Monday, September 12, 2011

Kidder pays the fare at the fair

I hate people, ergo, I hate going to the fair. It seems like such an event for joiners and followers, neither of which I am. I'm neither agoraphobic or elitist, in fact I'm quite envious of all the enjoyment that the majority of fair goers seem to receive from going to disgustingly crowded, hot and sticky events, to buy crap that NOBODY needs and to eat things that NOBODY should. Well, this year I promised my wife, who loves the fair, and my kids who love making me do stuff that I'd prefer not do that we'd all go. So I went and promised to have a fantastic attitude all day long, which I accomplished and even caught myself enjoying more than I ever thought I would. So in this article, I'll tell you what I learned about how being a GGG (good, giving/generous, and game) participant makes participating rather fun.

I woke up later than Jade and the kids but was the first one ready and waiting in the car. A good attitudes means you aren't dragging your feet or procrastinating, so I was sure to be moving with a bounce in my step from the first step. After a quick stop in the office, we parked and caught the bus to the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. My son sat next to me asking questions about the rides and foods and toys he'd be allowed today. I whispered in his ear, "If your attitude is great and you are nice to your little sister, there's little I'll say no to today." A giant grin appeared on his face and he immediately began talking to his sister as though he was the best big brother in the world. Jade gave me a wink, letting me know she'd heard that conversation.

We exited the bus and skipped past the scalpers selling "discounted passes" and paid the $46 to get us all inside those rusted gates that stood between us and deep-fried Twinkie's, cheese curds, and mini doughnuts . Deciding we were all hungry we mutually decided we should find the nearest corn-dog stand gather some lipids to prime our systems for the digestive onslaught that awaited us over then next several hours. As easy as you would think that would have been we found that not all stands advertising "THE BEST PRONTO PUPS AT THE FAIR!!!" actually even sell corn dogs. So we stumbled around haphazardly following our noses toward scents that matched what we ventured to find.

This journey led us through one of many shopping pavilions that sold talking toilet seats that shouted insults when sat upon and glue-on nail decorations for kids so that now your daughter can also look like a courtesan of patrons with limited resources. But then we saw it, and my son and I stood motionless as it buzzed dangerously close over our heads. It was a remotely controlled toy helicopter and he and I looked at each other knowing, without speaking, that we needed to own one of these amazing flying toys.

He and I ditched the wife and daughter and went searching for the source of the amazing hovering contraption. There we talked to the cute salesgirl who know a heck of a lot more about R/C hobbies than anyone would have expected. Geekyness is now sexy and there is no denying it. Once she showed us the ├╝ber expensive version with built-in HD camera there was no backing out of this purchase. She even threw in a smaller one so we could practice crashing before taking the big one into the sky. After swiping my card she glued our names to the boxes and put them into safe keeping while we enjoyed our day at the Fair.

Using my iPhone I relocated the other half of my family and went on our merry way. We ate some alligator, which I’m sure was about 10% gator and 90% lips and assholes of other, more common, farm animals. We got a bucket of, “The Worlds Best French Fries,” that were, I must admit, pretty darn tasty. We found a stand selling corn dogs and having not had one in several years, was surprised at how delicious the were. Jade got a Gyro that tasted like a standard Gyro to me but she swears is better at the fair than anywhere else.

I talked to Al Franken for a bit about sex education programs being pulled from Minnesota health classes. He responded by saying, “I don’t like that most schools are getting rid of HEALTH CLASSES completely.” He then joked under his breath, “Seriously, those middle school kids have got to learn about deodorant.” I like him, he’s one of the few politicians I know that actually responds to A LOT of his own mail and remembers many of my letters to him. Whether or not you like his politics, you cannot deny, he’s a good dude.

As we toured an old circus train that made frequent visits to Minnesota I caught myself having a really great time. My kids were asking us tons of questions about the fair, the historical relics, and life in general. We were all getting along great, the kids were well behaved and I think I kinda understand what this whole experience is all about. It is about having an experience together, with people we care about, alongside the rest of the community.

We found a soda stand that sold some seriously crazy-ass flavors and we each tried a different kind, sharing sips from each other’s bottle as we walked. My son and daughter bounced a few steps ahead of us as we headed toward the midway. Jade reached her hand around my back and pulled me close with a smile as we walked in tandem. I felt a warmth in my chest, and hoped it wasn’t a cholesterol deposit dislodged from taking down one of the many deep-fried wonders of the day.
I realized that the fair is like anything else in life, if you go into it with a great attitude, you’ll probably enjoy yourself. I chose to be GGG and what I got in return was enjoyment. What I gave to my family was a dad who made the day fun. These are the memories that we’ll hold on to when time causes my children to grow up. These moments of unbridled sugar-laden, deep-fried hedonism are worth the pain and expense of my first angiogram.

We caught up to the kids and walked with them, all four of us holding hands. I took the kids on the Scrambler and a few other rides that made us all laugh and scream. On our way back to the entrance of the fairgrounds my son reminded me that we needed to pick up our helicopters and pointed to a giant crowed massing in front of the doors of the shopping pavilion. He said with a straight face, “That is not the place to be during a zombie apocalypse.” I laughed and said, “No son. It is not.”

Bravely, we moved through the hoard, claimed our choppers and met Jade and the girl at the exit. Arm and arm we left, went home and had discovered the kids fast asleep by the time we pulled into the driveway. If there was ever a sign of a great day, carrying kids to bed must be of the neon-flashing variety.


  1. Brilliant post, thank you! I look forward to when my kids are a bit older and we can enjoy a day just like yours.

  2. Kidder, you have taught your son well. Everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings pending the zombie apocalypse. :)

  3. Such a great post! I'm glad you all had an enjoyable time, despite your lack of love for crowds. And what a great example of GGG in a general life context. It really is the gift that keeps on giving!

  4. Hilarious post! The county fair is America at its purest, for better or worse...