Clowns and Other Terrors of Modern Life


Be a clown. Be a clown. All the world loves a clown.

I wonder if even Judy Garland and Gene Kelly bought into that, because I’m pretty sure I’ve never met anyone who actually likes clowns.

Til Sophie. She digs them. Well, not the way Sophie digs stuff and gets all OCD about it. (This morning I slipped and used the term in front of Annabelle, who asked what it stood for. I got vague. She moved onto another topic. Phew. Bad mom.) Sophie just doesn’t mind clowns. Which to me is a big thing.

I wouldn’t call my dislike of clowns a phobia. There are way too many other things I’m more afraid of: fish or anything else “from the sea,” heights, small spaces, seeing a train arrive on the tracks. (Really! The whistle bums me out, too.)  Balloons popping. The dark. Snakes, lizards, bugs or really reptiles of any kind. Mice, rats, or anything furry that’s smaller than a cat.

OK, I’m not too crazy about cats, either.

The fish thing is probably the only bona fide phobia, and even that I’ve learned to keep somewhat under control. I do live in a house with a large tank of fish. But I would never, ever, under any circumstances, touch one — dead or alive. And a tuna fish sandwich is out of the question.

One thing about having kids:  You can never let ’em see you sweat. The other day my mother told the girls she’s allergic to milk. I snorted. She’s not allergic. She’s just terrified of anything creamy. (Except for ice cream and cheese if it’s on pizza.)

But she’s onto something. I’m going to start feigning allergies.

Like to clowns. Or maybe people.

On Saturday, I brought Sophie to a birthday party with one clown and a whole lot of people I didn’t know. We knew just one family aside from the hosts. That worried me a lot more than the clown, frankly. I think I’m pretty good at hiding it, but in general, I’m almost as afraid of people as I am of fish. No one ever believes that. The other day my boss said, “You’re one of those people who can talk to anyone!”

Maybe, but only under great internal duress. Particularly at parties.

“Did Sophie interact much with the other kids?” Ray asked afterward. I mumbled something and thought, “NO, and I didn’t interact much with the other adults!”

That pretty much left the clown. Sophie and I both focused on the clown for the large part of a Saturday afternoon. 

Luckily, this was a multi-tasking clown.  Sweet Petunia was a pretty good clown, as these things go. She face painted, made balloon animals, performed magic tricks (I’m also a little afraid of magic, but this wasn’t of that calibre), played ring toss games and came with her own music, including the Chicken Dance.  

As we were leaving, the hostess let on that another party guest — another adult, in fact, he runs the criminal division of a very large government operation in town — had admitted earlier in the afternoon that he was afraid of clowns.

I wonder if he’s afraid of people, too. Probably. I think most of us are.

Not Sophie. But that’s a problem for another day.



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7 responses to “Clowns and Other Terrors of Modern Life

  1. karen

    Ok, I like that – I am allergic to clowns 🙂
    Seriously, I think you are right about people not liking clowns. They are creepy. ( The clowns – not necessarily the people).

  2. Good for you Sophie. I personally hate clowns. They freak me out. I did meet one this year that was not too bad.

  3. Mary Ellen

    I’m allergic to Desert Breeze Park and board games.

  4. elewinnek

    I share your theory that everyone, every single person, is truly shy — even though some of us cover up our shyness by talking a lot in public.

  5. One of my sisters truly hates clowns.

    Why do clowns have names like Petunia? I think I have a picture of my middle son with a clown named Petunia. He’s about 4, rolling his eyes and not happy at all about it.

  6. I know exactly what you mean about just about everything in this post! People are so funny aren’t they? Sophie is adorable. It can be hard when kids are too friendly but there’s also something about it that I didn’t want to completely train her out of!

  7. Sophie looks so pretty! Even though she is standing next to a FREAKY CLOWN.
    I’m not a clown fan either!
    I think it’s sweet the clown was at a kid party in these times though. It seems so retro. Sweet (if you like clowns, that is).
    I love that how Ray asked whether Sophie interracted much and you said you didn’t either. That sounds like me. I think as journalists/reporters we come off as being good chatters (BSers?) but a lot of us are secretly, deathly shy.
    At parties I like the fact that I can use making sure Leo doesn’t escape as an excuse to not talk to anyone for too long.
    And about the fish-I’m not a huge fan either. And I sent Erin out to get dog food this weekend and she came home from Petco with a goldfish. I freaked! I’m so afraid Walter is going to die. I’m stressed about the thought of being responsible for another living thing. I can’t imagine a whole tank.

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