Last call at Maple Leaf Gardens Part 3
if you were promoting a sportsbar would you hire a clown?
Is this a trilogy?
Likely a four part thingie.
But if this is the first foolsletter you've read in a while, go back a couple of days and read them first. Lotsa context to catch up on.
read from here and fill in the blanks yourself.
The evening has a funny place in my memory. Much is a blur, and yet, images, sounds smells and sensations come back to me instantly.
The movement of the crowd
Flashing lights on police cruisers
Spotlights on television cameras
Anne singing the anthem
A sea of humanity
People on the awning waving flags
People on police cars
Pressure on my shoulders
A backpack full of fliers.
A backpack full of fliers?
We had a job to do.
It was a mission.
We twelve clowns, high as shit on mushrooms were going to save SPORTZMAX! from it’s terrible food, poor interior design and uncomfortable atmosphere by being ‘potentially the second closest sports bar to the new arena’ (JORDO! had an idea, remember?)
Memory gets distorted with time. And memories like this one are already distorted. We did remember the fliers before the game began. We forgot about them during the first period. It didn’t matter. More than half were gone and we’d need some for the end of the game.
Instead, we ran around the crowd engaging in antics, bits of physical comedy and general jovial goofing off with everyone out that evening. It was a chilly night. As a group we popped into a local pub for a drink. The regular clients lived in the Church and Wesllesley community and loved putting on their best dresses and going out to sing show tunes on a Saturday night.
This particular Saturday night, we joined them, sporting almost as much makeup as they wore. The Medic and I danced ballroom style as the choir of the wonderful belted out “Memories” from Cats. All was well in the universe.
But the game was ending. My backpack was still heavy with almost half of the fliers left to distribute.
Let’s do this.
After the game the fans started pouring out.
Everyone was moving quickly.
The night was electric.
These bodies, trapped for three hours in stadium seats were charged particles and moving quickly.
It was almost impossible to engage these people.
It was really difficult to get people’s attention.
No one was taking our fliers and the place was filling out quickly.
In my youth, I worked delivering newspapers. Every paper had to be delivered.
I had this same ethos when it came to coupons for free chicken wings.
With that in mind, I both insisted and persisted.
But the work was difficult.
The crowd was largely men. Large men who had been drinking steadily and were really into hockey.
And for some unimagined reason, these typically Toronto, tipsy, suburban honkies didn’t want to engage with a mob of oddly dressed misfits with clown make up and eyes like eight balls.
There were however some other establishments in the area doing a much better job with their promotional materials. Younge Street was a block away from Maple Leaf Gardens.
And that particular stretch of Younge Street was home to all sorts of lovely establishments including the Zanzibar, The Brass Rail and other lounges that featured exotic dancing.
The moving of the hockey games, and with it the hockey crowd, was a threat to their business. With this in mind, many of their staff were also on the street handing out fliers. The ‘gents’ leaving the game seemed more receptive to their advances.
Perhaps these were lonely dudes.
Perhaps they were just weak and easily distracted.
Or perhaps the exotic lounge staff were merely more persuasive.
It goes without saying that they had much more skin in the game than our clown crowd.
By the end of the evening, we still had more than a quarter of the fliers left. The Medic suggested bundling them up and throwing them in the river. Victimless crime buddy, a victimless crime.
His attempts at reassuring me failed. Instead we walked out to the beaches to watch the sun rise over the lake.
There’s something magical about a sunrise.
As the first light of day shoots its tendrils over the water and off the clouds, I remember a feeling of being completely at peace.
Life is a miracle.
Everything is love.
Mushrooms are fucking awesome.
The fliers don’t matter.
We went home and slept. The next day, I brought the fliers back to SPORTZMAX! I was ready to return some of the money, due to my failure.
JORDO! looked at me in horror when I told him what happened.
You mean they took fliers from strippers but not from you? I’m so disappointed in dudes. Men can be such dogs bemoaned JORDO!
That was not what I was expecting from a former professional football lineman.
Keep the money. Keep going. Make your show. I want to support you. You’ve got a dream, continued JORDO! I had a dream too. I reached my goal. Now it’s fun for me to watch others hit their mark as well.
Sometimes when people ask us to work outside of our scope, the results can be humiliating.
Other times doing so is a stretch.
And door number three?
Behind door number three you might find people who merely like you and want to help.
So I’m not convinced that operating outside of your scope is either good or bad.
I do know that it is a significant source of interesting experiences.
As for where does a clown belong?
More and more, I believe they belong in the C-suites and boardrooms of our nation.
Clowns are essential to leadership. We’re seeing that right now in the Ukraine with Zelensky.
So tune in tomorrow for part four where we’ll explore the connection between leadership, creativity, humour and clowning.
It won’t be part 4 to this story. So you probably won’t hear the Medic say anything because he’s not in it.