Mr. Nice Guy - Joel Hall

About one year ago, I wrote a column about my amusing experience at last year's Georgia Renaissance Festival. Last spring, I attended the festival wearing a funny shirt bearing the once, wildly-popular catch phrase, "I am McLovin," from the 2007 film, "Superbad."

Being that last year was the first time I had attended the Renaissance Festival, I had no idea it was going to an interactive experience. The shirt seemed to paint a virtual bull's-eye on my back, making me a target for entertainers trying to bring a little more excitement to their show.

During last year's festival, not once, but twice in the same day, I was pulled out of the audience to participate in general silliness for the sake of public amusement.

Barely Balanced, a talented trio of acrobats, pulled me on stage to help them balance a hairy man on my shoulders, so he could juggle bowling pins with a woman who was standing on top of another man's shoulders. Later the same day, I was drafted into the Washing Well Wenches performance, where, through some lapse of better judgment, I allowed the female duo to dress me up as "a damsel in distress."

You would think after all that exposure, I would be afraid to go back, but I guess I am a glutton for punishment. Also, something about people explaining the condiments associated with fried pickles in 'Olde English' deeply amuses me ("Would ye care for ranch dressing with your fried pickles, me lord?").

So anyway, two weeks ago, I decided to go back, this time with my girlfriend, who has significantly less patience for silliness, but nevertheless, is a good sport. This time, however, I decided to wear an indiscreet outfit that would help me blend into the crowd.

I went to the fair in jeans and a basic, green T-shirt. Nothing too flashy about that, or so I thought.

The day we went to the fair, bad weather was heading our way, so the first place we decided to go was to the Barley Balanced show. Despite becoming a mini celebrity at the fair last year, due to the show, it was really one of the more entertaining performances.

I sat somewhat in the middle of the audience. At the time, I was wearing shades, which I thought would make me appear more unapproachable. Once the show got started, however, I slowly began feeling like a wounded antelope on the Serengeti. As soon as the hairy man on stilts shook my hand as he made his way to the stage, I knew I was a marked man.

After a few stunts, a very attractive female acrobat came into the audience to find a strong man to participate in her next act. After combing the audience for a few seconds, the acrobat came straight to me, making me a prop for her show.

I immediately thought, "Two years in a row? How is this possible?" This time, however, I was familiar with the routine, and knew it would not be the attractive female mounting my shoulders, but the hairy man.

My recent experience at the fair now makes me question my first experience. Perhaps it wasn't the shirt at all that made me stand out.

Perhaps, it was just me and my welcoming face.

Over the years, I've found that no matter how much I try to blend in or look intimidating, people still ask me for change, animals still approach me for food, and acrobats still ask me to come on stage and do silly things.

Perhaps, I need to give into the fact that to most people, I will always be "Mr. Nice Guy."

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.