I did something stupid over the weekend. I went to see the circus. It was so underwhelming, I strongly urge the owners to rename it, "Mediocre Show on Earth."
I wanted to revisit the circus many times since then, but was turned off because of alleged animal abuse. I boycotted the circus for as long as I could possibly stand it, right up until Saturday. I'm not sure why I decided to give in. After all, I was on a 23-year streak. I guess I sort of hoped that the allegations were either false or no longer an issue. Plus, who are we to say that elephants don't like wearing sequins? (See how easy it is to break down your moral fiber with only a little justification?)
If only I'd been warned that the real reason to boycott the circus is that it has taken a serious nose dive into the Snore Zone. For example, there were fewer clowns this time, and they were not even remotely funny. I know we're in a recession, but is funny that expensive? Did funny have to get cut out of the budget? I walk around being funny all day long for free! If it were up to me, I would have given the horribly annoying musical numbers the axe instead.
There were very few stunts in the show---no ladies doing handstands on top of galloping horses, no tiny Asian men folding themselves into 3 x 5 index cards, and no trapeze artists flying through the air by their teeth. The best we got was a man catapulted across the stage shortly after being lit on fire. It was semi-impressive if I hadn't SEEN IT EVERY NIGHT ON DAVID LETTERMAN IN 2006. Plus, they gave the guy a giant inflatable landing pad and a crew with fire extinguishers to greet him there. Where's the excitement in that?
I wanted to like the circus, I really did. I went in ready to give it my all. And I would have been satisfied if only it had maintained the 1988 status quo. But truthfully, I was hoping it had become bigger and better as most great American industries do, like our car manufacturing and healthcare system. Oh wait.
But seriously, I was semi-expecting that the circus of 2011 would be all thrilling and edgy. You know, I thought maybe they'd have one of the lions escape from the cage, jump into the crowd and eat a kid. Then, just before the crowd tramples each other on the way out of the building, the lion runs back to the cage, vomits the kid out whole and unscathed at the feet of the burly tamer to the jaw-dropping surprise of the audience. The lion takes a deep bow as the crowd erupts into applause. The lion tamer then lifts the kid---who is actually a pygmy circus performer disguised as a kid---onto his shoulders. And all of this, of course, is going on as trapeze artists are flying around the big top on fire, practicing contortion moves. Now THAT'S thrilling and edgy. That's the circus of 2011.
Hey, Circus, you can actually have that idea for free. You're welcome.