could catch food

tossed in the air

he’d tilt his head back

adjust a little to follow the arc

just like a seal


he did this party trick

so often

people called him

seal boy

even though he was in his 50s


I didn’t envy him

being called upon

to perform

at parties

at bars


he reluctantly tossed peanuts

they were so small

he was afraid of choking on them

he longed for something more challenging


he dreamed of being called

seal boy

the size queen

This piece is mostly fiction – a character study. Not that I didn’t know, at one time, guys who would do ‘party’ tricks. Nowadays they turn up on TV shows with their hidden talents – i.e. swallowing ping-pong balls & popping them back out of their mouths, one at a time – drinking a glass of water & spurting out their nose – oh what fun they would be a wedding burping the wedding march.

It’s also a sly comment on the willingness of people to do anything just get attention on TV, TikTok, YouTube. Some shows call for ‘real’ talent, others aim for special abilities (playing Chopin on the piano using your feet only) or on-line fame for being a clumsy idiot. We’re also a culture that is willing to celebrate lack of talent: i.e. Mrs. Miller – who couldn’t sing but, well, she landed a recording contract for her awful vocalizing. 

For some the type of attention is irrelevant as long as they get it, in fact notoriety is more important than critical respect. Consider American politics. Thanks to TV etc we now have a craving for attention – which explains the extremes some go to on the red carpet – style always loses to grotesque ‘what the f’ looks. In stead of slaves to fashion we now have a generation of clowns to fashion. 

Larry – not the person’s real name – had a fairly banal talent – to get attention on TikTok he’d have to be catching some more dramatic than peanuts. There’s also a sense of holding on to our youth. I feel that Larry became ‘seal boy’ in grade school – showing off at recess. As he got older it was easier to catch food for attention at parties than it was to play piano, right?  

This isn’t the only generation that prized unusual talents. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Pétomane – a man ahead of his time. Imagine him blowing away the judges on America’s Got Talent with his version of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the Fifth is too easy) while catching peanuts.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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