1. Spiral-cut, deep-fried potatoes. Opening salvos of grease are fired into my arteries to soften up the defenses. Voluminous salt works to deaden the taste buds early, rendering them sensitive to (and craving) only more salty, fatty foods. My mouth is prepared – it’s time to go to work.
2. Deep-fried Wisconsin cheese. Globules of pure fat wrapped in fat-retaining breading, boiled in liquid fat and served in a fat-soaked cardboard tray. My heart clenches up in anticipation of difficult times ahead as the first mozzarella stick intrudes on my mouth, but my brain assuages the lower organ’s fears with calm reassurance: “Marinara dipping sauce. That’s vegetables, right? We’ll be fine here!”
3. Lemon shake-up. Sugar keeps me ambulatory, and enough water and ice to fill a basketball offset the payload of sodium I have already ingested. This is a pre-emptive defensive maneuver – if I am to kill myself this day, measures must be taken that I can both pull myself to the ledge and find the energy to jump.
4. Funnel cake with powdered sugar and strawberry goo. Another course of sugar, but this one brilliantly segues back into the world of the deep fat-fried. My lips become see-through, saturated as they are with grease, giving me the appearance of a constantly smiling beauty pageant contestant. But up close I am no beauty. I am descending into a world of oil that drips from pores – blood that pumps desperately through tightening heart-valves, into struggling atriums and ventricles. My voice is silent but my eyes scream a thousand wordless terrors. I am mortal! I face it at last!
5. Fried corn fritters with spicy mayo dipping sauce. Oh my fucking god.
6. Chicken taco with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and hot sauce. This is it – the last pseudo-healthy thing I will eat this day. Or ever. After this, I plummet into a nightmare world of the breaded and glistening. On this temporary oasis, this last refuge of the damned at the very threshold of the abyss, I choke down some meat that was cooked in only a few tablespoons of oil (though at least it is largely the fattier dark meat). I fish through vegetables with my fingers to dig out the tastier shreds of processed cheese. I throw away the tortilla, emptied and only half-consumed.
7. Deep-fried pickles. The healthiest food on earth, the cucumber, has been murdered and sliced up and cooked into a pile of fat-pucks. I ram them gleefully down my throat, ignoring the tingling sensation in my left arm and the despairing whimper of my weakening pulse.
8. Deep-fried green tomatoes. Et tu, tomato? Obviously this dish requires more unpleasantly warm ranch dipping sauce to aid its dreadful slide into my gullet. My heart stops a few times – God damn you, you quitter! You don’t see ME giving up, do you? I wipe my beard with a wad of napkins and they stick to my face. I leave them there; there’s no room for vanity on a stretcher. Not as big as I’m getting, anyway.
9. Something. I don’t know what I’m eating any more. The city spins around me. People are staring. A crying child – did I steal the ice cream from his waffle cone with my bare hand? Perhaps. A tractor runs over my foot. As oil and mayonnaise and ranch dries into a sticky mass on my chest, I fall prone and look into the heavens – and I see the face of Jesus. He is made of fresh farm cheese… delicious creamery butter… saturated, hydrogenated, fucking amazing fats.
God bless the state fair, and guide me to the light.