There are certain things in this life that I would qualify as “extraordinarily heinous”. Smoker’s breath. Watching people spit their teeth out like Chiclets after a bad car wreck. Octo-Mom. Men wearing eyeliner. Those who would harm children. My ability to grow multiple chins just by looking at a pizza.
But there is a special place in my heart for the things that really, really make me cringe; near the top of this list is The Circus. Maybe it’s the way the animals always look pissed off and humiliated at being forced to stand on chairs. Maybe it’s the concept of paying $72 for a bag of cotton candy and a Coke. And I’m reasonably certain my disdain for the clowns has a major role in my loathing of the circus. I’m not scared of clowns in the traditional sense, I just sense that they’re one step closer to being predatory pedophiles when they don the makeup. They’re creepy, those silly bastards, and they oughta be banned.
So, of course, The Wife decided we’d be taking The Heathens to the circus when it came to town.
I swear, that woman hates me.
Funny, because at first she didn’t want to go any more than I did. Then, when our friends Matt & Melanie said they and their entourage were going, The Wife refused to be one-upped – we are going and we’re gonna have fun, dammit.
I swear, that woman is a fickle pickle.
Let me start by saying that my interpretation of the circus is that of a mid-winter version of going to the Ozark Empire Fair. No wait…..let me re-start by saying that here in Springfield, our circus is held indoors, at the Shriner’s Mosque. That’s right – take a moment to drink that in: a circus, with animals and all being held INdoors. A building that is approximately 285 years old and literally hosted Elvis many years ago and Willie Nelson a few months ago also houses a circus for one week a year. Elephants storm in and out of the main entrance, I kid you not. You can only imagine what it smells like on the final day of the circus inside this joint. That’s the day it was determined we would attend.
What you might not know about today’s circus is that it is primarily staffed by our friends south of the border. This makes ordering an Icee particularly vexing for Ozarkian rednecks, since speaking Spanish to them usually involves no more than ordering a “boo-rito, enchilah-der style”. My friend the Outlaw Trucker, who has a deep and abiding love of the Latina Gangster lifestyle, would be in heaven here; I’ve never seen so many super-sexed up teenagers as those who spiraled across the curtains, blond hairpieces whipping about, stripper heels kicking in tune to ultra-cheesy Euro-metal. Any way you cut it, these performers were damn talented, and I found their shows, if not like watching late night Telemundo, very entertaining….gotta give them props.
Of course, we were jammed into seats made around the turn of the LAST century, which made for some great people watching and really, really close interaction with those around us. Our posse of boys spent their time whacking people’s heads with $39 plastic swords that lit up.
I swear, those kids are so damn unappreciative.
My favorite part? During the “Rage In The Cage”, whereby a shirtless Siegfried & Roy wannabe constantly runs around a ring pissing off half a dozen tigers, I spent the entire time rooting on the tigers. I feel for those poor bastards. Shamed and humiliated beasts (as evidenced by the pinned back ears, hissing, spitting and roaring), I would love for once to watch one swipe the bare-chested and leather bedecked trainer right in the ol’ head. I would cheer the shit out of that tiger. I would nominate him/her for a civic award. And I would pay for an attorney for the tiger if the circus tried to prosecute. It’s about time the tigers realized that the Rage In The Cage is basically defenseless, save for a stick. It’s time for them to revolt. THAT would be a show I’d happily pay to see.
No such luck.
I spent the rest of the time in a crowded mess of overpriced chaos, with the only highlight being watching the employees scramble for trash cans when an elephant decided to unleash a mighty torrent of urine while toting people around on its back. That gave an olfactory essence to the entire event which I cannot replicate with words. Motorcycles on high wires, roller skating on tables, jugglers who dropped flaming bowling pins – none of this compared to the pleasure I got from a giant, tired and sad looking elephant declaring “The hell with this, I’m taking a piss right now”. A pachyderms way of shooting a middle finger to the whole situation.
Funny moments like that made me reconsider my vow to never return to the circus, even if I have to shovel out $57 for 6 ounces of popcorn.
After all, the tigers might need a lawyer.