Wednesday, December 9, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Sound Familiar? - 12/10/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday cajoles me to write a story using only 55 words. I am writing this one a day early because I am on a drug regimen and don't know what day it is.

A young left fielder from Chicago was drafted by the Washington Nationals. He was instantly a fan favorite. The crowd was eager to see what he could do as the team was struggling badly. He never actually got up to bat but at the end of the season he was selected league Most Valuable Player.

Friday, December 4, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Tiger, Tiger, Tiger - 12/4/09

Each week G-Man at 55 Flash Fiction Friday dares us to write something understandable using only 55 words.

I do not usually write topical pieces and am not one to jump on the bandwagon of any current story but I am just amazed by the series of events unfolding concerning Tiger Woods (who I am a big fan of).

I am the most famous person in the world. Gorgeous wife and two, healthy, beautiful children. I make unfathomable amounts to play a game that I love. Millions of adoring fans that will buy whatever product I endorse. A posse who acts on my every whim. What could I possibly do to mess that up?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

High School Football - 11/28/09

Last night I challenged my demophobia and joined 6,500 people at the Myrtle Beach Seahawks football game. Demophobia sounds like fear of democrats (which I also have) but it means fear of crowds. This was a playoff game to determine who would represent the lower end of South Carolina in the state championship. Myrtle Beach is defending champion, so it was a game of interest and really the only thing happening in Myrtle Beach on Black Friday night. Last year, these same teams battled to a 51-50 Myrtle Beach victory in triple overtime. It promised to be a great game.

I arrived an hour early, hoping to get seated before the stadium filled. Unfortunately, 6,000 other people had the same idea. My greatest fear was realized, climbing bleacher stairs scanning the throngs for an open seat. I was lucky enough to find one on the 20-yard line. Many were not so fortunate and had to stand behind the end zones. Thankfully, my bladder held out for the entire game as there was no hope of leaving for any reason and getting my seat back. This was particularly disturbing since I saw people carrying funnel cakes.

I love the atmosphere of college football, but high school football has its own unique ambiance, particularly in the south. To illustrate how huge high school football is here; during the football season, Costco schedules fewer employees on Friday evenings than any other night of the week. It was interesting to see that the Myrtle Beach Seahawks have a pirate as a mascot. Though there was a fictional pirate called the Sea Hawk, however a Seahawk is a bird. After living here for nearly 10 years, that mistake in the educational system does not surprise me. Seattle and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington figured that out, evidently the Myrtle Beach folks had no access to a library. Even a Seahawk helicopter would have been a possible mascot, though not practical.

The opposition was the Marlboro County Bulldogs. A bulldog is an appropriate mascot. Well done, Marlboro County. Although a smoking man on a horse would have been more interesting, though not politically correct. I particularly enjoy a game where I have no emotional investment and can just watch it objectively, acknowledging good plays by either team. Though I live in Myrtle Beach, I know as many players on the Marlboro roster as I do the Seahawks. Zero.

Unfortunately, this game was virtually over early in the third quarter, as Myrtle Beach, though outweighed by at least 50 pounds per man on the line, dominated. The superior athleticism of their skill players soon wore down the Bulldog defense. Many of which played both offense and defense. They played hard but were outperformed at every facet of the game. They got a cosmetic touchdown towards the end of the game to make the final score 40-13. The game was not that close.

I only have two criticisms of the game and neither involves the players of either team. The first is the officiating, but not for the reason officials are normally censured. I think they called a pretty fair game. The problem for me was that they took so long to make decisions between plays that it killed the flow of the game and made it practically unwatchable. There were often ten minute interludes between snaps while the officials huddled and discussed who knows what?

The second fault I found was with the Myrtle Beach coach. Late in the game with a 30 point lead, he tried an onside kick. Thankfully, it was unsuccessful. Even the Seahawk faithful in the stands were questioning the intelligence of that bush-league move. He also kept his starting offense in, and throwing deep, right up until the final gun. As a result, the humiliated Bulldog team began to lose their composure and it got a little chippy toward the end. The team being shown-up, as can be expected, began to take cheap shots and that is a exactly how players get unnecessarily injured. The star quarterback should have been watching the game with a Gatorade in his hand, not throwing down-field. Anyone who does not agree that these actions were unnecessary in a high school competition has never actually played team sports. It is my hope that Myrtle Beach High School officials reprimand this coach for his unsportsmanlike behavior and lack of leadership. He is blessed with great players, which might not always be the case. This arrogance may come back to bite him in the ass. Bulldogs have a long memory.

