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Back in 1987, 50 of us took an exit ramp off the main highway. We left paved roads, we left the worlds most people knew, and soon enough it felt like we left Earth's gravity altogether. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College. Ours was the 20th anniversary class. We were special we were told, and truth be told, we were. To a person, every member of that class brought something extraordinary to the ring. We were variously funny, smart, clever, earnest, kind, strange, outrageous, daring, thoughtful, gentle, fierce, intrepid, goofy, old-fashioned, ballsy, and just plain decent. And at least one of us -- Steve Lough -- was all of those things, and then some.
Here it is worth noting that Steve was a very funny, energetic, and excellent clown. He cared deeply about honoring the art form and audience alike. He did it without ego. He wanted to make people laugh and feel. Ask anyone in our class or anyone who served with him on the road. Over the years, some of us joined the Red, Blue, and/or Gold units of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, or some other circus; or else we clowned somewhere else altogether, somehow, each in our own fashion. Eventually, many of us left professional clowning, but we always bear the mark. Some part of us -- our core identity -- was indelibly forged there, with each other, a world apart. We are brothers and sisters, and now we have lost one of the best of us.
Steve was just good. Period. Some of us darkened over the years, but Steve did not. When faced with the darkest of things, he turned his light brighter. It led him to crazy things, that none of the rest of us dared to do, like run for a nomination to join the US Congress. He just wanted to help, to make the world better, and without worrying about how he would be portrayed, he put himself out there. He spoke about our best selves, and urged us there. And even after his run did not pan out, he picked himself up, because that is what he did. Fuck. The man was just good.
So as a class, we want to raise some money, to help his family with the costs of his passing. I am not sure our median income is that of the 1987 graduating class of the Wharton School of Business, but we lived and dared and laughed like they never did. Let's show Steve's family that we care. Please give what you can, even if it is just a few dollars. We give in Steve's memory.
Steve, wherever you are, we are all thinking of you, buddy. Brush that extra baby powder off and hurry: you're late for come-in!