I think the audiobook format really helped me to get into this story because I got to hear exactly how grating the bozo’s “chain saw” voice could be. I have never seen a dunk tank on a boardwalk, so I had no idea what to expect from the bozo — I have only ever seen dunk tanks at small school carnivals where no actual money was exchanged and the teachers were just praying that all of the students had bad aim.
From the first moment he hears the bozo, Chad is enthralled. He can’t believe how great this guy is! The more he watches, the more Chad realizes he wants a chance to work in the dunk booth. He asks if he can get a job at the dunk tank, and he is ecstatic when the answer is yes. The problem, of course, is that he wasn’t very specific — and he soon finds out that the guy only needs someone to collect all the balls people are throwing. The more time he spends at the dunk tank, the more he convinces himself that he would be great at it… Until he starts spending a lot of time with the bozo, and realizes just how much goes into the job.
While the bozo’s comments were often based on insults, I appreciated the fact that he made a conscious effort not to be outright mean. (There was a very explicit set of rules by which he operated.) I’m sure I never would have really thought about it before, even if I had seen a “real” dunk tank on a boardwalk… But I think that a job in a dunk tank is probably way too hard for me. On first glance, it seems like a fun job — getting to speak your mind and taunt anyone who walks by while safe behind the bars of the tank and kept anonymous by your clown makeup. But, after further reflection, I realize that it requires a whole lot of quick wit and a fair amount of courage.