The Super Accurate Renaissance Faire Guide

With everything going on the world today such as the public health crisis, the murder hornets and meth gators, and probably some ninjas (those sneaky bastards), these are things that have led to many of our favorite events and pastimes being canceled.  Because of this I’ve recently realized that one of my favorite events has also fallen to the demise of cancelations around the country this year.  I’m speaking of course of one of America’s greatest cultural treasures:  The Renaissance Faire.  Huzzah!  

Yes!  The Renaissance Faire!  A magical place where your entire family can experience what fun it was to live in Europe five hundred years ago.  Minus the feudal oppression.  Or the Black Plague.  Or the witch burnings.  But there might still be the Spanish Inquisition.  Because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.  Now that I mention it, one may think Renaissance Europe was not exactly a pleasant place.  However, Justin Beiber did not exist anywhere in any form back then.  So there’s that.  Glass half full.

But yes.  Like many other things in 2020 all the local renaissance faires have been canceled.  If you didn’t know this, I’m sorry to be the bearer of this bad news.  I understand if not being able to go to the Renaissance Faire makes you so distraught that you just want to plunge your face into a bowl of tequila-soaked nachos.  We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.  I digress.  

The Renaissance Faire is an entertaining place where you can watch two armored people attempt to poke each other with long, hard wooden shafts (a jousting match).  And you can do this while gnawing on a turkey leg large enough to end world hunger and/or bludgeon one of those people that knowingly blocks a grocery store aisle with their cart.  And then wash that turkey leg down with a tankard of beer that costs a mere $2,487.  The Renaissance Faire is a place where you can take up swordplay, or go to the archery range and shoot things with a longbow, and then get accosted by jesters and Star Trek cosplayers all while carrying your own medieval weaponry. See, it’s fun for the kids too!  

In addition to this the Renaissance Faire encourages you to dress the part, to wear that shirt with poofy sleeves that can double as a frigate sail, knee-high leather boots, and a codpiece.  If you don’t know what a codpiece is, it’s something renaissance men wore over their pantaloons to accentuate their…ahem…nether region.  It wasn’t enough for the males of the time to just stuff their trousers with a hunk of spotted dick.  They wanted to show a little more package in the hopes they could make the ladies of the court swoon at their overt displays of pelvic thrusting prowess.  Admittedly, not much has changed in men today.

What happens when the Renaissance Faire reopens, when we’re able return to this bastion of nerdy glory?  Although, with all things in life there are good things and bad things.  The Renaissance Faire is no different.  How would you or I know which one is bad and which is good?  Have no fear!  Due to this burning question on the minds of every American, I’ve put together some helpful tips on how to know if you’re at a good faire or a bad faire.  A Renaissance Faire guide, if you will.

Good Renaissance Faire–You are welcomed at the entrace gates by rum guzzling pirates, a friendly dragon, and a fortune teller handing out free lottery tickets.

Bad Renaissance Faire–The cast of Jersey Shore is there to welcome you at the entrance gates, and the “fortune teller” is actually just a lost hobo.

Good Renaissance Faire–The wandering minstrel will play Megadeth and Slayer upon request.

Bad Renaissance Faire–The wandering minstrel only knows how to play Nickelback songs.

Good Renaissance Faire–There is a full-sized catapult that you can shoot, allowing you to launch flaming Volkswagen Beetles at the DMV.

Bad Renaissance Faire–Instead of a catapult and all the fun that that entails, they give you a broken sling shot and half a bag of Peanut M&Ms.

Good Renaissance Faire–Ye Olde Foode Courte has food from all over Ye Knowne Worlde, including a pyramid of beer kegs, taco stands, buckets of turkey legs, and a Cold Stone.  Because ice cream.

Bad Renaissance Faire–The food court here only has a TGI Friday’s. 

Good Renaissance Faire–The area around the privies smells like fresh-baked cookies.

Bad Renaissance Faire–Before entering the privies, you’re given a torch and a chainsaw and told, “God hath forsaken this place.”

Good Renaissance Faire–After leaving you feel like you’ve experienced one of life’s epic adventures, thereby becoming more inspired to accomplish your goals, even if those goals are as lofty as hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, visiting every Waffle House in the USA, or dressing in a gorilla costume while climbing the Empire State Building. No judgement.

Bad Renaissance Faire–After leaving you need to douse yourself in turpentine, take a three-day shower, and get a tetanus shot, which causes you to study quantum physics with the sole aim of building the world’s first working time machine so that you can go back and prevent yourself from ever visiting the Renaissance Faire in the first place.

