Fireworks do nothing for me. Never have. Neither has the circus.
When I was little, but not so little that I allowed my parents to dress me, our family loaded into my father’s Cadillac and headed into Manhattan to see the circus. I don’t recall if my light up yo-yo or neon bouncy headband were purchased on the street or inside Madison Square Garden. What I do recall is being more excited about the things being purchased, the things I could hold or wear, than I was about the circus. A twinkle flashlight that looked like a sparkling bouquet of flower stems. A puffy bag of cotton candy, which I liked the idea of, but not the taste. I remember watching people tear a smear of it and hold it above their upper lip, a mock mustache. I liked to watch people do this, I think, but I still didn’t want to eat it. It’s the only thing, aside from tuna fish, mushrooms, or eggs, that I can recall not wanting to eat. I didn’t mind holding the bag though. I felt like I belonged, maybe. Once we found our seats, and me and my overalls settled in, I remember looking up at my mother, who seemed delighted. "Mom," I said tugging on her sleeve, "when can we leave?" It wasn’t that I thought clowns were frightening or the animals were treated cruelly. I couldn’t stand the smell.
"We just got here, Stephanie."
"Yeah, I’ve seen enough. It stinks."
When I got older, much older–we’re talking college years here–I remember a bright-eyed suitor eager to take me to the circus for a date. Some people think it’s cute when you try to revisit childhood favorites as adults, like sitting through the mistake that is the movie Cars (which I actually asked to see! It was Doc Hollywood with a lube job.) Now of course there’s the zoo (which isn’t really a place just for children, but we do tend to go a lot more as kids) for a date, but I’ve already gone there), which I would have agreed to, but the circus? Not for me. It’s the kind of thing that sounds better than it is, like New Years or fireworks on the fourth of July, or, well, ever.