When I was barely old enough to turn the knob of our black-and-white television, I would sit riveted to the screen watching the Bozo Show. I had a burning desire to be there too, to sing along, to laugh at flying cream pies, to feel the rush of pride and joy of attempting the unimaginably difficult task of throwing a white ping-pong ball into a row of buckets. I had to go. I needed to go. I had practiced hundreds of times on the red pails in the basement. I had never made it past the third bucket, but I felt I was ready nonetheless. “Dad, can you take me to the Bozo Show????? Pretty please? Pretty please with sugar on top!”
My dad answered, looking up from his newspaper, ”I’m sorry, honey, we can’t. So many children want to go that there are waiting lists. It takes fifteen years to get Bozo tickets?” and went back to reading.
How could it take so long to get tickets? That would mean that my teenage sister would finally get to go to the Bozo show after years of waiting. But why would she want to go to the Bozo show now? She’s more interested in Michael Landon, not Bozo. Wait a minute! That lady has a baby. A baby! When did she reserve those tickets? How could she know that in fifteen years she would have a baby??? This was one of “Daddy’s Words of Wisdom”, one of life’s imponderables for a three-year-old, the many stories he would tell me over the course of my life to get out of making any effort at all. And it was probably the first of many in the heap of stories that would completely discredit him in my eyes as a lucid teenager because somewhere in my heart, there was something unforgivable about crushing the hopes of a child just to sit on the can and read the newspaper for five minutes longer.
When I was 19, I moved to Canada with the vague intention of finding love. It was there that I found the person I could love for the rest of my life. But in the early 1990’s, when I tried to get permanent residency to Canada, my application on the motive of same-sex marriage was refused. Finally, after years of stressful uncertainty, we were allowed to marry in a small civil ceremony last year. Unfortunately, my dad died just a few months before the wedding. It was during my grief that his long-forgotten “Fifteen years for Bozo tickets!” came flooding back into my mind. What stupefaction I felt when I realized that my wife and I had truly been waiting fifteen years for our own Bozo tickets to come. How was my dad to know that the overwhelming feeling of pride and joy I felt on my wedding day would come to me after more than a decade of waiting? I shall never forget my father’s words of wisdom.
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