To the Top
I grew up in China with stereotypical strict parents. I couldn’t play outside. I couldn’t make friends, and I definitely wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend. They forced me to study and work hard. They wanted and encouraged me to become a successful doctor or scientist. Maybe find a cure for all those cancers everybody has been dying of. I gave in to their fantasy for awhile but I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I somehow found the courage to tell them, “I quit. I want to have some fun in my life.” Their faces were shocked at first but then their eyebrows began pointing towards their mouths, like a road sign directing me to listen to what they’re about to say. “You want fun?” my father asked. “Then go join a circus!”
So I did. I gathered up a few shirts, pants, a bit of money and a meal or two and left. I asked around town for directions or sightings of the latest circus. After a few days of hitchhiking, miles of sole worn walking, a short ride on a passing farmer’s ox, and even a quick dip across a river I finally spotted the iconic big top. But the only thing that scared me more than my overly strict parents were clowns. I’ve always cried and cringed at the thought of jumping, lollygagging, face painted, gigantic shoe wearing, water flower spraying morons. If I shudder at the thought of one, imagine what would happen if I actually saw one.
Luckily, I never saw one that day. The first person I talked to happen to be the manager of the whole operation. I told him I wanted to have something entertaining and thrilling in my life. The circus seemed like the perfect place for that. “You really want a job kid?” I nodded furiously. “Here, it’s all yours.” Just like that, with no explanation, he handed me a key. I wasn’t sure what it was for since you can’t really lock up a giant tent. My first day on the job I introduced myself to all the so called “freaks,” they were angels compared to lots of other people, especially my parents. I became acquainted with some of our caged animals. I think the llama likes me a little too much. The clowns didn’t scare me; maybe because I saw them before they got into costume, but even after that I was fine around them. I can’t say the same for mimes though. For awhile I let the performers conduct their acts the way the former boss did. Then I started coming up with new ideas for more thrilling events.
I developed the idea for death defying stunts such as the high wire walk, flaming baton jugglers, and lion taming. The audience loved these new and outrageous shows. These became our most talked about performances, the word spread faster than a human cannonball. Before, the circus only occurred a couple times a year. But now that I’ve become manager we’re touring the country for half the year. We’ve even been offered to perform in Europe. I guess with a name like Ringling you get noticed. I found something I love to do and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I’ve even took part in some of the acts but I’ll leave the crazy stuff to the professionals. Once my parents saw how successful I was they forced my brother to try and follow in my footsteps.