August 17, 2009

Gravity. She is a harsh mistress.

Some days, I swear I wouldn't make it through the workday without Lime and Violet and Regina Spektor. Most days, though, it's more of a mixed bag of podcasts. Just enough to keep me entertained until it's time to go, in between phone calls.

Today I was listening to one that's come to be one of my favorites, the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. I was only half listening, between working and talking with my office buddy, but after awhile, it very much caught my attention. They were interviewing Michael Goudeau, this guy who's been a professional juggler and clown for years, and now he also writes for Penn Jillette. I didn't hear why they were interviewing him, but it was fascinating. Like a train wreck. Or, more appropriately, like a sideshow act.

Michael Goudeau juggles chainsaws. And if you're interviewing a juggler who juggles chainsaws, how do you not ask how he ended up juggling chainsaws? He said it was like playing chicken with other jugglers. It starts with flaming torches, and then machetes (for which he bled for three days. I probably would have stopped right there), and then axes. And then running chainsaws. Naturally.

The thing is, I love circuses. I've taken static trapeze classes. I loved those classes, and even thought about auditioning for circuses. I have great respect for the circus. People underestimate the art and dedication that goes into it, and they forget the history that goes back centuries. I will always be fascinated with all that stuff.

But as much as I am fascinated by it, and by Michael Goudeau, by extension, I will never understand the impulse to throw several sharp blades ten feet in the air. Much less a running chainsaw.

The world is full of crazy people. Isn't it fantastic?

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