Jul 072011

Where’s Henry? Oh, just standing alone.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be Old and Joyless at the county fair? Me too, so I decided to interview* Henry  to get the geriatric scoop.

*I tried to accomplish this unbeknownst to him, but as soon as he answered the phone, it went something like this:

Henry: What.

Me: [throaty giggles]

Henry, with apprehension: What did you do?

Me, in a robotic cadence: [more giggles, staccato with giddiness] Can I ask you a few questions?

Henry, senses heightened: What? Why?

Me, still giggling & speaking like a robot with a dick in its throat: What is your favorite food at the fair?

Henry, sighing: I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.


Henry: [Dial tone.]

The rest of the interview was conducted both over text and in person when he came home from work, only because he kept hanging up on me every time I called him.

Henry slides his glasses down, grandpa-style, and Googles “fastest way to kill yourself at the county fair.”

Me: Is it true that you don’t ride anything because you’re worried the wind will rape your perfectly feathered hair?

Henry: No, because it makes my stomach upset. What the fuck?

Henry engaged in his favorite activity at the fair: eating. This typically occurs  only after he takes care of feeding his son and girlfriend.

Me, via text message this time so as not to chase the subject away with my giggles: Seriously, what is your favorite part about the fair, and don’t say “Leaving.”

Henry: The food.

Me: Can you be more specific and maybe answer in complete sentences using lots of descriptive words?

Henry: No. I don’t trust yoi [sic].

I feel like it must be hot sausage, his favorite food I mean, because that’s what he got on Saturday and also in 2009 at the Westmoreland County Fair. Clearly I’ve been collecting evidence. He also got french fries molested with a sublime bourbon glaze, most of which I ate though.

Henry is never in on the joke.

Me: I understand that you ran into an “old friend from work” at the fair. Were you surprised that your so-so personality made enough of an impression that he remembered you?

Henry, walking away in a huff after reading the above and below questions: No, and you’re an asshole.

Me: Did you ever covet his wife? I mean, you seemed so excited to tell me that she’s a traveling horse vet and I know how much you’re into pony play. So…?

Henry: [see above response.]

It’s true! Henry has a friend who considers him a friend back! They’re even friends on FACEBOOK so you know it’s real. They talked about really boring Old People things and all I kept thinking was, “I could have ridden the Caterpillar three times by now.” So now I hate that guy. Whatever his name is.

Henry will bitch about how much of his Faygo paycheck is spent at the fair, yet he sees no problem with throwing away next month’s rent on carnival games. Yay, $45 for two goldfish! There goes dinner for next week.

Me: About how much, approximately, of our son’s college tuition did you give to the carnies? And I’m talking about just the games, not the reacharounds:

Henry: Um, about fifteen bucks. OK, maybe about twenty.

Great. I could have bought a CD with that.

Me: What is your favorite carnival game that you like to pretend you’re good at?

Henry, sounding extremely annoyed to the max: I don’t know. I don’t want to do this, you know that.

This means he knows deep down he’s not good at anything.


Henry poses pretty and only smiles when he thinks no one is looking. His smiles usually occur when I am far, far away.

(This is also a widely unknown yoga pose for truckers.)

Me: Would you rather, and this going to hurt your heart so be prepared, give up Mountain Dew for life or trade your collection of non-descript t-shirts for ones with….logos and designs?

Henry, after making me repeat the question because I was laughing too hard and we’re now doing this from separate rooms: Give up Mountain Dew for life.

I do not know what this has to do with the fair.


Henry, in the middle of saying: “No.” “Stop it.” “Grow up.” “You’re an idiot.” “Get that pine cone out of my ass.” Pick one.

Me: It has been proven that the Caterpillar is the Best Ride In the Whole Fucking World. So why wouldn’t you ride it?

Henry: Because it’s a KIDS RIDE and I’m NOT A KID.

You got that right.

Me: Please tell us, best to your memory, what you were saying in the above picture.

Henry, in a tone becoming increasingly high-pitched with irritation: I don’t know! I don’t even know where that was taken! [I then remind him it was when we were making a mess with waffle ice cream sandwiches] I don’t know! Probably something like, “Wipe [Chooch’s] face off!”


Henry is the official beverage-holder at the fair. This prevents him from honking Tazmanian Devil-tattooed biker breasts, tugging his mouth into a frown.

Me: If you had to fight someone for the last piece of whatever your favorite carnival food is that you’re being so secretive about, would you rather it be one of the octogenarian ticket booth workers or one of the goody-goody 4H brats? Do you need me to tell you what “octogenarian” means?

Henry, rubbing his eyes tiredly: I don’t know. The octo—-[unable to pronounce it]. The ticket booth workers!

Henry tries to reflect on a time when he could still ride carnival rides, but comes up short. He’s just too old.

Me: Why don’t you ever smile at the fair? Is it because your moustache is too heavy?

Henry, from upstairs: I’m busy.

I then asked Henry to summarize his day at the fair. This is what the Man of Many Words had to say:

It was a good day. Today sucks because you just ruined everything.

Presumably because I had the audacity to make him talk to me. This took 4 hours to extract answers from him, but if there’s anything you want to ask Henry about his big day at the fair, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do!

  14 Responses to “Henry’s Day at the Fair: An Exclusive Interview”

  1. I think that just about covers everything with the gaps you filled in.
    I agree that the food is the best part of the fair. Although Paul gets similarly grumpy waiting in line so we never go anymore

    • I’m dying to try deep fried Kool-Aid but I guess it hasn’t made its way east yet. :(

      Do your fairs get super-crowded? The Big Butler one is the biggest in Western PA, but for some reason it never seems crowded to me. Maybe because everything is so spread out and the big draw is always the things I don’t care about—like the tractor pulls and stuff like that. I just want the rides!

  2. Holy shit, that was hysterical!

  3. Does he really drink Faygo? Is he a jugalo?

  4. Love the picture of Henry when he was saying “get that pine cone out of my ass.” Ben is now contemplating whether he would give up iced tea or knee-length sport shorts for life.

  5. Yeah, it’s super hot, super crowded, no shade, no place to sit. You even have to go through a metal detector and get your purse inspected due to all the gang activity.
    There’s nothing there that I really need badly enough to have to endure all that. My parents always go, so I just have them get me my gigantic bag of cotton candy

  6. Love this post! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received the “you’re an asshole” response when I’m so amused with myself. Shawn is Henry’s equally humorless twin. **Hi Henry!** :)

  7. This was all that I was hoping it would be, and more. :) Does Henry like funnel cake? That’s my one must-have at the fair.

    All these fair posts really make me want to go to one! I’ve been trying to get James to take me to Canobie Lake Park (which is the excruciatingly small amusement park we used to occasionally go to as kids) for weeks now, and I think he’s finally on the verge of caving. My favorite ride was always the Haunted Mine Ride, with seedy, rodent-nibbled figurines that creep their way around styrofoam boulders and rancid smelling waterfalls with plastic pickaxes. It creeps me out, for real, but only because I fear that the puppets will come to life and murder us all while the rickety carts crawl over the track. I’m always the only one who lets out legit screams, causing everyone to wonder who the scaredy-cat lame-o is shrieking at the top of her lungs.

    Our county fair happens in October, which is so far away… wah. :(

    Also, how does Henry feel about all the photos of him on the Big Butler Fair photo slide show?

  8. LOL, no I think you about covered it!

  9. I like how you did the story with the interview and pics! Good way to write it! :) Thanks for replying to my comment in the SITS room at BF. I’ve enjoyed checking out your blog!

  10. Please do a mehoover. Thank.

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