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A Lesson Learned at the Fair: There are stranger animals outside the stalls than inside
Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Sep 25, 2011. 879 views. ID = 4957

A Lesson Learned at the Fair

Posted by R. Wesley Lovil, Sep 25, 2011. 879 views. ID = 4957
This post was written in 14 minutes.
There's a sucker born every minute
This post has been awarded 13 stars by 4 readers.

The Los Angeles County Fair is by far the largest in the land, sitting on a 543-acre complex. Almost a million and a half people attended this year's fair taking in more money than the Super Bowl. This behemoth of an attraction cannot all be taken in by a one-day visit but of course, we still try, making that one-day excursion an exhausting ordeal.

As I've grown older, the fair has become too big and too crowded for me, and I haven't been in years, yet I have some fond and some strange memories of our fair. My earliest memory and my most vivid happened as we were walking from the parking lot to the main gate, I was a young lad, and I still can recall the excitement of the day ahead of me. As my family and I waited in line I was standing next to a row of newspaper vending racks filled with papers whose headlines were screaming, 'Eisenhower has Heart Attach.' I was still too young to worry about news and world events but thinking about the president dying concerned me a lot. I kept trying to think what would happen to our country if our leader died, I believe in my mind I was equating it with losing a father and although I still had my dad I couldn't imagine my life without him. Once inside I saw everyone having a good time and I think that eased my fears but that headline stayed in the back of my mind all day.

The next memory was years later and it came as one of those life's lessons you learn the hard way. I was now a brash teenager who knew everything, with a car and a girlfriend, on top of the world. I loaded my girl and two other couples into my jalopy and we headed for the fair to have a good time. As we walked through the carny section we passed the, 'I can guess your weight' booth. The guy running the booth told me that he bet he could guess my weight and with my friends egging me on, I let him try. This guy was a fool, his guess was way off, and we were all laughing at him. He was worried now and stammered that he could guess my age but he was wrong at that as well. He tried my name, then my girl's name and was wrong on all counts. We all were getting bored and besides I was now wondering how big a prize I was going to get for all his wrong answers, and how was I going to carry that big stuffed teddy around all night. When I asked for my prize, I was shocked to find I owed this man a lot of money for all the guesses he had missed. Well that was OK because I knew I was getting a big prize, so I paid the man. He tallied up his wrong answers, told me I was a lucky stiff and I could have any prize on the second shelf. No the magnificent prizes on the top shelf were not for me, I hadn't earned them, and I ended up with a ceramic green alligator about three inches long. My buddy summed it all up for me, "Rog, you just paid all that money for something I could have bought at the five and dime for a quarter."

The carny had sucked me right in as my greed grew with each wrong guess but those wrong answers meant nothing as the price of the guess was more than the value of the prize. I kept that little alligator for years as a reminder of the lesson I learned that fall evening. Just remember my friends, you get what you pay for and never try to beat a carny.

Copyright 2011 R. Wesley Lovil. All rights reserved. has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.

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This post has been awarded 13 stars by 4 readers.
This post is part of a writing prompt: Fair!

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