I know for sure that if I was born way way way way way back when, I would have joined the freak show. Or maybe I should say, I would have submitted a job application to join the freak show. But I might not have gotten the job.
But I definitely would have tried because if there’s one thing I can’t stand it's being broke ass. And way way way way way back when, about the only hope cripples had for not being broke ass was to join the freak show, especially the big time freaky-looking cripples like conjoined twins or somebody who’s just a head and a torso. Nowadays, of course, societal perspectives have changed and job opportunities for cripples have dramatically improved. The sky’s the limit. Somebody who’s just a head and a torso can be a Fortune 500 CEO, if he/she has the gumption. There’s no reason why conjoined twins can’t be president of the United States, except that there may first have to be an amendment to the Constitution. Conjoined twins could even run against each other for president. Wouldn’t that make for a helluva debate?
I know a lot of cripples consider being a freak show freak to be like prostitution. But way way way way way back when, cripples could only choose between life paths of being a freak show freak or a broke ass freak. Either way you’re still a freak, I figure, so you might as well cash in. Hell, they say that General Tom Thumb in P.T. Barnum’s circus did pretty damn well for himself.
But what special talents might I have listed on my freak show job application? Well, I can play a little harmonica and or kazoo. I can tell a pretty good dirty joke. Some people find it amusing when I run over a sheet of bubble wrap with my motorized wheelchair and it pops like a string of firecrackers. And I imagine applying for a freak show job is a lot like applying for an acting role. You probably have to include a headshot so the bosses know if you’re freaky-looking enough for them to even call you in for an interview.
All that considered, I fear my application would have been promptly rubber stamped REJECT. Because I would have been up against much more highly-qualified candidates who could bring in much fatter profits for the bosses. I mean, who are people going to pay bigger money to watch play harmonica and or kazoo— conjoined twins or me? And dirty jokes are automatically much dirtier and thus much funnier when delivered by somebody who’s just a head and a torso. And way way way way way back when, bubble wrap was yet to be invented.
Maybe if I was really really persistent, I could have been a freak show understudy. But I doubt it. On the freak flavor wheel, I’m pretty vanilla. I'm a ho-hum moderate. I'm the Al Gore of freaks. Way way way way way back when, I would have been condemned to a life of being broke ass.