Friday, October 08, 2004

Clowns: Why God, why?

I've mentioned clowns in the past (specifically Rodeo Clowns), and vampire clowns more recently, but I have no idea why I find the concept of clowns to be funny.

I have never seen a specific clown that I considered to actually BE funny. Not even the world renowned 'Bozo the Clown'. Yet "clowns" amuse me.

I don't have a fear of clowns like a few people I know. I certainly can recognize the potential for evil in them, both real and fictional, so I'll never really trust one, but I don't fear them either. Not even in little sullen gangs of five or more. That merely compounds the mirth.

I'm guessing it has at least SOMETHING to do with the shoes. If you can't outrun someone who's wearing clown shoes you deserve what you get. And if he has a gun it's no problem either. Odds are he'll be sweating and makeup will get in his eyes. Anyone can dodge the shots of a sweaty blind clown. I doubt he could even get off a lucky shot. If he had luck in his life he wouldn't be a clown with a gun. Nothing to fear.

So that explains why I'm no more afraid of clowns than any other random person on the street. Actually less. Clowns attract attention to themselves. Random street people can be sneaky.

But why do I find clowning to be funny? I'm quite sure that I'm not laughing with them. It's straight at them. Yet if I see some goober who is unable to dress himself without appearing totally insane I feel pity and look away. But I don't pity the clowns. And I can't look away without effort or a better distraction.

Is it because they are doing it on purpose? They know what they are doing, and can presumably act sensibly when not in clown mode. Is that why I feel that weird glee? I just don't know.

Maybe I need to consider the mind of a clown.

What possesses someone to take up clowning? Is it some strange exhibitionist thing? Are they failed actors who want to hang onto whatever small amount of attention that they can? Did they start off as class clowns before heading off to clown classes? Do they have some fond childhood memory of a special clown that once touched them in a special way? (Take that however you want, I can't stop you.) Do they have a burning desire to give back to the community in a way that most people wouldn't even consider? Are they just weird?

I wish I had some answers. Without actually looking for them that is. Minimal effort. Words to live by.

As far as I know (no telling what some people do behind closed doors) none of my friends are clowns, so I can't ask them. But if I found out that one was, would it change my opinion of him or her? Would I distance myself from him or her (or them) for fear of "catching the clown"? Would they or she (or he) pressure me to throw birthday parties for kids that I vaguely know so he or she (or they) can strut "the stuff"?

I sure hope not. I like to think that I am a reasonably open-minded person who can handle whatever clowns that life tosses my way, be they friend or foe. And giggle while doing it.

---
On a related note (and the thing that really got me thinking about clowns) one of the applicants for an artist position at our agency had listed that he used to be a "clown for Jesus". That amused me even more than the fact that he was applying from the newspaper where Derek and I used to work.

I don't recall who he was affiliated with, but it was probably someone like these people. I'm not saying they are bad people, or even crazy people. I'm just saying... check out the skits!

I also noticed that in the Clown Commandments the 7th one is missing. "7. I will not take home any of the children and eat them." A bit of an oversight.

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