STATE FAIR BARBIE GOES TO THE FAIR
Elsie and I went to the big Western Washington State Fair in Beaverteeth and had the time of our lives. I particularly enjoyed the big jolly fistfight in the Swine Building after Elvis kissed Barbie. It was a miracle that Elvis won the race as well, seeing as how that bad guy who seems good – the one with the sweeping blonde hair – how that guy and his pals took advantage of Elve. I enjoyed the three musical numbers I had, singing and playing the standup bass behind Elvis, especially the one where I look goofy and the camera comes in and takes what ís called a close-up of me. I’m the guy in the bandanna with the big buckteeth. Elsie says you can’t miss me. I also enjoyed how Elvis won the race, but it was really best at the start when that bad girl with the black hair cut straight across her forehead waved her bra to start the race. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of her tied up and real naked in barns and other rustic environments and I’ve got to say, I enjoy looking at her just as much as I enjoy looking at Barbie, fully clothed in her State Fair Barbie outfit.
But thereís more to the Fair than just singing and fighting and racing, and the thrilling competition for Elvis between good girls in sleeveless plaid shirts with the shirt-tails tied so as to show off their adorable tummies and bad girls, tied up with gags in their mouths and perched up on five inch heels and gripped in leather corsets, that’s for sure. I’ve been going to the damn thing for many a year and I’ve had a lot of thoughts over those years and one of them is the one that sums up most of the others and that ís the thought that thinks that a Fair, no matter how you look at it, comes down to pretty much one thing; and that thing is, in a word, exhibition.
Everybody and everything at the State Fair is an exhibit of one kind or another and I’ll explain what I mean by first pointing out that the opposite of exhibition has got to be inhibition. Inhibition wouldn’t make for much of a Fair. I suspect you’d see a lot of people with glasses and books and cardigan sweaters milling uncertainly around the fairgrounds with nothing to look at, all of them nervous about each other, muttering clever comments to themselves about how stupid everyone else is. It wouldn’t be much fun, whereas at the Fair of Exhibition, just about everyone female is dressed in low-slung bell-bottom jeans with factory-bleached white areas emphasizing the sexually desirable parts to seem as if actual working people might have worn the jeans at work and (you can’t get more complicated clothing than you see at the Fair) as for men, well, the sheer overwhelming amount of mullet haircuts has diminished, as have the amount of hatbackwarders, but there ís still a comforting amount of noserings, tattoos and shaved heads. None of these people are like Elvis and Barbie; they don’t race, they don’t fight, they don’t sing. They just go to the fair to see the exhibits but they’re not unaware of the fact that they are, as well, on exhibit. And the exhibitions are what the fair, besides the food, is all about.
One of the best things about the Fair is: The Hall of Modern Living, or, as I call it, the Hall of No Eye Contact. Hereís how modern it is; about a third of the exhibitors wear microphones and they demonstrate, they slice and they dice and so the experience is slightly what we call out my place surreal. For instance, there are two girls, the Vita-health girl and the Mop girl, no one in front of them, talking to each other quietly although they are thirty feet apart. They have on microphones. They are wired. It’s the Hall of Modern Living. Don’t talk to me about modern. I’ve been there. The John Birch Society is set up next to the Gutter demonstration, where water flows down a roof and into a gutter and magically, no branches or moss even goes into the gutter. If you make eye contact with any of these people, you are doomed. They’ve got you. You have to be strong to look away, to not answer, to keep moving, to not respond. The Hall of No Eye Contact is Exhibitors Gone Wild, no holds barred, nothing restrained. You are the hunted.
Barbie bought the State Fair Hair at the fair this year. It’s a hell of a kind of pony tail but it sticks way up high and it exactly matches the original hair that Barbie went to the fair with. She also bought the dachshund purse, the one that not only looks like a dachshund but is the same exact size. State Fair Barbie, comes with adorable dachshund purse. Pilot Jeff sold separately.
One of the best things about the Fair is: The midway, the neon, the shrieking and wailing of the doomed customers, the grinding of oily old machines held together by the presumably limited skill and interest of people who might be able to make more money back brewing meth in severely depressed rural areas were it not for the needs of exhibition. You’re going to want to see the cases of preserves, the hall of grange artwork, the huge geometric arrangements of fruits and vegetables, the giant pumpkins, sagging under their own immense orange weights. The crossbows, the fish receiving coins, the Army corps of engineers, (the Army Corps of Dioramas,) the flood plain demo diorama, every year. We ate fried oysters and french-fries at the seafood stand. You know you’ve got good food coming when you notice that most of the customers are Nisqually or Puyallup people. The corn dogs were good this year, the scones excellent and the burgers large and smothered with Walla-Walla onions. The hall of quilts and sewing, the many artworks and paintings and sculptures included a couple of the finest Art of The Insane pictures I’ve ever seen, just like that guy Flamnigan on TV.
It’s the Fair, in other words. Get there or be square. They’re trying to tell me that Elvis is dead, but he isn’t, not when you can go to the Fair. Look out for Barbie, but the best thing is that every year, when the huge clouds turn orange overhead and the lights of the Insane Rides pop out and the darkness descends and the shrieking idiots are flung upward hundreds of feet in the air and the big moon rises, Elsie and I go to the lineup of photo booths and we wait with all the teenage bad girls – the girls who have rings in places you don’t want to know about, whose heads are shaved in ways unthought by normalcy, whose hair is colored as if by the midway itself – and we squeeze the two of us into the booth and draw the curtain and insert the dollar bills and have four black and white pictures taken of ourselves. We wait outside, joking with the bad girls and after a while the strip of photos comes out and there we are, the two of us.
I should mention the deep things, too. There’s the huge model of the volcano that towers over the fairgrounds, showing what will happen to us if it blows, when it blows. And there is the always unspoken, the end of summer near, the eating of the corn, the drying of the stalks, the pumpkin vine dies away and leaves the orange thing. The leaves begin to blow, the maples’ edges look dark red and then, too quickly, yellow. Death is upon us. And so we find ourselves back at the Fair of Inhibition, the Fair of No Location, (the Fair of No State, stateless in fact, a thing unexpressed, a thing of no qualities.) Another year. Another fair. Four more black and white pictures. Elsie looks cute as can be and I look older, but ok, I guess. When we get out the strips of pictures from years past it’s fairly obvious that Elvis and Barbie are not only alive, but photographable.
And you know, next year I’m not even going to the fistfight. I want to spend more time with the rabbits and pigeons. That’s where the action is. Enough striving, enough competition. Exhibition, that’s what it’s all about. Did you see the size of the feathers on that pigeon’s feet? Wow. Blue ribbon, red ribbon, green ribbon. Who cares? Not me. We drive home to Mystery Island over the many bridges and the moon shines over the water and summer is not quite gone.