It might not be fair to ramble on about a job I had years ago when I first moved to the city, but this warm weather and rain brings back some of the pain. So I will digress.
I remember one Fourth of July weekend in particular when I was doing a gig at some park up in Brooklyn for an hour and a half at a children's party.
When I say children, I use that term loosely...there was nothing cute and sweet about the kids at this birthday party.
First of all, I had to entertain them with my clown antics for and hour and then switched gears by donning a red rug-like suit that was supposed to look like Elmo.
I knew there would be trouble from the get go when my simple magic tricks only managed to make them laugh at me and begin heckling at such a tender age. When I embarked on my balloon animal quest it only got worse. Every kid wanted me to make them something that I wasn't sure even a clown college graduate could produce. It was at that point I tried to remain calm and reitterated the animals and objects I could do and that was the best they would get. After much grumbling and a few "YOU SUCK" obscenities were cast my way I started to get into the groove of producing my masterpieces. Somewhere between the balloon sculpting bliss that had overcome me and the balloon sword fight that was taking place at my feet between most of the revelers it happened. Yes, the worst possible case scenario you or at least a clown could imagine. My balloon pump broke! Now, some of you may think no big deal man just use your mouth and press on. Obviosly you have never tried to blow up one of these yourself. It is like trying to suck up a double thick extra shake with a coffee stirrer, except in reverse. Not only do your lips feel like they are going to fall off, but if you manage to get any air into the sucker you might be dead from a stroke.
So, what could I do except give my apologies and cut the clown act short and pray I wouldn't be beaten when I suddenly reappeared as Belmo (no that's not a typo, it was my boss protecting her illegal costume from licensing fraud).
Before I get into the reception I received from the kids as Belmo, let me give you a brief description of the enorous feat it took getting into the costume.
I may have mentioned earlier that this was a fourth of July party and in the heart of hell to begin with. What I may have failed to imply was that it was one of NYC hottest days on record. The barometer may have read 95 degrees but in that suit it was a balmy 295 degrees. Just trying to wriggle my already overheated and sweaty body into the costume almost guarenteed that a trip to the ER for heat exhaustion was on the horizon.
After what seemed like a struggle into Dante's inferno, I was suited up and ready to face the masses.
My first greeting came from the Birthday girl which sounded something like "Hey you're not Elmo and I can see your face." Of course I am not sure as to the accuracy of that statement because I was half crazed and delirious at this point. I think the highlight of the party, for the kids anyway, was trying to see how much dust they could kick up near me and watch my Belmo head bobble as I sneezed uncontrollably in the suit.
I am sure I finally made it out of there, but to be quite honest I can't remember how. I think my brain has shut out the rest of the memories in order for me to remain sane.
I think I may need to have a smoke and a drink after this rant. I wonder if my therapist is still on call?