by Jordy Greenblatt
Jeffery, I know at your age it seems like you have all the time in the world to screw around but I have news for you; you’re three years into The Ringling Bros. Clown College and come hell or high water you are going to finish your damn degree! This is not a two way discussion. I’m here to talk some sense into you.
When you told me you wanted to see the world, I though you meant you wanted a summer internship at Cirque de Soleil. I’d love for you do get some international clowning experience. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle before you spend a whole year bumming around Europe, juggling on street corners to make ends meet.
Wipe that smile off your face and paint on a more serious expression! Clown College isn’t a right, you know. It’s a privilege. The day Congress passes a Federal Funding for Universal Higher Education in Physical Comedy and Circus Arts Act and writes me a check for 120 grand is the day you’re off the hook. But until then, either you find a way to pay me back or you come home with your Ringling Bros. Wacky Hacky Bachelor of Buffoonery degree.
Look, I know it’s been a tough three years. I’ve seen you after two all-nighters in a row, your makeup smeared and your rainbow wig a mess. But son, I am so, so proud of how far you’ve come. Hell, after high school you could barely juggle four rings for a minute without conking yourself on the head. Now you make a seven ball Mill’s Mess look like a three ball cascade!
You have to think about your future. Sure, it seems romantic and exciting to float around, putting down a hat and picking up some clubs when you’re running low on dough. But trust me; it’s a lonely life. I remember having the same conversation with my dad 27 years ago. I thought he was a square. I threw a pie in his face and grabbed my stuff, expecting never to come home. I can’t possibly thank him enough for taking me back when I came home four months later, destitute and hopeless. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy and I certainly wouldn’t wish it on you.
So listen to me, son. I want only the best for you. It took months of practice to get back my skills, to spin a plate on a stick and balance it on my head or spit water out of my mouth into a healthy mist instead of a steady stream. But I put in the time and effort and come August, they accepted me again at Ringling. I never looked back.
Once you’ve graduated, you can grab the world by the big red nose and honk away. But as you ride on this comically undersized car we call life, you’ll come to learn that there are some sacrifices worth making. You have to accept that, while it’s nice to think that life should a breeze, sometimes you’re the one with the water-squirting flower on your lapel and sometimes you’re the one with a face full of seltzer. So I’m asking you—no, I’m telling you—quit screwing around and give me ten good pratfalls!