Jackson’s best friend in the neighborhood, Boloni, moved away last weekend, so we took him and Jackson and Javier, another boy who lives on our street, to the Santa Barbara fair. Just as a sort of goodbye party, even though Boloni is only moving twenty minutes away. Still, Jackson won’t be disappearing into his house for dinner four times a week anymore. “What’s wrong with what we serve for dinner?” I asked him. “What’s wrong with braised octopus with bitter greens?” He just looked at me. His silence filled the room. It filled the room with Spaghetti-O’s and rootbeer popsicles, which is what we’d be eating every night if Jackson did the shopping.
Anyway! The fair! These are the first guys we saw when we walked in:
It might be hard to appreciate the size of those horns due to my inadequate picture taking, but believe me, they were pretty darn big. The circumference of their horns was nearly the same as the size of Jack’s rippling biceps. But they didn’t seem to be as impressed with Jack’s biceps as we were with their horns. Damn bovines, to what lengths must we go to please you!
Jackson and Boloni knew exactly what they wanted to see: BUNNIES!
Bunny: “Please, for the love of God, stop poking me with hay and unlatch this wretched cage, I yearn to freely graze the clover amongst my fellow beasts as the sun gently caresses my ample hindquarters.”
Boloni: “Nope.” Poke, poke, poke.
Here’s a bad picture of an amazing rooster that had feathers all over its legs and feet. They were like feather Ugg boots. I could see Carol Channing wearing this whole bird as a hat. Or maybe Phyllis Diller. I’m trying to develop this idea where Carol Channing and Phyllis Diller play chicken with roosters on their heads, but it’s just not coming to me yet.
Next: Time for some rides!
Unless you’re too tall! Yes, we started in the little kids’ section and Javier was shit out of luck, but here you can see him scouting the place for the best location to light off some of the cherry bombs he had in his pocket. Unbeknownst to us.
Here we see Jackson and Boloni bracing themselves for what’s to come. Had I stuffed myself into this ride I would have been embroiled in years of lawsuits for compensation for the pain and suffering brought about by whiplash and broken knees, but it just made them giggle uncontrollably.
Next: power boats!
Boloni: “Mine has a dragon on it!”
Jackson: “Me and Javier have a fag seat between us! Because even at this age I instinctively know that were I to nestle my nads up against his butt and strap in, I would be branded queer! This tightrope walk we call childhood really chafes my chaps sometimes. Fortunately, this boat thing bumps up and down and makes me giggle uncontrollably.”
Question: Is there anything cuter than a baby goat?
Partying with Satan, a pirate, a chicken, Abe Lincoln, Louis Armstrong, and a bunch of Mardi Gras queens? Fuck yeah!
Recipe for instant upchuck.
This is the outside of the haunted house ride. Javier and Boloni got in one car and rode on in, and then Jack stuffed himself into the next car with Jackson. Just as it started moving and it became impossible to change your mind, stop the car, get out? Jackson changed his mind and wanted to stop the car and get out. Therefore I got to watch my little son go screaming and crying into the haunted ride while his father hugged him and told him over and over that it was going to be okay. Then I sat outside for all of ninety seconds looking at this ugly vampire until Jackson came out of the ride, screaming and crying even harder. These are the moments you think, I am really a rotten parent.
But these are also the moments when you have the chance to bring forth this immensely powerful gift, the gift to Make It Better. You say, “You know what? I know that was too scary for you and we can’t take the scary things out of your head, but we can also put a bunch of funny, happy things in your head, just fill your head right up with good things until the scary things get smaller and smaller and get squeezed down into a tiny ball because there’s no more room for them, and poof! They disappear.”
And then you go get some cotton candy.
And then you start looking for the booth where you can try to win a goldfish?
I love the dead Nemo hanging up there on the left. Unfortunately, it is also foreshadowing.
Everybody got their ping pong balls? GO!
Good work, Boloni! He landed a ping pong ball into a little bowl of water and won a whole handful of goldfish, which he shared with Javier and Jackson. Jack bought two extra containers so they could divvy them up.
And now: Random crowd pictures!
The kid in the middle had Spider-man face paint, a Goldfish Snack Cracker magic-markered onto his shirt, Harpo Marx hair, and what’s he doing there, panhandling for Marlboros?
I can’t believe how well you can accessorize with giant inflatable hammers.
I saw, like, three little kids with mohawks. It’s a little weird, but it beats the hell out of three decades of mullets.
Yeah, like I’m going to go where a cardboard rooster tells me to go. A surefire way to get sold into sexual slavery.
And Jackson’s all, “Go on, mom! Do it! You’re bound to make more money doing that than blogging!”
We were just that close to a clean getaway when Javier said he wanted a funnel cake. Jack had already called in our sushi order to go pick up and he was really getting sick of this whole fair thing, but he reined it in to wait in one more line with his fancy Puma shoes and take care of Javier. Because that’s just the kind of guy he is. A DAD.
Total awesomeness on a plate.
So, all week Jackson was taking really good care of his goldfish, he didn’t feed them too much and he wasn’t squirmy abou
t scooping them out with his hands when we changed the water in their container. Nevertheless, Jack discovered this morning that one of them had died, and of course it was Jackson’s favorite, the big one. Our first impulse was just to flush it and tell Jackson after the fact, but then I thought maybe he was old enough to be involved in the whole pet-death process. Turns out he was geniunely, tear-sheddingly sad. We had a burial at sea, and then I made him a post-funeral breakfast of French toast with powdered sugar.
But you know what happens when one fish dies . . .
You get another one!
Next week: Journey To PetCo
EDITED TO ADD: Link to last summer’s church fair post.