Single in Sandpoint:

Send in the clowns

By Scarlette Quille
Reader Columnist

Dear clowns,

I’m writing this as a public service announcement. I am sure that there is a small percentage of clowns out there making an honest living in the rodeo or some other clown friendly place. I sympathize with the indignity of dressing up and inviting people to laugh at you. I’m not sure why you, as human being with presumably expert makeup skills and comedic timing, chose the life of a clown. But deep down, clown, you and I both know that the origin of your job had something to do with Satan himself.

In an effort to try to get past the public image and understand the motivations of those who don the clown suit, I looked up clown salaries. Sadly, I found no comfort in the information I discovered. Seems like the peak salary of a clown is around $50,000, and that’s ONLY if you work a big time circus or steady rodeo gig. The average everyday clown, those who aren’t “stars,” is $15 an hour to do birthdays and entertain children at various events. Do you know any celebrity clowns? Do you have any neighbors that are gainfully employed as a full-time clown? Of course not. Considering that birthday parties are typically done two days a week, and there are only so many companies willing to hire a clown to come in and “entertain” children on week days, I’m guessing finding full-time employment is difficult. That means that the majority of clowns are partially employed, sitting at home in full clown regalia looking at themselves in the mirror, wondering what they can do for attention.

Clowns, you cannot cry unfair media representation despite the scary movies and one known clown serial killer. Clownphobia is real. If you’re not convinced, let me enlighten you clowns and clown sympathizers.

People are scared of you because the whole premise of being a clown is as outdated as the ‘50s house wife. Your job is to dress up as a dimwitted, poorly put-together, slow-functioning adult and then do stupid things—things even children understand as stupid—to get get a laugh. Isn’t that pretty much EXACTLY what we teach children not to do? I mean, it’s not funny to pick on slow people or people who dress funny or boys that wear make up. YOU SEE WHERE I AM GOING, CLOWNS? Society has outgrown you. I don’t know if you have always felt like a social outcast and one day just decided to make money off your plight, or if you are a raging psychopath ready to murder my children. Either way, I find your choice to be a clown a sign of mental instability and a reinforcement of a bullying culture. Your clown profession makes me question you as a person.

I have heard the typical defense of hated clowns: “I do this to see the smile on a child’s face.” Please, someone tell me why people think that kids love clowns. I have four children, I work with children and I was once a child, AND NEVER ONCE, in the last 40 years, have any of those kids expressed a desire to hang out with clowns, invite them to their parties or seek them out for entertainment. In fact, when my daughter was 4, we had to leave a circus because she was so terrified of the clown walking around. Kids are pretty easy to make laugh, and they are naturally naïve, so maybe the whole hiring a stranger in costume to entertain them is overkill. A young kid is impressed by his grandpa making fart noises, and a clown costume does not take one’s ability to make balloon animals to the next level.

If my anti-clown statements make me seem like a hateful person, then I guess I will have to work on that. All I know is that when I see an adult male clown, my heart stops and my bowels evacuate my body immediately. Yes. I am that FREAKING SCARED of grown adults in garish make up and false red noses—which up the creepy factor by forcing the clown to be a heavy mouth breather.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, there are the recent reports of clowns hordes embracing their creepy sides. You may argue that they aren’t real clowns, but I would argue the opposite. It is no surprise to me that clowns have fled their dwellings and are antagonizing and harassing people. Eventually, people who feel marginalized will turn on society. Ever stop to think that the fear of clowns is more about presumed mental state of those who put on the clown than B-movie representations? The stereotype of the clown and their motivations is what is doing all the terrifying, not the asshole wearing it. Either way, I am not sleeping easy. That is why I have always feared you, and why I sleep within reach of multiple weapons, including a baseball bat, knife and dog. You may scare the shit out of me, but I’ve been waiting and preparing for your attack for some time.

I have some pent-up resentments too, clown. You aren’t the only one with problems. Tread lightly: People in this neck of the woods are prepared to fend off 500 -pound wild animals if need be.

And finally, clown, perhaps it’s time to ditch the clown suit for a while, or perhaps burn it so it doesn’t call to you.  If you feel like you were put on this earth to entertain children, perhaps you can find a way to modernize and de-freak the traditional clown.

Just a thought.

I meant what I said about the bat, the dog, and the knife.


Scarlette Quille

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