In 2005 I juggled potatoes, on Fitzroy Street St Kilda, for a cheese burger meal from McDonalds.
Two years before, during my first year at uni, I had sought a distraction from the tiring task of study. I picked up a golf ball, a conch shell, and a Lego man, and within three hours I'd taught myself the art of juggling. Three weeks later I'd amassed the meagre pittance required of me to purchase proper juggling balls, and I perfected my talents.
While I completed my studies in Witchcraft and Demonology (at the University of Queensland), all the while I continued practising. I changed from job to job and moved from place to place, and soon amassed a variety of props to juggle with. I had a punch bowl full of wax fruit from which I plucked pineapples, oranges and grapes; from a bucket of Lego I constructed cars I that I tossed from hand to hand, and, yes, there was an endless proliferation of balls.
For some reason I never demonstrated my skills in public. It was as if they could only be used to benefit me, and if they should ever be employed in the task of entertaining others, I would loose every gift I had with the objects in mid air.
So, everything changed when I came to Melbourne.
I arrived a penniless wreckage. The clothes I wore were so 1997 that I couldn't be seen by ordinary mortals. My rent was up and like all ways I was out of money. All I could afford was three potatoes from Safeway. I took those potatoes and I went up onto Fitzroy street, just down the block from the Elephant and Wheelbarrow. There, next to the el-cheapo mobile phone shop, I juggles my potatoes.
I hadn't had any time to clean them, so the dirt flew out over the crowd. Kids anchored their parents in front of me for a minute or so, while I whirled those root vegetables around in the air in front of them. I tossed them under my leg and I spun around and caught them behind my back. For the crescendo I caught one in my mouth and stuck the other two in my eye sockets, casting my arms wide,begging for applause.
I made enough money to buy a cheese burger meal. I'd've been better fed if I'd cooked the potatoes and et them.