a comic pairing in which humor is derived from the uneven relationship between two partners…Often one of the duo members, the straight man…is portrayed as reasonable and serious, and the other one, the funny man…is portrayed as funny, less educated or less intelligent, silly, or unorthodox.
There were a couple of jugglers at the library recently, special guests performing for our local summer reading program. A double act: straight man, funny girl. At one point the man described how he learned to juggle, demonstrating with bean bags. His partner, following along with his story, point-by-point, juggled scarves. Everybody laughed, because of course it’s ridiculous to juggle scarves. But it was also beautiful. I don’t think I was the only one who got caught up in the magic of it.
When I was a girl I had a large gauzy teal scarf from
, given to me by an aunt. I loved throwing it up in the air, or letting it stream out behind me while I twirled or ran, watching the flow of it, endless variations of color and motion. India
Now, I am so used to playing the straight man, myself, that I forget sometimes there are other options. But watching that woman juggle scarves—it made me believe there’s more than one way to be the funny girl.
Blissfully being your odd, odd self, maybe even to the frustration of the people around you? I know how to do that.
It was a happy little moment, counting myself among the scarf-jugglers.