Dude- Mellow Out.

My mother has a very energetic three year old Irish Setter, and in an effort to let him burn some of his enthusiasm for life off, my sister enrolled him in an agility school. If you’re unfamiliar- it’s basically an obstacle course for dogs. Weave poles, tunnels, jumps, etc. It turns out, the little guy is pretty good at it, and the teacher asked my sister to handle him in competition, to be held at a county fair that is being held this week.

Seeing this as an opportunity to get the hell out of the house for a while and do something different, my wife and I packed the kids into the car and headed downstate an hour or so to the fair so we could watch little Quincy run. The boys adored the show, especially when one of the dogs would change its mind about running the course and gallivant off to sniff at the crowd, much to the exasperation of their handlers.

Quincy did very well, and won 3rd place in his very first competition. When the race was over, we went through the fair for your typical experience. Rides, games, overpriced food….

When we were getting ready to leave, I realized I had two more ride tickets. My wife hung with Mini-Me, who was getting sleepy, and I took The Narrator back down the midway looking for one last ride. He chose the bumper cars, and we had a blast.

On the way back, we walked down the lane between the many carnival games. The workers hawked their games, trying to get anyone who walked past to drop a handful of dollars on a doomed attempt to win gigantic stuffed animals. For the most part, I ignored them, but did stop in for one basketball throwing game, which I made a fool of myself on, not being able to sink a single ball. No matter, I paid a buck, had a laugh, and we were off.

Near the end, I hear someone from another booth calling to passers-by. His words landed in the ear of a man near me who turned his head and said something I couldn’t make out. The hawker replied with something like “It’s only a buck!” The man looked at the worker with absolute disgust, and with a voice dripping with malice, said “This isn’t my first fair pal.” Then he headed away.

Congratulations mister, you’re smart enough to know that these games are rigged to keep everyone from winning. But you know what? So am I, and I didn’t feel the need to be a dick about it, and neither did the thousands of other people walking down the midway around you. Don’t want to play? Shake your head and keep walking, or- perhaps don’t even acknowledge them.

You’re at a fair. Events that are world renowned for aggressive hawking of games, rides, and other gimmicks. Relax a bit. Getting grumpy at a carnival worker really makes you look sillier than the mannequin hurling insults from the “Drown-a-Clown” dunking booth.

Including my inward chuckle at Mr. Tight-butt, the fair was an amazing time, and everyone was so tuckered out by the time we got home that bedtime was a no-nonsense affair.

Bonus.

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