Why is anyone a carny?



“The life of man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long.”
Bertand Russell

I do share a brotherhood of weariness this morning after an all night “sick slough.”

I suffered the flu during this tear-down (slough) at the Okefenokee Fair and now keep falling asleep at the McDonald’s as I try to describe the feelings of a person sleep deprived and ailing.

I can say, yet another carny last night said, “You are a true carny” as I jumped on top of the carousel with more stamina than most. He obviously was complimenting me, while all I thought was, “True carny? Truly, who cares.”

It’s not a moniker of pride when talking to cops or a pretty girl. Landlords and employers aren’t going to light up when they hear me described as a true carny.

Nobody is a carny for the glory.

Add to that the poor housing, poor pay and poor working conditions, at times like these one wonders why anyone is a carny.

Still, I’m not the only one who will walk the empty fairgrounds this morning and see an empty field where a carnival stood for five days and feel some pride. Pride that I built it, worked it, tore it down and now it is blowing away with every truck leaving the lot.

I feel the futile cycle that I’m in, of poverty and set-ups and tear-downs.

I feel anticipation too, because it’s the end of the season and time to go home but to what.

The Japanese poet Basho lived a life with few material comforts in the 1600s, traveling town to town. Around the age of 50 (around my age that is) he wrote about home.

“And yet we all in the end live, do we not, in a phantom dwelling? But enough of that-I’m off to bed.”

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