Car Duck Taped
Yes, wrap your motor in Duck tape.

How could I not venture to the Avon Duct Tape Festival this past weekend? Avon happens to be one of the two (there may be more) duct tape capitals of the world – the other being Sarah Palin’s home village of Wasilla. And yes, it’s kind of what you expect – an excuse to plonk a few fair rides on an uneven part of a field, get tipsy listening to 80s cover bands and take part in a parade with floats held together by the stuff.

It’s in no way tacky – well I suppose the tape is (ho-hum).

With it being a fair, my good lady was determined for me to display my undying whatever by winning her some kind of fair prize – a partially paralyzed goldfish or some stuffed toy made by Chinese orphans that would be more mobile than any goldfish.

It’s not that I’m a curmudgeon so much that I understand these things are rigged. Whether you’re talking about basketball games that have spring-loaded backboards to ensure the b-ball flies off into an adjacent county, or doctored darts that have you seeking the nearest specialist to check for the early signs of Parkinson’s, the fix is in.

Dart Balloon Game
Balloon Darts

We hadn’t made half a circuit of the festival before I heard a redneck trying to tempt me into throwing darts at a wall of balloons. I was doing my best to ignore him, but with Steph having her heart set on something stuffed and ignoring anything I ever have to say, she’d already engaged the bugger in conversation and was shouting for me to stop.

Marvellous – some crap banter ensued between the hillbilly Barnum and myself about him not wanting to shout (even though he was turned way past 11) and me explaining there was no chance him understanding a word I was saying – which he obviously didn’t understand a word of.

He then thrust a dart into my paw and told me that whatever happened Steph would win a prize and that the dart was free. So, with my wife pleading with me via the medium of puppy peepers, and some hick blabbering nonsense, I cracked. I took a couple of steps towards the stall and languidly lobbed the dart in the general direction of the balloon board fully expecting it to explode mid-flight or drop to the floor three inches from the latex as if it’d hit an invisible sheet of Perspex. Or merely bounce off one of the balloons and do a King Harold.

No, I happened to pop two of the blighters.

I resisted the urge to clap myself or perform a Tiger Woods fist pump, and expected Steph to be handed her prize and for us to pop off for a corn dog.

Instead I was handed another couple of darts and told to pay a couple of dollars for the privilege. I was being hoodwinked and having the hoodwinkery explained to me as I handed over a $20. However, it was hoodwinkery that I have no idea what was being said. Before I could throw the next two darts, I was asked if I wanted to pay a further $5 to try and win a ‘medium’ prize.

I was being up sold without having bought anything in the first place. I hadn’t a clue what was happening, but was strangely enjoying the swift-talking swindler’s patter. The guy was a pro.

At this rate I was fully expecting to be taken into a port-a-potty and robbed of cards, cash and kidney.

Steph was starting to look stern and interjected on my behalf that we’d take our prize and run. At which he whisked the two darts out of my hand that I thought I’d paid for and reached for Steph’s prize.

Of course it wasn’t something dangling off the stall itself but something he rustled from underneath the counter out of an old plastic bag:

It basically looked like they’d partially wrapped some sausage meat in duct tape and tossed it in some boiling water. Even the dollar store would’ve considered themselves shysters for charging for it.

At least Steph found out I was right. And at least I don’t have to do that for a living.

Well not yet.