I have no doubt that there are many more pointers and tips one could give for good faires and bad faires.  I just hope that my little guide here will give you, my dearest reader, a little insight for the next time you’re able to visit the Renaissance Faire.  And when that day comes, just remember to dress the part, wear a pirate hat, drink a cold, frothy mug of beer, and have fun.

And don’t forget your codpiece.

The Battle of Independence Day

This past Saturday was Independence Day in the United States.  Or, as Americans refer to it in their local vernacular, the day of barbeques, beer, high-powered explosives, beer, blown off fingertips, a drunk Florida man putting a saddle on a gator, beer, sparkler sword fights, beer, and FREEEEEEEDDDDOOOOMMM!  And maybe some eagles and shit.  Independence day became an American holiday after winning its independence, which effectively began when a bunch of men donned Native American garb and stormed a British merchant ship, and tea-bagged the British Empire.

‘Murika!

Of course Independence Day is also highly regarded as the day Will Smith saved planet Earth from interstellar invaders.  It’s true.  I saw it on the History Channel, which as we all know, is the prime academic authority on all things extraterrestrial. Aliens. X-Files. Wookies.  The History Channel has you covered.  But actual history on the History Channel?  Fuck no!  But I digress.

As for myself on the 4th of July, I had been invited to a barbeque at my brother’s place with his family.  However, before I had a chance to head over to his house, I received a message from a lady friend asking if I’d like to go to the river with her, relax on the beach, swim a bit, and hang out.  And being the faithful family member and perfectly good and loyal sibling I am, I did what any good man would do in my situation.  I texted my brother on why I was going to be quite late to his barbeque and fireworks smorgasbord.  His response, in good brotherly fashion was, “Do it!!”

And so, I eventually arrived at my brother’s house where I joined his family and my parents in the great American tradition of using fire & flame, charcoal, cussing, and beer to scorch various meats until they resemble somewhat edible bits of compressed carbon.  Burnt meat and beer!  ‘Murika!  In truth, dinner was marinated, baked chicken and seasoned zucchini and squash.  And beer.  Still very good, mind you.  But everywhere else around the country, Americans were most assuredly doing what we normally do, and that is to flambé our meats with a World War II era flamethrower.  Because freedom.

After the sun went down we all gathered in the cul de sac with the rest of the neighbors to begin the fireworks displays.  Several households contributed to the accumulated pile of flashy and festive explosive materials.  This is despite the fact that a package of fireworks today costs approximately somewhere in the neighborhood of ***checks calculator*** about $15,487.  Or roughly the equivalent of purchasing a small car, a semester of university tuition, or three Starbucks frappuccinos. 

But this exorbitant cost of fireworks did not deter Americans from getting their freedom on!  Quite the opposite actually.  There were so many fireworks popping off for so long, it honestly sounded like a warzone.  I wonder if that this year, each American family probably spent close to half a billion dollars, or about the cost of a small house in San Francisco, on fireworks.  There were the usual fireworks flashing in the night sky, in addition to what I’m sure was tracer fire from anti-aircraft flak guns, .50 caliber machine guns, and a surface-to-air missile or three.

The booms, bangs, whizzing sounds, small explosions, and sirens lasted most of the night.  It reminded me of that grainy, night vision footage of Baghdad during the Gulf War when the allied coalition began airstrikes on the city.  It was pretty obvious that with everything going on in the world, especially in this country with the Coronavirus, it didn’t stop people from celebrating Independence Day.  In fact, it seemed to have the opposite effect.  More and more people than before came out to enjoy the holiday and celebrate with friends and family.  It was as if Americans were even more encouraged to celebrate, as if in their own way to symbolically and defiantly do battle against this unseen enemy that currently plagues the world.

Americans came out in droves, and by firing enough explosives and weaponry into the air to defend London during the Blitz, was their method of saying, “We are not afraid!  We will win!”  It is definitely an American trait.  To stare danger and adversity right in the face without backing down, to look a threatening enemy in the eye and kick it right in its dangly bits.  During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, it seemed Americans did just that in order to do battle against the Coronavirus, and against the fear and uncertainty in life it brings.

I just hope it doesn’t have any adverse effects.  Doing battle against an enemy that threatens and attacks you still requires a strategic plan.  That’s why armies have generals.  In order for America, and the rest of the world to win this battle, we all have to be smart about this.  I’m not saying that people setting off fireworks and Civil War era cannons weren’t being smart.  I’m saying that when we are staring this enemy in the face, we should remember to be smart, be safe, and also be considerate of our fellow humans.

I have no doubt that despite everything, we as a people will win this battle.  We will get through this.  We will prevail.  And after that battle is finally won and we can all move forward with our lives, Americans can move on to the next important battle that we have been fighting for at least a hundred years.

And that is the battle against people who drive slow in the fast lane.