My gainful employment consists of performing a Bunraku-style puppet show for 4th graders at a different elementary school each day.
My job is a strange mixture of performance, improv, and public speaking. Most of the time it is a lot of fun, especially during the Q and A session in which the kids get to ask the puppets questions, or offer solutions to them, directly. You never know what a kid is going to say and you have to find funny, entertaining, affirming ways to acknowledge them while also directing the conversation where you want it to go.
To the kids...I am a rock star. To adults, it's slightly embarrassing to list my occupation as Puppeteer. However, the laughter I can elicit from a bunch of fourth-graders is a boost to my self-esteem even though I have a very low-paying, low-prestige kind of job.
While driving through downtown Tampa on my way to a show, I saw this guy walk through the busy traffic in front of me:
I had spotted a fellow puppeteer! In public! Unashamed!
He walked across the intersection and was gone before I could really get a good listen to what he was saying. He held his puppet in front of him, speaking with it, and had a huge sign strapped to his back that seemed to reference God. All I could read from my vantage point was PoorPennyCarson.com. So, intrigued by a street preacher with both a puppet and a website, when I got home later that day, I tried to look up the website. It didn't exist, but I found tons of hits and a few youtube videos about Poor Penny Carson.(that link has a brief video in which Carson explains himself)
From everything I could gather, Poor Penny Carson and his puppet, Sweetpea Johnson, have been doing this for years...preaching about God and the end of the world, throughout Georgia and Florida for the last few years.
Even the "end of the world" is appealing when you talk about it through a puppet, right? ;-)
On the serious side, I wondered how Penny Carson has managed to survive all these years doing this and how he provides for himself and if he has any relatives who wonder where he's at and what he's doing and how he's doing.
It's alternatively funny, sad, and worrisome to think about a guy spending his whole life doing this.
On a happier note...Puppets + Queen = Awesome!