Fair Is Fair

When it comes to state fair food, [an Iowa entrepreneur who has spent decades inventing and selling carnival treats, Larry] Fyfe said, “dignity goes right out the window.” He noted that people walk around the fairgrounds eating deep-fried turkey legs and “looking like Fred Flintstone.”  – The New York Times

Sir? Yes, you, sir. Hi, there. My name is Bill Price, and I’m with Fair Security. What’s that? No, I don’t have a badge, per se. No, sir, you’re not in any trouble. But I was wondering if I could have a word with you for a moment, in private. Perhaps we could step just behind that deep-fried rennet stand. I’d appreciate it. Thanks very much.

So, I noticed you’re enjoying a deep-fried turkey leg—and, let me say, that does look awful tasty. If you haven’t yet tried the deep-fried apple pie, you’re gonna want to get a slice for one of your desserts, believe you me. Anyway, I also couldn’t help but notice that you’re dressed like Fred Flintstone. And, don’t get me wrong, I think you look terrific. Is that real tiger? Leopard? Wow. That’s... that’s really something. And so soft!

But my boss... well, he wanted me to just talk to you about one or two inaccuracies in your outfit. I mean, it’s obvious what you’re going for—and, again, I think you’ve nailed it—but, as I say, the people I report to just asked me to ask you if you would be willing to make a couple or three minor changes, for the sake of historical authenticity. We take great pride in historical accuracy here at the fair, as I’m sure you know. Have you seen the recreation of the unearthing of the UFO—the one on our state flag? No? Check it out after you get the pie.

The first thing they wanted me to mention is your shoes. They’re nice-looking shoes, for sure, and I’ll bet they’re very comfortable, especially since it’s about, what, 102 out today, and it’s probably even hotter underfoot, since it’s blacktop... heck, you know what, this morning I saw a kid drop his deep-fried ice cream on the ground, and when he picked it up again to eat it, he bit into the deep-fried coating and the ice cream had not just melted, but evaporated from inside! Yeah, it’s hot. But in any case we were hoping that you’d go barefoot, like Fred Flintstone did. I don’t know, but I’m guessing that after just a few minutes without shoes—or socks—you won’t even notice how hot the blacktop is. You know those monks who can walk across hot coals? You know how they do that? The bottoms of their feet are all calloused... from walking across hot coals! Oh, and my boss said to tell you that we’d be happy to hold your shoes at the security office. You can just pick ’em up on your way out.

You can probably also leave your ball cap there as well. What’s that? The Boulders were Bedrock’s baseball team? You’re kidding me! Okay, then. I can’t argue with that. You can wear the hat, and I’ll just tell the guys back at security what you said.

But I don’t think they’re going to budge on this one, though: your son. I mean, I presume that the woman you’re walking around with is your wife, and she’s a beauty... and that the boy with both of you is your son. Gonna be a lineman, eh? I think I saw him eat seven deep-fried sausages already! Hm? Well, yeah, I’ve been following you for about an hour. Just had to make sure I had the right guy.... So, anyway, I don’t need to tell you that Fred and Wilma had a daughter, not a son, and of course no one’s suggesting that you send your boy home or even leave him at the security office with your shoes and maybe your wristwatch, which is anachronistic, ironically enough. No, we’ve got another couple here who look like Alice and Henry Mitchell, except they’ve got a little girl. So we were thinking—hoping, really—that you’d be willing to swap kids for the rest of the day, and maybe any other day that you’re all planning to come back before the fair ends on Labor Day. You have to come back, of course. The deep-fried jelly beans aren’t even getting here until this weekend!

Oh, and we’re going to need you to put on a tie. A blue tie. Please. We really appreciate it. Plus, it’ll come in plenty handy when you’re eating that pie! Trust me.

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

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