Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

October 21, 2006

Deep-fried Coca-Cola

My neighbors went to the Georgia State Fair in Perry the other night. OK, I admit it. I’m not much of a “fair” person. That’s not to say I’m not fair, rather I mean that it has been a long time since I’ve actually been to a fair or a carnival. Frankly, I have always preferred the circus. Fairs, to me, are too much about livestock and nauseating rides and not enough about acrobats and clowns and wild animals.

Sure, you have your prize cows and pigs and chickens, but the real exotic animals (unless you count Jo-Jo the Dog-faced boy or Doris the Lobster girl) are generally reserved for the circus. And in my childhood, the Big Top was full of animals! Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) and elephants and horses and trained seals were everywhere! As far as I know it, there has never been a trained duck and sheep act at the circus.

And so as a child very prone to motion sickness, the fair held very little charm for me. At an early age, I remember thinking the midway smelled like a mixture of diesel smoke and pig manure. As a teenager with a still weak stomach, I remained uninterested in the rides. Although I was certainly fascinated by the “hoochy-coochy” show, I was never able to summon up the courage to even try and buy a ticket. I was always afraid someone I knew would see me going in and call the preacher, or worse yet, my parents.

Later, after I became a parent, I took my children to a county fair or two, but it always seemed to be a lot of the same old things: flower arranging and pie contests, lots of smelly farm animals and any number of “whirligig” rides designed to relieve you of what you had most recently eaten. And besides, I would have known some real grief if my wife had caught me hanging around the “hoochy-coochy” show with the children.

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