Dear Mom and Dad,
I know this is the first you’ve heard from me in a long while. I just had to get away. I knew if I didn’t get out of Flint I’d end up, well, just like you, Mom and Dad. Please don’t worry about me, though, because I’ve found where I’m supposed to be. Mom, Dad, I’ve run away to intern for the circus.
When Colonel Comanche’s Big Top Bonanza rolled through town, with their banners and pennants all gay and bright, I knew I’d found my ticket out. I stowed away under a pile of canvas ’til the Hanoi Hercules found me, at which point I went through a rigorous series of interviews and submitted a writing sample. Colonel Comanche himself sat me down to explain that they didn’t have anything for me at the moment by way of job opportunities, but that interning could be a great way to lay a circus-centric groundwork for myself, and who knows where they’ll be at in a few months. It was all like some mad, wild dream.
Before you ask: no, it’s not paid, and no, I’m not getting course credit. They only offer that for clown colleges, and so few of those are accredited. There’s a whole reform movement around it that I’m actually getting pretty into. I’ll forward you a petition.
I know all this sounds reckless, dangerous even, but it’s really not. Nearly three-quarters of circus interns get offers from traveling troupes, medicine shows, or gypsy caravans within one year. And it’s not totally unpaid. Not really — I get free board on a straw pallet in a boxcar, unlimited hay bale privileges, and a daily allowance of two bowls of circus stew (I want the recipe, but no one will tell me). Plus, I get to keep most of what I can grift, after the barkers get their cut. And would you believe I’ve already gotten LinkedIn endorsements for “hustling” and “flimflam”?!
Everyone here’s so kind to me, even though I’m just an intern. Whenever the Reptile Queen of Kai-Mai or the Living Head send me into town for coffee, they always tell me to get something for myself, or let me touch their horrible textured skin. And I’m making tons of contacts in the clown world. Key players, Mom and Dad: movers, shakers, honkers, beepers, weepers, the ones that get sawed in half, and clown doctors. Yes, Dad, just like Patch Adams.
So far they mostly have me running sound for the Flying Merengui’s podcast (“Trapeze In A Pod” — rate and review!) and writing blog posts like “The Tattooed Man’s 213 Most WTF? Tattoos Of All Time,” but soon I’ll finally have logged enough hours to be allowed to see a performance! There’s one other intern, a girl my age named Emily. Emily gets to work with the elephants because she’s a “senior intern” but I think that’s just because her father does circus law and knows Colonel Comanche from Villanova. Everyone loves Emily. Ugh.
I’m sending a PO box where you can reach me, Mom and Dad. Please send me those old hair dye bottles on my dresser, and some cover-up, too. Occasionally they’ll have interns sub in if a clown’s laid up, and the bruises can be enormous. Here, I’ll send you a picture of me as a clown doctor, sawing another clown in half. Don’t worry, he was fine eventually!
I love you, Mom and Dad, but please don’t come looking for me. I signed a ton of nondisclosure agreements and I honestly think they’d take any chance at all to sue me.
I’ve got to run; it’s Emily’s birthday, so they’re firing her out of the cannon. I’ll see you in two months, and we can talk grad school.
P.S. I sabotaged the cannon. Oops! 😉