Circus comes to Greenville, sadly

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2004

If you missed the circus while it was in town you definitely missed a unique show.

Not necessarily the greatest show on Earth but definitely a good show.

My wonderful employers were kind enough to let me visit the circus on the clock and I have to say that I was surprised by what I saw.

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The first things to catch my eye were the green chickensthat's right I said green chickens.

As if that weren't enough they also had a five-legged bull.

After the animal freak show I was getting excited.

I started to look for my favorite part of any traveling entertainment group.

Not the man on the flying trapeze. Not the strong man, or the bearded lady. I was looking for the carnies.

Carnies come in all different shapes and sizes.

First there is the happy carnie. This variety is always happy to see you and honestly let's you think that they want you to win every time.

This is my favorite carnie of all. He is the kind of carnie you want to take home to meet the family (after a thorough washing of course).

Next comes the "I'll taunt until you play" carnie. This breed I don't especially care for.

Their number one mission is to get under your skin so that you will play their game. They can actually make you believe that by winning at their game you are scoring a victory against taunting carnies everywhere.

By the way, you never win.

The third carnie is the "has my life really come to this?" carnie. This carnie is too good for the other carnies and too good for you.

They usually stare up in the air and sigh a lot.

And heaven forbid if you ask them for something. These carnies are still dwelling in the disappointment of the Harvard scholarship that never came.

Finally there is the "where am I and who are you" carnie. Don't expect to get too far with this guy.

When you have a positive identification on this carnie move to another booth. Usually this carnie actually had some kind of cool job like getting shot out of a cannon.

However, at some point there was a misfire, brain damage was done and they no longer perform the cannon trick. Since the carnival life is all they know they stay with the show as a carnie. If you see this carnie, smile and nod, but never stop. You will leave frustrated and confused.

Since most of the people at the circus were jacks-of-all-trades there were no true carnies.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed but I know that more opportunities will come. There's always the county fair to deliver my beloved carnies in the fall.

Rick Couch may be reached at

383-9302, ext. 132 or

via email at rick.