#NPM2018: Prompt 22

photo by: Bernard Spragg

2 thoughts on “#NPM2018: Prompt 22

  1. Clowning Around

    I remember one time in high school
    where they asked us to chart the major events of our lives
    on butcher paper with funny little markers to share

    My contribution?
    Things get hard so I get funny
    I remember writing it on the page
    Then circling it after
    I never quite knew what was hard
    Things just were.

    It’s funny how easy it is to see it now
    Probably I was talking about fat kid jokes
    Or moving across country right after I found my middle school me
    Or the braces and headgear I wore at night
    Or the haircut that I knew, even then, was terrible
    Or the thing about the rolling of the pants that I couldn’t quite get right
    Or my twin being popular
    Or Pat the bully
    Or some other things

    Because jokes are one way to make people feel safe
    Or to look over here instead of over there
    A way to keep from talking about important things
    We can laugh and laugh and laugh.
    And there’s no better energy than the feeling of having the command of the room
    Of seeing what they’ll laugh at
    and what they won’t.
    And riding the wave in between the two
    Rolling over and over across the line.
    Just to see if you can.

    Every jester relishes the power of the joke.

    I dunno if it’s Teflon or what,
    But nothing can stick to the clownish paint that makes the costume compete
    that blurs the kid from the joker on the stage
    Not fat jokes
    Or loneliness
    Or braces, headgear or rolling up pants
    Or knowing you’re the tagalong
    Not even Pat.

    There’s an equal and opposite reaction though
    The Peter Parker Principle
    No great power comes without cost
    And every gift conceals the coming of a loss
    The same energy that can make the best joke roll across a classroom
    That can deflect the worst offenses of middle school bullies
    That can freeze the bully in his tracks
    That can reflect the embarrassment headed my way into a volley of jokes headed back
    Has to come from somewhere.

    Even the best shields can only take so many hits

    Clowns cry the hardest when the makeup comes off
    Or when they laugh the loudest.

    It’s funny,
    but I can’t remember which.

    — Bud Hunt
    April 22nd, 2018

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