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  • rileysoloner

Birthday Clown

I experienced a kind of mini magical moment on Saturday. It's bits like these that remind me to keep steady on this path. Ellena and I went to a birthday party for a work friend's three year old. The dad asked me what I was up to, and I told him I was working on this clown research project thing, yadda yadda. He asked if I was ready to perform for the guests. Me with my red nose I've been practicing keeping on me in my sunglasses case, said "yeah sure." I have no planned act, and that's fine. That's kind of the point.


The one thing I told myself I wasn't going to do was juggle. I'm a good juggler, I love juggling. The only options for juggling equipment were: food (there were no apples, oranges, limes or any other good juggling fruit) the common room's billiard balls. Pool table balls are hard and heavy, and there was breakable stuff everywhere. So that's a no. There are plenty of people to interact with (including ellena who graciously agreed to act as my Authority), a bluetooth speaker for some music, and I really only need to make a good impression for ten minutes before bowing out. Nobody was expecting a clown today. My presence alone would float some amusement, even if I totally sucked.


Thankfully, I didn't suck! In fact, as soon as I put on the nose, the little birthday boy completely understood, and that was the best possible way to signal to the parents that I must know what I was doing. I started my act from behind a big plate glass window, trying to find a way inside. The little boy ran right up to the window and played with me. He just got it. A red nose really works wonders.


I made my entrance into the room and choreographed a short dumb dance with a volunteer. All the while, the little boy acted as my assistant handing me toy trucks. I would hold up a big truck, and the parents would say "big truck." I held up a little truck and the parents would say "little truck." Then the boy did a magical thing: he handed me three pool balls. It felt like he instinctually knew exactly what I, or what any random clown that shows up on your birthday should be doing: you should be juggling now. There was no turning him down. I juggled over the pool table to minimize the danger to the room, the balls and the guests. I'm making it sound more dangerous than it was. I just didn't want to have to pay an apartment building for chipping their balls or yikes, cracking a giant window.


But I juggled. I did an impromptu birthday clown juggling act for a little kid, and it went over well. I bowed and made a my exit, waving goodbye, conspicuously grabbing a giant bottle of liquor on the way out. The party loosened up after that. Ten minutes of a little collective silliness, and everybody carried themselves a bit more freely. It feels good to gather the room and share the fun.

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