Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Greatest Show on Earth

A friend had tickets to the circus that she was unable to use, and offered to sell them to me for a generous discount. Part of me is finds the circus morally repugnant in their treatment of animals, but a bigger part of me can't resist a $9 sno-cone, so we went.

We didn't tell the girls where we were going until we walking into the coliseum. On the ride there, we told Julia we were going to a fishing and boat show, to which she responded "Fishing and boat show! My favorite!" There is nothing quite like the enthusiasm of a four year old. As you can imagine, she was really excited to learn we were really going to circus.

And I have to say, it was really quite good. Lots of music and dancing and costumery and prancing ponies and death defying stunts. But the highlight of the show was the elephants.

One elephant in particular.
For the grand finale of the elephant performance, they all stand on their hind legs and turn in a circle. Pretty impressive on it's own, but this one elephant took that moment as an opportunity to have the most massive bowel movement of it's life. I'm sure that elephant poops are, on the scale of animal poops, normally pretty significant. But this big fella must have had a Thanksgiving sized feast before the show, because the sheer quantity of poop was really astounding. He was like a giant Rainbird sprinkler, showering the center ring with dung.

I don't know that turning in a circle on their hind legs while pooping demonstrates any special skill on the elephant's part, but it's certainly not something I could do. It's all I can do to concentrate on my business with one kid wanting to know the answer to a math problem, another trying to convince me that she can make a milkshake by herself, and the baby trying to climb into my pants as I sit on the toilet.

By the collective "Whoa! WHOA!" shouted by the audience, I'd say everyone was just as impressed as me.

Another memorable bit was the weirdly homoerotic performance of the two strongmen. When I think "strongmen", I picture some dude hoisting a big barbell, or pulling a truck, or wielding a giant mallet.
What I don't think of is a dude hoisting some other dude. They were huge, graceful and very, very odd.

But the best was watching the girls watching the performers. Even Henry, before he decided to go to sleep, was clapping and laughing. Every time someone new would come out, Julia would turn to my mom and whisper "This is my favorite part!" She fell asleep within minutes of getting in the car, clutching her pink plastic circus pony. Maybe she dreamed of the ponies or the tightrope walkers or the circus clowns. Or maybe, like me, she dreamed of pooping elephants.

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