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Monday, January 16, 2012

Bring in the Clowns


For a short period of time I lived in a small band practice space in a dark and desolate area of Milwaukee.  One night I was coming home and ran into a couple about my age in the hallway, and invited them in for a beer.  They were both dragging emormous paper mache heads and had clown paint tattooed on their faces.  They claimed to be coming home from their "circus", which I took to be their two person street act.  They seemed to be genuinely pleasant and forthcoming, and we talked for awile.  As open minded as I could ever hope to be, I still couldn't shake the idea of thier face tattoos, and the repercussions such a commitment would have on their lives.  On one hand, they represented a freedom of spirit I could only dream of possesing, on the other hand, they seemed somehow doomed to a life that I couldn't see as anything but certain misery, no matter what decisions they may make in the future.   Did they encompass everything I loved about this country, or had they gone too far?  Could I possibly hope to suppress judgement of someone with the tattooed face of a circus clown?  I felt myself and my father entangled in a battle within my psyche, over whether these were fine, upstanding citizens and artists, or crazy people, in whose presence I myself was certainly crazy to invite into my space.  We're all clowns, sure, but who is willing to admit it to the world?

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