Dear Central Park Juggler,
I kinda don’t even know what to say to you. You look about 15 years old. You should know better. You should know about people’s dwindling attention spans and the ever-increasing need to shock and awe. You should know that you, standing there in a Hanes white T, tossing a few balls up in the air to Frank Sinatra, just won’t cut it.
CPJ, there were guys down the way, a whole team of them, cut so buff they looked like Marvel superheroes, with live African drummers pounding a beat beside them. They picked audience members out from the enormous crowd and jumped over their heads. Literally they pulled six-foot men out of the audience and did backflips above them in the air! Then there were the skateboarders videoing their every move with a live action camera, and the Snapchat stories being made, and the Tinder dates meeting up for the first time behind the porta-potties at the meadow.
So suffice to say, some may have expected more from you. Nobody was around you, you at the end of a line of caricature artists, but I stood there for a minute. Did you see me? A fierce lastima overcame me, a feeling so cruel that my sunny day in Central Park grew cloudy. I was overcast with worry for you, with the purity of you, and suddenly, as if the heavens felt it too, as if I controlled the weather, out of nowhere it began to drizzle.
Nobody may have noticed you but I did. Only a few coins were in your bucket. Pity coins. And the thing is, you’re not wrong to do what you do. Because there was a simpler time before YouTube or Vine where honest tricks like handling six balls meant something. It meant you practiced and focused. It meant you aimed to please, not to be famous. But Juggle Boy, you’re a throwback. You’re out of touch. You’re invisible. I’m sad to say it’s not the world we live in anymore, even though you made me wish it was. You made me wish the internet (including this blog post) would disappear. I would go with you, back in time, to before all of this.
Instead I boarded a modern-day plane and used the WiFi on my way back to LA. I hope that the next time I come to the park, I’ll see a mass of bodies surrounding you. I’ll hear applause and lose count of all the dollars in your bin. But I hope most of all that you won’t change. That you’ll still be you, a reminder of back then packaged up in the now. Because maybe I had it wrong. Maybe it was supposed to rain that whole day, and it was you who made it sunny for a little while.
p.s. Snapchat makes me feel 100 years old.