That being said, congratulations to the Seahawks, and best of luck in the finals. That game will be played at the University of South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium. I may travel to that contest as it seats about 80,000, and I am certain to get a seat.

Friday, November 27, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - "Dead Man Walking" - 11/27/09

Each week G-Man invites us to tell a story using only 55 words. My prompt supplier quit me so you are stuck with my own idea.

Preparations are being made around him.
He is oblivious as unseen hands help him don traditional attire.
The preacher arrives, offering solemn words of encouragement.
It is time.
He walks the long corridor as someone shouts -
“Dead Man Walking.”
He takes his assigned place, as it was practiced.
The music commences.
He suddenly hates Mendelssohn.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Anomaly - 11/19/09

The challenging prompt from Lena for this week's 55 Flash Fiction Friday is Anomaly. This is what came to mind.

He was not the only astronomer to discover the spatial anomaly, but the only scientist who understood its gravity. Alarming a hopeless world would only result in equal measures of disbelief and panic. Two calls: his daughter, to tell her he loved her and his unfaithful ex-wife to tell her to watch the moon’s approach.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Loss of a Friend - 11/15/09

Today, I watched a lady visiting the dog park with her dog for the last time. Punk is 18, and his quality of life is reduced to such that the humane act for Cathy is to have him put to sleep. The procedure is to be done tomorrow. So she brought him by the dog park so he could say goodbye to his friends, canine and human.

On the way home Skooter interrupted his commitment to hanging out the window to bark at arbitrary motorcycles and pedestrian dogs to see what was wrong with me. He licked at the tears on my face before laying down with his head on my leg, comforting me. Dogs know. These lines were running through my mind.

Goodbye dear friend. My life was enriched by knowing you. Through the years there were many times when I felt unloved by my fellow humans, but there was never a moment that I doubted your love, which you gave unconditionally. Though human friendships often come with motive, you had no agenda other than to bring happiness into my empty life.

The one constant in my ever-changing life was your ability to make me smile.
Though sometimes you begged for my attention,you never reserved yours nor rationed it. You could sense when I was playful and when I just needed to sit quietly.

I have had human relationships of which I cannot recall names or faces.
But your sweet face is forever etched into my mind’s eye. Though the world is a lonely place, you never allowed me to feel solitary. I hate that you are leaving me now but I know it is your time. As with all good things, you were gone too soon.

I will say I am never getting another dog. But I will and I will love it just as I do you. It will never replace you but will help to ease the pain I feel today.
There are those that will never understand the total devastation of losing you.
I feel sorry for them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pills - 11/13/09

I got up this morning and took a handful of assorted medications and this came into my head. Don't ask me why. Oh yeah, the Vicodin I had for breakfast.

They got pills to make you happy
And pills to make you mellow
Pills to control your blood pressure
And some make you pee yellow

They got pills to make you horny
And pills to make you not
Pills to control that ugly rash
And that case of jungle rot

They got pills to make you skinny
Though none of those will work
Without diet and exercise
If you buy them you're a jerk

They got alternative medications
Supplements and Herbs for sure
And there isn't much that ails you
That chronic will not cure

They got pills to make kids behave
And not set your house on fire
And pills that cause a vacant stare
If that's what you desire

They got pills to quit smoking
And pills to slow your heart
Pills to make you evacuate
And some just make you fart

They got pills to make your date more fun
And pills to make you rave
Pills to make you hit home runs
And pills to make you brave

They got pills that make you comatose
And pills that make you laugh
Pills that you need several of
And some you cut in half

They got pills so you don’t get pregnant
And some that hope you do
And pills so your infected friend
Doesn’t spread herpes to you

They got pills to shrink your prostate
And pills to make you hard
Some pills come in a bottle
And some come on a card

They got pills to make you larger
Pills to make you small
And like Grace Slick once said
Some don’t do anything at all

They sell pills over the counter
And some are kept in back
The really good ones you only get
If your doctor is a quack

They got pills that make you sleep
And some keep you awake
Some of them cure heartburn
Or stop a tummy ache

Some you have to swallow
And some you have to chew
Some that you take orally
And some are taken……..eew

Some pills the FDA approves
And some of them they hate
Some pills get recalled
But usually too late

Some pills have side effects
Including pain and death
They can help your asthma
But it might be your last breath

They got pills to cure what ails you
Just because you think they will
Though there’s only sugar substitute
Inside that little pill

Some make you creative
To write verse or prose
Unfortunately for my readers
I don't have none of those

Thursday, November 12, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Direction - 11/12/09

This week's offering to the 55 Flash Fiction Friday Gods was prompted by Lena's suggestion of Direction. For some, drugs increase creativity. Copious amounts of narcotics for me, not so much. I will do better next week as there are no refills allowed.

