Friday, July 07, 2006

Mills of the gods

I am not scared of clowns

A clever bloggist I ran across was describing herself. Among the things that she felt identified her was that she had no fear of clowns.This struck me as an excellent title for her autobiography !

The reason I was interested in the statement is that I once took my daughter to a "Circus Museum" while visiting San Antonio. We waited about 30 minutes for a clown to come in to entertain us. When he did, my daughter took one look at him and busrt into a screaming fit. She is now a teenager and is still not crazy about clowns. You may remember the character of Krammer on "Seinfeld" had a fear of clowns.

I have always known that fear of clowns was somewhat common, but I did not know until yoday that it was a recognized phobia, Coulrophobia. In checking out the disorder (isf a phobia can be a disorder) I ran across several treatment centers for it. My favorite headlined "Imagine what your life would be like without fear of clowns" on its web site. Just imagine ,they say.Well sufferers of Coulrophobia may be few or many, I don't know. They may come in mild and severe cases(they probably do). Are there sufferers out there so fearful of clowns that they won't leave their homes for fear of running into Bozo on the streets ? I hope not. If all it means is that you stir clear of the circus, you are probably better off anyway,nothing good has happened to anyone at a circus since about the 1920s. I mean the Lion tamer either survives or he does not. The trapeeze artist falls, or she does not. It is a tough way to make a living. If you do your job perfectly, it is what everyone expects of you. If you make one little error, you die.There are other jobs like that, paratrooper, bomb defuser, but these are jobs the army gives you. Clowns, on the other hand seldom die on the job.Although rodeo clowns whose job is to get bulls away from fallen riders have it a little tougher.

The more I think about this phobia, the more it strikes me that it is probably not a fear of a clown, but a fear of a painted face that scares people. If I performed at a circus,doing clown tricks, but garbed in a suit I normally wear to court, would I scare anyone ? Probably not. On the other hand, if I painted my face and put on a red squeeky nose and then went to argue a case, would I panic a judge who happens to be Coulrophobic ? probably. My point is that the phobia is misnamed. "Clown" is a profession. My painting my face will not make me a clown, anymore than a clown arguing in court will make her a lawyer.So if you are Coulrophobic, I think it is time that you stood up to the fact that you are not afraid of clowns, only make up. This could be a key to a breakthrough. Best of luck.


Blogger Dona said...

Remember that clown on Seinfeld? Only a few weeks before that episode aired, Gary and I took the boys to the circus here in Chattanooga. That very same clown, I guess we would have to say he was the star clown of the Barnum and Bailey--or was it Ringling Brothers?-Circus, picked Gary out of the packed crowd of the UTC Roundhouse to go to the center ring of the three ring circus. Gary was the token "bald guy". I can't recall what other groups the other two audience members represented, probably a Black guy and some other guy. It was a long skit. Unfortunately, I don't remember all of the elements of the act. All I remember is that it went on forever. I do recall that Trav asked me, "When is Dad going to come back and sit down." I answered, "I am sure he is wondering the same thing." He must have been out there for at least 15 or 20 minutes. What really stuck with the kids, though, wasn't their Dad being center ring with the clown for so long. It was the elephants waiting on the sidelines to go on to perform and that they had caretakers that carried
giant nets on poles with which to catch the huge poops from the elephants. They talked about that for days...

8:42 PM  

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