Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Balloon Secret

People often ask me what's my favorite balloon. On any given day, my favorite may be the ram, the ray gun, the swan, the frog, or the monkey in a tree. But on a fairly consistent basis, it is the bow & arrow. Simple and easy to make, it requires only two balloons and a short piece of yarn (to tie on each end of the bow). The arrow is not fully inflated; I leave about three inches at the tip, which helps steer the balloon during flight. That's right, you can actually shoot the arrow! See why it's my favorite?

The other best part is it's secret. I begin my dramatic spiel by asking, “Do you know the secret of the bow & arrow?” Wide-eyed, the child inevitably shakes his or her head, so I continue my demonstration. “You take the finger that you point with … which finger is that?” I wait 'til they stick it out, and then push my pointer into the arrow to prepare it for takeoff. “I poke into the balloon as far as I can go and hold my finger and thumb together,” I do so, lift the arrow beside the bow, choose a target, and take a stance like ol' girl in The Hunger Games. Then I turn to the child and say in a whisper loud enough for parents to hear, “Now, you don't really use the bow, but nobody needs to know that. And when I open my fingers ...” I never finish this sentence because I've opened my fingers and, amidst gasps from the crowd, the arrow has already grazed some tall passerby in the back or boinked harmlessly off the noggin of an infant. My arrows really love babies.

Well, that's it … my fav with secret revealed. But words are flat; they cannot fully convey the mystery and wonder of this experience in real life. So, if you ever get the opportunity to request a bow & arrow from Miss Pickles, perhaps at my next public event, take a few steps back; I'll aim for you. Probably won't hit you, but I'll still aim. Those who pay attention might even catch the arrow. Just don't stand by a baby.
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