Ever feel a little off balance? Frenchman Jean François Gravelet-Blondin (28 February 1824 – 19 February 1897) would not have been able to relate. He was one of the truly great tightrope walkers and acrobats to ever take center stage. You may know him under the stage name Charles Blondin or simply as The Great Blondin. He was packed off to a gymnastics school in Lyon at age six and began working as a professional acrobat five years later. He took his act to the United States, but really hit the map by crossing the Niagara Falls gorge several times. Each crossing featured a different stunt – he was blindfolded, in a sack, pushing a wheelbarrow, carrying his manager on his back, on stilts, standing on a chair that had only one leg balanced on the rope, and cooking and eating an omelet at the half-way point! That’s showmanship.
Today’s expression, le bonheur est un délicat équilibre entre ce que l’on est et ce que l’on a, (leh bohnur ett uhn delica ay-key-leebruh entruh suh kuh lon eh ay suh kuh lon ah) means “happiness is a delicate balance between that which one is and that which one has.” I feel more zen already, but I won’t be crossing any gorges on ropes any time soon.