Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Than a Fair Time

Garrison Keillor went to the Iowa State Fair.

A fair isn't about food, it is a carnival of ideas where the Lutheran booth sits between the "reverse osmosis" water purifier booth and the hot-tub booth.

Fifty feet away are the Methodists (Find Your Path, Share the Journey) and a display of bottled water (zero calories). And the antiabortion people, and the natural latex mattress booth (80 percent less tossing and turning), and a booth selling a GPS gizmo that provides weather info and also local movie times.

The beauty of a fair is conversation. You walk up to the Methodists and say, "What does that mean, 'find your path'? Is there more than one?" and you're good for 15 minutes. Talk, talk, talk, everywhere. Witness the rare art of barking, which is the art of rising inflection, and here is a crowd of overheated people in shorts and sneakers watching a green pepper being sliced and minced by a barker who made it seem thrilling.

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