The path forked. One track was deeply rutted and well traveled. The other was relatively unused, with weeds growing unchallenged. His nature was to follow the more popular trail. This time he elected to go in the direction less frequented. He had hiked a few hundred yards when he was eaten by a forest creature.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Improv - Getting out of my shell - 11/10/09

Recently I decided I needed an outlet to get me away from Seinfeld reruns and out from in front of this computer screen. I signed up for a creative writing class through the local University’s continuing education program. I tried this three times. Two of the classes were canceled due to lack of interest. The third I dropped out of after the first session. The instructor was not going to be able to hold my attention. She had a voice that made me yearn for the sound of stray cats having intercourse outside my bedroom window. And her qualifications for teaching creative writing were that she had once vanity published a cookbook that was still available for purchase in India. So Seinfeld reruns were looking pretty good.

One day at the Bark Park I met a lady that was involved in an improv group and found that classes were available locally. When I got home that evening I went online and found the group’s website. It looked interesting and a beginner’s six week class was forming, so I signed up immediately.

I have just completed that course of study and though improv is miles outside my comfort level, I am glad that I did. The experience of the improv performance is secondary to the pleasure I received from my association with my fellow classmates. There were eight of us in the class from extremely diverse backgrounds that connected immediately and became a cohesive unit. I found myself looking forward to our weekly gatherings. As we got to know each other, we developed friendships outside of the classroom.

One thing became immediately apparent to me as I learned more about my fellow cast members. In comparison to the full, rich, lives that these people led, my life was very empty and sad. Somehow, I have lost my identity and no longer have a purpose to my existence. That sounds extreme, but it is very true. My contributions to conversation were about my kids, grandkids, and dog’s lives. There was very little to say about myself other than things I did in the past, not things I do now. I have become an observer of life and not a participant. I did not realize how low my self-esteem had plunged.

When we performed I always felt my contributions were less than those of my classmates. I hear their brilliance and my flaws. Even when I was complimented by another member of the cast or the instructor, I never really accepted it as more than them being nice. I brought my camera and took photos of the other performers for my Facebook, assuring I was never included. My daughter mentioned that fact and I joked about it, but the truth is that I have let myself go to the point that I hate to see my image in a mirror or photograph. I use self-deprecating humor to reinforce my low self-image. One of my new friends has tried her best to not allow me that defense mechanism. I thank you for that Lauren, even though I don’t always acknowledge it. When one of my posse publicly stated that she looked forward to doing a scene with me, my inappropriate reaction was one of utter disbelief, shock, and awe. Instead of accepting that honor as it was intended, I tried to rationalize and downplay it in my mind. Could anyone actually want to perform with me? Though it gave me the best feeling I have experienced in ages, I didn't really believe it.

I am so thankful that I took improv instead of creative writing. When I write, I can hide here in my writer's garret and never leave my comfort zone or my home. I am secure enough in my writing ability to never challenge myself. Getting onstage in front of others makes my heart race and I know I am alive. I regret that I did not take advantage of the support that my troupe offered me, trivializing their praise.

Our entire group has decided to continue on to the next level in our improv education. I am going to try to start with a new, positive, approach. With the support of my new, dear, friends, maybe I can get my verve on. There was a time in my life that I was confident almost to the point of being cocky. I am going to try to get that Rick back. I think everyone will like him better. I know I will.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - "Hesitation" - 11/6/09

My Facebook friend, Lena, once again provided my prompt for G-Man's 55 Flash Fiction Friday. This week's prompt is hesitation.

At first it was barely noticeable.
A slight hesitation.
An uncertainty.
A moment of confusion.
He kept it to himself but knew that soon it would be obvious to everyone.
Worry furrowed his brow as he dressed for work.
He walked down the tunnel toward the symphony of zealots cheering the name on his back.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Laundromat - 11/1/09

There is no rhyme or reason as to where my writing inspirations come from. It just happens, like shit. Today I felt compelled to talk about Laundromats.

