Happy Little Clown

One of the men in writing class belches loudly, repeatedly. He does not say “excuse me” or otherwise acknowledge he has done anything unusual other than an occasional accompanying “oof.” 

This reminds me of my husband’s favorite episode of Naked and Afraid where a couple, in their desperation and deep hunger, catches and eats a skunk that has just  eaten a rotten lizard. Afterwards, the couple erupts in incessant, painful belches, the man even leaning into a tree to better let them out.

This seems a good a time as any to confess my irrational fear that one day I will be forced to go on Naked and Afraid as a contestant. In childhood, I had a similar discomfort around skydiving, a resigned wariness that one day somebody would confront me with a parachute and waiver form and force me onto a nearby, quietly idling plane. I would not like to skydive or have a terrible case of the lizard belches, and so I keep a professional, compassionate demeanor towards my belching classmate. I do not make eye contact with anyone else in the class during these belching spells. 

The class is taught by a clown. Oh, did I not mention that before? Oh funny thing, must have slipped my mind. He doesn’t come dressed as one, sadly, but it was mentioned on the slip jacket of his book that he passed around, plus I already knew because I looked him up online before signing up for the class. It was not a deterrent, though my husband thought maybe it should be. 

“I think secretly you want to be a clown,” he said because it was Saturday evening and we’d both had naps and were feeling jaunty. 

“I do not want to be a clown,” I said. 

“You’re awfully fascinated with them,” he mumbled. 

I was about to argue when it all came rushing like an end-of-life flash: The bright red 78 record about a happy little clown named Squee Gee that I played so loud and often my mother yelled up the stairs “ENOUGH!” Or the cat I picked from the shelter for his bright nose and puff of white fur across his chest like a ruffle and silly – some would say clownish – demeanor. My favorite TV show is about a clown, though he is not joyful or intentionally funny. I also wrote a short story once about a man coming out as a clown to his parents on Thanksgiving and this very blog has its own tag for ‘clowns’ which will get attached to this post, perpetuating a problem. 

So maybe I do have a thing for clowns, but I do not want to be a clown. I do not want to perform and dance around for people, joyously or menacingly, especially not for children. I do not want to wear grease paint or itchy wigs, though the big shoes seem pretty comfortable. I definitely do not want to work with balloons, which make me nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs or me in a room with a belching classmate. 

“Look, I can’t help it that my teacher is a clown,” I said to my husband a little too testily. 

“And there we have it,” he said, “a line straight out of an after school special.”

Non-breakable (with normal use, whatever that is)

The Creepiest Thing – a Halloween(ish) piece on Waltbox

Not to brag, but we were on the creepy clown bandwagon since John Wayne Gacy Jr. ruined clowns for everyone. Click below to read a guest piece on Waltbox and be sure and follow his blog so you don’t miss out on any creepy good fun through the rest of the month and stellar writing year-round.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otx49Ko3fxw

Clowns are pretty much automatically creepy. But what about a clown who does lots of very bad things, then paints a portrait of your spouse? Kristen of byebyebeer is the next guest poster of the season with this creepy piece about a creepy thing that is very creepy. Yikes! The Creepiest Thing from byebyebeer The creepiest thing I […]

via The Creepiest Thing — waltbox

A trio of treats before two

It wasn’t even 11am when we witnessed a grandfatherly type make a pass at a female clown. He asked what her name was and when she told him Sweet Heart he said “That’s a pretty name. Can you share some of that sweetness with me?”

“Right now I’m working,” she said, more resigned than annoyed, like it happens all the time, men hitting on her when she’s in mustard yellow ringlets, full clown makeup and shoes the size of Texas. Her words forced our attention to the agile flicks and twists of her hands as she pumped and threaded balloons into a skeleton before our eyes. We were well down the street of the festival before we noticed the skeleton only had one eye so we’ll never know why. Maybe he’s winking, I suggested.

The haircut place had its own fun.  I was buried in a garish children’s book about mummies and only put it back (sheepishly) once I realized my kid had been called minutes ago and I had no excuse to still be reading. Mummies are fascinating but eavesdropping is safer because you can pretend to be thinking about grown up things.

A guy in his 30s was in the chair closest to me with a young pink-haired stylist on one side and another woman, his girlfriend or wife, giving orders from behind. “Take a little more off the top, but not too flat” she instructed, while the man sat looking dim but content. I wondered if he was mute or foreign, but after the woman wandered off to talk to another stylist, he yelled across the room “Hon, how do I want my sideburns?”

I studied his haircut as surreptitiously as possible once the cape came off and he stood and fairly beamed. The cut suited him, if only because I’d  never seen anyone look as happy as I feel when I get a good haircut. He swaggered over to his lady and took a bite of the apple she’d been eating and they traded it back and forth for awhile. Once I saw a small child share an apple with a dog but that was kind of cute.

On the way home, we parked by a trail we hadn’t been to in ages and weren’t the only ones to neglect. Already narrow paths were eroding into the creek. I had to warn the kids not to fall in but they were busy jabbing each other with sticks. Several large trees had fallen across the trail at various points. I banged my shin hard climbing across one, not because the walk was cursed but because I was in jeans with a belly full of cheese curd from the festival.

We took the high trail by mistake and came out above the mysterious amphitheater and had to go the long way around a meadow of goldenrod and bees. We’ve always wondered about this amphitheater in the middle of the woods. Who dragged the lumber a mile from the trail head or maybe across a raging creek to build it? And why? Has it ever been used aside from mock pulpit lectures by power-hungry children on family hikes?

Sadly it’s in bad shape, and my shin too, though I managed a series of selfies.

 

The top photo is me not understanding how to work the timer. (My oldest daughter’s expression is my favorite part.) The middle picture is me not understanding mirror images and which side to sit on. Third time’s the charm!

 

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