from the archives: life is a carnival!

The Los Angeles County Fair just closed its gates for another year, after graciously receiving my fatass for a record number of visits — with a personal best of four. It was glorious in every goddamned conceivable way:

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THE MONEY SHOT: Myself — the proud descendant of carnies, shitkickers, and thieves — on the midway at the AWESOME Los Angeles County Fair, 2009…enjoying the intimate companionship of a corndog.

So, by special request — and in honor of this year’s really bitchin’ Fair Season — I have unearthed this previously published post from October, 2007. I had just been through a quite arduous medical ordeal and was a few dreaded days away from surgery to remove what at that point looked like possible ovarian cancer. Thankfully, everything turned out as swimmingly as possible and my cooter, she is fine. And now, onto the show!:

Gosh, I feel like a fucking make-a-wish kid!

Early Saturday morning, after a treacherous month of being in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices, imaging labs, and drug stores, Gregory asked what I wanted to do and told me to choose anything…anything at all. So, being the carny trash that I am, I of course chose The Los Angeles County Fair! Longtime readers know my family has deep roots in the carnival circuit, and that I come from a long line of sideshow performers, midway artists, and carnival concessionaires, so consequently I feel right at home cavorting amongst the neon, the cheap stuffed animals, and my tweaking, toothless carny bretheren:

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After a full day and night of thrilling fun and non-stop eating, allow me to say that I have been to many state fairs in my day, but LA’s extravaganza is the mightiest of them all — completely dazzling and spit-spot and filled with the loveliest unwashed masses I have seen in some time, which was a great treat for me, to be sure. You see, I live in an upscale suburban community (sidenote: if you live in LA and want to send your kids to public school, you gotta vampirically live where the money is, even if you don’t necessarily have it yourself, because, of course, the moneyed pricks don’t fuck around when it comes to their kids’ education.), so unfortunately, most of the faces I see on a daily basis are of the white, upper-middle-class, tennis skirt-wearing, Mercedes SUV-driving, Jesus-feet-groveling, Republican sort — but that is most definitely not where my fatass comes from.

Despite the fact that I have the epidermic pallor of Wednesday Addams, I come from a fierce tribe with brown faces and spicy tongues. My people are ethnic mongrels, which is, of course, precisely what makes us such relentless, hearty, stalwart bastards — we don’t stop for anyone or anything. We are like scrappy, robust pound puppies who push on through to the other side, come what fucking may. My husband — who comes from highly educated, upper-middle-class, fragile porcelain mouse stock — is continuously mystified at the conditions under which I will continue to trudge on. My ability (and desire) to continue working when I should probably be hospitalized is stupefying to him — and also quite maddening. It is one of the very few issues on which we disagree — but coming from the working class, for me there is nothing to understand: you work, sick or not, or your babies don’t eat. Period. So, understandably, it’s always amusing to me that the world has its own notions about the nature of true Angelenos. Well, please allow me to share with you a little secret: For every shallow, worthless, piece-of-shit Paris Hilton here in The City of Angels, there are a million beautiful, decent, hard working brown faces, as well. This is Los Angeles, my friends:

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As for the fair itself, it was just tremendous and I highly recommend attending if you are ever in the area. Coming from a carnival background, I just couldn’t believe how tidy and well-maintained the whole shindig was. Even the midway was gorgeous!

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And some of it was just exactly, precisely, wonderfully what you expect when you haul your fatass down the midway:

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Along with the usual fair attractions, there were special delights around every corner — like an entire miniature world, complete with several running trains, floating boats, and friendly family motels:

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There was even a miniature Randy’s Donuts, surrounded by lazy, racist cops…just like the original!:

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Strolling the midway with Gregory, I was reminded of my own youth in Fresno spent on rickety, nauseating thrill rides…and even caught sight of the humble Zipper, which was the undisputed Granddaddy of Terror when I was a kid:

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Of course, poor thing looks almost downright provincial now, standing next to some of the flailing, neon monsters these kids dare to ride today:

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Ah! And the food! What would a trip to the fair be without copious amounts of chow? The assault on your senses is epic, even in hell. Never in my life have I seen such a glorious and varied assortment of vittles in one place. The smell alone is sinful:

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And sweet treats served up in kitschy pink huts to women with thick-waisted, diabetic body-types (myself included, of course):

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And the livestock! Adorable mama pigs:

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And adorable papa pigs, as well:

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And the music was just amazing. This trio played us some tunes from various locales around Latin America:

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While these mesmerizing young maidens spontaneously stepped forward from the crowd and beguiled us with their dancing. Watching them, I, of course, began to weep at their beauty, their youth, and their passion for the moment — and at the profound realization that it is always the young women, just coming into their power, who most embody the heart of a people:

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From my perch in the skyway up above, I could see the entire expanse of midway humanity stretched out before me — and it was breathtaking:

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But the best part was not the corn dogs (although they were yummy!) or the miniature world (though it thrilled me to my very core!). It was spending the day with my greatest friend in the world. When all is said and done, no matter what happens to me in this life, I have had the distinct privilege of loving and being loved by this amazing person:

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And as carny kids to the very end, we shall wipe the mustard from our faces and rise up and rule the world:

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About muffybolding

Muffy Bolding is a mother/writer/actor/knitter/feminist/withered debutante who likes the smell of asparagus pee, and remains obsessed with the bathroom hygiene of her three children -- despite the fact that they are 23, 19, and 16. She is blissfully married to a cute Jewish boy who looks like Willie Wonka, but remains tragically in love with the dead poet, Ted Hughes. She has the mouth of a Teamster, and her patron saint is Rocco (pestilence relief.) Ms. Bolding lives in Southern California, where she enjoys typing words, making movies, and plucking the rings from the fingers of the dead. She was the co-creator and Editor-in-Chief of the award winning satire zine, Fresno Lampoon, and in between writing screenplays, carnival barking, and savagely threatening her trio of darling larvae with a wooden spoon, she currently publishes the zine, "Withered Debutante." More of her work can also be found in the anthology, "Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts", the compilation zine, "Mamaphiles III: Coming Home", as well as in The Cortland Review and hipmama.com. She is currently writing and producing for film and television, and working on a book of essays entitled, "Inside A Chinese Dragon." She has slept around, but not nearly as much as she would have liked.
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