After The Fact Nostradamus

 

I KNEW THAT!

It’s a cinch when you find a niche.



There was a notice in the mail about the circus coming to town. Circuses aren’t what they used to be. They don’t have animal acts anymore. I’m still traumatized by a camel spitting in my eye when I was about ten years old.

Mistreating animals isn’t optimal, and something had to be done. But, that takes away from young families not having the experience of something exotic for the kids. The dads still have exotic mammals to marvel at, but that’s a whole other story.

Without the lions, tigers and bears, circuses now have to depend on human expositions. Acrobats, gymnasts, dancers and clowns are the attraction now. Leaping and jumping around in synchronicity and discipline is impressive, but cannot replace the uneasiness that happens when watching a trainer do the deadly dance with a wild beast.

That’s one reason the traveling circus has become a relic of the past.
Oh, there are still a few of them operating. A few strictly sideshow only shows are around. But, because of drops in attendance and the resulting fall in budget cuts, some shows have had to dial back on the skillful performers. The big, high budget shows have drained the talent pools of the troupe of circus artistes and freaks.

They don’t have the strongman to attract thrill seekers anymore. They could go to any gym to see that. Body piercings and tattoos were a staple of the sideshow, but now it’s a normal part of society, whatever your definition of normal is. By going downtown in any major city, an urban explorer can witness knife throwing and sharp shooting, presumably, depending on information shared on whatever news opinion channel they watch.

Circuses now have to make up the difference with cut rate attractions. Instead of a unicycle riding juggler attempting to juggle a chainsaw, an orange and three bowling pins, you might find a juggler sitting on a stool with two bowling pins trying to make the best of it. When there was a flaming sword swallower, there is now some kid with a battery operated light saber fighting some pretend aliens on a movie screen. A petting zoo and a seed dispenser have replaced a snake charmer that could also lay on a bed of nails.

One of the bootleg performers was a fortune teller that had trouble making correct predictions.
He could guess some prognostications correctly by using tried-and-true tricks of the trade, but anything more complicated, he’d get befuddled, and when it showed that he was wrong, he’d say, ‘Oh, I knew that!’ When he’d get cut off mid-sentence and corrected by the person who he was supposed to be mind reading, he’d say, ‘I was just about to tell you that!’ This went on for a while. Although the fortune telling mind reader took his chosen career seriously, it soon devolved into an unintentional comedy routine.

Part of the attraction was watching the reaction of the stumbling soothsayer. His utter shock and the physical manifestations of his dismay amused the onlookers. At the end of the show, after he left the stage followed by roils of laughter, he’d say ‘It’s to where the only thing I seem to predict is that they’ll crack up whenever I fall on my face. What am I going to do? It can’t go on like this.’

After hours, the calamitous clairvoyant was having a few libations with other cast members. It was when the talk turned to politics that an epiphany happened! Someone said the sitting president dropped a malaprop in the middle of a speech. The psyched out psychic said that he knew the president was going to say something amiss, he always did that.

His other coworkers laughed!
It was then when a visiting reporter that was there to cover the circus had an idea! How about if the fumbling forecaster came on the reporter’s morning show and made predictions? It would get publicity for the production and would provide content for the show. It was a win-win!

So, he did. The powers that be were watching and liked the angle that the previously sullen soothsayer had when confidently answering questions somewhat knowledgeably about public policy.

Soon, he was a guest on national shows. His new tagline was the one that had dogged him in his previous profession. When a subject arose, he said that he ‘knew it would happen’ and the viewers presumed that he was an authority on the affair.

After the fact Nostradamus became a national sensation across the nation. He didn’t have to actually know things. He could just say he did, and they believed him! A media star was born. Only in America. Well, more likely in America is more like it.

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