Sunday, March 11, 2007

P.T. Barnum Was Right

In 1869, famous showman P.T. Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute." Mine was somewhere between 2:30 and 3:00 DST on March 11, 2007, right after I paid $15 for a sno cone at Mr. Barnum's namesake circus performance in New Jersey. (Actually, it turns out that Barnum never said his famous quote. But for the purposes of this post, he did.) I wonder if he also recognized that there's an impatient douche bag born every other minute.

A circus is supposed to be a happy place. Clowns! Acrobats! Trapeze Artists! And kids. Lots and lots of happy, smiling kids. It's really quite contagious for an adult to be surrounded by so much mirth. Except the 2 adults in the lobby of the Continental Airlines arena must have been immune. Actually, it was only one guy who was frustrated by the crowds in the lobby and violently pushed past another adult in an effort to stay with his family. Words were exchanged, threats were leveled, security was called and we all got on with our lives. But jeez, at a circus? It wasn't even an out-of-control crowd. No one could say it was a circus in the lobby, even in jest. No, one schmuck lost his cool and looked like an ass.

The circus was fun. The kids had a blast. And while the clowns were rolling around on the floor, a question came to mind: which came first--the word, "clown" or the term, "clowning around"? Are the people who wear make up and throw confetti at the crowd called clowns because they're clowning around? Or are people acting like morons clowning around because they're acting like clowns? $7 boxes of popcorn will make you think of things like that.

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