"Warning: It may make you pro-life

When the weekly murder rate of Indianapolis exceeds a baker’s dozen, the most ironic place you can be is the pro-life booth at the Indiana State Fair.

You have to look for the place to find it. It’s nestled on a side street near root-beer vendors and elephant-ear fryers, a wonderfully ghoulish and confident place. It’s a mini-Disneyland for those who would consider murdering you on the spot if doing so would overturn Roe v. Wade.

If super-militant End Times Christian propaganda is your thing, the anti-abortion trailer at the State Fair doesn’t disappoint.

The souvenir selection alone is awesome; it’s the rare product line that appeals as equally to radical fundamentalist red-state Christians as it does anarchists, punk-rockers and sociopaths.

No one matching any of those demographics can pass up the chance to snap up an aborted-fetus keychain, available in every size of prenatal development. Both appreciate the statement made by a religious pamphlet stating that the world is going to end soon and that you are going to hell when it does.

Come to thing of it, who WOULDN’T want a bumpersticker with a pre-emptively buzzkill slogan like “Sex? Sure! When We’re Married!”

Life, of course, takes on many forms and the animal exhibits and livestock barns, which represent the heart and soul of the fair, seem so alien to an urban setting as to be from another planet.

While PETA doesn’t have a booth at the fair, one can imagine the animals there wishing for it. Do the cows know that they’re our future potential Quarter Pounder when they look us in the eye?

Do the confident roosters know that, given the opportunity, most of us would bake them at 375 degrees for 45 minutes?

Your average city kid never gets to see a cow give birth or an adorable baby chick hatching from an egg. Without any concept of life’s natural cycles, no wonder our cities exhibit such disrespect for life.

Few of us get a chance to gaze on row upon row of rabbits or sheep. But those who tend them and live among them love them dearly, despite the fact that the food chain may require their friends end their lives in a slaughterhouse.

More than anything, the Indiana State Fair is a spectator sport, and the most literal way to be a spectator at the State Fair is to sit in the arena-style plastic seats inside the exhibit hosting the scale model of the future Colts stadium.

The scale model itself cost a shitload of our tax money and its architects might take note of the fact that in the 15-20 minutes my family sat there, not a single person said they liked it.

Widely described as hideous, oddly shaped and prison-like, everyone seemed to agree that it was one of the ugliest scale models they’d ever seen. Although it hardly seems possible to create a structure more Stalin-esque than the RCA Dome, the architects of the new home of the Colts have done so, at least according to the subsection of Indiana that visits the State Fair on its first Saturday.

We were so fascinated by the universal condemnation of Lucas Oil Stadium that we stayed at the exhibit much longer than we’d planned. Everyone got in on the verbal lynching.

Black, white, Hispanic, rich and poor all thought that the design of the stadium was unusually unattractive and uninviting.

Think of it as Conseco Fieldhouse’s homely cousin: a giant brick barn more suited to housing livestock or rusting tractors than millionaire athletes.

Existential questions

 

The Indiana State Fair is a place that raises deep psychological questions. Example: Near the pathway where you board the Ferris wheel, there’s a sign that says “Be Prepared! YOU MAY BE SEATED WITH OTHER PASSENGERS!”

Besides being some kind of wonderfully existential metaphor for life itself, the sign seems directed aggressively to the most pathologically shy and/or antisocial members of the population.

Even though the pro-life barn had plenty of customers, one might think the pro-abortion forces, or at least those advocating mandatory sterilization, might find equal sympathy at the fair.

That’s because exhibiting parenting skills is a large challenge at the State Fair, where literally 10,000 or more temptations exist for the sole purpose of pissing off parents when their kids succumb to them.

The list of potential offenses is vast if you’re a child: walking too fast. Stopping somewhere you’re told not to stop. Taking a potentially cash-draining affection to a stuffed animal or Harley-Davidson poster in an unwinnable midway game.

(Job-hunters take note: Many of the trailers housing the “games of skill” had help-wanted signs on them, indicating that career opportunity pathways abound in the carny world.)

No, not many places exist in this world where you can see two obese people from McCordsville, owning 20 teeth between them, make out after singing a Tim McGraw-Faith Hill duet on the karaoke stage, but the Indiana State Fair is one of them.

Ultimately, the State Fair has the ability to make us all “pro-life,” in the literal sense of the term, because when you’re holding the hand of the one you love while gazing down at tens of thousands of your neighbors from the height of a Ferris wheel gondola, nothing can make you more in love with the fact that you’re alive.

 

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