Those of you who have always lived a privileged life will not be able to relate to this posting. This is a story written from the bottom of the economic food chain.
When I was very young we had an old type wringer washing machine. It was located outside of the log cabin that we lived in. Yes, a real log cabin, just like Abe. (No, I did not walk to school uphill both ways.) We didn’t have a dryer. My mother hung the clothes out to dry. As we lived in northern Idaho, there was a large portion of the year that neither the washing nor the drying was possible without ice becoming a factor in both activities. As a side note: line-drying generally gives the clothing a freshness. Not so much in Smelterville Idaho, where the air was toxic with lead refinery smoke.

When the weather made it impossible for outside laundry, my mother would take our dirty clothes to the Laundromat. And since my dad worked in the mine, they were truly “dirty” clothes. The Laundromat was my favorite place in the world. It was a white trash amusement park. It had vending machines that dispensed candy and soda pop as well as a machine labeled change, which dispensed quarters and dimes. Incredibly, in those days, dimes were useful. The dryers took dimes as did the candy and soda machines. Pinball machines also took dimes. Now they take debit cards. For those of you not familiar with dimes, they are worth more than a nickel but much smaller in size, go figure.

Prior to the establishment of Walmart, Laundromats were where kids were allowed to run amok. It was anarchy. They rode in and raced the laundry carts, roamed the facility checking coin returns for loose change, and alternated between screaming at the top of their lungs and begging their moms for money. (A dad would not have been caught dead in there. The only men in the Laundromat were single miners washing their work clothes) For some reason nearly every child came equipped with an openly runny nose, adding to their appeal.

Mom would not allow me to participate in any of those fun activities. She would give me a lecture on the drive to the Laundromat. It was the same every time. I would get a certain amount of candy/pop money and that was it. If I spent it quickly, I would not get any more. It was a firm belief of my mom’s that “money did not grow on trees.” (I was not allowed to play pinball. It was evil, like gambling) I was also not allowed to run "wild" like those other “motherless heathens.” I was to sit and color, draw, or read. Are you kidding me? I don’t think the other mothers thought I was well-behaved, I think they thought I was retarded or crippled (before handicapped). I was not even allowed to go look when one of the kids found a dead mouse while crawling around behind the dryers. In spite of all the restrictions, I loved the Laundromat.

I am at a good place in my life. I have a washer AND a dryer, both indoors. But I have a large, thick, blanket/comforter that is too large for my washing machine. When it begins to smell too much like Skooter, I take it to the Laundromat. The Laundromat has large capacity washers and dryers. (I assure you that dimes do not work in them) The first time I went, I loaded my blanket/comforter into the washer and while it was washing I went home to get my gun. The Laundromats of my youth have been replaced with places that one would come to should he wish to be robbed, acquire crack, or prostitutes. I haven’t had occasion to shoot my way out with my blanket/comforter yet, but I am prepared to do so. I also allow it to smell quite Skooterlike before I take it in for a wash. Usually, the morning after I wake up with a mouth full of dog shed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Distraction - 10/29/09

This week's 55 Flash Fiction Friday offering uses the prompt "distraction" provided by Lena, a loyal reader. In fact, one of the only loyal readers that is not my daughter. I am doing something a little bit different this post. If you want to hear the piece read in the author's monotone voice, here it is.


He awoke in agony

Choked by the stench of expended gunpowder

His comrades lay motionless

He needed a distraction lest the pain would drive him mad

A pretty, barefoot, girl in a sundress

Her hair shining in the Carolina sun

Her smile beckoned him to her

When medics found him his lifeless face was smiling

Monday, October 26, 2009

Edward Jones - 10/26/09

I have my meager IRA in an Edward Jones account. I have been with them for ten years or so. I have had no major issues with Edward Jones, though I have never met him. My financial advisor is Shaun Walsh. I like Shaun, he has an engaging personality. He is nice to me. I have no misconceptions. He is nice to me just like the girls at Hooters are nice to me. His amiability is proportionate to the size of my account just as the Hooters girl’s affinity is related to my tipping history. If I had a few million invested instead of a few thousand, he would be a friend with benefits.

My reason for this installment has nothing to do with Shaun; it is directed at that prick, Edward Jones. Like every other investor, my balance has shrunk drastically in the last couple of years. It is attempting a feeble comeback as of late, but I am still not back to my initial investment. I have lost thousands, where there are not too many thousands to lose. My complaint is that in this horribly uncertain market, Ed has elected to raise the fee for maintaining my account. What this says to me as an investor is that though all his clients are losing money hand over fist, Eddie is not willing to share that loss. He has picked this point in time to raise his profits at our expense. It is not a huge increase, but spread over millions of clients, it is significant. I do not know if all brokers are displaying this level of greed, but I expect as much. You might want to check your statements.

