384

1

16. 17 , 8.

What'is the miracle of the author's life?

job
:

be

Evaluate the entire selection. Compose a similar essay on "A House Full of Sons.

Th
stars me to knew
stere{
be

LIFE IS A THREE-RING CIRCUS
Jose

A. Quirino

for Hr

this
Jose A Quirino was born in Bayombong, Nueva Yizcaya, on April 27 , 1930. He finished his law degree at Far Eastern University. At present his major occupation is writing. He has also taught English in the Philippine Women's University, Philippine Normal College, artd Manuel L. Quezon T:,Jniversity.'He has won three Stanvac awards. for journalism in fcature writing. He was also named Most Prolilic and Most Valuable Contributor of the Philippines Free Press tor nine consecutive years. He hosts a popular weekly television.program, Ever
smal

T
Thir
and mov
evel

J. Q. Specials. He has published in all the major Philippine journals and his short -stories are collected in these books: Night Song and Other fales, Loniinrs Is a Volcano and New Stories, Nocturne lor Piano and Heartstringls and More New Stories, and Modern Loue Stories. N. V. M. Gonzalez has well
desmibed

the f€h,

on'
bee
(

Mr. Quirino

as "the writingest

writer of the Philippines."

fan

tin
got my first job as drumbeater for a German-Itali'{ circus., I had cubbed for two or three obscure provincial newspapers, had'finally bpcoc; a real McCoy of a reporter for a'more stable paper in the big city; and I was swoouf with the glamour of the journalistic life. I bought a hat just so I could wear it on the bacil of my head. People followed me for blocks to see if the hat would fall off. i I also learned to smoke cigars with one side of the mouth but never leained to t'lli

' About a.lozen

years ago,

I

MJ
ciisol

lll/lllqg.l

ha

of
cir

Those movie items were rvhat dumped me into the publicity route. One dgy th{ promoter wiih a stable of starlets most of whom I had done, interview-wisc; asked mj out to lunch. I thought it was just a thank-you lunch but it turned out that the fellow wa{ branching out. He was importing a European circus, And he wanted me-me!-to dol the publicity work. I told him I knew nothing of pro work but he said if I could write, IfJ
could

from the other unoccupied side. The tone would have been wrong anyway; nature given me a falsetto voice. I began on the police beat but did entertainment features on thi: side, mostly interviews with starlets who were as wet behind the ears as I was. d

T
et
$(

tl

r

drumbeat.

:

t

i
I
I

,
i
i

'?

I { I l.
i

He named a fee. It sounded like a fortune to me in those days. But my heart was pura l I told him I'd have to consult my editor first and find out if this was honest. My editor, a tearful souse, wept over me; I think he was mourning his lost innocence..i But he did give it to me straight: where legitimate news ended and sly propaganda; began. If I could walk the brink without falling off, he didn't see why I shouldn't accepq the pro job. As I said, my heart was pure and I had the strength of ten. I had not the,i least doubt I could toe the perilous line between being a newsman and being a:.;
Propaga ndist.

The sideline looked dull at first. The promoter dumped a load of publicity material on r; me aV6 told me to cull out a few items from them. It was mostly a rewrite job. I just 1 changed the adjectives and put the verbs in the future tense. But I must have done 4 goodl{

