The One About Going to the County Fair

Every year, I have a standing appointment. Eric Stone, author of the Ray Sharp books, and I go to the Los Angeles County Fair. He likes the “slice-it-dice-it” booths, and I like to eat things that are fried. Everyone wins.

We start at the animal exhibits mostly because they are near the entrance and also because I’m from Missouri and get very nostalgic over the smell of cow patties. (Hey, do I make fun of you?) Eric is very patient with this, but while he will protest this characterization, the fact remains that he is very much a city boy. He once fled in terror from a squirrel during a camping trip. I’m just saying.

So you’ll understand my surprise and also why I feel the need to use capital letters when reporting ERIC PETTED A GOAT, A SHEEP AND A COW ALL BY HIMSELF.

I was very proud – also possibly patronizing because in the spirit of revenge he took me to The Bunny Barn.

And I’m just going to own this right now. The bunny barn is the kryptonite to my thin veneer of respectability. There were bunnies, people. Fluffy bunnies with – wait for it – cotton tails. Bunnies. Bunnies everywhere. It was a carpet-bombing of cuteness. And while their little twitchy noses weakened me, it was the black one that shot me through the heart. He stretched, gave a great big bunny yawn and then wiggled his ears. He wiggled his ears.

I died. Right there. From the cute. And when I was resurrected, I drooled all over myself and made baby talk noises. It was ugly, also embarrassing. Eric gloated.

Fortunately fried chicken legs and batter-dipped artichoke hearts with ranch have curative powers. And while we’re listing the food I ate, let’s be honest: chili dog, margarita, funnel cake and CHOCOLATE-COVERED BACON.

Honestly, it’s more fun to say CHOCOLATE-COVERED BACON than it is to eat. There was promise. It was dark chocolate, of which I approve. But the chocolate-to-bacon ratio needs tweaking. More bacon, a little less chocolate. Not bad, mind you, but I’m not making it for Christmas is all I’m saying.

I ran out of steam before I could get to the fried Oreo and politely declined the offer of a heart-shaped sushi roll made with “krab.” (I’m sorry. The only faux food I consume is processed “cheeze.” I have standards.)

By this time, we were both tired, sweaty, bloated, flirting with heart disease, covered in a thin layer of dirt and, if we’re being honest, probably smelled. Fortunately, it only took us 20 minutes to find the car.