I have a new, more appropriate slogan for this economy: "Turning Dollars Into Cents."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday - Necromancy - 10/22/09

Each week G-Man of 55 Flash Fiction Friday challenges us to make sense using exactly 55 words. I put a bit of a twist on it this week. One of my loyal readers, Lena, selected the subject for my submission this week. She chose Necromancy of all things. I gave myself five minutes to come up with this, so it is not a masterpiece. I love taking requests.

He had an extraordinary capability.
He could transport himself into the arena of whatever genre of movie he viewed.
He had journeyed to Hogwarts and Tatooine, walked the Field of Dreams and the streets of Casablanca.
He avoided certain films.
He had no taste for necromancy.
No interest in seeing “Dead People all the time.”

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I am Captain Patience - 10-19-09

My kids call me Captain Patience. I believed this sarcastic nom de guerre of my perceived lack of tolerance was highly exaggerated. It is their contention that during their formative years, I was impatient with them while helping with their homework and other fatherly teachings. They contend that when I had determined that they should have mastered a lesson or task that instead of explaining in more detail that I would elevate the volume, intonation, and inflection of my voice. Josh gives an example of this as:

“what is 2 times 5?”
“2 times 5!!”
“ WHAT IS #@*^*$@! 2 TIMES *!^*#$@ 5!!!!!!”

While my teaching methods may be controversial, all three of my kids excelled in school. But they did not often ask me to help with their homework.
Recently, an event happened that made me grateful that none of them were present to witness. It also caused me to consider that their designation of me as Captain Patience may be somewhat deserved.

There was a cassette tape stuck in the player in my SUV. It had been there for a number of years, as I had several years ago abandoned use of the cassette in favor of the CD and later the IPOD. The tape was probably melted into the deck from nine years of South Carolina heat and humidity. It would not eject and I totally forgot it was in there. Until..................

I went to crank the SUV one morning and the battery was dead. I jump-started it, and while driving around to charge the battery I noticed that the deck was attempting to eject the tape. The little motor was running continuously. Somehow, in the middle of the night, the deck had unilaterally decided to expel the tape. As the tape had become one with the deck, this attempt was unsuccessful but the deck refused to admit defeat and went into lock-down mode, thereby depleting my battery. This simply was unacceptable. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, I attempted to remove the tape from the player. This was no easy task as the tape had become one with the deck. I had to totally destroy the tape and remove it in pieces. To my chagrin, removal of the tape did not cause the mechanism to stop mechanizing.

This is the point at which my alter-ego, Captain Patience, took over. Using the same needle-nose pliers and large screwdriver, I destroyed the cassette deck. Did I mention it was a Bose system? I ripped out the circuit board and every moving part I could find. I totally gutted the entire system. Much of this handiwork was done at 60 miles per hour. Skooter moved to the back seat as he did not want to get hit by any schrapnel. I lost my radio presets, the digital display, and the clock, but to my amazement the radio continued to play and the ejection motor continued to function. (see clip below) It was possessed, but so was I.

By probing blindly and violently with the screwdriver, I finally killed it but I now have a gaping hole in my dashboard and I am limited to the radio station that it was set to. I have evidently lost the ability to tune. But it was totally worth it.

A friend, who is electronics savvy, later offered, “you should have just pulled and reinserted the fuse and it would have stopped and probably reset and not restarted.” He should not have said that to a superhero armed with a screwdriver and a pair of needle-nose.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

55 Flash Fiction Friday -Amnesia - 10/15/09

This is my weekly submission to G-Man's 55 Flash Fiction Friday. I write them on Thursday in case Friday doesn't come.

I have no recollection of who I am or how I got here.
Cameras flashing, people displaying curious hand signs.

I see my reflection, an odd looking little old man with wild eyes.
Who is this loud woman and unattractive youngsters accompanying me?

Evidently my name is ...............Ozzy, and I am the Prince of Darkness.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I have never set a woman on fire - 10/14/09

I went golfing last week with a dear friend of nearly 30 years, Mike Sova. It was one of the most enjoyable golf days I can remember. I think I enjoy golf more now that I don’t play as often. The weather was spectacular. I played well (for me) though Mike is a much better player (younger) than I am. When he hits 3-wood and I totally nut a driver, we hit it about the same. We played with two other geezers, which assured I would not be last on the tee all day. I also saw my first baby blue heron. Amazing! But that is not what this post is about. It is about relationships.

