A Tale of Two Circuses

Like many a past time, I have something of some significance to say but cannot find the right words to say it.  So here is a short story to illustrate what I have in mind.  (If you enjoy circuses, loons, and spoons, you might find this quite amusing!)

~*~

Once upon a time there were two ringmasters named Melvin and Merlin.

Each ringmaster ran a circus, and each circus was across the street from the other.  Both were extremely popular and were attended regularly by large crowds of people.

Melvin’s circus, “Cirque de Loon”, was famous for its ferocious aquatic birds which could be trained only by one man: Lardo the Legendary Loon Tamer!  People would come from all over the earth to watch him crack his whip, shout out commands, and have the birds sit in a row and squawk out the tune to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”.  No man was like Lardo!

Merlin’s circus, “Cirque de Spoon”, was also quite famous; for Merlin himself had traveled deep into the dark Spoon Caves of the Amazon rain forest to bring back  hundreds of wild spoons.  These spoons could only be tamed by the Amazing Merlin!  People from all around the world would watch as he cracked his whip, shouted out commands, and balanced two hundred spoons on his head while hula-hooping.  Merlin was utterly unbeatable!

Now, there was another ringmaster who lived far, far away.  Nobody knew his name, but everybody knew that his circus was the best of the best.  Children would walk out of his circus exclaiming, “Golly, can we come back tomorrow?”

Fathers would walk out of his circus stroking their beards and exclaiming, “That was extraordinary!”

Mothers would walk out of his circus covering their child’s eyes and saying to their husbands, “Now, dear, you know I’m a lot prettier than those scantily-clad circus women, don’t you?”

All were amazed.

This ringmaster was, in fact, coming for a visit.  He had heard of Melvin and of Merlin, and wanted to see if they knew what it took to put on a real show.  And so, he sent them a letter.

My dear ringmasters,” it read, “If either of you has any skill in running a circus at all, now is your time to show what you’ve got.  I am coming for a visit in fifteen days, and—if what I hear about your performances is true—I am expecting the time of my life.  That is all.  Sincerely, ”

And that was all.

The two ringmasters were honored that this highly acknowledged somebody was coming to see their circus performances, but at the same time they were nervous—and the nervousness grew as the days passed.

Melvin was determined to meet his special guest’s expectations, so he worked everyone extra hard.  He closed the whole circus awhile so that he and his circus staff could practice all day and all night.  Lardo grew cranky and the loons squawked in aggravation, but would that stop Melvin?  Certainly not!

Merlin, of course, was also determined—-that, and very anxious.  Unfortunately for his staff, Merlin was always cross when he was anxious.  He whipped his performing spoons when they didn’t get their act right.  He didn’t let them take a break even when they started growling, which should have been an obvious warning sign that they were annoyed.

The day before the mystery ringmaster’s arrival came like a thunderclap, and Melvin and Merlin were pushy as ever.  They would not settle for anything less than perfection, and each man strove to make his circus superior to the other.  Melvin told his loon tamer to make the birds sing louder than ever, which made their voices sore.  “Squawk, not squeak!” he shouted in rage.

Merlin changed his act last-minute, because he decided that the one his circus squad had been practicing just wasn’t impressive enough.  The spoons had trouble picking up the newly-learned arrangements, and they got very confused.  Merlin only shouted more: “We must be the best!”

“ENOUGH!”  Lardo finally roared at Melvin after an extra-strenuous training session.  “It’s clear that these poor birds cannot squawk any louder; I’m surprised they haven’t lost their voices by now.”  He picked up all the ferocious loons in a handful and grunted, “We’re out of here.”

Merlin was glad when he heard the competition was gone, but he would not stop pressing his spoons on.  He skipped their meals because time was short, and soon they got very hungry and weak.  Naturally, as any pack of wild spoons would do, they turned on their master and gobbled him up!

There would be no big performance after all, and the last ringmaster returned to his own circus, his expectations crushed.

~*~

There are several morals to get from this story: for one thing, don’t overwork wild spoons because they will always turn on you.  But that’s not really the point.

The point is, high expectations will almost always lead to disappointment.  If you hold any expectations for this blog at all, you will most likely end up just as disappointed as that mysterious ringmaster was (and perhaps lose a lot of traveling money as he did, too).

So please don’t expect anything from me.  It will only make me nervous, and perhaps you will be tempted to quit on me or to gobble me up somehow.  ….Hopefully not.

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