Sep 052009
If you ever want to find yourself paddling in a cesspool of cowboy boots, AquaNetted coifs, arteries hardening in front of washed-up country acts performing inside patriotic-bannered pavilion, and sparkling track lights of death trap rides racing in sync to blaring 80s power ballads, you need go no further than your local county’s website and find out when those tents are going up.
I don’t know what it is about the fair, or any sort of amusement park for that matter, but I promise you if I actually had more than an hour to myself every night, I could sit here and expound for pages and pages about the innerworkings of carnies, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, what makes ribbon-winning roosters any better than that rooster owned by the hobo down behind the Slinky plant, and the lifespan of the goldfish fair-goers are lucky to win as a prize for dunking 1 out of 56,878 ping pong balls into a fish bowl. I never wanted to be a writer, but if someone offered me a book deal to travel the country writing reviews of county fairs and all their flesh-maiming, equillibrium-fucking, bolt-popping rides, I’d be all, “I’ll start last week” and “Do I get fed on this trip?” and “Can I swear in this here book?” and “Is it OK that I can barely spell?”
You just don’t know how badly I’d like to ask a carny if we could “sit down” and “talk” and “no, this won’t go on the Internet” and “well, I guess as long as I can keep my eyes shut.”



I think this is my favorite shot from the fair. Somehow, I was able to cram in one frame the essense of an entire fairground. Look at that old lady’s glaucoma shades and classy tattoo! Look at that man simultaneously yanking his Simpsons boxers out of his roiling asshole while reaching for his volunteer firemen radio! And look at that man’s smiling reflection in the mirrored pillar! After this picture was snapped, he stepped out of the mirror, introduced himself as a demon, and raped everyone’s souls. Except mine; it was consenting and is now pregnant with the Bubonic Plague.


I was so blessed to be standing there just in time to capture his look of smug pleasure as he won a decadent Mountain Dew bottle cap. And that lady is seriously cooler than me.


Blake and Deanna caught up with us a few times and stuck around long enough for me to get all paparazzo on them. I can’t help it, they’re my favorite subjects!


Chooch ate some generic brand of Dip n’ Dots, a slushie, cotton candy, and a fried Oreo, which is what people believe he’s cracked out from on a regular day, so imagine when he actually is.

Meanwhile, something fantastico happened to me over at the rickety-ship-with-the-dragon-head ride: I was touched by a carnie. And I ain’t talking ’bout some little brush of calloused, oil-stained palm as he guided the safety bar into my thighs with enough force to mimic a caveman clubbing his dinner. No, it was nothing quite so innocent. As I was limping up the steps to board the ride, he snatched my right arm and put my wrist in a constricting vice-like grip, threatening Indian burn. Here were my thoughts:

  1. I was mistaken for the Lolita of the carnies, some broad who fucks her way around the fairground, lying about love and then stealing their AC/DC shirts, scratched Harley Davidson Zippos, and jars of Planters peanuts, and than fled town, and now this here particular carny on the fake Pirate Ship was thinking that he saved the day by recognizing me and “look at the nerve of this dirty whore, showing her face ’round these parts again, though she could show her face on MY parts, if you know what I mean” and now they can have all their shit back and also keep me locked in an oversized carnary cage, watching to see if I become pregnant. Because that’s something I would totally do. In fact, maybe next year.
  2. He needed a blood transfusion and was checking the plumpness of my veins.

But what it really was, was that he was just trying to read tattoo. Afterward, he made this sick smirk and goes, in a gruff tenor that would make even Amy Winehouse’s labia curl back in fear (and this is assuming it hasn’t already fallen off), “I don’t know what that means, but it’s cool.” And then when the ride started going, he was standing down there to the side, trying to get everyone to put their arms up, and you better goddamn believe I did as I was told.

And fuck, that ride made me sick too.

I don’t know where Blake and Deanna were for all of that; probably looking at quilts.


I learned later that the reason for Deanna’s blanched visage is that the carnie was ogling her boobs each time their seat would pass him. If Blake is anything like his dad, he patted the old grizzled dude’s back on the way out and offered to rent Deanna out to him. Seriously, that’s what Henry would have done if it were me and him in that situation. After calling me a whore.

One of the first things Corey and I noticed upon arriving at the fair was a delicacy they were very originally touting as “FRIED PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICHES.” Our initial reaction to that was one of, “Uh…ew.” But about an hour later, we were waiting to get pulverized on that shitty yellow ride, and I go, “I wonder if I could ask them to just give me the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, unfried?” and Corey was like, “Probably not, but you could ask” and then after a tour of the farm animals it was all, “I wonder what that would be like, a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich” and “Maybe we should get one” and “Yes, let’s get one.”

OH I HAVE HAD FRIED ODDITIES BEFORE, MY FRIENDS. I’ve done the Oreos and the candy bars and that sewer rat, but peanut butter and jellies are one of my faves and I was hesitant to potentially tarnish my taste buds with an alien form of the after school special. So Corey and I spent the entire night musing and postulating and there were a lot of “maybe”s and “we should”s before we finally reached that final affirmative decision. And then I had to report the outcome to this very intense meeting of the masterminds to Henry, who was like, “OK, whatever. Get one if you want” like he couldn’t understand why this would be a big deal. But if you saw the shit he enjoyed eating on a regular basis, you’d understand that his palate has long since been cheese-grated.