As I chronicled in an earlier blog, (click here) I once set Mike on fire. I contend that cremation will test a relationship. The fact that we remained friends is a testament to the difference between men and women. I have never set a woman on fire, but in spite of that virtue, I have never maintained a relationship with one anywhere near as long as my friendship with Mike. Oh, there were small transgressions and isolated incidents of inconsideration, but nothing compared with setting someone on fire. I know that in India it is permissible to set one’s wife ablaze if she pisses you off. I just leave, or she does. Seems like an easier solution to a squabble and it doesn’t waste valuable gasoline.

Maybe I will log onto and in my FREE personality profile state: Straight, overweight, nonsmoking male, 50s, with a poverty level income and no prospects, that has never incinerated a woman, seeks soul mate. That should create some buzz.

It is possible that Mike has maintained our friendship, looking for the right moment to ignite me or is just waiting for me to spontaneously combust. As they say: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Or in this case, hot. Or it could be that his reprisal is just to humiliate me on the golf course for the rest of my life. Anybody got a match?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Dixie Classic Fair - 10/13/09

This weekend I attended the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem with my daughter, Carly, son, Rick, his wife, Jennifer, and my three grandchildren. It is an amazing fair and we had a great day. I had no idea we would endure the intensity of a melanoma growing sun in Winston-Salem in the middle of October. I got quite a bit more sun than my dermatologist would recommend…..which is none.

One of my favorite things about a fair is the variety of food available that I would not, could not, order anywhere else. I love a real carnival corn dog and funnel cakes, washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade. I abandon any concern for hygiene standards. Don’t ask don’t tell. One joint even fashioned their funnel cakes into French fries, making it easier to eat while walking the fairgrounds. Novel idea.

Something they do here in the south that may not be a big hit in the health-conscious Pacific Northwest, is that they deep fat fry everything. Healthy food like broccoli and string beans. Fry ‘em. Candy bars, Oreos, and Twinkies. Not unhealthy enough. Let’s fry ‘em. One place even advertised fried butter. I am not a health nut, but WTF? Who thought of that?

I am in a place in my life where I have become an observer of life rather than a participant. The fair is the absolute best place to people watch. If you ever lack in self-confidence or have image problems, just go the fair. You will feel like Brangelina with a touch of Einstein. Note to woman weighing 4 bills: There is no place on your body that a piercing enhances your look. Please do not show them to me. I just ate a corn dog.

I am certain that every person who has ever punched out a relative on Jerry Springer was present at this fair. And I am certain that the people running the rides that we entrust our children to have all done hard time or were acquitted on a technicality.

Mountain people, who only come to town once a year, come to the fair. There is a booth there where the carny offers to guess a rube’s weight, age, or birth month (Like in The Jerk). Judging from the people I saw, it would be more interesting to guess their number of extra chromosomes, number of teeth, or which is higher, their IQ or the temperature. If they really wanted to make the game challenging, they would have the yokel guess who their daddy is. Kind of a Maury Povich twist on the game.

After I had put in the appropriate amount of grandpa time and the obligatory waving like a moron at the kids on carnival rides, I followed the sound of music to the stage where various bands played all day. I heard two really good local bands: Doug Davis and the Solid Citizens and Kavish. Both were very enjoyable. I left before the Pranksters took the stage. They were a Grateful Dead tribute band and since I would not cross the street to see the actual Dead, a fake version did not interest me at all. Of course the advantage of playing a 2 hour Grateful Dead set is that you only need to learn one song. They tend to go on forever. The Grateful Dead have given me a very graphic description. When I want to portray a very foul odor I say "smelled like Jerry Garcia's beard."

Adding to the excitement of the fair was the fact that Wake Forest was playing Maryland at the adjacent football field. It was homecoming for Wake, so they had scheduled one of the worst teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference to assure a victory. Is it me, or does the Wake Forest mascot look suspiciously like Ebenezer Scrooge? They call him the Demon Deacon. I have no idea what that is, but when he comes onto the field he is riding a motorcycle. Wake Forest is an amazing school. It is very small but very competitive against the huge schools on its ACC schedule. They have a beautiful football stadium.

This fair is by far the largest I have ever been to. But I knew I was out of my element when I realized there are people that can tell goats apart. There was a tractor pull that drew more of a crowd than several major league baseball teams. But the coup de grace was that there was a line to get into the vegetable displays. I will stand in a line for a funnel cake but not to look at a turnip. Even a prize winning one.