This time of year brings the Florida State Fair to life, held each year over in east Tampa not too far from the Seminole Hard Rock sits. Locals, remember when the Hard Rock was just a bingo hall?
I only went to the fair once in 1991 with my girlfriend at that time and her family. It was a couple of weeks after my dad died of cancer, so I guess they wanted to do something nice for me.
Two things left quite an impression on me that day. One were the “carnies” who hustles those in attendance onto the rides and to play the various games. They’d do anything just short of kidnapping to get into this or that, and I wasn’t so sure about the kidnapping part.
I was happy to be with my gal that day, but the mood quickly turned sour. Someone had insulted her outside of my earshot, and she was hopping MAD at me because I didn’t defend her. I explained to her that I didn’t hear what was said, and without hearing the tone of what was said, how could I?
Needless to say, my explanation fell on deaf ears. But even if I had heard it, what could I have done? You can’t spend life worrying about what other people think, you can never please those types of people anyway.
Even if I had stood up for her, you never know what the other guy is capable of. The guy could have been four foot six, but he could have also had a switchblade in each pocket. Call me a coward, but I enjoy my body unpunctured.
A few months later, we split up, and I always believed that incident was the turning point. Oh well. Some things in life are just destined to happen, and that seemed one of those times to me.