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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Seattle International Juggling Festival

(based on a true story)

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege…nay, it is my honor to bring to you today the Seattle International Juggling Festival. All of the greats in the industry have gathered here today at the Seattle Center to settle, once and for all, the question of who is the world’s greatest juggler. There can only be one. All others must perish in their bloody quest for the ultimate glory. Win or die!

To call this the “Super Bowl” of juggling is an insult to every participant. Would you call the Nobel Prize the “Super Bowl” of Science and Literature? Would you call landing on the moon the “Super Bowl” of the space program? Like those achievements, the Seattle International Juggling Festival dwarfs the Super Bowl in greatness.

I asked at the information booth who were the foreign participants that would qualify this as an international festival. They told me that they had one Canadian guy who had signed up months ago. He may not show up because he is still distraught over the Canadians losing the Stanley Cup Final, which for Canadians is like the Nobel Prize, a moon landing, the Super Bowl, and the International Juggling Festival rolled into one.

Last year’s international status was achieved with the entry of Ivan the Cossack from Russia. Ivan the Cossack, formerly known as “Ivan the Baby Juggler,” is now serving a life sentence in a Washington state prison after last year’s botched performance. I’ll spare you the details. Steps have been taken to avoid another catastrophe. This year, directly beside the information table, there is a coroner’s booth with a sign that reads, “Death certificates in 30 minutes or it's free.”

It’s not all carnage here at the festival; there is lots of juggling. Juggling is the art of throwing three or more objects into the air and waiting around for about ten seconds until gravity does its cruel work of pulling them all to the ground. Juggling provides up to ten seconds of entertainment at a pop—nearly ten times the amount of entertainment of an entire reality TV show.

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