Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Wisconsin Festivals: The "Self-Inflicted" Olympics

A trip to Madison’s “Brat Fest” this weekend called to mind Wisconsin’s great tradition of festivals. The great people are the best reason to live in Wisconsin, but festivals seem to bring out some real beauties. All summer, underdressed people will gather across this state, soak in nuclear levels of sun rays, and declare war on their arteries by consuming enough fat calories to power a Monte Carlo. Many attendees have blood alcohol levels that rival their ACT scores.

Every summer, I look out at these crowds and wonder if the mass of people in attendance is representative of actual people living in Wisconsin, or merely representative of people who attend festivals.

It’s not as though there is any great surprise awaiting individuals at these events – every alcohol-soaked event morphs into another over a short period of time. If you can't make it to Summerfest this year, close your eyes and think about what it was like last year - because it will be exactly the same.

For many people (i.e. people with jobs), the alcohol soaked crowds at Wisconsin festivals come as somewhat of a shock. As one surveys the throngs of leathery skinned Rubenesque beauties who adhere to a strict regimen of skin care by Marlboro, one has to wonder how far people are willing to go to make their lives more difficult. Generally, wouldn’t a person’s inclinations lean toward making their life easier? Why do people behave in such destructive ways?

It’s almost as if these people are in some sort of competition to voluntarily make their lives as challenging and difficult as possible. Call it “The Self-Inflicted Olympics.” In this competition, scoring is as follows:

Have children with someone you’re not married to – 4 points for the first child, 6 for each subsequent child.

Don’t graduate from high school – 4 points.

Have so many children you qualify as your own school district – 20 points.

Obtain a tattoo, piercing, or hairstyle that makes you virtually unemployable, except at a tattoo or piercing parlor – 3 points

Wear clothing that shows off your dragon tattoo, no matter what part of your body it inhabits or how old you get – 3 points

Wear any combination of jean shorts, sandals with socks, or any Dale Jr. paraphernalia to a job interview – 2 points

Smoke – 3 points

Get so fat that you think you deserve credit for dieting 4 hours per day: 4 points

Ignore every piece of publicly funded anti-drug propaganda you have been bombarded with your entire life and decide that cocaine or heroin looks like a good lifestyle choice: 6 points

Routinely drink so much that you think you have a shot with the Hooter’s waitress: 3 points

Cheat on your spouse: 4 points

Cheat on your spouse with someone ugly: 6 points

I propose literature to be distributed in schools that lay out these options for those young minds that are intent on ruining their lives forever. If you gather more than 6 points, there is a 95% chance that your future home will have a license plate, and you will live in constant fear of burning your baby daddy's next pork chop. It has been scientifically tested - trust me.

The most appalling aspect of all these categories is that it costs absolutely nothing to adhere to them, yet people around the nation are intent on ignoring them.

These are our Wisconsin friends, for better or for worse. Build a funnel cake stand and have a flat keg of Old Style on hand, and they will come. May God bless them all.