Captain Unicycle was a clown. Like an actual clown that went to clown school and did specialized clown workouts in hotel fitness centers. He spent his summers touring his very successful solo clown/juggling/unicycle act to street festivals around the world. But in the winter, without street festivals to go to, he had to take work where he could get it. And this meant touring with us.
Which he hated—a lot.
Captain Unicycle was used to moving according to his own schedule. He hated waiting in the lobby for everyone to gather before heading to the theatre. He hated waiting in the greenroom for everyone to get packed up after the show. He especially hated sitting in the van with the rest of the cast as we were driven from town to town.
Captain Unicycle even hated performing in the shows, which required him to adhere to a rigid script. His Captain Unicycle solo act lived and died by absolute spontaneity. He hated that the only clown skill he learned from clown school and practised in his clown workouts was riding his unicycle.
But more than anything else he hated that he had to sing. Oh, how he hated to sing.
This adds up to a whole lot of hate. But for a while Captain Unicycle did his best to remain pleasant with the rest of the cast. Everyone knew he was unhappy, but as a lot of unhappy people escape real life by going on the road, that was nothing remarkable. Eventually he couldn’t take it any more and quit. But while he was there, trapped with a bunch of people who annoyed the hell out of him, moving according to a schedule that annoyed the hell out of him, and doing a show that annoyed the hell out of him, he discovered an outlet to let all that pent up aggression out: blogging!
Captain Unicycle loved his blog. His blog filled that void in his soul. In his blog he could finally express all his frustration at the banality of the show or the stupidity of his cast-mates.
But Captain Unicycle found himself in a quandary. He loved everything about his blog—except the fact that no one read it. Page counts were low. No subscribers. No comments. And he couldn’t stand that something he was so proud of should go unread.
To help drum up readers, Captain Unicycle insisted that his castmates, the very fodder for his daily polemics, read his latest blog posts. But Captain Unicycle wasn’t stupid. He didn’t want to piss everyone off and spend the rest of his tour alienated from the cast. So he masked their identities behind pseudonyms so nobody would know who he was writing about. Kind of like I’m doing by calling him Captain Unicycle.
I’m not sure what was going through Captain Unicycle’s mind that made him think this was a good idea. The earnest way he encouraged people to read his blog, and the compliment fishing that would go on after someone had, suggest that he really seemed to believe that his use of pseudonyms would prevent people from recognizing themselves despite his detailed and unflattering physical descriptions of them, and the insulting re-telling of specific events they had been involved in mere hours before the publication of the post.
I thought for a while that he was deliberately being a shit-disturber. But then he’d come down and join us at the hotel bar as though he hadn’t just insulted every person sitting around the table with him. He sincerely seemed like he wanted the companionship. But all those he’d insulted in his blog thus far would either ignore him, or be outright hostile.
Captain Unicycle would get upset at being ostracized by the cast. And he would express his frustrations in his blog. Lather, rinse, repeat.
He was torn between the needs of Captain Unicycle the human being and Captain Unicycle the artist. Captain Unicycle the human being needed friends. Captain Unicycle the artist needed validation. And what Captain Unicycle ended up doing was to value the people he worked with more as potential readers than as potential friends.
Captain Unicycle no longer tours with children’s theatre. He still tours his solo-act to street festivals. I would highly recommend his act—but at the end make sure you toss some money into the hat. Otherwise, you might end up on his blog.