Monday, September 27, 2010
make mortal enemies
Corndogs and I no longer get along. We really haven’t had much of a relationship the past 15 years, but we were reintroduced a few weekends ago and it was magical. I thought my feelings for them was true love, but soon discovered it was merely a fling, the kind you’ll treasure forever but one that leaves a bad taste in your mouth…literally.
I just threw a birthday party in our wooden box for Shelly, who was my roommate for one dreamy semester in college. The party was also held for my dear (wished she was a boy so I could marry her) friend, Veronica Barnson. She plays no role in this story but I felt her worthy of mentioning, not only because she is one of two people who will read this, but also because she has played and continues to play a significant role in my life. Anyhow, Shelly adores corndogs. If she could eat them for every meal she would. Actually, I think she did that dreamy semester we lived together. I’d come home from class nearly every day to the smell of honey-battered corndogs, spewing sweet, meaty fumes out our oven. Shelly was usually happily busy on the floor working on a craft of some sort in her green, four-leaf clover boxers (her wardrobe staple for the year). Anyhow, my memory of her adoration for these puppies on a stick led me to purchase 32 of them for the big event. I had no intention of eating a single bite but as soon as those fumes began wafting throughout the wooden box my mouth started to water profusely and I felt this urge to dig in. As I laid them on the table for the group I thought I might as well give into these urges by partaking of at least one, as I had been the chef (likely not the term to use here) and wanted our guests to feel assured these corndogs were edible. Oh my, were they edible! Three corndogs later (with extra ketchup and mustard of course) and corndogs were all I could think about. I sat across the room eying them for about 30 minutes, afraid my ridiculous craving might lure me over the game being played in the middle of the room to pick up a FOURTH corndog, which would lead me to have to walk BACK over the game in shame, corndog in tow. Luckily, as the hostess, I got the leftovers. I may or may not have topped the evening off with a midnight dog on a stick.
Fast forward two days later. Veronica (who I thought wouldn’t have a part in this story but somehow sneakily made her way in) and I came over to my apartment for lunch one day during work and chowed down on two corndogs each in the midst of a wildly exciting game of nertz. Do you think I got sick? Of course. Do you think that stopped me from having ANOTHER corn dog for dinner? No way. However, before I ate this corn dog I began to think better of it…Robert and I were headed to the state fair. Now when I go to the fair I purchase an incredibly expensive admission ticket and proceed to watch the FREE shows and maybe SHARE some ice cream. Robert is a man who loves the fair. I mean, he REALLY loves the fair. I think he loves the fair almost as much as Shelly loves corndogs. Isn’t it a coincidence that corndogs are a mainstay of fair-goers? After this experience however, I can’t help but wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to sell corndogs at the fair. So, in my attempt to spend as little money as possible at the fair, Robert, on the other hand, forks over $25 every year to get an unlimited ride pass. In fact, over the past few years he has generally taken a date with him to the fair and has therefore slapped down 50 big ones to hop on that “Gravitron” as many times as he can with a lovely lady at his side. He is not a spender, so for him to be willing to pay that much for one, simple event is a big deal and I was not about to spoil this year’s fair.
We are poor. Before leaving for the fair Robert began to think better of our spending $50 on rides. I think I saw his heart fall at the thought of going to the state fair and not stepping into one, measly, rickety, likely-to-kill-you ride. As luck would have it though, it was 2 for 1 night! I think the corndog in me did a flip and almost triggered my gag reflex when I saw the sign. Robert, however, almost did a flip himself. There was no way we could pass up this deal. As Robert stepped up to the booth to purchase the tickets his excitement led him to exclaim to the woman behind the desk how happy she was making him. I think I got a glimpse of what he was like as a child at that moment. Despite his boy-like grin the woman was not phased. In fact, I don’t think she said a word. She just grabbed our wrists and slapped on the bands. Carnies…it’s a rough life.
Robert immediately looked at his watch and began calculating how many rides we could squeeze in before the fair closed. I desperately wanted to be excited but that corndog in my stomach just wouldn’t let me. Well, I guess there were actually three corndogs in there which is what I assume made the protest down there that much stronger. I couldn’t be the fun killer. Not now. Not amidst so much joy.
Ride #1: Cram into the tiniest box in the world to get spun and turned and twisted. I get incredibly claustrophobic, think I’m going to throw up and become this strange monster. I tell Robert to get out of the cart and he gets out. Then I’m mad at myself for being a baby and I tell him to get back in and he gets back in. Then the claustrophobia consumes me once again and I tell him I just can’t do it. He gets out. I become the master of my own body and tell him I’m going to do it. The carnie running the ride tells us to get in or leave because we’re holding things up. I take a final stand against the corndogs and brace myself for the worst. Robert gets back in and tries to calm me down and I tell him not to touch me. Who is this person inside me? The corndogs taking over?
Result: I did not vomit. In fact, I actually kind of enjoyed the ride once a faint breeze started flowing through the cracks in the side of the cart.
Ride #2: The deadliest ride at the fair. Likely called the Screwdriver or something. Goes the fastest and spins the hardest. Once again, crammed into a tiny box, but luckily this one was more like a cage so I wasn’t quite so claustrophobic. Ride=fun while I’m on it…once I get off the burping begins.
Robert’s joy at this point is quickly escalating and I’m trying not to vomit and hoping all the burping I’m able to do (what’s new?) will settle things down enough to keep those corndogs at bay. Luckily the fair crowd is not generally the essence of class, so my embarrassment as I belch aloud walking from ride to ride is quite limited. Robert was concerned but I insisted to press on.
Ride #3: Gravitron. Great ride but not as great when a big sweaty man to the left of you can’t control his big sweaty body and ends up grabbing you at all different angles. My laughter (and the lack of control of my body) increased my stomach’s uneasiness and I became a mess.
I will not relive every ride we went on but I discovered this day at the fair that there is not one likely-to-kill you ride at these events that does not make you dizzy. I can do rollercoasters all day, but these spin-you-til-you-lose-it rides are killer.
My life flashed before my eyes this night. By the end of the evening we’d gone on the Screwdriver three more times. The scent of corndogs across the grounds became increasingly more repugnant with each ride. How I didn’t keel over and die at the foot of the “Saucy Dog” stand is beyond me. I couldn’t talk the rest of the night. I came home and fell onto the bed, shoes and all. Robert had to help me get ready for bed, bless his heart. I hope this final scene of the evening…me, sprawled across the bed with a sickly grimace across my face didn’t finally kill the fun as I feared it might.
And now you can see why corndogs and I no longer get along. My dad told me once about how when he was a boy he ate so many circus peanuts one day that he couldn’t even look at them for years without feeling sick. I couldn’t understand why until now. Every time I open our freezer and see that cardboard box full of 16 corndogs I immediately divert my eyes, fumble for what I’m looking for and then quickly shut the freezer door. I am afraid it may plague me for years, and thus, those 16 corndogs are going to enjoy a nice long life in our freezer.
(Pictures of the birthday extravaganza to come...)