Sunday, September 21, 2008

You Can Put Lipstick on It, But It's Still the State Fair

Differences of opinion prevail, but some think the State Fair has been sanitized too much. Several years ago, some of the traditions were cast off or have been eliminated because of political correctness. No freak shows, oddities or motorcycle daredevils — not even a man turning into a gorilla right before your very eyes (like every 20 minutes or so).

People are still waiting in long lines for midway rides designed to jerk you, shake you, toss you and bounce you around. Loud rock music and fancy lights blare the sirens' call to lure the half-drunk teens or mid-twenties getting a thrill for two minutes and 31 seconds for $5.00 out of their system.

Then there are the kiddie rides. This is where the parents on a ride operated by characters who, under normal circumstances, are the people these parents are warning their kids to look out for and not talk to or "take candy from". We have strict training and certification to operate a boat in the Bricktown canal (which is three to four feet deep, at the most), but not the rides at the fair. Governor Brad thought this to be too hard on the people — after all, we only had one fatality in Tulsa on a ride last year.

The "dunk tank guy" was back this year with all his insulting banter which demeans everyone and everything within earshot. Perfect for a 12-year-old boy to hear and adopt into his limited communication skills. (Hey, you gave Junior $20 and four hours free to roam at the fair.)

The next big crackdown at the (everybody sing: "The Great State Fair of Oooklaahoma") is the food police. All these healthy, vegan, fat-free, cholesterol-testing, carb-counting busybodies must have their blood pressures go off the charts with these time bombs ticking on the grills and in the deep fryers. They had a new one this year — garlic mashed potatoes lumped into a wedge, then deep-fried on a stick. Just grab one and do the "glob in my veins" happy dance!

Even the carney games have been cleaned up to look like "Chucky Cheese" instead of the seedy, rigged carney sucker-magnets that they really are. Also, nobody is carrying around yardsticks anymore with some business name that nobody read, but were great for sword fights in the car on the way home. Forty-nine booths selling cheap sunglasses and food sealers — how has the world survived without these?

One thing holds true — the car is always parked farther away when you're leaving the fair than when you got there. WHO MOVES THEM????

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