Thursday, September 17, 2009

Can't Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

Okay, there's not actually a woman-eating clown here. It's just a saying we have in our house. A house which is remarkably clown-free, if not clown-sanitized, because of my husband's complete and utter phobia about them*. In fact, I'd have illustrated this post with clown image (not Gacy, though), but I can't because he reads the blog and I don't want him to connipt right there in front of his computer (we have the fridge magnet, right, so that won't scare him).

Does anyone, actually, really, love a clown? Apparently someone does because the tradition persists and every year countless children are entertained (or terrorized, depending on your viewpoint) by adults in grotesque make-up and ridiculous costumes who insist on playing tricks in the name of Fun! and Whimsy!

The Spec is running its Readers' Choice awards program again and there's actually a category for Best Clown. Admittedly, in this city of 7 hospitals, the people who run around in makeup entertaining patients (the aptly named Clownz on Roundz) are likely performing a wonderful service and lightening the mood in many a ward. But do people actually hire clowns for birthday parties anymore? I want to know. And do the children like them? Or is it just upon reaching adulthood and looking back that you realize the inalienable creepiness of a clown?

(Kate knows a clown. She's even hired said clown for school events. We don't speak of it, though.)

Anyway, I suspect, having spent a pleasant hour this week babysitting a three-year old of my acquaintance, that children probably do like the occasional clown. Playing in the sandbox with the wee man and getting drawn into his intricate game of pretend (Heaven Help You if you fall out of character while playing pretend -- "No, Kara, YOU'RE THE TOW TRUCK!"), I was reminded just how much little people can suspend disbelief. To someone like little N., a clown isn't an adult hiding their humanity behind a sinister mask of greasepaint and pancake, it's just a clown. A silly creature with big feet and droopy drawers and a funny voice. Just like the Cookie Monster (please tell me that kids these days know about Cookie Monster) isn't a puppet on t.v., he's just a big blue thing that likes cookies and sings songs about cookies and says Nom Nom Nom when he eats cookies.

Damn, I wish I could enjoy that kind of innocence again. Sometimes a clown is just a clown.


*He also hates Home Depot and the day he girded loins to shop there and came, unexpectedly, upon a clown in the mailbox aisle is one of my favourite stories.

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