My afternoon at the circus

I went to the State Fair, and all I got was a busted alternator! Some days, the jokes write themselves.

           

Fresh off of a relaxing week at the Ozarks, I woke up at 9:00 on a Saturday morning, as I’m wont to do, eager to do something that could be considered work or at the very least generate a dumb column, so I did what every other writer in Iowa has already done or is currently in the process of doing: I went to the State Fair to people watch and listen to a few of the presidential candidates at the Des Moines Register Soapbox.

           

I’m a terrible advance planner and never carry cash, so naturally, I ended up driving around for 45 minutes and parking over a mile away from the fairgrounds by the time I’d dropped Kellie off in Ames and arrived in Des Moines, and it took me at least another half hour to find my parents in the scrum. Along the way, every conversation I overheard centered on politics, in the sort of infantile, stargazing way you’d expect a bunch of millennials discussing a presidential race. A Kamala Harris bus passed us by outside of Burger King, and you would’ve sworn Mick and Keith had just stuck their heads out of the window with the reaction it got.

           

But for once, the politicians, the livestock and the novelty food items weren’t the stars of the day. It was all about the maggots: black t-shirts in every direction, a Slipknot museum and a full-on shrine to the state’s most famous band as it prepared for an old fashioned, sold-out mosh fest at the grandstand. For anyone who complains that Iowa is boring, monotonous and undeserving of its completely random position as the inaugural caucus state, where else can you witness young animal showmen (and women), wonks, Senators, reporters, Slipknot diehards and high cholesterol enthusiasts co-existing peacefully all in the same confined space?

           

Much to my chagrin, I missed the first speaker of the afternoon, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (whom I dubbed “Hillary 2.0” in my critically acclaimed column series A Layman’s Guide to the 2020 Clown Car), but I did get to see her walking with a scrum of at least 15 reporters while I slurped down a milkshake. It was peach and I ordered vanilla. But hey: a milkshake’s a milkshake, and no one wants to be the guy who berates a teenage girl attempting to take 300 orders a minute. 

 

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