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.   



  1. Disneyfied. Mortified. Get the picture? You will when you buy it. That's right. Step right up ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages. Crunch crunch cockroach peanut shells. Buster Brown let me down. Icky sticky saddle shoe soles. Three rings? One's enough. All I ever wanted was to wear overalls instead of dressy dresses from Williamsburg. As a toddler I knew my own style, especially toddling and traipsing around in sweaty circles. Gimme saddle shoes. Gimme shelter. (P.S.)I put your blinding white shoe polish in the circular file.

  2. why is this just like fish's latest entry? i was like… i've seen this topic… babyeaters!

  3. Circus is so not my thing. If someone offered it I would seriously think they were kidding

  4. I think its cruel to make animals do tricks. And the clowns are never funny and the ringmaster just looks like a frustrated big band conductor.

  5. I never liked the circus ever since my purse got stolen on the bus when I was in the 3rd grade. And it had $13 whole dollars in it! Now zoo's are an entirely different matter, I love a good zoo!

  6. Isn't this a general problem–a lack of interest in the circus? It would have been much more exciting to go in a time when you couldn't flip on your tv and see all the animals that are in the circus … or visit your local zoo or petting farm and see them there.

    My favorite thing about the circus was my glow-in-the-dark necklace. I kept it for years. In fact, it would probably still be packed away somewhere if my mother hadn't moved.

  7. A wise man said the four most overrated things are picnics, champagne, lobster, and anal sex. I almost agree on all four, but champagne is pretty much as good as its hype. I'd substitute soccer for champagne. I loathe the circus. The zoo bums me out, because I feel bad for the animals. I loved Doc Hollywood.

  8. Sundry

    I've never been to the circus, but I love fireworks. The 4th in NYC is a bit too crowded, and it's difficult to get a good view unless you're there early. But most baseball teams, especially minor league teams, will put on a fireworks show once a year. And since they do it over the stadium, you get a really nice view.

    And the zoo is great. It helps to have a great zoo near by like the Bronx Zoo. It's fairly large, and well-financed by local benefactors, so the animals don't have it too bad, and the message you instill in your kids about protection of the environment is outstanding.

  9. Does this apply to Cirque de Soleil? I hate the traditional Ringling Bros circus and loathe the "discount" Shrine circuses, but Barnum did a fabulous one ring european style circus some years back that was very entertaining and Cirque is people doing amazing things. Other than that the circus sucks. We went to the "discount circus" with my ex's neice and I distinctly remember her standing up and shouting at the top of her lungs, "I want to go home!" It was amusing. If we had gone the following night we could've seen a performer fall to her death, something for every kid to experience.

    I've always loved fireworks, multi-coloured lights and big noises. Crowds suck for things like that, but if you can carve out a space it's nice.

    I'm an animal lover so I love well run zoos and aquariums.

    Ah to be a kid again, with my adult brain.

  10. another thing that sounds better than it is – Prom. Every year.

    For that matter, any event requiring high heels.

  11. Things will have to change when you have kids. Mine are two and four and I have done things in recent years that I hadn't imagined I would ever do again…til I became a mom. Now that it's summer, outings to the zoo, the circus, amusement parks, kids museums, parks, playgrounds, pools and Wiggles concerts seem to fill my days. Oh and midweek, midday matinees of Cars, Over the Hedge, Hoodwinked, etc.. I really liked Cars by the way, even if it did remind me of Doc Hollywood. Years ago I liked that movie too. You may hate the circus but I bet in a few years when you have the baby you are trying for and he or she is toddler-aged….you'll find yourself back at one. Mommyhood often means suffering through things you hate to see them smile.

  12. The circus scares me. I won't go.

    Fireworks I can do, though but don't think they're worth sitting out in 100+ degree heat for. Fall fireworks are the best.

  13. I hate circuses too, I never understood the point. And it will forever baffle me why someone chooses to become clown as a profession, maybe I've just never seen a good one??

    Fireworks on the other hand are a completely different story, its cheesy, but for me there are few things more romantic than sitting on a blanket with a boy and a beer watching the sky light up.

  14. I agree about the circus, not my thing either. Although I'll go most anywhere people invite me. But fireworks!?!! I love fireworks. Reminds me of when I was little, sitting with my parents on the beach looking out over the Atlantic at the show.
    Maybe you just haven't seen a really great fireworks show.

  15. Someone up there hit the nail on the head. I think I could do just about anything or go anywhere IF, and it's a big if, I had a special person to share it with. But since I don't, I'm with you. Except I'm not the grinch but another Christmas legend. I'll give you a hint. Bah Humbug!

  16. Steph-I'll call you Steph,
    You know what else seems better than it is? Bowling. I won't go, ever. However, I must add to Carol. Seriously, can't we go a day without someone complaining as to what people shouldn't be doing. Animals doing tricks is funny. Like you've never laughed at the cats on America's Funnies Home Videos. Lighten Up.
    I don't normally rant, and may deserve any harsh words back, but its just the circus.
    Any news on the book tour?

  17. Yep, no circus here. Nope, never again. Can't do it.
    No cotton candy either! You might as well pour sugar into your mouth gaurd and let it sit on your teeth all night! Yuck!

  18. I refuse to go to the circus. I think I went once as a child, and I watched with wide eyes the whole time thinking that animals were NOT supposed to behave that way. I'm really not much of an 'animal in captivity' type of girl to begin with, and teaching them dumb tricks that are not naturally in their genetic makeup strikes me as being horrid. I do however truly enjoy Cirque du Soleil. The feats that the humans are capable of astounds me. And not an animal to be seen.

  19. I didn't like Cars either, although it got better in the second half.

    The best part was the Porsche/racecar love scene so we had time to take the girls to the potty.

  20. "Animals doing tricks is funny."

    In addition to teaching my dog to fetch, which everyone does, I also taught my cats to fetch. I think teaching animals stupid tricks is a lot of fun, as long as you're doing it nicely.

  21. I hate zoos because the notion of them seems cruel to me– cages and fake "natural" environments and all that. Plus there's all those kids, not to mention that pervading smell of animal excrement.

    But I did go to one on a date, a date late in a nearly ten years of coupledom, and while I clearly recall my disdain of the place, I also remember the thoughtful playfulness of my bf's choice.

  22. Stephanie-

    I've been following your blog for a while now…your photographs are so magical and bright. How (in your landscape and nature photos on this post) do you get the colors so bright and crisp? The colors seem to really POP. Are you using a filter? Digital camera? Special lens? I would greatly appreciate a response.

  23. I'm with you on not getting all the hype. I can see the romantic potential of fireworks, but really is it worth braving huge crowds for? I think not. Circuses are just weird.

  24. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in your article also.

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