The news that Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus is shutting down didn’t feel tragic to me. SBC and I were reviewing his Circus Memories yesterday and he had no recollection of attend RB, B&B Circus at the age of two. (Actually he slept through it.) He only remembers The Big Apple Circus when he was a little older.
I remember marveling over the Ringling Brothers Circus as a child but I almost slept through it in the early ’90s too. It struck me as dated. The Big Apple, on the other hand, was more impressive to me as well. Fewer animal tricks (which are often achieved through cruelty.) More human skill.
Life can be a circus, of course, and The Circus Quotient feels particularly high this week.
Some of us love a circus (the more rings, the better) and some of us prefer a quiet corner with a book. But things need to get done in this world and there is much work to do. Let’s learn from the circus.
- Cruelty might seem to get results, but in the long run, somebody notices that the elephants are in pain and it’s evil.
- It’s better to have one ring of excellence than three rings of mediocre.
- The casual observer wonders how someone can possibly fling herself off a trapeze and live. But that trapeze artist is – in fact – A) an artist and B) extremely well-rehearsed. Skills require lots of practice. And sometimes good work is simply an art.
- Some clowns are scary.
So, my friends, find your art. Practice every day and you will be able to do amazing things. Don’t be cruel. And don’t be a scary clown.
I was rewarded with a trip to the circus for memorizing all the books of the Bible when I was in third grade. I can still see in my mind the souvenir cup I brought home, though I don’t remember a thing from the circus itself.