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Monday - 1:20 p.m.


My degenerate gambler friend David came over to my apartment yesterday.

He installed a new CMOS battery in my laptop, but it doesn’t seem to have fixed the problem with the computer's internal clock. David immediately complained about the lack of parking in front of my building and then asked me if that was Gerald’s van parked out front. I thought it was an odd thing to ask and told David that I didn’t think Gerald even owned a car.

After we “fixed” my laptop, David and I decided to head out to the State Fair. Sunday was the last day it was open this year, and neither David nor I had been to the fair in years. I'm glad David drove. There is a distinct lack of parking in front of my building, and I didn't want to have to move my car.

When we got to the fairgrounds and handed over our money to park, the lady working the change counter inside the parking kiosk gleefully shouted, "Yay! Last day! Last day!" at us, which we did not take as a good omen. Words fail to describe the boredom we had to endure at the fair. You could tell that most of the exhibits had already packed up shop and left town. Plus it rained.

The giant ferris wheel had a hand-painted sign in front of it that read "Help Wanted Tonight. Paid Cash." David and I each debated taking the job since neither of us had any plans. I wondered how stringent the training was to operate the giant ferris wheel if I was going to have to learn it by that night. I also wondered if I could put Giant Ferris Wheel Operator on my resume.

There were two highlights from our visit to the fair. The first was the Miss Maize Queen pageant that David and I stopped at just before the winner was announced. I think they call her Miss Maize Queen because Miss Corn Queen sounds kind of dirty.

David and I each picked a finalist and put down five bucks on her to win. It was David's idea. "Pick your pony," he said to me while waving a fiver in front of my face. David has a problem with gambling. He'll bet on anything.

They had a five-way tie for the first time in the history of the Miss Maize Queen pageant and had to ask all the finalists one more question to decide who indeed would be the next Maize Queen. It was high drama at its finest. Ok, well that’s a lie. The final question asked to break the tie was, "What sets you apart from the other finalists, so that you should be selected Miss Maize Queen?"

The contestant who answered, and I am quoting verbatim, "I guess, that would have to be my charisma, I guess," ended up winning. She was also the one who I had picked to win. She got three hundred dollars in scholarship money and a tiara made out of corn cobs, while I got five bucks from David and bragging rights for the rest of the afternoon.

I think I came out of that better than her in the long run.

The other highlight from the fair was when David and I rode on the Gravitron. David and I had ridden on one of these things years ago when a traveling carnival came through our old neighborhood. The ride spins you around so fast that the gravitational forces of the universe plaster you to the wall, and then they drop the floor out from under you, suspending you off the ground. Physics used to make people throw up is pretty cool. I also credit the Gravitron for giving me my mutant super-healing factor.

I still remember the guy who worked the Gravitron at the traveling carnival was like a poor man's e.e. cummings. He kept saying things like: "That's it, that's all, get your backs against the wall," and "The louder you scream, the faster we go!" This Gravitron operator didn't talk much. He didn't have any teeth for one thing, maybe that’s why. Anyway, the Gravitron is only fun if the operator tries to be poetic.

I was also able to win a framed picture of Scooby-Doo riding a skateboard when the guy guessed my birth month wrong. I’m going to give it Elkie. I doubt she already has a framed picture of Scooby-Doo riding a skateboard.

When I got home, I found the autographed copy of Kill It & Grill It by Ted Nugent, that I had given my neighbor who has the large barking dogs, lying on my couch. It had a rather large kitchen knife sticking through it. I guess he didn't like my gift.

I don't know what's creepier, the knife, or the fact that he was in my apartment. They still haven't fixed my front door.

I really need to move.

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