What Not to Say to a Juggler

I have one of those careers that most people don’t have a category for – Juggler.

When you’re a teacher, lawyer, doctor, firefighter, salesman, etc, you have a job that most people are familiar with and therefore they know how to ask follow-up questions when you tell them what you do for a living.

But when you’re a juggler, you tell your new friend what you do for a living and they usually just stare at you and wonder if they need to “unfriend” you now and go find some more ambitious people to hang around.

When people do ask me follow-up questions, I have found that they are trying really hard to engage the topic (which is great). The following comments are actual things that people have said to me (many of them are commonly said to me no matter the context).

I have put the comment in quotes and then my (unspoken) response follows.

1. “Oh! Have you seen the Geico commercial with the guy juggling chainsaws and the other guy is saying, “I got it, I got it!”?”

(I think I saw it once or twice in a hotel room. Yeah, he sure is juggling chainsaws. And it’s Progressive, not Geico. Did you also see that other commercial with the person in it that is probably better than you?)

2. “Must be a tough living.”

(Actually, no. I happen to love my job, which is really a dream job for me. I get to see the world, meet lots of really neat people, and do what I feel like I was wired to do for a living. In fact, I feel like I’m retired. I get to wake up each day looking forward to going to work. I feel blessed and I am grateful for God’s grace that I get to do this.)

3. “So you do birthday parties and stuff?”

(I can do birthday parties, but they make up less than 2% of my shows each year and .00003% of my annual income. You’re going to have to spend some serious money to get me to give up my rare sunny Saturday in town with my family to spend it with yours – unless you’re a friend or family and we would go to your party anyway.)

4. “I tried juggling when I was in college and it did not go well. That’s really hard to do!”

(Good for you for trying. That was actually a nice thing to say. What do you for a living?)

5. “So you’re a clown?”

(No. At least you didn’t compare me to a Mime.)

6. “I went to Peru once and and every time we were at a stop light, a juggler would come up to our car and ask for money. At least they were working for their money!”

(Did you just compare me to a homeless street beggar? I think you did. Good for them. I once went to a foreign country a saw a guy that looks like you bothering people for money too.)

7. “You went to college for this?”

(Yes and no. You don’t need a college degree to be a juggler, but what I studied has helped me create meaningful content for my show that is unique and useful for many organizations I work with).

Please don’t worry if you’ve ever said these things to me or another juggler. We know you mean well. Thanks for trying. Just know that we jugglers are people who usually love what we do while many people in the world either don’t have a mental category for what we do or don’t think we love what we do.

So we get some pretty funny things said to us 🙂

Please, keep asking us questions. We need more funny comments from others to share in-house among jugglers.


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Dr. Jesse Joyner travels nationwide as a speaker and entertainer. His primary role is that of a performing juggler spreading joy and the love of learning to family and kids events. H earned his PhD in Educational Studies at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL). He enjoys playing the piano, bird watching, and old houses. He lives in Richmond, VA with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids - the perfect number for juggling children.