes: Make sure you're up on all your shots, and we just don't mean COVID.)
I know what you're thinking: what of Mini Donuts? In a Mini Fair, would they just cut the number in half, or reduce the size of the doughnuts? Is it even possible to reduce the size of Mini Donuts? At some point the center aperture no longer will be visible, and then people will think they're doughnut holes.
"Actually, ma'am, they still have a hole. It's just not observable by the naked eye."
"So I'm supposed to bring an electron microscope to the fairgrounds to make sure I'm actually getting a Mini Donut and not a full-sized doughnut hole?"
"Step over here. We have a high-intensity light, and I can hold up the Mini Donut; you'll see a thin shaft of light as the photons pass through the hole. That should set your mind at ease."
Similar questions attend the About a Foot-Long Hot Dog. I've never quite understood that designation, anyway. Is it full disclosure, in case some class-action suit lawyer shows up with a tape measure, keen on bringing down the entire lying foot-long industry?
Or do they mean "about" in the Cambridge Dictionary sense: "on the subject of, or connected with?" As in, "settle down, children, and I'll tell you a story about a foot-long hot dog. Friends called him Frank."
If they're going to have a Mini-Fair version of the About a Foot Long, they couldn't call it the About a Half-Foot-Long Hot Dog, could they? Wouldn't that just be ... a hot dog? It would suggest that they'd had the fresh opportunity to measure the product precisely to meet the Mini-Fair realignment protocols and had waved it away as too much trouble.
I'm not impressed. There was no fair last year, you know — they've had almost 22 months to figure out how long the hot dog is, so apparently they just don't care.
Truth be told, I don't think the Mini Fair literally will be mini, and I don't say that just because I've grown tired of the idea and have run out of increasingly strained ways to write about it. The Mini Fair will just be less of what the Maxi Fair provides, a little preview, a gift to a fair-starved state.
Sounds like a lovely idea and thank you, fair, for doing this. But I can't go. I want to go! But I don't.
After last year, I have great pent-up fair anticipation, and I don't want to squander it on anything but the actual fair. Plus, it always feels wrong to go to the fairgrounds when it's not the proper time; it's empty and sad, like sneaking into Disneyland after it's closed and seeing the guy who plays Mickey sitting on a bench with his mouse head off, smoking a cigarette.
Here's the real problem, though. The fair comes at the end of the summer. It is the last hurrah, a time when summer seems eternal one day and fleeting the next. When the fair ends, the summer is over, and no matter how hot and green it may be, we know it's actually fall. If they hold a Mini Fair at the end of spring, it's possible some cosmic meteorological law will be broken, and we'll have a cold summer where the days get shorter and it feels like Halloween at the end of July.
You don't want that. You know why?
Because then people would start talking about the Great Halloween Blizzard, and they would drone on about it for four months, instead of one.
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