The middle of October, everyone’s thoughts are turning to the inevitable: what do my kids want to dress up as this year? What do I want to dress up as? Which party will be “the one” to be at this year? And my favorite, who’s bringing the best candies to work this year?
My parents named me Zanni, for the clowns in commedia dell’arte. They didn’t want to name me Cyrano, or Jimmy Durante or even Pinocchio (fortunately). And they didn’t want me confused with Steve Martin’s movie, Roxanne. But they wanted to remind me that I was a clown, a misfit, a character to be joked at and even scorned…and not just because of my powers.
By now you may suspect why my name is Zanni or at least what led my beloved parents to saddle me with that moniker for life. I have a large nose, and the Zanni clowns from the theater of commedia dell’arte were known for their long noses (although in their cases, they wore masks onstage). In fact the longer their nose, the stupider the characters were, and my parents found that hilarious when I was born. They love to tell the story of how it took ten contractions for my nose to pop out and two for the rest of me. Great role models. Don’t be surprised when you see how that turned me into the wonderful person I am today.
But my nose is only one side of me. Granted, it’s a large side that invariably arouses jokes and zingers from those bold enough to speak openly. Everyone else just moves to the other side of the street where there’s more room.
Standing at the edge of the pond we watched in silence as the sun faded on the horizon. The water shimmered with the last lights, first a golden orange and then turning to purple ripples that caressed our toes. Our hands found each other’s as the sun’s last edge slipped behind our world.
The clouds now took over and turned the sky into orange, red, and pink cotton that floated peacefully over a world going to sleep. Without a breeze to disturb them they froze in solemn tribute to the descending orb and let themselves change moment by moment, treasuring the warm rays for as long as they were offered.
The day was over and could not be reclaimed. With a squeeze of our fingers we agreed that our journey to this moment was the right choice in a world gone mad. The sun and her sister clouds confirmed our desire to seek them out.