Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Making A

     A father will do anything for his kids. Give a kidney? No problem. Work an extra decade to send 'em through school? To be expected. Make A? Sure, why not?
     My brother-in-law did it when he dressed as Santa for my niece's second Christmas. She cried over the tall, skinny stranger that walked in through the front door, but everyone else appreciated his Ho Ho Ho Merry gesture.
     It was my turn at last year's Hawaii County Fair. A Maltese Family Circus clown (that looked and dressed like a gym rat) sought a volunteer for his knife-throwing act. He should've picked one of the cute teens jumping up and down two rows in front of us shouting, “Pick me! Pick me!” Instead, he walked past them, oblivious to their antics, and just as I was sensing a distinct possibility of his untoward intentions and turned to my wife and said, “Maybe we should have sat somewhere else,” he stopped beside me and cried through the loudspeaker, “How about you, Sir? Come on up,” getting the crowd involved—you know the routine. Once, twice, thrice they cheered encouragement to my demurrals until only a scum could further refuse. As I rose, I asked in an aside, “How much will I get paid?” to which he replied you'll have fun. I was off to be mounted upon the man-sized chopping board.
     The first throw was the worst. Head covered in a black bag, handcuffed, and leaned back on the board (inclined, I guess, in case I fainted), I must have flinched. It was a long throw of at least thirty feet—way longer than acts I had seen in the past—and that thunk beside my left ear boomed throughout the almost filled auditorium. The assistant beside me removed the blind and there stood the erect, shiny blade two inches away from my unbelieving eyes. I shook my head. “No more, please,” I said with a giddy smile.
     The assistant said in an aside, “Relax. I do it. It's safe.” His words reassured me and from then on instead of fretting for my health, I calmed and even tried to ham it up as a performer. I examined the knives beside my chest, removed one, and dropped it to the floor. I resisted the balloon in my mouth, then spat it out (as instructed) as soon as the assistant put it in. And I bent my knees when the balloon between my legs popped. (They'd placed a bucket below the balloon in case I peed, which I didn't.) Total time on stage was five-plus minutes, though it felt much longer, I just wanted the darn thing to hurry up and get over with. As we exited the auditorium and the throng slowed to get through the bottleneck exit, a lady beside me said you did well.
     Years ago, I'd've cringed if a performer even glanced my way during a volunteer-from-the-audience search. I never would have done it, and thus, never got selected. Now, they see me and sense: “He's the one. He doesn't want to, but he will.” Why? Because of my three kids beside me. For them, I'll do anything. Even make A.

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