plate spinning…

That loud crash you just heard was me, or rather, more precisely it was the plethora of plates I’ve been spinning, falling fast to the hardwood floor.

The thing about spinning plates is that you start out slow…one plate, focusing really intently on the tilt and the speed…spending some real time on how it sits on that stick. That first plate has to spin a long time so it’s important it begins with a good strong motion.  The second plate brings a little less focus but not a lot less. I still feel pretty confident about this here plate. Spinning is my thing, right?

Just when I get this one situated nicely on my head I realize my vision is changed. That third plate finds me at a distinct disadvantage, ah…challenge….the crowd “oooo’s” and “ahhhhhh’s” which drives me onward, placing that plate on my chin, the first two spinning like mad. I use the little knowledge I have of physics and centrifugal forces to keep them moving but honestly I barely pay them much attention now outside of knowing that they are still moving, I am still balanced.

The fourth plate I spin pretty much by feel.  It takes some effort to get it going and it’s more wobbly than the others but then again, it will have the shortest time to spin anyway so what’s the difference.

It’s at this moment I realize I don’t care much about what the audience thinks. They are, of course, impressed, rightly so. I just feel empty. My neck hurts and that plate on my forehead is giving me a headache. The plate in my right hand is faltering and I close my eyes trying to remember what it was that made me decide to spin plates anyway…and wouldn’t it all be easier if I just learned to cook and let the plates serve their intended purpose after all?

Once in, though, plates spinning, expectations high, using the good china instead of the cornell unbreakable stuff, it’s a gamble and the exit strategy is uncertain. A good showman would have rehearsed the ending of this act, perhaps even perfecting the end first.

Now, there’s an idea…something to consider before I begin to spin again.

Or maybe I really will just learn to cook.


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