So during the last hour of the fair, we finally approached the Fried Things wagon, which was very similar to a laboratory on the inside, if laboratories were filled with bubbling and hissing pans of grease instead of chemicals. We were auspicious enough to get the crankiest, wrinkliest, rudest wench in all of Fair Land. She tried to skip over me and take someone else’s order and I raised my hand and said, “Hello, I’d like to order?” I think maybe she knew I kept trying to take pictures of her through the finger-printed, snotted-up glass.

I watched her make it. It was only an Uncrustable, that abomination of the pb&j heritage.

So her little partner boy slides over a Styrofoam bowl with this big, steaming, powdered sugar-covered fried dump that is clearly too hot to eat but I have no patience and start stabbing at it with my plastic fork anyway and the first couple of bites tasted like little else but searing pain on my tongue. After awhile, I got into a groove and even though the tip of my tongue was throbbing as much as my toe, I was still able to discern some of the mingling tastes of the fried batter and melted peanut butter. Some of the jelly parts were still frozen and that kind of killed it for me. I imagine it’s akin to a fratboy having to pull out of his rufied love interest because he hears cop sirens; it was pretty magical up until that point.

And what better way to end the night than to test the laws of physics on the Round Up less than a minute after swallowing the last bite of our fried delicacies? Corey and I were quick to note that we were the only ones who were smiling and talking while waiting for the ride to start. The gentlemen directly across from us stood staunch, their lips in firm, taut lines. “I feel like they’re on here for spiritual cleansing, not to have their insides twisted in the name of fun,” I whispered to Corey and oh, the laughter. Then the ride started and Corey and I proceeded to engage in conversations that most normal people would probably feel more comfortable performing via telephone, not while being twirled around the atmosphere.

“So, was Aneesa really a bitch in real life?” I asked while trying unsuccessively to unsuction my arm from my side long enough to swipe the hair out of my mouth. Corey had mentioned that while on vaca in New Jersey, he ran into Aneesa from The Real World: Chicago on the boardwalk. So we talked about that for awhile, and then revisited the fellows across from us who were still standing straight, emanating little emotion. Glancing to Corey’s left, I noticed that those people weren’t smiling or cheering either. In fact, everyone except for the small girl to my right seemed to be riding in silence, while Corey and I were engaging in relaxed discourse, like we were at the sauna.

That ride lasted about fifty revolutions too many.

When the ride was over and we met back up with Janna, she gasped, “That ride seemed to go on forever!” Which is what  my stomach was saying too, just not in any words you’d understand. “And you and Corey were talking the whole time, it was funny to watch!” I wish I’d have puked on her feet right then, because what a swell way to end a night at the fair.

Instead, we just left.


  11 Responses to “Westmoreland County Fair, Alright? Part 3 (shoot it dead)”

  1. I love how that spinny ride looks like piano keys up in the sky.

  2. Wow.Your fairs are so much cooler than the ones we have in these parts. Kidding, different location, same weirdos.

  3. That picture IS absolutely perfect! I bet there’s a good recipe for fried PB&J out there somewhere. I wish you went to fairs every week, because your blogs about them are classic.

    I am sure Aneesa is a huuuugggge bitch.

  4. I loved reading about your adventure in Westmoreland County. Haha. =D


    P.P.S. Pens game = 12.5 instead of 11.14, because of Hossa. Heeee.

    P.P.P.S. We need to hang out again sooooooon

    • Thanks!

      I’ll let you know about the game. I really want to say yes, but I never know what my financial situation is going to look like since I rely on Etsy, lol.

      My toe, ugh!! If I wear flipflops, I can walk. The problem is that I’m super picky with flipflops and the only pair I have that I like is super old and I want to wear my flats! I just got new shoes in the mail today and they’re so adorable but as soon as I try to stand in them, my toe bumps the side and I scream. Fucking Henry!!!!!!

      We do need to hang out again soon! HAUNTED HOUSES.

      • Ok, not a problem. If you want me to get an extra ticket just in case I can do that. I’m going to be hitting up TicketBastard for them in the next 8 hours so wish me luck!!!!

        Ahhhh yeah. I can walk in Old Navy flip flops but any other kind? Noooo. Heh.

        AWWWWWWWWWWWW!! I really hope that your toe is doing better. OUCHHH. =(

        YES!!!!!!! Haunted houses for the win. =D

  5. Again, your picture taking!! The first one!!

    I would’ve so tried a fried PBJ with you. Did Henry try any of it?

    • Thank you! I really enjoy taking pictures. It’s soothing to me!

      I only m ade it halfway through the pb&j before giving it to Henry. It was just too much! I liked it enough though, but it would be better with a real pb&j and not one of those Uncrustables. Now I want Henry to get a deep fryer so I can test it, ha!

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