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, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food…
…but we’re also excited to see what new works of paint, photography, building blocks, and science have been offered up for the various competitions. The State Fair holds its massive celebrations on behalf of our farmers, but Indiana has no shortage of artists, either. They come from all demographics, work in multiple media, bring ideas from pop culture as well as from their own home life, and all contribute in their own ways to the Hoosier State hometown legacy.
The 4-H Building at the fairgrounds is Indy’s premier destination for kids and teens forced to compose posters teaching others about their chosen categories. True story: I was in 4-H once back in fourth grade, never attended a single class because no one told me I was supposed to, and was forced to go over to our leader’s house and make a pair of posters literally the night before they were due, the very same night I was informed they were a requirement Or Else. I had no idea what was going on, did what I was told like a lapdog, was later given a pair of low-level ribbons from the Marion County Fair, and learned nothing from the experience. The group leader, whose obituary I spotted several months ago, seemed like a nice family man and was probably only doing his job, to the extent that his job apparently didn’t include clear communication of expectations.
There’s also a fun sidebar about my experience as the 4-H King in our township that same year, but I’ll save that for some future random outburst.
Fortunately, millions of kids have had much better 4-H experiences than mine, which is why their posters tend to be better than my dreadful deadline detritus.
You might make a face at this last one, but the experiment is fascinating. By planting three identical pairs of clothing in three disparate soil beds, this young explorer was able to chart the measurable differences in their microorganism growth rates. This is exactly the kind of detective work Batman would conduct to track a villain to the one specific location in Gotham City with dirt matching what he scraped off the bottom of the evildoer’s boots.
It wouldn’t be an exhibit hall full of art by minors without some Lego stacks in the mix. Naturally we were there to isolate and preserve it for posterity.
To be concluded! Other chapters in this year’s special MCC miniseries: