Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides and big-ticket concerts by musicians that other people love. My wife and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context.
The State Fair also brings in entertainers from around the globe at various levels. Top-40 musicians play at the Coliseum; former Top-40 musicians play the large, free main stage; local acts play an even smaller stage; and a few touring entertainers perform in the farm-equipment areas, around the animal-education section, or near the 4-H Building. The latter charge no admission, earning only the intake from whatever merchandise they sell after their performance.
One of this year’s freebies was a traveling roadshow called “Kachunga and the Alligator”. The basic premise was several minutes of stage patter about swampland conservation and animal rights, followed by a few minutes of a man tussling with a modest alligator.
The announcer, a former competitive bodybuilder who left the sport after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, provided narration and light mocking of his partner, who was largely silent as he prepared for his appointed task.
After a few minutes of snappy banter, our hero emerges from Stage Under.
To our slight disappointment, this was no thirty-foot behemoth capable of bursting through the walls and rampaging around the fairgrounds for our terrified amusement. He seemed a humbler, more controllable size. I’m sure he could still take me in a fair fight, though.
Both contestants entered the ring. They stared each other down as much as they could given the difference in height. They circled and they tested each other tentatively. Both were silent, refraining from name-calling like true gentlemen.
Yadda yadda yadda, OBLIGATORY FIGHT SCENE! In person it was several seconds of frantic scuffling to behold. In photos, it’s a new Olympic sport called Blurry Wrestling where the object is to win without being seen clearly.
Once the mist had settled, Kachunga brought his rival onstage for a few minutes of alligator trivia, a bit of alligator anatomy, and one segment in which a lightweight child from the studio audience was invited to come up and sit on the alligator for a few seconds. Kachunga supervised closely while Mom stood only a few feet farther away.
We took our leave after that, when it was time for paid photo ops with the audience. As alligator experiences for us, this was quite a bit better than Alligator Alley in Wisconsin Dells, but much smaller in scale than the alligator farm we saw in St. Augustine in 2007. For free State Fair entertainment, it worked. We only hope the gator is treated well backstage, with catering and manicures and such. I think he earned it.
To be continued!
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Other chapters in this MCC miniseries: