So a guy goes into a bar, and he sees another guy sitting there nursing a beer, looking incredibly depressed. The two strike up a conversation, and finally the first guy asks the second guy why he's so down.
"I hate my job," the second guy says.
"Where do you work?"
"I'm with the circus."
"Sounds like fun."
"Not for me. My job is to follow right behind the elephants, wearing a gas mask to protect myself from their flatulence, and every time they take a crap, to pick it up and throw it in a big barrel. Then when I've filled the barrel, I have to take it out to a big truck we have, and dump it in the back, and then get on top of the pile of elephant flops and stomp it until I can't fit any more in. Then I take the whole truckload down to the local manure dealer in whatever town we're playing, and get the best price I can for it."
"You're right," the first guy says. "That does sound awful. Why don't you quit?"
"What?" says the second guy. "And leave show business?"
Valley manure dealers, take note: The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a.k.a. The Greatest Show on Earth, is back for its annual visit, with ringmaster Jim Ragona presiding over the three rings of fun. This year's featured acts include high-wire artists the Quiros of Spain and the Amazing Ayala Sisters; the Gabonese Acrobatic Troupe; Marina the Lady in the Cube, who squeezes herself into a Plexiglas box 14 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches; animal trainers Daniel Raffo, Juan Paul Rodriguez and Tong, Prince of Pythons; strongman Nikolai, the Iron Jaw; fire-breather Vesuvius, the Human Volcano; Michu, the Smallest Man on Earth, and Khan, the World's Tallest Man; and more clowns than you can stuff in a little car.
The opening performance is at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 1; the run continues at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 2; 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 3; 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4; and 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 5, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets range from $10 to $35, available at the arena and Dillard's; discounts are available for kid and groups. 379-7800, 505-5555.