THE INFORMATION #825
FEBRUARY 27, 2015
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. –Victor Hugo
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART SEVEN: KINGDOM COME
In the Seven Stars Saloon they all stood dumb—all the barflies and bottle suckers and loochers–after Jim Whitey finished telling his story.
Finally: “Laugh it up, Shitbird,” said Musky Dan.
And: “A clown’s no good unless he laughs,” chimed in Adam O’Day.
“Ack!” said Jim Whitey,”Nix, fellas, ixnay. I’ve been thrown up on my beam ends many a time, but I’m through traveling with the circus, see, and bein’ a clown. You might as well be in the army. Traveling all the time, sleeping rough, having to live on greasy stew, following orders, having to groom hosses…at my age I deserve to take it easy. Then there’s the part they don’t tell you about. Ringmasters whipping lions ‘til they drop. Angry critters chained to stakes. Miserable chimps flingin’ their own shit. I’m a hard man, me; a man of iron. But I don’t like to see a critter treated mean for no good reason. Besides, half the people in any given town want to run us out because the acrobats don’t wear enough clothes or some damn fool nonsense like that. The other half have some beef about the cooch dancers on the midway. Seems as though it hardly pays anymore to have a traveling circus or a carnival. There’s always some Goo-Goo out there ready to make with the waterworks.
“Besides, making people laugh ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. In order to do it at all, you gotta make a dern fool of yourself. Nobody likes a philosophical clown. No, it’s always the clown as has got some kind of gimmick that wows the Reubens. Besides, clowns is the most cynical bunch of wiseacres you’ll ever meet. They make your average newspaperman look like a babe in arms. And mean? Hoo boy, you ain’t heard nothin’ until you been taken down by a clown with a grudge. The clowns, see, they always seem to know what’s happening on the lot with the other performers, and they’ll be the first to tell you that the Ringmaster has got the mash for one of his young Equestriennes, or whether the girl tight rope walker has been seen in the company of the strong man. Clowns themselves are a bit goofy and they can always tell when others are goofy as well.
“Let’s face it—it ain’t fun no more, to be a clown. It ain’t fun no more. Nobody takes you serious. You can be the most accomplished Yellof as ever drew breath, but as long as you got that red rubber nose you ain’t got no more right to say something smart than if you was a dog. Clowns get to speak the truth, they say. Not hardly! What use is it to know the score, and be with it and for it, when nobody pays you no never mind? The most fun I ever had was with my version of Hamlet, as performed by a chimpanzee:
To be or not to be/Or to swing from a tree?
“There’s more; a whole heap more, God help me; but I don’t reckon you’d even understand the half of it. The crowd certainly didn’t. I had to go back to snorting ‘snow’ and making with the funny walks.
“I reckon all of ye ken why clowns don’t get treated ‘spectable—it’s because they’re crazy, or they’re Morphodites, or they’re on the lam from the law or at the very least is got something they’re running away from and they want to hide themselves under greasepaint–and they’re not in good standing with the Masons or any other fraternal organization. That’s what the clowns need, is a Union. First United Clowns, Conjurers, Entertainers, and Magicians. Next up, what they need is a Church. First Church of Christ, Whiteface. And finally, what they need is their own college degree—M.F., Master of Fun. Then maybe we’ll get the respect they deserve.
“Lots of clowns drink, you know. That’s why their heart is breaking for one reason or another. Beneath the big floppy bow tie is a man afraid. He’s a modern-day witch doctor, healing with his laughter—but though everyone’s willing to laugh at a clown, nobody’s willing to love him. Not the dames, and certainly not the rest of the general public. Slip some smut in your act and the Goo-Goos will holler destruction and red death, but if you fail to spice it up a peck the growed folks will yawn and wind their pocket-watches and talk through the act. Real life is calm but the circus is always moving. But there comes a time when a man deserves some peace and quiet. Circus life is no life for a man with any self-respect. Sure—you might say that it involves travel, and something new every day—but me, I’ll take dry feet and a warm beddo in my own home sweet home over circus life any day. The grass ain’t always greener. You don’t know how good you have it. Anyway, the Carny on Treasure Island ain’t so bad. Working the Mitt Camp from six to midnight ain’t exactly no ball and chain. As long as you get to bed before the sun comes up, it don’t matter if you’ve been drinking all night. I still got some do-re-me in my grouch bag, and I can afford to take a cut in pay. Besides, the Mitt Camp is pay as you go. The harder you work and the quicker you get ‘em out of there, the more you make.
He stopped to shudder. “Anything is better than having to visit them sick kiddies in the hospital.” He took a long stiff drink. “Anything at all.”
