when i grow up

My dream to be a clown

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I FOUND PURE GOLD AT HALF PRICED BOOKS TODAY! IT'S PRETTY MUCH A MANUAL FOR HOW TO BE A CLOWN.

This is a big deal for me.

Almost every time I run into my old children’s pastor from my home church, she’ll bring up (and make fun of) the fact that my whole childhood I knew when I grew up I wanted to be a clown on a cruise ship.

Why a cruise ship? Why so specific?  When I was little, my family went on a cruise and part of the ship’s entertainment was a couple of random clowns. They’d MC the big shows at night, do little street performances around the ship, and even hosted a few clowning workshop. I was OBSESSED WITH THEM. I followed them around everywhere. They taught me how to juggle. I didn't know this was a real job a real adult could have. This is their whole life? They get paid to goof off on a cruise ship?! I WANTED THAT TO BE MY LIFE.

I was probably in 5th or 6th grade when my family went to the Ringling Brothers circus (RIP). There was a clown who I remember absolutely STEALING THE SHOW! I was obsessed with him too. His whole act was strictly physical. He fell down like a pro. My parents informed me that a lot of hard work went into his performance. All those falls? He had to practice those.

I’m sure my parents were trying instill in me some lesson about hard work and dedication but all I heard was “Taylor, if you want to be a clown you need to fall down more!” That night I went to my room on the second floor and practiced falling down for half an hour. Then my parents yelled at me for making so much noise. 

I knew was there was a clown college in Florida. That’s where I needed to go if I really wanted this be my life. My heart was set on it until one day somehow the news got to me that the clown college was on “hiatus.” That must have been the first time I ever heard that word. Hiatus? I was heartbroken and eventually gave up on the dream.

You know what? Now that I’m thinking about it, this part of the story doesn’t make much sense. Where would I have heard the news about this clown college? Who would have told me that? I wonder if it’s a lie my parents told me to get me to shut up about being a clown. 

I still think (most) clowns are cool. I respect and admire the craft.

When I was at Half Priced Books I was looking for anything in Mister Rogers (he's the current obsession). I was in the entertainment section when I stumbled on to a HUGE shelf of magic and circus books. I had no idea this corner of this story even existed. This clowning book caught my eye and when I started flipping through the pages I knew I had to have it.

Here’s the coolest thing about this: someone highlighted parts of the book.

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THIS BOOK WAS PREVIOISLY OWNED BY SOMEONE REALLY LEARNING TO BE A REAL CLOWN AND I GET TO SEE WHAT LESSONS FROM THE BOOK WERE IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO HIGHLIGHT. 

I’m so excited to read this.