BEST STATE FAIR RIDE - 2004
Maybe you're the kind of person who likes to spend $25 to be strapped into a nylon harness, hauled into the air by a discount winch, and then dropped about 75 feet, until the man-corset tightens around your corndog-bloated belly and you bounce a few times like a helpless and drooling toddler--all this while a small crowd sits on the ground in mini-bleachers capturing the whole process on video as if you were a topless hoochie mama at Mardi Gras fishing for beads. Hey, some people swing that way--but not us. No, give us Magnum, that Midway mainstay, with its intimate metal booths that rock and spin like planets that are orbiting a little wildly, too close to the sun. And when it comes to brilliant stars, whose name comes to the lips faster these days than Magnum P.I.'s mustachioed sex symbol Tom Selleck? There he is, spray-painted on the giant panoramic backdrop. Even if you haven't seen him in awhile, you'll recognize him right away: He's wearing his usual Detroit Tigers cap and Hawaiian shirt. Maybe after you've spun around a few hundred times to deafening Top-40 hits, you'll have a clearer sense of why there's a 12-foot Coke can wearing neon sunglasses at the hub of the ride. Or maybe you'll be able to explain why the two buxom beach "beauties" painted in the far right corner look like they got sex-change surgery in prison. Every year, we stroll down the Midway expecting to see that Magnum has been painted over, replaced by a muscular and glowering Vin Diesel. And yet like the State Fair itself, Mr. Selleck has proven timeless. We'll be looking for him again come August.