" A real tearjcker. and hisfamily. and life. rcmember. not because hir heart is breaking.and if they had bccn carpenters he would hade been as cheerfully. Hcre's one who laughs because he's happy. His five children were all in iassy schools in Switzerland.a patternl Newsmen were tough on the outside. espccially on the stars of the show. eventdmpered. I told him about having drawn a picture ofhim as a Hamlct of a clown. He was pushing 50 thcn and was thinking of retiring. I asked Gorgio if hc had read what I had writtcn about him. rather indolent. in. Hls family had been in the circus for gencrations-but no circus for his children.thc wrong slant on clowns.385 job because most of thp papers I sent the itcms to. Evcrybody atc'it up. The lirst time wc wcre"togethcr he spcnt the first ten minutes showinf off photor of hir villa in Milan.. He wanted more-spccilic writeups. then shrugged. Clowns had to follow the pattern sct for them too. a writeup that had caused so much splash it demanded a follow-up. as I found out at rehearsal.of clowns as being vcry gloomy. ?gs 'ell -Italian become swoony he back. In rtreet clothcs he was jurt ap ordinary man. bcfore the footlights. to talk rre had i on the ay this ked me ow was listened to Gorgio. Hc was thinking of buying a place in Capri. bchrecn the clichc and thc reality. The clown was not thc kindl had read aboul in bools'or walchcd in'thc movies. There was also the problcm of how to make My heart sank lower and lower as I write. He laughed and made a [ace. I.work. rs -to do I pure.to ree he warn't the mqody typc or a prima donna.r"t*. The wife was a fat peasant but he told me she ordered her clothes from Romc. He didnlt say that to hurt me.aganda I was young. I just a good . It just didn't oocur to mc that ihe reality might bc. Thcy would be professionals. businessmen. It nccded only a fcw minutes with him.m. solid citizens. Then the circus arrived and I met thp clown in person.a hcll lot more interesting than the acrepted cliche. This was my firrt lesson in the diffcrcncc betwecn lii. I was young then. Evcrything followed. The prgmoter wasn't satiihed. They're not all gloomy. a iraft passcd on to him. cven tragic staturca' when not 10. he wasjust telling thc truth. Milan was nice but too cold.his father and grandfather. In the wintcr he took his family to southern Spain. the two ears hcowned. this old squarc interesting Again I bcg you to remember that I accept not the reing a :rial on . prostitutes had hearts of gold. but hc didn't call it art. movie stars were discovered in rags. So I did this writcup that I entitled "The Grin Is Only Painted On.could have died of shamc. Hc boastcd he had saved cnough money to retire in style. It was niy lirrt small tastc of fame. He was a lforth lurlian but the family had movcd up fmm somc dreary village to a swanky sriburb of Milan. He was a grcat clown all righ!. you've got. the tradition war to end with himl no grease-paint for his sons. Gorg[o his name was. so many had written so about him.by. Hc said he never'read hig notices. I never. . I sqen about clowns laughing while their hcart brokc. published them. and earygoing.ocence. He had good English but if he read at allhe read in ltalian. It wasn't merely thc embarrassment of having painted a wrong picture of him. I sifted through the publicity material bqt more or less kncw how I was going to do thc clown. jot n's He lso ree . and had thc ltereotyped notion. of coming up with a piccc that said: Look. I had rct ideas about life. got the bright idea of shattering a superstition. Thc top clown was supposed to be a very famoui onc and he wanted me to do a lushjob en that clown. Yes. *hat hc did. . IIc didn't use his surnarnc. it was just his line of. and journalism wat a glamorous profession. vcry relaxcd. How many movies had his t es.a carpenter too. I and thc clown bccamc namcs in people'r mouths.

