So a guy goes into a bar and sees another guy sitting there nursing a beer, looking incredibly depressed. The two strike up a conversation, and the first guy asks the second guy why he's down.
"I hate my job," the second guy says.
"Where do you work?"
"I'm with the circus."
"Sounds like fun."
"Not for me. My job is to follow right behind the elephants, wearing a gas mask to protect myself from their flatulence, and every time they take a crap, to pick it up and throw it in a big barrel. Then, when I've filled the barrel, I have to take it out to a big truck we have, and dump it in the back, and then get on top of the pile of elephant flops and stomp it until I can't fit anymore in. Then I take the whole truckload down to the local manure dealer in whatever town we're playing and get the best price I can for it."
"You're right," the first guy says. "That does sound awful. Why don't you quit?"
"What?" replies the second guy. "And leave show business?"
Local manure dealers, take note: The 127th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a.k.a. the Greatest Show on Earth, is back for its annual visit. Ringmaster Robert Tully presides over the three rings of fun; this year's featured acts include the performing hippo Zusha, Queen of the Nile; all-world animal trainer Mark Oliver Gebel and his well-mannered beasts; Mexico's criss-cross trapeze artists the Caballeros; the Golden Pyramid bodybuilding team; a unicycling basketball squad called the King Charles Troupe; Emil Popescu and his Patagonian sea lions; the Oxygen Skate Team; and more clowns than you can stuff in a little car.
-- M.V. Moorhead
Opening performances: 7:30 p.m. July 17; 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. July 18; 1 and 5:30 p.m. July 19; 7:30 p.m. July 21 and 22. Through July 26. Compaq Center, 10 Greenway Plaza, 843-3995. More info: www.ringling.com. $10.50 to $18.50 (Ticketmaster: 629-3700).
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