We’ve been neglecting the Clown File. People who know me know that I dislike clowns. This is a pretty common fear in children, and what can I say? It never left me. For a while I had a Clown File set of pages here, and it got me mail from fellow clownophobes all over these United States.
(Someone also sent me a link that I foolishly clicked, and it took me to a site devoted to clown porn. Yes, people having sex in full clown makeup. No big shoes or floppy pants, although with some truly epic tattoos. These images are seared into my brain, and still make me shudder.)
Once I wrote a column about this, and I got a call from an older man who worked as a clown. All clowns seem to be older men, along with a few younger women. In a whiny, quavery voice he told me it’s tough to be a clown, yessiree, you have no idea. Then he began telling me about “that pervert, John Wayne Gacy,” and how he ruined EVERYthing for decent clowns, and related an incident in Chicago in the wake of the Gacy case. This man, along with a couple dozen other Shriner clowns, were scheduled to do their act at a mall in suburban Chicago. The original plan was for the clowns to spread throughout the mall, delighting shoppers, but the Gacy revelations made that dicey.
“So they told us we had to stick together,” he said. “They made us go in the back door, like a bunch of criminals. Then the shoppers started yelling at us, so we all had to leave. What a lousy day.” At this point I was covering the receiver so he couldn’t hear me snickering. One of my best reader calls ever.
One of my neighbors in Indiana was a dental hygienist, and told of the memorable day, early in her career, when a fairly well-known birthday-party clown came in complaining of jaw pain, “particularly during fellatio.” The dentist blushed and stammered, and my neighbor, young and innocent, said, “What’s that?” It was an uncomfortable moment all around, and every time I saw the clown’s face in advertising thereafter, I thought about …never mind.
I make an exception for my ex-colleague Keryn, aka Twist and Shout the clown. Her specialty is balloons, and can tell the story of the resurrection of Christ using balloons. It’s quite something.
Anyway, clowns. Thanks to Mitch Harper for passing along some clowns in the news items. First, someone is vandalizing the clowns of Sarasota. It’s one of those dopey public-art projects that have been so popular — cows in Chicago, ears of corn in Iowa, frogs in Grosse Pointe. I suppose in tribute to Sarasota’s circus heritage, it’s clowns in Sarasota. And — astonishingly! — someone is hurting them. Who could have seen that coming, eh? Put up 50 icons of childhood terror and then complain when people cut their heads off. I ask you.
Although I did enjoy this passage: The clown whose head was broken off was called Justice B. Dunne, a judicial clown sponsored by a law firm, Nickel said. Police retrieved its head, which was found nearby.
In other clown news, Emmett Kelly Jr. is dead. Say hi to Red Skelton, Emmett.
Bloggage: It’s Festivus time! And now, for the feats of strength.