I awoke from my most recent harrowing surgery to a bleaker version of our already-bleak state, one where it had just been announced that the Great State Fair of Oklahoma, the annual tradition of trash and treasures for the slack-jawed Okie in all of us, would not be happening in 2020 due to the dreaded Coronavirus.
On various dented davenports and divans across this obese land, the greasiest of tears filled the bloodshot eyes of a once-proud people with nothing better to do this September other than wait in the overflowing unemployment lines.
Last year was the first time I was actually able to enjoy the beloved fair, immersing myself in the decrepit squalor of pure Oklahomania that surrounds us all there, with mortal dangers on the midway that are far worse than any cataclysmic virus that’ll attack my precious body and its fluids, ranging from ill-stored corn-dog batter to Snow White’s razor-sharp ice-skate settling some unrelated business out in the parking lot.
Flaunting this newfound feeling of vim and vigor, I spent a full day there in 2019, exploring the ins and out and outs and ins, going to the places I shouldn’t and romancing the carnies you wouldn’t, making love to fresh squeezed lemonade and roughly manhandling a slice of pizza covered in baked scorpions, culminating in a ride through the world’s most unhaunted haunted house.
It was worth it to finally experience the State Fair the way it should be, like a true goddamn Oklahoman, give or take a tracheostomy or two. But, regardless, I can’t be upset at park officials for actually taking the initiative that our own local, state and national governments won’t and putting the lives of the people far ahead of whatever dollar signs they claim the fair will bring to these dying city streets.
And, if I’m being honest, while I was looking forward to another easy paycheck of whatever writing the 2020 fair would bless me with, be it an exhibition hall full of hot-tubs, an edible monstrosity against God or, simply enough, the saggy breasts of a lumpy middle-aged man in a stained Trump muscle shirt, I’m more than sure it’ll all be there in 2021, more virulent than ever.
As I staggered out of my hospital bed, the multiple IV attempts were bruising effortlessly. I looked out of the seventh floor window, towards the fairgrounds, and I remembered standing in the barren parking lot a few weeks ago as a worn and torn medical face-mask blew across my lonely path; I think they’re now doing Covid testing out there.
I reckon that if we can make it through this sickly bastard of an infected year, soon enough, those trash barrels at the fair will be wildly overflowing instead with half-eaten funnel cakes and other celebratory refuse as garbage wasps swarm around angrily, waiting to comically sting children unmercifully.
That’s the Great State Fair of Oklahoma I want to return to in 2021, the way God truly intended it to be.