We need buskers, not preachers


By Sam Slaughter, Opinion Editor


I spent the last week in Key West, reading, writing, and walking around a lot. In the midst of that walking around, I came across buskers—street performers—in their natural habitat.

I saw a man on a fourteen-foot unicycle juggle fire and knives and I saw pig named Little Snorkel jump through hoops. Literally.  This, in short, was pretty awesome.

As I watched the man on the unicycle taunt the various tourists as they walked by, it reminded me a lot of the preachers we have here in DeLand. Except he was funny. And he didn’t tell me I was going to hell, so there’s that.

I was entertained throughout the fifteen minute shows (this doesn’t even include the ten minutes I spent watching the trio that sat behind a sign that read Jokes for $$ to fund alcohol research) and not once did I feel assaulted. There was a moment when the pig’s handler faked urine, but that wasn’t such a big deal.

When the shows were over and the tourists began to go their separate ways—filling plastic cups to take advantage of Key West’s open container laws or going to dinner at one of the many restaurants lining Duval Street—I took some time to think about what I had just seen and I realized that I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the somewhat hokey nature of it, and I enjoyed the lighthearted, self-deprecating feeling of the show. In addition, I just plain admired the buskers for, oh, getting up onto a very high unicycle and juggling fire and all that.

This, compared to being screamed at by people that, even when I’ve seen others try and engage them in conversation are nothing short of idiotically boisterous and single-minded, would be a godsend in DeLand.

I would love it if instead of crazy street preachers (though I do admit there is a certain amount of entertainment and performance to their corner preaching) we had genuine buskers, juggling and joking and doing everything that make a street performance great.

I’ll take that over being told I’m going to hell any day.