Josh obsesses about these tiny details because if he doesn't, the fans sure will.
"I've had children break down over the fact that their Minion balloon has one eye and not two, or that their 'Steve from Minecraft' balloon is slightly circular instead of square, because IT'S A FUCKING BALLOON. What's even better, though, is when an adult (usually a dad, sorry guys) asks for a really specific character from their childhood (Darkwing Duck, anyone?) and when you've finished twisting your heart and soul into it, they respond with 'well, you tried, anyway.' Hey. Hey you. Fuck you."
Would you like a Scrooge McFuckoff instead?
"I have a catalog of hundreds of characters in my head. Even then, the 'menu' I bring with me to events is updated about every three months or so, because Disney, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks etc. put out new characters more often than you change your underwear. Usually I'm rushing to the theatre every six weeks to make sure I can see the movie first to get the character design down."
And then writing it off as a business expense, which is pretty cool. Substantially cooler than the other thing the job comes with, which is the assumption that you're a child molester.
People Tend To Assume You're A Pedophile
Magicians, face painters, and clowns frequently perform at children's birthday parties. Now imagine that one of those entertainers showed up to perform in jeans and a T-shirt. You can't explain it, but you've just felt a slight chill go down your spine. For whatever reason, the costume makes it more okay. Clowns being the exception. Clowns are always the exception.
"I perform in a simple T-shirt that I printed with my logo on it," Josh explains. "That might be why I'm constantly having to assure people that I am not the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." Although he could probably make him out of balloons.
It still wouldn't be the strangest balloon art he's ever done.
"The amount of extra hassle it takes to convince people I'm not a modern-day pied piper is pretty exhausting at times. I've had moms ask for a criminal background check, dads ask if I'm properly insured, and one time, at a public park event, I was asked to leave because in trying to gather the kids to form a line, I started (very gently) moving them into some sort of order and a parent thought I was touching her kid inappropriately. I personally don't think I was (I had one hand on the kid's back and was edging them into the line), but that was all it took for me to get punted. Meanwhile, I've seen my female counterparts flat-out pick kids up as part of their act, and no one blinks an eye."
Parents are usually more OK with women hanging around their children, even in gender-neutral jobs like children's entertainment. It's one of the reasons Josh doesn't do birthday parties anymore, unless it's for Adam West.
Adam West is also an exception.
If you want Josh to screw you or your wallet with his balloon art, you can check his work out at thegeekballoonist.com, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him at a comic-con near you. Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a Cracked columnist, interviewer, and editor. Contact him at email@example.com.
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