Published On: Fri, Mar 21st, 2014

DC Prep Goes To The Circus!

As I approach my 40th birthday, I can’t recall ever going to the circus. Not that it’s a big deal, but the circus is just part of the American culture, and I’ve never been. So when DC Prep planned a field trip to see the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, I volunteered to chaperone.

What was great about this trip was that DC Prep got those special tickets. We showed up earlier than showtime and the kids got to go down to the ring. There they watched the clowns, slid down a blow-up slide, interacted with other circus acts and so forth. And the seats were ringside so they had a great view of the whole show.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep
It took some work to get Najwa to trust this scary looking person, but she finally calmed down to get a picture in.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep

It didn’t take long to figure out the circus’ game.  You think the attractions are the clowns, the animals, the acrobatic acts; but those are merely distractions.  There real revenue generators are the people who walk around with these extraordinarily overpriced toys, and pom poms, and snow cones, and things that light up and make noise and spin in circles and…

Once one kid gets ones, the other kids forget all about the show.  It’s all about “I want one, too!”  And there’s nothing in the circus ring that can distract a kid when the mind is set on getting that toy.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep
This was just the beginning. Najwa also got a snow cone and pom pom; and I promise it’s only because other kids got them. And because I was too weak to say no.

Najwa kept asking for stuff.  All the kids were.  Those with parents there asked a thousand times more.  This was a set-up.

Eventually, as her fighting spirit outlasted mine, I got smart.  Let’s get away from all those money pits and step out into the concourse of the Verizon Wireless Center, away from all those bad influences — parents who kept buying stuff for their kid.

But wait, they must’ve already thought about that. There’s not only every single thingamajig you can think of, in high concentration, all blinking and spinning and waving at the same, but there’s even more stuff to empty your wallet!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep - Face Paint

What started as a free trip to the circus with the school started draining my lunch money.   A couple weeks worth.  But whatever, Najwa was happy, most of the afternoon.  We eventually made it back to the show.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey - DC Prep

Funny how with all the acrobatic stunts, the animal tricks, the clowns and people on stilts and dancers and everyone else, I couldn’t wait to leave.  I kept thinking, “if one more parent buys one more thing, the rest of us parents will have a choice: cave in and spend more or be that bad parent.”

Finally, the show ended.  I’m not sure if Najwa was impressed or entertained, but she was happy with all her new cool toys.

All I know is that my first circus trip will be my last.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.

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