Days of Lore

Fair games
Since last week’s column, in which I was daydreaming about traveling back in time, I’ve become obsessed with the idea. Adding to it was a recent visit to the Merced County Fair (don’t ask).

You see, I haven’t been to the fair in years, but being in that environment again brought on a rush of memories from my adolescence. Like handing over countless dollar bills to a leathery-faced man with missing teeth so I could throw a few darts at some balloons with the hopes of taking home that Iron Maiden poster (which I did). Or the time I ate two burritos from Taco Bell before going on the Tilt-A-Whirl … not pretty. Oh, and the Zipper? I never went on that death trap, but I remember tasting stomach acid just watching it.

I’m not really into fairs. They’re usually hot and miserable. And, I’ve never really been into rides that jolt, jerk and spin the body (brain and stomach) this way and that. Not to mention they’re transported across the country, and unfolded and ratcheted together by carnies who look like they put meth on their cereal. And the musical entertainment is usually a has-been playing its hit single to a handful of drunks with Disney characters on their shirts.

But, I reluctantly agreed to go to the fair and partake in America’s favorite deadly sin. Guess which one?

Corn Doggy Dogs
The Merced County Fair was, well, very fair-like. I went with esteemed CN&R contributor Jack Bennett and his friend, who had three goals: Ride the Yo-Yo, go to the rodeo and eat some deep-fried fair fare. Yikes. I just thank the good Lord that she didn’t want to see the night’s entertainment, which was some B-list country singer named Collin Raye … now, if it was Colin Hay, I would have been there in a hot second.

It was a sight to behold. Parents pushing strollers. Teens giggling and gossiping. Creepies being creepy. Rows of vendors selling Xtra Large this and Xtra Large that. Mmmm … I’m hungry.

We all went with regular-sized corn dogs and a basket of garlic fries—minus garlic, with extra soggy—before proceeding to the rodeo to watch some Marlboro men and women bust some broncos and lasso some calves. You had it all. Heartbreak. Triumph. Determination. All ruined by an announcer who sounded like a poor-man’s Jeff Foxworthy. If I could have put him out to pasture, I would have.

We ended up not having the time to hit the Yo-Yo, and we were disappointed that there were no deep-fried Twinkies or Snickers to be found. What kind of fair is this? Maybe I’ll get another chance at achieving cardiac arrest at the Butte County Fair later this month.

Playing dead
An interesting aside, I just discovered that The Grateful Dead played at the Silver Dollar Fair right here in Chico on Nov. 1, 1968. And, of course, there’s a recording of it.

Gonna go back in time
I’ve been so caught up in the concept of traveling back in time that I decided to start building a time machine my damn self. I’ve become obsessed. Nuts. A lunatic … but I am not—I repeat, NOT—a sci-fi nerd.

I have assembled all the necessary supplies: eight two-by-fours, a sack of nails, wood siding from an old barn, duct tape, a wire coat hanger, some old bike reflectors, an original Nintendo game system and two desk chairs taken from the City Council storeroom.

Oh, there’s one more piece of the puzzle … but if I told you what that was, everybody would be building time machines in their back yard. If you wanna go back in time and right that wrong with your eighth-grade boyfriend or girlfriend, you have to go through me.

I should have it completed by this weekend. Then, I’m taking it out and chronicling my adventures. The events and the people that shaped our world. The people who shaped music. My childhood. Be afraid … be very, very afraid.