In Reply to: Stay too long at the fair posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 21, 2009 at 13:51:
: : : : : : What's the origin of: 'stay too long at the fair'?
: : : : : I couldn't find it in my references. I think the origin comes from staying too long at the once-a-year carnival, county fair, etc., to the point a person is dazzled and unsatisfied with ordinary life. But a search online gave another meaning, "don't stay too long at the fair," quit when you're ahead.
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: : : : ........ and possibly before you upset the folks back home - including a worried / suspicious girlfriend. There's an old song (too chintzy to be called a folksong, more a children's song):
: : : : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny's_So_Long_At_The_Fair. Dated 1770s in the UK, 1790s in US.
: : : I thought there was a song -- searched lyrics + stay too long at the fair. Didn't find anything.
: : "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?" sung by Barbra Streisand circa 1963 written by Billy Barnes.
: I googled "too long at the fair"+"lyrics" found two songs. There is a Bonnie Raitt song and a Barbra Streisand song with similar titles but different lyrics. Both question whether they have stayed too long at the fair.
: There is also a line in Tom Waits' Downtown Train that goes "They stay at the carnival, but they'll never win you back".
: So, if you stay too long at the fair or carnival you're just sad and pathetic and you didn't get a kiss or the brass ring.
Or, like a child past the fill-level for pleasurable stimulation, the surfeit of fun turns you cranky, irritable, vaguely dissatisfied ... should have left an hour ago and carried the good feeling away with you: now, instead, you've stayed too long at the fair ....