Being a Jester is no
by Mad Dog
do that. Sure Iíd have to make a costume and give up my summer
weekends, but thatís a small price to pay for holding a bladder on a
stick rather than eating one at the state fair.
||They say if you snooze,
you lose, and boy, are they right. A few weeks ago I missed the
opportunity of a lifetime, to apply for the one job Iím perfectly
suited for ó Official Court Jester of England. Sure Iím not English,
look terrible in hats with long floppy points, and have to see a
chiropractor if I even think about doing a pratfall, but none of these
were listed as qualifications in the classified ad which recently
appeared in The Times. Thatís the London Times, by the
way. Sorry to disappoint those of you who think New York is the center
of the Times universe.
The ad read: ďJester wanted. Must
be mirthful and prepared to work summer weekends in 2005. Must have own
outfit (with bells). Bladder on stick provided if required. Salary to be
negotiated. Auditions Saturday 7th August at the Festival of History,
Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.Ē
I could do that. Sure Iíd have to
make a costume and give up my summer weekends, but thatís a small
price to pay for holding a bladder on a stick rather than eating one at
the state fair. Get it, Bladder-On-A-Stick? See, I told you I was
perfect for this job.
Unfortunately the auditions were held
just three days after the ad was placed so I missed them. I donít know
what their rush was considering England hasnít employed a professional
jester since King Charles I let Muckle John go in 1649. Okay, actually
he didnít let Muckle go, it was Charlesí head that went, but along
with it went Muckleís chance for continued employment since he no
longer had a boss, the country no longer had a king, and that Cromwell
guy didnít have much of a sense of humor.
consider having an Official Jester in the United States. Lord knows we
could use it since life isnít very funny these days.
But no, English Heritage, which was behind the hiring, couldnít
wait. They held the auditions and, since Eddie Izzard, Ali G, and Tony
Blair didnít have time to get their jester costumes out of storage,
ended up choosing Nigel Roder, who goes by the name Kester the Jester.
You can just tell from his nom du clown that heís one funny
guy. Okay, to be fair itís probably a whole lot funnier if you say his
name while heís dancing around with his bladder on a stick. Not his
bladder, I mean the one ó aw, forget it.
Kester, or Mr. Jester as the more
formal English prefer to call him, made his first official public
appearance at a festival several weeks ago. He walked on stilts,
juggled, and generally did whatever it is jesters do. His contract runs
from next March through October, at which time, if the National Guild of
Jesters has its way, there will be a more legitimate search, meaning if
I bone up on my balloon animals and practice old Monty Python skits I
still have a chance for the 2006 jester season.
Yes, you read that right, there
really is a National Guild of Jesters, an organization with a membership
of 35. And yes, they did object to the hiring of Kester. And you thought
we Americans had a corner on the killjoy market. The grumbling was led
by Jonathan the Jester, who is the Official Fool for the city of
Salisbury. Apparently all Jesters are related since they have the same
last name. Either that or they adopt the surname so people can tell that
theyíre jesters and not just your run-of-the mill buffoons. The truly
interesting thing is that Jonathanís title proves Washington, DC
isnít the only city with an Official Fool. Not that itís much of a
consolation, but some days you take what you can get.
someone like Adam Sandler. Or Carrot Top. Someone who doesnít mind
making a fool out of himself. Someone who thinks prancing around wearing
a hat with bells while carrying a bladder on a stick is a small price to
pay for making people smile.
We should consider having an Official Jester in the United
States. Lord knows we could use it since life isnít very funny these
days. What with the war, slow economy, negative presidential campaign,
and the debut of Joey, it would be nice if something would give
us a few good belly laughs for a change. Think about it, we have a poet
laureate no oneís ever heard of whose job it is to give us something
serious to think about, yet we have no one to make us smile. Donald
Rumsfeld isnít funny. Neither is Dick Cheney. President Bush is, but
usually not intentionally. Besides, if we want malapropisms weíll pull
Norm Crosby out of retirement and send him to the White House.
No, we need someone like Adam
Sandler. Or Carrot Top. Someone who doesnít mind making a fool out of
himself. Someone who thinks prancing around wearing a hat with bells
while carrying a bladder on a stick is a small price to pay for making
people smile. In other words, someone without a lot of self-respect.
Like me. Now if theyíll give me more than three daysí notice before
the audition Iíll be able to try out. Iíll even put on a bad English
accent if they want. After all, itís not often in life you get a
second chance. As they say in the jester biz, carpe bladder.
©2004 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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