On Running Away with the Circus
A short essay on gratitude inspired by Diane W’s melancholy ruminations about being a mutant in a world full of ‘bots, which struck an intimately familiar chord in so many of us.
While we were in Chapel Hill last week for Bob Del Tredici’s presentations we got to meet Sue Sturgis of the Institute for Southern Studies, who wrote that excellent article about our long-ago adventures in being and becoming. She told us that the article generated a lot of complaints from the ‘usual suspects’ that have dedicated their ‘bot lives to defending the nuclear beast, yet those complaints included nothing that could have been considered pertinent to the facts we reported to Congress and the NRC way back then and Sue reported to the world in April of this year. In fact, the primary objection to our existence was the entirely predictable lament…
“But they’re just clowns!”
Indeed. Professional Fools – from a long line of fools stretching so far back into human pre-history that no one’s quite sure which came first; the never-ending folly of men or the Fool who mocks man’s folly…
I suppose a good argument could be launched to establish that we may have been Fools all along. But the truth is that when our lives were threatened and we lost everything, we vanished from the main stage in a puff of smoke and ran away with the circus. Then when our enemies later found us and bullets started flying and loved ones were dying, it was the Rainbow Traveling Show – Papa Dollar with his Magical Elixir of Life, Flamin’ Jayne who walked on hot coals and broken glass and slept on a bed of nails, and the many other ever so unique and singularly talented players who seasonally hit the road – that risked everything to rescue us.
There’s a great story here about a brightly painted circus wagon pulling an animal trailer with a canoe on top driving east across the arid mesa of West Texas toward Dallas past an FBI nationwide APB, spider monkeys tasting the wind while perched atop the side-view mirrors… a disappearing act of such in-your-face panache that it became the stuff of grand legend on the circuits from there to Vegas to Thailand and Timbuktu, and remains a grand fireside tale to enchant new generations of players to this very day. They saved our lives.
No, they GAVE us our lives.
We’re just clowns. Emphatically, joyously so! What better calling could a true mutant aspire to? What greater statement is there to make after the uptight world has cut out your voice box with dull knives and taken every last ounce of personal power you might have once claimed by virtue of your difference from the ‘bots of this sad and tired world?
So to all our dear friends on the highways and byways ever moving from one town to the next and ever thankful for the odd places where mutants can spend the winter without causing too much trouble and resentment from the ‘bots, I offer my thanks. To those dearly departed over the years, to those still treading the boards, to those holed up in their isolated, neighbor-less, self-made paradises with permanent campfire pits and hookups for the wagons, my love. We mutants must stick together. We’re all we’ve got!
We’ve never really looked back. We’re just finishing the job. §;o)