I love Cirque du Soleil. This last time I went though, I couldn't help thinking about it as a freak show. It's full of contortionists, trapeze swingers, gravity defying crazy people, tightrope walkers, stilt walkers and catapultists*. In the words of Arrested Development, these are not "everyday people." I don't even know how one becomes a suitable candidate for the Cirque. I mean I knew people who took gymnastics growing up, but as far as I recall, there weren't any contortionist classes around. Cause c'mon, if there were I totally would have signed up.
Now, granted, I've never been to an actual freak show. And really I'm quite certain freak shows really don't exist anymore (something to do with being all P.C. and for human rights and what not...Psh). Now I get that the Cirque performers do not have freakish body deformities or other oddities. We're not going to Cirque du Soleil to stare at the bearded lady or the albino twins as it was with the side shows of the past. But I can't help but wonder if these Cirque performers are also somewhat of "outsiders" as well. They perform such unique and sometimes bizarre feats that most people wouldn't even dream of doing. They spend their days practicing balancing on top of a tower of 18 chairs or doing a flip on stilts off a catapult while I and many other people sit at a desk/computer for 8 or more hours a day. For them, the norm is bicycles on tightropes and clowns and juggling while dancing in shiny silver disco ball-like pants and riding unicycles with a girl pretzel-ing around one's face. I also imagine all the performers having crazy bonfires together in their spare time and instead of mingling at someone's house party talking of politics and The Hills, they have crazy break dance fights and contests to see who can juggle the most turkeys while bouncing on a trampoline.
Really, I think the freaks have got it all figured out. At $80 and up per person for the Cirque and sold out shows all over, these freaks are laughing at US all the way to the bank. And I am more than just a wee bit jealous.
* I'm making these names up.
Disclaimer: I mean "freaks" in the loving/carefree sense of the word.