Considering all my talk of funneling Busch Lights in the back of a Subaru Brat on my way to judge a wet t-shirt contest at Monsters Of Rock, I’m sure it’s confusing that I also spent a short time in my high school’s juggling club. Hey, even dudes with mullets struggle to find themselves sometimes. That’s just an assumption. I never had the absent father and love of chewing tobacco needed to grow two separate haircuts at the same time.
I went through many disparate phases in high school, each just a futile attempt to trick any girl named Leah, Lori, or Beth into ignoring my acne. Nothing worked: Trench coats, a suite of different colored Umbros, clove cigarettes, parachute pants, James Taylor tickets, masks – it was hopeless. One year I decided to embrace my face by joining a small, tight-knit group of socially challenged academic all-stars. Together we were an army of geekdom that generated a balmy breeze by from all the nearby vaginas slamming their shutters.
We called ourselves “The Delaware Hayes Juggling Club” because we wanted zero ambiguity. Our lone goal was to emasculate ourselves through engaging in wizardly feats of dexterity. There were about 8 of us who met after school with the cool science teacher; the kind you see in movies who attempt to motivate their class by blowing shit up, only to receive blank stares from gum chewing cheerleaders. After a frustrating day like that, who doesn’t want a group of gawky 14 year old boys with Robert Smith obsessions throwing bowling pins at their face?
A few of the members received the illustrious golden jester hat by juggling 5 clubs. The rest of us noticed that 4 balls (which is no small feat) was more than enough to impress our parents’ friends on Saturday nights. “Gee, you’d think your son would be out with his friends tonight, but I guess it’s nice that he would rather stay in and juggle for us. Oh, and look at those turquoise shoes he’s wearing! My oh my.”
Unfortunately, it’s not an ability you can unlearn. Even amnesiacs sometimes wake from a coma confused and frightened that they still know how to juggle. With that comes a nagging itch to juggle anything round and in sets of 3 or 4. When you’re 14 years old people are sometimes impressed with your ability to keep 3 balls in the air. At 39, that same skill is usually met with, “Umm, why are you juggling?”
Now with two small kids around all the time, I have a new audience. So far they haven’t been all that impressed. Either they don’t understand how incredibly difficult it is, or they’re already cooler than I ever was.