I have a ridiculous fear of clowns. Well, honestly? I don't think it is so ridiculous, but apparently some do. One of our scooter buddies was once an aspiring clown and he is the nicest person ever. Sometimes I wonder if I ever saw him in the makeup, knowing who it was, would I have the same reaction? What reaction is that, you ask? Well, I can't look at them, I just can't. I had to skip an episode of one of my favorite shows last year because it centered on killers running around dressed like clowns. My heart races and I feel like I can not breathe, like I am locked in a box and the air is running out. I feel like I might throw up and I feel panic, extreme, unmitigated panic.
Some people ask me what it is I don't like about clowns. I ask you, what is there TO like? I mean, think about it. You have a grown person, walking around, being mischievous and wearing giant shoes, a big wig and a face full of makeup. What sane person does that? Seriously, they could be anything under there. Man, woman, killer, pedophile, or (only in deference to my scooter buddy because I don't really believe they ever are) normal person. Who knows? And yet they are allowed to walk around like this on any normal day of the year. They do things that most people would never get away with, like squirting water at people or dropping trou in a public place. Who else could show their boxers, giant and flowered or not, and not get arrested for indecent exposure? Much less in a dark tent full of pre-adolescent children. The whole concept is just strange to me. And creepy. Isn't it? It can't just be me.
I have on many occasions tried to trace the root of this phobia. I don't remember being scared of clowns as a child. I had a birthday party with Ronald McDonald when I was nine for heavens sakes. I do, however, remember when I was 12 or so watching an episode of Fantasy Island which featured a particularly creepy (and evil but that is redundant) clown. I don't remember the specifics of the episode, but what I do remember is that I didn't sleep at all that night and I had nightmares for weeks about that stupid clown. I was at a sleepover at the time I watched it, my parents did not let me watch Fantasy Island, so I couldn't tell my mom why I was having nightmares. It was a long summer.
Fast forward. Much later in life I had continuing run-ins with a real life clown in downtown Nashville. Now this freak? Let's just call him Sprinkles*. He would go out to bars dressed up in FULL clown regalia. **HOW IS THAT EFFING NORMAL?** So, how did this affect me? I had just moved to Nashville full-time and had a job at a local nightclub. Now, I normally worked in the daytime as their accountant but after I was there a while, I started filling in as the coat check girl. $$$$ Good money! So that meant I worked all day 5 days a week, then all night Fridays and all night Saturdays. Every now and again Sprinkles came into the club. Yep, full clown makeup, clown clothes, shoes, everything. No, he was not paid to be there. Yes, I asked him to pay the $5 cover charge every time, standing as far away from the counter as I could get and without looking him in the eye. However the owner let him in for free every single time. What bothered me about this guy? Was that if I had to go out into the club for any reason, like to take a break or to the ladies room, he would silently follow along behind me. I would turn around and he was just there. It creeped me out.
Early one Sunday morning a group of us went to a favorite place for breakfast after the club closed. Wouldn't you know it, there was Sprinkles. In all his clown glory. Being all creepy and making balloon animals for a bunch of drunken and hungover college students who couldn't have cared less, but were apparently buying him breakfast in return for leaving them alone. I looked at my friend Allison and said "I am not doing it. I am not eating here if that freak clown is here." At which point she reminded me that it was 4 am and we didn't have many choices. So when the waitress came over to seat us Allison calmly said, as if it were a perfectly normal request, "We'd like to be seated away from Sprinkles, please." "Excuse me?" the waitress said. "We need a table in a Sprinkles-free zone" said my friend with a straight face. The waitress, apparently unsure about who, among a room of 40 Vandy college students and one clown, would be named Sprinkles, said "Whuuut? Sprinkles? I don't know what that is." To which Allison replied, in her fabulous Bronx accent and with all her fabulous Bronx attitude, "THE CLOWN. Sprinkles is the clown, over there? My friend has clown issues. We need a table away from Sprinkles the clown."
God, girlfriends are awesome!
23 hours ago