Is there really such a thing as “the circus”? · Circus people are tribal people · “I beg to differ!” · Tribal tales · “Here you’re part of something.”

In your family or circle of acquaintances, do you know of any businesses that started “in a very tribal way, with a few partners pouring in all their resources and taking out only what’s needed to survive”? How did they develop as time went on?

Until recent centuries, it was fairly common to find trades handed down from generation to generation, producing families of hat-makers or tailors or blacksmiths. Why did this phenomenon disappear? [Mass production techniques of the Industrial Revolution have made these “cottage industries” non-competitive.]

The children of medical doctors fairly often become doctors themselves. Is this like the tradition of the Wallendas? [Not really, since they don’t learn medicine from their parents.]

People who make their living in the circus refer to themselves as “circus people,” but people who make their living in a hospital don’t refer to themselves as “hospital people.” Why not?

Kids of this generation may not know who Toby Tyler is, but Red Johnson’s mother certainly did. Red says she got him a souvenir circus book but wrote on the inside cover: “Don’t get any ideas.” What does this tell you about “the Toby Tyler tradition”?

David LeBlanc says that people in the circus “are willing to do anything. In the real world, people demand a ten-minute break after working three hours, but here people are just devoted to what they do.” Obviously he doesn’t mean that circus workers never take breaks. What is he getting at here then?