Writer: Ella Salome
Illustrator: Veronica Mellere
When you were little and your mother denied you dessert after you failed to eat your vegetables, did you threaten to run away? I’m positive that at least one stage of the human lifecycle, we go through a phase where running away with the circus sounds plausible. Not only plausible, but pleasant. The unlimited concession snacks, the applauding audience, the bright lights and constant excitement of the circus lifestyle. That was the dream. Little did we know that we’d pick up some very circus-esque talents in our day to day lives as students. We may not be as glamorous – only a few of us wear sequined tights and striped jumpsuits – but we certainly know a few shifty manoeuvres to pull out of the bag in a pressing moment. For instance…
The Disappearing Act
Now, I don’t know anyone who would openly claim to perform this feat, but I know for certain that this little trick starts cropping up in the last three weeks of any group project you can name. The magic begins with the performer presenting the illusion of being a relatively together student who attends classes and cares about grades. This feat of trickery can be sustained for weeks at a time by the true masters. It usually backfires, however, and lures in two or three observers who are so convinced this ‘student’ exists that they form a project group with them and allocate them real life responsibilities. The final reveal of this trick must be carefully timed and usually occurs just as the group is really pushing for time trying to finish the project. This is when the curtain falls and after several phone calls, emails, texts and aggressive Facebook messages, the group of students realise that their team mate never existed at all. Smoke and mirrors my friends!
We all juggle. We are masters. We throw a million commitments into the air at once – assignments, exams, pub nights and fizzling finances – and see which ones we can catch in time to keep our lives together. This talent is a particular favourite of university tutors. It has been observed that the academics of any university enjoy this spectacle so much that they gleefully toss assignment after test after exam at any nearby student, and then watch the subsequent scramblings with a great deal of mirth. It has been speculated that perhaps they do this, like any skeptical audience member, in the hope of toppling the whole charade.
I’m not going to point any fingers but… You know who you are.
So there you go! We’re all shifty carnies.
Ella was 2015’s Editor-in-Chief and is currently studying at VU Footscray.