Thursday, August 12

Blind. And Not Homer/Milton/Borges/Ray Charles Blind.

WE have in Indiana an annual tradition known as the State Fair--maybe you've got one, too--which celebrates a way of life none of us wants anything to do with anymore, because it involves hard work, careful husbandry, and precious few opportunities to get over on other people by being the bigger liar. About the only part of agriculture your average Hoosier finds attractive these days is selling the theoretical family farm to strip mall developers.

In fact, tracking the Fair over the last fifty years--I was last dragged to one in 1960, and expressed my complete lack of interest in ever returning in, apparently, a remarkably efficacious manner for a six-year-old--should be worthy of a grant, moving, as it did, from a celebration of the early days of a post-war economy, still operating on an agricultural calendar of sorts, through some serious doldrums occasioned by the fact that there weren't any farmers left, to its rescue by the artificial Americana craze begun under Reagan, in which genuine American Rural Life was replaced by aggressively marketed Vague Ruralishness, the Hee-Hawing of America, the Bob Evansification of the Heartland, if you will. The template for all this--alongside Nixon's Southern Strategy, I mean--was Nashville, Music City USA, which had responded to a dwindling audience for the nasal charms of the Louvin Brothers, Red Foley, and Ernest Tubb by chasing anything that worked, as you will, and finally settling on the Aggrieved Hard Workin' Patriotic Murrican Beset By Hippies routine, which, somehow, a short generation from the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the Hobo Jungles had aligned itself with the Banks, the Cops, and the Strategic Air Command. In fact, from 1980-2004 or so you could get the jump on the summer release of the Fair's entertainment line-up by reading the Country music trades to see who was on tour.

Fair time is also the one time in the year when the Hoosier fixation on weather coincides with Hoosiers actually being outside; heat stroke is, of course, the frequent result. It's sorta the meteorological equivalent of a drinking holiday.

My Poor Wife, for example, must see six weather-prediction routines a day, three of which may not be her fault; the damned weather is fifty percent of local news, and the lead story three days of four.

I know she'd just as soon watch actual news on the news, but good luck with that.

This frequently leads to one of our favorite games, unofficially known as You Fucking Moron! in which I make wild accusations about what the idiot teleprompter readers said--or what they really meant--about some issue of local import, she tells me I wasn't listening, and I ignore her. The best thing about this game is that everybody wins.

Case in point: last Friday morning an Indianapolis policeman on an emergency run hit a group of motorcyclists, killing one and critically injuring two others. My recollection of that evening's coverage is one long Make the Point That Vehicles Which Can't Pull Over Are Supposed To Freeze In Place lecture, which I remember because, at the time, there was no explanation of how the accident had occurred, which made the suggestion that the motorcyclists had behaved improperly somewhat suspicious. My Poor Wife, when the game began in earnest 24 hours later, claimed to've heard that very evening a report that the bikers were properly stationary when they were struck.

And I didn't hear that, not that I doubt her; it's just that I heard over and over, the next day as well, about What You're Supposed To Do when there's an emergency run flying up your backside, suggesting They Hadn't Done So, with tragic results.

It turns out that this was a parrot's version of the official statement from IMPD spokesman Brian Dixon, who earlier Friday said
"Several vehicles yielded and moved to the right shoulder. . . . However, three motorcycles were stopped in traffic in the left lane and did not move. The officer slowed, braked and swerved trying to avoid colliding with the motorcycles, but was unable to do so."

And, y'know, you or I might have been just the tiniest bit skeptical, seeing as how this was the police investigating their own, and the city which was on the hook for any liability costs. But then you and I are not local news celebrities, and they know best.

Except one of the things they didn't know at the time, and which might or might not've fallen under the rubric of Things You Might At Least Have Considered, was what we all finally learned yesterday: that the officer involved had a Blood Alcohol Level of 0.19 two hours after the crash.


77south said...

Yeah this story is currently making the rounds of all the motorcycle fora (forums?) on which I comment. Once you strip out the expletives, the general sentiment seems to be "not cool."

Julia said...

We don't go to the State Fair, but the Orange County Fair is near mom, so we go, some years.

Aside from the remarkable number of pregnant teenagers with cigarettes drooping from their mouths pushing baby carriages, the moment that stands out for me the most was the year I was pregnant with HM, when I was walking through the midway with the Beleaguered Husband and my brother, and some carnie tried to upsell us, got a good look at me, and said "Yeah, never mind. You already impressed her."

Well, that and the half inch of congealed grease on the elephant ears.

heydave said...

OK, that was a little carnie ride in itself, swerving (unlike said police car) from one story to the other. I don't have a seat belt on my desk chair, you know.

But I'll play anyway: food, on a stick, during the most unpleasant weather of the year, surrounded by a parade of humanity one seemingly never thinks about otherwise. The trifecta of living.

scripto said...

The state fair is for bussing in elementary school kids so that they can see a cow and maybe some fancy chickens. The Franklin county fair, now that's the real deal. Funnel cake, dangerously unmaintained rides and drunken hillbillies in cowboy hats trying to find their footing on the flat spots. Good times.

Toonces said...

Funny, I thought "You Fucking Moron!" was a special game that only my husband and I played.

Except he really enjoys the weather reports.