That is bad. The big stars are in the three-ring circus. likes to drink.spoke in curt monosyllables. I hinted'at a series of tragic live affairs. narFow world. "to separate your prol'essional life from your other lives. It had been contracted for a month.thc day beforc thc troupe. scowled at cameras. therefore. and tripped by a little hard-hcarted wench. The world had a certain picture of clowns that it.uqnim. I was very much the idealist in those days and I felt I had been "false to my public" ! The promoter must have talked to Gorgio about how I felt bccause.tantrum. All Manila crowded to the circus to see this clown who was so funny becausi he was ro pitiful. In timc I would learn to tirkc it in stride and not be so scrupulous. Right now you are merely the newspaperman. in middlc age. You have allowed your profession to absorb your €ntire life.pg. "You must learn. Next time imported a show I was io. lle said I had donc a terrificjob. he had so much on his mind.l "You must learn'to do the same. fof allowing his. was hcld over for two weeks. each course with the proper wine. . In my business we would rate you as just a one-ring circus. This person that's me likes good food. We went to the Euiop€an restaur4nt on Isaac Peral anJ Gorgio showed his cosmopolitanism by ordering a rare meal. of a family. That is what you must aspire for. I live. morose. I could say anything. black. didnlt know was spurious. Abou! two or three days before the troupe left for the SouthJhe promoter paid me'off-the stipulatcd fee plus a'bonus. he was doing it to punGh himself for playing thq clown in real life. then broke down and said thc gentlemen of the press were to forgive him.left Gorgio invited me out to dinner. emotional troubles. btrt everyone in show business was used to that sort of thing. or you'll never be able to live for yourself.as rather puzzled by all the attention. FIe would go alcing with the gaiiie if . buffeted.'I enjoy a much'larger world than I would if I were merely entirely engrossed in being a circus star or the head tri nis first general conference with the press he wore mol 1 for me forr seri bul rin I Go Th ha' rir on Pr Pr an \i in co cc al rt ft d v s' I v 1 t I t. And because I can keip them separate. He would not contradict me either. I told him he could give thc job td somebody else: this was my lirst and last try as pro. He can be very wild but he is wild only on his own time.. He is never allowed to mess up the work of Gorgio the clown or to disturb the reputation of that respectable father of thc family in Milan.ncti cause to worry.'1 he continued. It is good to be serious'about your irocaticin but bad to . what could you do with a guy like . In one ring I am Gorgio the famous clown. in person. moody. ben in tl I rem ther that? Gorgio kept his word. three different lives that are more or less independent of each. Now. boy. And in the third ring I am myself alone. "My life is a three'ring circus. . punched. Now. So he never contradicted those wrileuqg a. Every time he rolled into the ring -to play thc tlown. likes to live it up. Since there werc only the two of os I i+. likes pretty girls. You will have a ver]. each in its own ring. The follow-up piece I did on him pulled out whatever steps were left. he had fallen in love with a youhg jirl who was merely playing with him. affairs of. I took to drinking.the heart." he said. I*rE$. Gorgio-was a hit. In another ring I am the father of a highly respected family with an elegant villa in Milan. I had to resist an urle to give away to charity the money I had earned. Over the demitasse and the brandy Gorgio opened up. "Look at me. other.heart to be kicked.386 as being melancholy. be its drumbeater again.'went into a.: such publicity would dra* uowds to see him. and so was the circus. then got contracted to appear in Cebu and Davao. He said he could understand my feeling so upset for having "invented'l a story.

