# 31 Real Estate Man
It was summer in Philadelphia, the rental season. Families were pouring into Center City to look for apartments to accommodate their soon to be student kids.
Real Estate Man was extremely busy showing groups of prospective tenants available apartments. Just parade the group into the apartment, show, ask for questions, depart, next group up. If there are takers in any of the groups — sign em up and move on to another group, another soon to be vacant apartment. Stressful time for all concerned.
Real Estate Man’s story:
It was a hot summer day. I had 3 groups of prospects scheduled to see a 1 bedroom on 20th Street. I was hoping to lease it to a student for the next college term. That meant dealing with parents probably — a long afternoon.
As my first group of potential renters and parents finished viewing the 20th St. apartment, I ask the assemblage if there were questions. Bracing for the usual: cost of heat in the winter, air conditioning in the summer, pets allowed — the normal…..A hand shot up.
Woman in the back: “Are you the clown in Cirque du Soleil?”
Me (playing along): Why, YES , I am.”
Nothing further ensued on the topic of clown identity.
Coincidentally, I had taken my sons to Cirque du Soleil the night before. We came home pretty late. My young sons and I stayed for the entire show; extraordinary talent that visits Philadelphia once a summer and preforms their sensational spectacle in a big tent pitched on about a square acre of city land on the corner of Broad and Washington. The troop is engaged for a week then returns to the road touring other big cities across the country (the Company has expanded since and though it has a permanent home in Los Vegas, still tours). It’s a remarkable ensemble of very athletic men and women who, for the most part, practice one extraordinary circus act and preform that one act flawlessly. The clown is a goofy but athletic performer who accentuates his flaws so the audience forgets theirs. A lovable coordinated buffoon.
To this day, I would like to know that woman’s reason behind the strange question. I never did make any further comment other than my absurd affirmative answer.
All afternoon I couldn’t stop asking himself ,”Why?” The question was plainly bugging me.
At the end of the day my superintendent Bud stopped by the office before pounding down a few after work brews. By then I knew I had no choice but to return to the Cirque du Soleil for the 2nd night in a row. More than just curiosity drove me to see if the clown, in any way, resemble me (or rather me him, after all, he’s the public figure).
I asked Bud (an impartial witness) if he’d like to see Cirque du Soleil that night, their last performance in Philadelphia before returning to the tour. My treat. I’d try to score a couple of scalper’s tickets outside. He did, we went.
I was able to buy 2 overpriced tickets from an eager scalper in front of the tent. Bud and I found our seats inside the big top. Showtime in 5 minutes,4, 3, 2….
Exploding, seemingly from nowhere, was the clown. He was certainly opening the show with a laugh. The effect was electric. The audience’s mood elevated at least 10 levels of positivity — kids and adults alike. The clown maintained his frenetic pace of rollicking merriment the whole show, allowing the audience to forget the world’s problems, if only for an hour.
After the performance, I couldn’t help asking Bud “Did the clown remind you of anybody?” After all, that was my mission in going to a performance that I’d seen the night before.
Bud (no hesitation) “He reminded me a little of you.”
Maybe that’s not so bad after all.