This is a circus now, the big tent setting up at posh locations all over the island of Manhattan with men in clown suits parading in and out at all hours of the day and night.
Wasting our time, we come to find out.
Except that the difference with this circus is that no one wants to see it anymore. Soon, the owners and players will be negotiating in a forest with no one around to hear them except each other. And after what happened Thursday, oh, do they deserve that.
They deserve each other.
Mediated talks to end the NBA lockout blew apart with such force Thursday night, even as millions of fans had been led to believe a solution was near, that you could hear the collective groans of the gullible all across the land. It would've been the most uproarious version of comedy if it weren't so sad and despicable.
Mediator George Cohen didn't run to the bar this time, he ran all the way back to Washington, D.C., leaving a terse statement behind like a vapor trail. Barely 24 hours after speaking of how committed the parties were to solving their problems, Cohen said, "No useful purpose would be served by requesting the parties to continue the mediation process at this time."
And you know what? I agree. The ultimate optimist, the one who has spent hours thinking about and writing about solutions, indulging fellow optimists involved in the talks who thought right up until Thursday that a deal was possible -- I'm done.
No more circus tickets for me. No more bearded ladies and men on stilts. No more clown shows, and no more spin. No more believing in reason and compromise.
No more Mr. Nice Guy.