this was a dozen. I callgd up my'friend the promoter for news about Gorgio.il. the-rope. One part of his act has him parodying a tightrope walker. I said hc was most probably the head of a respectable family. to have had a tragic life. I was iri quest of experience. but for some reason I was interested in this chickenfeed of a proposition. And I was tapped to do the series. in a day-old paper. He put me to work on a coming ice revire at once. but that was why they needed me. 6ther rings f t t.. somebody called Peppo. comfortable wife. I told the promoter'I had changed my mind.. He was said to be a gloomy fellow. and had a fat. I heard it was a rather dreary show' Well. and when r came back to Manila it just ending its run.Would he take a charice on-me'and send me as a roving reporter all over the country for two or three months? I must have spoken forcefully because an editorial conference soon after decidcd it might not be bad to have a series on provincial life. Qorgio was all right. and I remember them so well because they made such an impression on me. They felt rather apologetic for approaching mei this circus they were importing was only a small one'ring circus. I was busy with a lot of big deals. sent his children to the best schools. wealthy member of the bourgeoisie bacJ< in his country artd owned a villa. I was wiser now (maybc cynical is the better word) and I could see through the cliches. The circus had long left the'country. The rope is supposed to break and spill him to the floor. That night in Davao. as I told myself. t in the circus of your life. So I did a piece that blastcd all this nonsense about clowns being melancholy. what could vou was expect from a one-ring circus? I went to catch it on its last night. Maybe I could do wonders even for such a minor show.fli.years ago.. It wasn't the series I was lfter but the enlarging of my horizons. of Gorgio'g actident in Davao. The very next day I told my editor I was getting tired of the police bedt. He had stood up right away and gone with the act but was absent from the show the next day. I was setting up a second ring in my circus. My blase line had thc right hook for arrived. " I have put down as much as I. Among thc publicity stuff they sent me was the usual writeup on the top clown. He had been absent only rine night during the tour and had arrived iri Manila looking fit. I said that this Peppo was most probably a healthy. This piece of mine also created quite a sensation. if he to publicize a circus.\t F 387 t ) be nothing else except what you do. You must right away start setting up two. I grimaced as I read about this clown. Gorgio had bruised his back againstthe bar. I left for the Batanes a week later and it was there I read. In every. After-all. had broken as usual but Gorgio had landed on an iron bar the strongman had left ih the ring. All. I had an idea for a series of articles on life in the provinces. "i|**'ffiff:tffffi:flill. When I came back to Manila abdut two months later. as far as the on I was ready to be its drumbeater. and two cars. So I told the promoters to send me the materials and I would see what I could do with them.man's'life there's one particular moment when the right advice hits home-and. I had started in the pro business as drumbcater for a circus. Eaily this year I was approached by some fly-by-night imported another show company that wanted me promoter knew.that night was the rnoment bf orientation for me. can remember of what Gorgio said_that night. I was taking Gorgio's advice. and so forth-all the old cliches about the down wlro laughed when his heart was breaking.us .

Nothing should absorb your whole life by itself. "We have met before.po's dressing room' He was alone in the room when I entered.:illi i'"{i "ii$ . Thc eycs that were dead under thc paint flickered for a iroment. Why did he allow that girl and that boy to treat him so roughly if the least movernent was Painful to him? "The girl is my wife. I had twice been wrong about this man. After that accident in Davao he had begun to feel a pain in the back. It was the first of a series of operations that had completcly exhausted all his savings.11. however small.'[: d: '..o*p"r..every movement was pain.i i:l 'i. But it's hard to get even that now'" And suddenly he began to cry.o"r. ilii . "I know she's unfaithful. his children had to migrate to America. But I can't do anything. one'of them seemed familiar.'r t-. .iil: . He was lying on a cot. Gorgio grown vcry old.[1i: rr Ii" ''ill 'iii: " lt.4!li I asked him who he was and he rose and got a towel and began wiping away thc paint from his face: Then hc took offhis wig and turned around to show me his facc. -I introducei myself. iirl. He made a horrible grimace. The audience guffawed when the boy and the girljumped on his baclc. il. were deliberately. When I opened the door.."." he said. She's all .li .the ring.ry I scnrcd -I soqrcthing else-that he'w_as suffering and that his two . I asked the way to pep.. the boy and the girl gave poor pcppo a whack with a board that sent him sprawling to thc sawdust. The villa in Milan had to be sold. i :tiii l'. I was aghast.ii !:tl ' . But managcrs were reluctant to hire him now. a news photographer I knew was standing outside. not wanting the photographer to see the man sitting on the cot weeping. "And the boy is her lover. And I sensed Toward the end of the act. I rose to go.i-"..ri: ir:{ ' iiir !. I could sense he was old-you can't tell with al." I reminded him about what he had told me long ago: that life should be a three-ring circus. There was intent. maliciously making him sulfer. ill . falling down on his facc after each effort to push himself up. r!:l :ili l:il i..388 ft' .ii" l' '.doing to that poo"lta clown. 'tld litl :ili It was Gorgio.:. in his dull voice. I told him how shocked I was by the r+'ay his companions tormented him in the ring. however cheap.. . Wehe thosc real tears in the clownis eyes? I felt positive he wag weeping florn p-ain. When the clowns came in.o." he went or1. Hc told me what had happened to him. He was drip of a " And clown. Birt I told myseu it was impossible. i'ti. iiilii. I was embarrassed. both obviously youngja 1nd boy and a girl. audience .i:i "ri 'iii ' ' . could sense he was old-you can't thell with all that paint on.n. I delibcrately blocked his way. His wifc died. then picked him up by the shoulders and draggcd him out of t the ( hil wa a.n my seat and hurried backstage.ion. there was eqjoyment in the way they tripped him and whackcd him and jumped.. He had to beg for circus jobs.i' i. He sat up with effort 4nd leaned loward me. .ii+ ':rl . wanting only to leave him alone in his misery. He had two companions.whaithey were.' t.i f. t .l that paint on.lr: ." he said I did not know where to look. ' -' '.li ':'i ii: !. I leaned forward in my chair. he strove to rise but couldn't.n kicked him.li. .!i: . The pain grew so bad he had to leave the circus he was with and undergo an operation. "That was another man talking.ti:ii my life now.. . But Gorgio had heard us and was asking who it was.-:i { ' f{i '!"{:l 'irii . "All I want now is a one-ring circus.'ifii . And I began to bc horrified with.t 'l: ..j:i .' l'. The. I can't leave her. I couldn't possibly have seen the fcllow before. I know they enjoy making me suffer. iiiii: li. all my world.. I jumped fror. . he could not move as nimbly as before.iii' ri:i il." he said.