“Matter of fact, I hated all them sick Kiddies. You were expected to do something, anything to make them laugh. Anything at all. And who says they needed to laugh? Haven’t they got enough troubles? You say laughter is a healing kind of thing, but nothing I know says it’s so. People bark out their laughter like they’re expelling a plague, ’tis true, but too much in that line can’t possibly be good for no one. You ever notice how clowns themselves hardly ever laugh? That’s because they’re like bartenders who know better than to hit the sauce. They’ve seen too much of what laughter does to people. You ever see a man who will laugh at anything? That, Sir, is one miserable man. And a fool besides. No, all this laughing is little more than a respectable racket. I’m done with trying to make people laugh. You know what laughter is? Laughter is selfish. Sure, you all break into a big hardy har har when you’re laughing along with all the others, but I say laughing is a lonely business all the same. You ever see an animal laugh? No, because they know better. Me, I can love any woman–except one who laughs. You ever see a Zook when she commences into a blithering guffaw? She looks like nothing but a braying ass. You ever see a fat man–a banker, perhaps, with his top hat and his watch fob and his side-whiskers and his big fat cigar? You ever hear him give forth with his complacent chortle? He sounds like he’s making nothing more or less than the satisfied grunts made by any well-contented pig. No, Yobs, I’m off the laughing sauce. If you want to see a clown, go to the circus. I’ve got something more serious in mind. Telling people’s fortunes; there’s the racket. Nothing could be easier. You spend a lifetime watching people laugh, which is when they’re at their most vulnerable, and you can consider them to be capable of anything. Anything-a-tall.”
TWO FACES HAVE I
RUSH LIMBAUGH IN TROUBLE
LOUIE THE CLOWN RECOVERED
‘MYSTERIOUS, INCREDIBLE, BIZARRE’: 80S FLORIDA BUTTROCKERS IN BEST/WORST LOCAL HAIR SALON AD EVER!
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
HAVE A CIGAR: CRINGE AT THE INSANELY MISOGYNIST RADIO ADS OF THE WOMEN’S LIB ERA
6* DAILY UTILITY
MOST HATED COMPANIES
EDDIE MURPHY REFUSES TO KICK COSBY WHEN HE’S DOWN
HEMINGWAY AT THE KC STAR
A WEEK OF RUSSIAN TV
What are some things that cops know, but most people don’t? [Tim Dees, Retired cop and criminal justice professor, Reno Police Department, Reno Municipal Court, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Police Department]
Not all of these are strictly what the police know that private citizens don’t, but they’re close. Many are things I wish I could have said, but would have been in big trouble for doing so:
- Even though you say differently, you probably don’t know your rights.
- If you leave your teenager in charge of the house while you go away for the weekend, he or she will probably do something you forbade them to do. If they decide to host a beer party, your house will be wrecked.
- You can’t talk your way out of a ticket. Lots of people talk themselves into one.
- Of course it went off. What did you expect would happen when you pulled the trigger?
- The electronics in your radar or laser detector work no faster than those in my radar or LIDAR gun. By the time the little red light goes on, I already have your speed.
- We know you had more than two beers.
- If you grew up with guns in the house, you probably knew how to get to them, even though your parents thought they had them hidden or locked away. Don’t think your kids are any less ingenious.
- Arguing with me here will not go well for you. Arguments are for courtrooms, where you can make any statements and ask me any questions you want. Out here, I win all the arguments.
- We really don’t care how many FOP, State Sheriffs Association or 11-99 Foundation stickers you buy for your car. If you deserve the ticket, you’re getting it.
- Yes, you do pay my salary. Today’s obligation can be calculated by the following formula:((Amount you pay annually in state, county or city taxes/365) x (Fraction of budget allocated for law enforcement))/(Number of employees in my organization
I’d be happy to give you a refund. Do you have change for a penny?
- Most able-bodied people really can do those tests while sober.
- You are not the first person to see a cop and say “Take him, he did it,” “I didn’t do it,” or to tell your kid, “If you don’t behave, that cop will put you in jail.” You probably aren’t even the first one to say that today. You have, however, caused me to mentally label you as a moron.
- The gun isn’t to protect you. It is to protect me.
- Your substance abuse problem is your business until it spills over into someone else’s life. Now, you are the problem.
- I don’t especially care what your race, religion, sexual preference, ethnicity, political affiliation or economic status is. I do have a bias against assholes.
- Can anyone here point out this person’s parents? He just asked me if I knew who his father was, and I don’t.
- Believe it or not, you really don’t drive better with a few drinks in you.
- Do unto others, but do it first.
- We are not armed, uniformed scribes. If someone has threatened, insulted, or otherwise vexed you in some non-criminal way and you want it put on record, write it down, take it to a notary public, and sign it in their presence. Poof, you have a record.
- If we could make one change to improve society, better parenting would be toward the top of the list.
- There probably are teenagers who can handle alcohol responsibly outside the direct supervision of an adult. We never run into them, though.
- Please press firmly, you are making four copies.
- You are in ______________. We don’t care how they do it in ___________.
- Yes, you very well may see me in court. I get paid overtime to be there, win or lose.
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
Excerpt from Robert Christgau’s Memoir ‘Going Into the City’
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
784. HOTTEST US PRESIDENTS