Why I Hate the Corn Maze

Ever read the late David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again?

Okay, that was about cruise ships. My supposedly fun thing was a corn maze which began as lots of fun, driving along maple-lined dirt roads, past hayfields, laughing with the kids about the mist we kept entering and exiting, apparently in the middle of rural-Vermont-nowhere.

In this amazing corn maze, hard-packed dirt paths wound between immensely high corn. An hour in, actually beginning to wonder if we might not get out, I dredged up what limited survival skills I might possess, and ordered the kids to follow “the rule of right” and only make right-hand turns — as if that was the key out. Even smarter, perhaps, we tagged behind a cheerful grandparent-ish couple who practically ran through the maze and got us out.

So much for fun mothering experiences, these few hours that seemed, honestly, a little too close to the marrow, a little too near my life — wander around and conjure some savvy to get out.

Much later that Sunday evening, picking up stray socks and library books and putting away laundry — getting ready for a working week — I realized I failed that metaphor for life: enjoy the journey. Take note.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

— David Foster Wallace

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

4 comments

  1. I have always hated cruise ships: fake boat filled with people going fake traveling while eating fake food. The only real thing is the booze and there is usually too much of that. I would rather die in a corn maze than go on a three day cruise.

  2. Well, I haven’t been on a cruise ship, and the likelihood of that happening is pretty darn slim at this point. If anyone is excessively crabby about this, it’s certainly me. Goodness, it’s supposed to be fun! Lighten up.

  3. Good advice! I am currently in Astoria and the “Love Boat” is checking it’s horns at the dock around the corner sounding like a herd of mammoth drowning. But the weather is sunny and So I am forced to go bike riding to escape the cacophony. Such a shame. Lighten up all round!

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