.:ji!l . The young who let their souls wail on walls Are poets.:-t :. : . frantic for recognition.i.. 'jl. What reaction is caused by the last line of the story? f. "Smile..1 ' '1( iil ' :i'rl was laughing Questions: .adopt? Discuss thethin line bct*ccn bcing a Rewsman and being a propagandist. His short story "The Exile" won third prizc inthe Graphrc Award Contest for 1970..'t'f1 i.$ 1iti.i!. tr called out over my shoulder. .' 11. 4.ili :'.I : i.r.:i$ ". -a l'somebody wanis to takc your picture.i 't )i . :j'h! r: ". "'J -.1. 'ii: 'i:. He frequently dials with contemporary themes and national issues. IN DEFENSE OF YOUNG MEN WHO ARE LAUGHED AT BECAUSE THEY INSIST THEY'RE POETS ATTHOUGH THEY HAVEN]T WRITTEN AI{YTHING BUT SIGNS Ricardo I. What wasGorgio's advice to the reporter? 10. Comment on tbe line.. Discuss how riality can be more interesting than the acccpted cliche. "Again I beg you to remember that I was young.:9 .!i(.{ List some tt.-. The photographer stepped in and I said goodbye. 8. What were the three-rings in Gorgio's life? 9.' : il.ii.. too. i. the clichc and the reality? 6. Patalinjug Ricardo I. "Let him'in..13ri i:[..389 . ' il!ft '. What did the reporter noticc about Peppo's performance?. Discuss the title of the story.. Is the ending of the stoq/ plausible? 12..otyp. ..n' I heard the photographer say as I walked out.?f i:iil$ '.I .\:i t '-'1.(. 3.: .i ' .ai'l .-iirl 1. The clown : . stiUilocking the doorway. i'.1 : . Patalinjug has written a number of short stories and poems for different national magazines and weiklies.# : il.. What is thi author trying to say in this story? 13. Signs are poems: gaPing wounds to fondle. . 2.t'ir :. . Whlt was the author's first lesson in the differenct between literature and life.:. .a i'iq." 7...d notions that people have about clowns and other typcs of . What was his stereotypcd notion of clowns? i ll* .i'4 liifi tii. Native strangers alienated from the womb' The young who let their souls wail on walls . 1 Which mannerisms of a reporter did the author.iiid 5.. I glancid back..'::i: : ::.{l i.:r. '.'itl '.'.lg people.iii} i{.." said Gorgio. F Latest vintage architecting syllables. 14.# :.tii .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful