During spring break I took the children to our local Children’s Museum. It was a nutty, nutty time to visit as everyone in the state was there. I knew it would be a zoo but I went nonetheless. I am glad this is written down as I plan to cite it if any of my colleagues ever question my willingness to sacrifice for and commitment to any and all of them.
The big event was a show performed by a self-proclaimed, “Bubbleologist – Half Scientist/Half Artist.” Children’s entertainment can be a dicey thing, because one is performing for children of a variety of ages while their parents watch too. It can be tricky, but a good and confident performer can strike the right balance. The problem is that a lot of performers are, at heart, needy and insecure people – not that I speak from personal experience – it’s something I’ve observed.
The bubble show began and he had us at soapy water and trapped air floating through space. Who doesn’t like bubbles? Before he went into his second demonstration he paused and said, “Smiling is good. Laughter is better. Clapping is the best.” And then he demonstrated clapping.
Now, I am no stranger to trying to get others to assuage one’s own insecurities, but I try to limit my victims to people to whom I am married, related to by blood or who read my blog. I guess I have standards. I wanted to say, look, can you just suspend your own neuroses for a few minutes? Pretend you are secure. Please. And yet I clapped.
There was a young man sitting in the front row. He looked to be about college age. He had glasses and a beard. He contented himself with smiling. The Bubbleologist was not content. After his second trick he paused, “That wasn’t worth a clap, huh? You’re sitting up here in the front row but you’re not going to clap.”
The guy stared straight ahead. It was a little strange that he had the best seat in the house and had no children with him. I personally would have – oh if I didn’t have kids I wouldn’t have been there – but say I had a passion for bubble artistry and was dying to see it all, I still would have sat off to the side to avoid blocking the view for all the children behind me. Again: standards.
I wondered if it was going to be some sort of angry clown incident. I have never actually seen an angry clown but they always seem to be so on television. Fortunately the Bubbleologist chose to ignore the not so effusive Bubble Fan and the show continued without a hitch.
Of course I told Paul about it and we had a good laugh.
Since then I have found myself about to say or ask something and stopped to preface it, “At the risk of ‘Smiling is good’ you…”
Sometimes I just remind him, “Clapping is the best.”