Fanfare for the Common Man: Clowns

  • Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I heard the circus was in town last week. Didn’t go. Why?
I. Don’t. Like. Clowns.
They scare me.
Yes, I was the fearful child, riddled with neuroses and phobias, cursed with the wild imagination that rendered all things impossible and improbable, possible and a certainty.
What is about clowns that scare me to the very core of my soul?
It’s their unusually big feet, completely freakish, the wild orange hair and the big red ball nose, the leering, white faced grin spreading from ear to ear as if deliciously pondering the notion of what it would feel like to devour your soul as you slept.
Tall clowns, and especially the short clowns, little arms and legs just running everywhere, falling down and then bouncing right back to their feet as if they were made out of rubber.
And what about when dozens of clowns immediately start spilling out of the open door of a Volkswagen Beetle? Where did they all come from?
When will the invasion of clowns stop? It never ends!
When my kids were little I took them to the circus. My son was six and my daughter four. We were sitting in the second row and this clown walks up to my son and motions for him to take his hands.
The clown does not speak – another thing I don’t like about clowns. My son, who was six at the time, does not like clowns, either.
Reluctantly, against his better judgment, my son takes the clown’s hands.
The clown smiles that leering almost lecherous grin and begins backing away. While my son continues to hold both hands, the clown’s arms get longer and longer, and even longer still until they stretch nearly half way across the big top.  The screams were awful ... horrific ... and when I realized that I was the one screaming ...
Let’s just say we never visited the circus after that.
Then there’s the King of all Evil Clowns – Bozo. That orange bouffant horseshoe of hair using way too much hair product, those big floppy feet, the hideous smile, he is the evil clown lord from which all others spring.
A friend of mine asked me, how do you ever eat at McDonald’s?
It wasn’t easy.
I kept my eyes downcast, staring at the floor, repeating the same mantra over and over again, “Don’t make eye contact with the clown… don’t make eye contact with the clown.”
And if the clown doesn’t get you, the talking Big Mac head will.
Puppets get me almost as much as clowns do. Puppets are merely clowns on strings.
And the whole frog and pig love thing going on with the Muppets. Creepy.
I don’t like mimes, either. Mimes are evil cousins to the clown.
Mimes are patient, deathly pale in pallor, regarding you with that silent, open-eyed stare of curious mockery, silently waiting for you to make a mistake while seemingly trapped inside their invisible boxes. And when you do, they will pounce on you in droves to attack, and pretend to beat you up.
My clown dreams rank right up there with tornadoes and giants as all-time favorite nightmares. Friends of mine know this, and Carma, a good friend of mine, last night brought up an interesting scenario.
“Think about it,” she said, “A tornado forms from a cloud ... from a clown in the clouds.”
A tornado with a leering clown face coming at you, Carma said, and chuckled.
An evil woman, you are. Probably a clown spy in disguise too, I’ll bet.
Oh, yeah. I’m sleeping with the lights on tonight.

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