Exhibit 17.12

The circus was in town this past week, something I know only because my route to work was blocked off by the elephant trailers and, if you can imagine something even sadder, I saw a clown walking across the street to plug her parking meter.

This is much, much sadder. Maybe not the saddest thing about the circus but still pretty sad.

(It's been awhile, but I'd nominate the unified smell of dying lions and kettle corn as the saddest thing. Are we taking nominations? Apparently).

I'm not exactly sure if she--and I do think it was a she though baggy rainbow pants and a ruffled shirt don't give up their secrets easily--was going to plug a parking meter, but she was very clearly moving in the direction of a parked car. And before you ask, it was a normal-sized Toyota Camry somewhere between new and old and did not, by all appearances, have dozens of other clowns inside waiting to make their way out to "Entrance of the Gladiators." This was a few blocks from where the circus was held, and the clown's painted smile did little to hide how she felt about walking down a hot, busy street with a red wig on her head.

Things sadder than plugging a parking meter that one might see a clown doing:

* Having a pharmacist say the name of her embarrassing prescription out loud at the Walgreens
* Trying to send back a miscooked meal at a restaurant over the objections of a young and condescending waiter
* Eating spaghetti with a spoon because all of her forks are dirty or missing and she has so many more spoons
* Admitting that, well, she wasn't officially on the cheerleading squad in high school
* Moving into her new apartment all alone and late at night
* Saying, "Am I too late? I got here as soon as I could."

Um, let's balance this out a little before it gets any dustier on this blog. I think I just lost half my readership to those grammatically incorrect kittens. Here, I'll win those two people back.

Things happier than plugging a parking meter that one might see a clown doing:

* Jumping on a trampoline at her son's birthday party
* Making a salad for two using the first tomato grown in her garden
* Looking at a picture of her grandmother as a little girl and discovering how much they look alike
* Realizing that despite being reluctant to go to night school, then going only to earn more money, the classes are interesting and making her feel good about herself
* Having a man hand her the umbrella she dropped and being able to tell that even though they will never see each other again, even though she was wearing clown makeup, he thought she was cute and they had a spark that will stay with her the rest of the day

There. Now I went too far in the other direction and I've lost the opposite half of my readership. Well, screw it. Everyone just go look at the kitten photos. See if I care.

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