Ever since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by jugglers.
I love juggling clowns at the circus. I frequent the juggling act at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. I’m always impressed by my uncle who can juggle.
Still, the one hole missing in my repertoire of useless yet mildly amusing skills (I can wiggle my ears; I’m double-jointed in my fingers; whistling, snapping my fingers) was the ability to juggle.
Over the years I’d asked my uncle how he accomplished the task and apart from a shoulder shrug or a quick anecdote about having a college roommate who juggled, he offered no advise or instruction.
During Thanksgiving dinner this year I casually noted to my family that I thought juggling would be a perfect compliment to my personality, demeanor and love of throwing small objects. Santa obliged me with the gift of Juggling for the Complete Klutz for Christmas, a book and juggling balls (more like hacky sacks, though they’re officially “bean bags”) combo that I have loved and cherished.
I started out slowly at first, carefully reading and re-reading the first three chapters detailing the first three steps of the juggling process. Then I slept on it. Not a single ball picked up, thrown, caught or dropped. It took great restraint.
The next day I reviewed the book (geek!) and took my first tentative steps towards juggling. I quickly mastered dropping the balls (the actual first step), easily grasped the toss and spent a lot of time perfecting the two-ball exchange. I was ready for Step IV: The Jug.
The Jug is the act of tossing the balls so that each ball ends up in the opposite hand from which it started. In essence, Step IV: The Jug is juggling.
You read that last sentence correctly. I learned to juggle in one easy step.
Which isn’t to say that one step is easy or that I didn’t have to practice for hours on end, which I did. It’s just that The Jug is juggling boiled down to it’s essence. The natural progression of the first three acts.
And, truth be told, The Jug is only juggling for folks with very short attention spans. To truly juggle you must link jugs together in a sequence, constantly replacing balls in the air while catching balls you just released.
I’m told you should be able to do 20 jugs (that’s 60 throws and catches) before you’re truly a juggler. I can do 9 jugs and then I lose count due to the fact that I’M JUGGLING and keeping the balls in the air or in my hands and myself upright overwhelms my reptile brain.
I really want to put some video or pictures up, but I’m self conscious about filming/photographing myself. I think my performance anxiety would lead to failure or at the least weird facial expressions.
Still, I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I went, in less than a week’s time, from a bumbling, non-juggling klutz to a juggling fool.
Thanks, Mom, Santa and Klutz!