Monday, September 12, 2005

not my father's catapult

My dad owns a number of slingshots. Prior to visiting the New Mexico State Fair this weekend, I was convinced that he had at least one of every type of catapult ever produced. In fact, he even boasts that his collection includes the actual sling that David used to dispatch Goliath! (Don’t worry; I will spare you the punch line.)

At any rate, one of the strangest “rides” available at the Fair this year has to be the “Human Slingshot Ejection Seat.” He definitely doesn’t own one of these! I got close enough to snap a few photos, but the thought of climbing on board never entered my mind. Forget the $25-$30 price tag, I wouldn’t participate if it was FREE!

So I’ll email these photos to my dad, and wait till next summer to find out if he will be adding yet another new event to the Summer Nationals Slingshot Tournament.

The rest of the Fair experience was just as interesting. The Fair has so much to offer, whether you are interested in livestock, artwork, food and beverages, horse racing, or even watching demonstrations of promising “miracle” products that you will never see on TV. If people watching is your sport, then head on out to EXPO New Mexico at some point within the next two weeks. I was greatly amused by the carnie named “Bozo,” who earns his living by putting on clown makeup, and sitting in the dunk tank shouting insults at the crowd. The ironic part is that he wasn’t half as offensive as some of the people I watched trying to dunk him.

I’m wondering if ANYONE can explain to me the appeal of throwing dimes at glasses, cups, saucers and plates that you can pick up at the Salvation Army for a nickel each. Fair goers didn’t seem able to get enough of this kind of action. I saw one fella carrying a battered cardboard box containing at least a half dozen drinking glasses and an ashtray around the midway. I suppose he was searching for a ride that would allow him to carry his new trophies with him. I thought he must have been having a spectacular afternoon.

Undoubtedly, the koolest attraction on the midway is the bulk candy tent. I would like to nominate whoever came up with this idea for an upcoming Nobel Peace Prize. I’m telling you, this place has it all- salt-water taffy, jawbreakers, Razzles, candy smokes and bubblegum cigars, Pez, individually wrapped circus peanuts, Bit-o-honeys, mints, jellies, Bottlecaps, Pop Rocks, chewing gum, strips of candy dots, those hookless candy canes of various flavors that I first encountered at Stuckey’s as a kid, and even frozen Charleston Chews (just to name a few). I walked out with a 10-ounce bag of strictly banana Runts and the desire to run back in and squeeze all the tiny wax bottles containing sugary colored liquids.

Finally, I wonder if a corndog prepared in the finest restaurant in the world would taste as delicious as one eaten outdoors at the Fair. I doubt it!

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