The Maryland State Fair, which ran itself out yesterday, sun-drenched fried humidified, is a pilgrimage, because after reading Charlotte's Web, I still want to live inside its pages like Templeton the Rat, the Id, the Selfish Hedonist. And for a few days in late summer, I can, albeit in more a raunchy and real book called The Timonium Fairgrounds.
I saw a cow vulva open up and out of it come first a gush of water that soaked the hay at my feet and then a calf feet first aided by what the vet called "obstetrical chains." I saw overweight people eating whole turkey legs like it was a Middle Age Joust while wandering the midway on their scooters. I saw a kid hurl into a garbage can. I overheard some teenagers saying there were going to "huff some Red Velvet funnel cake" I met the cotton candy carny before the Fair opened getting cash at the ATM across York Road and we got to chatting so I actually can't call him a carney, I can call him Steve. We shared the winnings off a scratch-off ticket my son found abandoned on the floor. We put our share ($1) right back into cotton candy, which is the American Way, man.
When my daughter, 6, walked wobbly down the exit ramp from the Crack That Whip, still shouting "Wheee!" I felt proud to be an American, briefly, fleetingly, because despite what's going on in The Wide World we're all still blessedly isolated, buffered, cacooned you might say, like corn dogs, and in those pockets there is still peace, albeit weird, and wacky, overweight, and corn-fed and greasy and Three Ring Tosses for A Dollar.