Smile Politely

The Oddsmaker: Sweetcorn Festival edition

Times are tough in America, and even more so in the Great Midwest, where the summer has been an unforgiving reminder that rain is not our birthright. Punishing heat will make you atone for your many sins, and the cheap crank you bought from your cousin’s dog groomer will get you through the next couple of nights, at best.

Thank God that the Urbana Sweet Corn Festival is here to remind us that this time of year is meant to celebrate our bountiful harvest. Good luck with that, pal. You can keep the sprinkler running on your lawn, but that doesn’t change the fact that blight and deflagration are the name of the game once you hit the city limits. Best of luck, friends: as usual, gambling is the only honest way to make a living.


If sweet corn doesn’t have the aphrodisiacal properties you need, the Urbana Business Association has something a little stronger (Even money):

WPGU plays an unironic two-fer of Warrant’s “Heaven” and Firehouse’s “Don’t Treat Me Bad” at some point this weekend, leaving nary a dry eye in the house (8 to 1). 

The average festivalgoer will swing it in the following locations:

  • On the front porch (10 to 1) – depends on the level of foliage in front and porch design
  • On the lawn (100 to 1) – A bold move regardless of weather, but could be pretty uncomfortable this time of year
  • Where you want, ‘cause there ain’t nobody ho-ome (4 to 1) – If your fucking deadbeat brother-in-law would get a job, you could maybe get some privacy
  • To the left (6 to 1) – Just one step closer to socialism, folks
  • To the right (8 to 1) – And FREEDOM
  • All night due to thinking about baseball (20 to 1) – Austin Powers takes the opposite stance
  • In the living room (10 to 1) – If you stain the couch, there’ll be hell to pay
  • In the kitchen (12 to 1) – Sounds good in theory, less so in practice
  • Decline opportunity to swing (too busy bitchin’) (3 to 5)
  • In there (No line) – too many possible interpretations
  • To the drums (2 to 1) – Drums are sexual. It’s science.
  • To guitar (3 to 1) – John Mayer agrees, which may or may not strengthen the argument
  • To the bass in the back of your car (5 to 1) — This is where all that swinging gets a bit confusing.
  • In the bathroom (15 to 1) – See “kitchen” above
  • On the floor (6 to 1) – Heavily dependent on choice of floor covering. 
  • So hard, you forgot to lock the do-or (Even money) – Oops!
  • All of the above (1000 to 1) 

Out of town festivalgoers will be greeted by a new batch of event-specific GunsSaveLife signs along the side of whatever interstate they travel in on (50 to 1). Some suggestions (share your own in the comments):

When our Muslim president comes

To enslave you and take your guns

Criminals will rule Urbana and

Take away your sweet corn funs


Joined the Klan in Indiana

Forced to call Illinois home

Can’t wear my hood or burn those crosses

Still can spread hate with a poem


Headed to town for some sweet corn

Wore a large gun on my belt

Picked a fight for no reason

Came home with a dusky pelt


Cornie will be propositioned by a Furry (10 to 1)

Cornie will accept (20 to 1)

Self-conscious former farm kids will find it necessary to explain the difference between field corn and sweet corn to their citified friends (Off the board).

I’m somewhat proud of my Iowa farm heritage, and I often feel compelled to prove to people that I grew up in the country by, apropos of nothing, correcting misconceptions about certain farm-related topics. So, here you go: the corn you see in endless waves along the road are not the kind you eat on the cob, but is a sibling that has starchier, drier, dented kernels that is used to feed livestock and make ethanol and corn syrup. Sweet corn has a smaller plant, usually has lighter-colored stalks, and is much sweeter, believe it or not. Goddamn raccoons love to either knock down the stalks or take one bite out of each ear just as it reaches maturity, so it’s necessary to take preventive measures. We used to hang a transistor radio in the field and leave it on all night, or ring the patch with electric fence. Your country cousin probably has more colorful stories. Sorry. But, all the same, you’re welcome. (JG)

More Articles