National Geographic : 2009 Jul
it is. And now you feel the great joy of revulsion at the fair and its shallow pleasures, its cheap tinsel, its greasy food. You are slightly ashamed of your own intake of animal fats. Bleaugh, you think. Arghhhh. OMG. You have gone twice to ATMs to nance this binge, and you regret that. No more of this! You take the child s hand. ere will be no honey sundae tonight, honey. We got all that out of our system. We are going home and sober up and get busy. You hike toward where you recollect you parked your car this morning, and by a stroke of God s grace you actually nd it, and your child does not have to watch a father roaming around pitifully, moaning to himself. You get in, and you drive back to the world that means something, the world of work. e Long Dark Time is com- ing, and you must gather your herds to shelter and lay in carrots and potatoes in the cellar. e fair is gone the next day, the rides dis- assembled, the concessions boarded up, the streets swept clean. Dry leaves blow across the racing oval, brown squirrels den up in the ticket booths, the midway marquee sways in the wind. You drive past the fairgrounds a few days later on your way to work. It looks like the encamp- ment of an invading army that got what booty it wanted and went home. And now you are yourself again, ambitious, disciplined, frugal, walking briskly, head held high, and nobody would ever associate you with that shameless person stuffing his face with bratwurst and kraut, mustard on his upper lip, and a half-eaten deep-fried Snickers in his other hand. at was not the real you. is is. is soldier of the sim- ple declarative sentence. You have no need for cheap glitter and pig fat and pointless twirling. You have work to do. Onward. j Like mother, like daughter. The Look-alike Contest is an Iowa fair Rural Americana Olde Tyme event. Pairs are judged not just on matching faces but also voice, walk, and mannerisms. Pair 239 (at far right) took second; 251, sixth. Top prize: A blue ribbon, five bucks, and bragging rights.