The other day I was walking down the street, minding my own business, like I usually do. Of course, I don’t always mind my own business, there’s times when you just can’t help but to involve yourself in the affairs of others. This almost always goes well, and people don’t generally object to me imposing on their situation, because it’s usually with a helpful comment of appreciation.
But in this particular case, I was just focusing on the thoughts that were in the forefront of my mind, which were rather jumbled, which made this a little more difficult than normal. Sometimes I have such clarity of thought and purpose that I go after and achieve my daily objection with incredible focus. This was not one of those days.
So there I was, staggering down the street, and suddenly I bumped into a rather festively dressed circus clown. He was doing an advertisement for some grand opening of a shop of some sort. When I happened across him, he was on his break, as he was sitting on a bench, smoking a cigarette. I sat down, suddenly changing my plans to not involve myself in the business of others.
This was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. I had never spoken to a circus clown before, especially one that was on his break taking drag after drag on an unfiltered cigarette.
I asked if he was always a clown, and he replied that most of the time, he was. He didn’t do kids parties, because those were too dangerous. He did mostly advertising, marketing gimmicks, and the occasional rodeo when they needed somebody to fill in. The particular job that he’d been assigned on that particular day was to simply stand outside a shop (which turned out to be a furniture store) and wave to customers to draw them inside the store.
Now there’s a couple of conversations I’d like to at least listen in on. One is the person who goes out, maybe to pick up his laundry, or drop off their kids at day care, or whatever. The last thing they want to do is buy some furniture. But lo and behold, there is this funny clown standing there on the sidewalk, and they can’t help but to go inside and see what’s what. And before they know it, they’ve purchased an entire dining room set.
The conversation I’d like to hear is when their friends come over, and ask them how or why they decided to buy a new set of furniture. I’d like to hear them explain that a voiceless cigarette-smoking clown convinced them.
The other conversation I’d like to hear is the furniture shop owners deciding how they were planning on promoting their grand opening, or sale, or whatever. And how exactly they decided on hiring a clown. Did they have three or four choices, and they clown was there best one? Personally, I’d choose a couple of bikini models, but that’s just me.
There was a story in the news a while back about a sandwich shop that had a bikini model, not even a real one, the kind that model clothes in department store windows, out front during lunch time. It was a fantastic success, and drew a large lunch crowed. Until somebody complained to the city council. It seems that having a bikini mannequin is against some city ordinance or something, so they had to put a t-shirt on her.
So maybe they wanted to put a couple of bikini models out front, but they got out-voted by the pro-clown faction of their marketing division, perhaps due to fears of repercussions from the community. Who knows?
When I asked Mr. Clown (I never did get his name) how long he’d been doing his, he said he was in his third year as a clown. He found out about it from an ad on craigslist. He didn’t tell me how much he got paid, but he did say that the benefits were pretty good. He got paid extra if he could juggle several balls at once.
So after a few minutes of pleasant conversation, I went on my way, sure I’d see the clown again somewhere.