The Tightrope Walker

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 1:24 am

“Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Overman — a rope over an abyss.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

We were at the WYEP concert, sitting in the grass, when the guy appeared. He was skinny and bore curly hair — just an ordinary guy, maybe mid-20’s, stringing a rubber hose between two trees. By the time we noticed him, he had already fastened on end to a trunk, and he was stretching the “rope” across the lawn.

It was unnerving. There was no announcement, no sign, just a guy and his gear. As the Boogie Hustlers played in the background, we watched this guy calmly, silently tie up the other end, then jump onto the taut hose. He wobbled and bounced, but at last he could stand straight — and walk.

Like any good acrobat, he built his act gradually. What began as a simple balancing act evolved into a tense walk down the line. After about 15 minutes, he started to incorporate juggling.

Spectators began to crowd around. When he dropped the ball, a man tossed it up to him. Finally, the guy dismounted and helped strangers balance on the line. Cameras clicked. Passersby smiled and pointed. And never once did I hear him utter a word.

Even the one time he bit it.


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