Mike ErvinThey were once a thriving species, roaming the earth in abundance. But today they are all but extinct.

I’m referring, of course, to crippled circus freaks. What catastrophic event led to their demise? Was it a plague? A famine? A sudden, unexpected glaciation? No one knows for sure. And whereas I am not an anthropologist, I do have my theories on what did in the crippled circus freaks.

Theory No.1: They tried to unionize. These things usually begin with outside agitators. Perhaps a disgruntled cripple was rejected by the freak show because he wasn’t freakish enough. Maybe he only walked with a limp or something. So he sought to exact revenge on the circus boss by pumping up his prized freaks with a bunch of commie talk. And soon they formed the United Brotherhood of Crippled Circus Freaks.

Now normally a bunch of cripples threatening to go on strike would only make the bosses laugh. If you’re a cripple assembling Barbie dolls in a sheltered workshop for 50 cents an hour, there are plenty of scab cripples ready and willing to replace you on the job. But if you’re an albino with three noses who can juggle, you’ve got a lot more leverage.

So no doubt the boss responded to any disruption of business as usual such as this with brute force. They probably hired private security goons like the Pinkertons to mow down the striking crippled freaks. I’m sure it was a real bloodbath.

I imagine the circus boss might have been tempted to replace the striking crippled freaks with robots, had such things existed back then. But that wouldn’t have worked at the box office. An albino robot with three noses doesn’t pack the