Sleeping with the Lights On and Other Tales from the Snark Side

I love to laugh.  Laughter is very healing and in our family, we believe it to be the best medicine.  I love finding the funny in every day life wherever possible.  However, there is one element of humor that really freaks me out.  No…not potty humor…I can deal with that 🙂  The type of humor I’m talking about stands my nerves on edge, makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and hide under my bed.  It causes me to shudder like an earthquake, shake in my Toms and scream like a horror movie queen (on the inside because I don’t want to end up in a looney bin.)  If I am faced with humorous situations involving this specific “thing” I will run for the hills in terror.  I suffer from Coulrophobia.  (do you like the way I throw a fancy word in there to distract you from the ridiculousness of my fear of clowns????)  Yep, I am a Clown-a-phobe.

Last night when I was writing up a post for FB about the kindness of friends who BOO-ed us (a good thing that involved treats, not an audience throwing tomatoes) I commented that I looked like a clown from a Stephen King novel.  Once I put those words down, I couldn’t get Pennywise (said clown from Stephen King’s novel, “It”) out of my head for the rest of the night.  Let’s just say I slept with the light on all night.  (yes, I realize I am almost 50 years old, but I didn’t have a night light handy and Hugh is in the UK so it was lights on for this scaredy cat.) Here’s Pennywise.  Scary, right???

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My family and close friends know about my Coulrophobia.  Again, I’m hoping that my use of big words will make you have pity on me because my family certainly doesn’t.  For example, one fine October day in 2006 I answered my door (to who I thought was going to be Randy, my exterminator) to find the scariest freaking clown ever standing there.  Did I slam the door shut, grab my children and call the cops?  Nope.  I just stood there paralyzed in fear with my daughter (age 3 at the time) by my side staring at him.  He stared back.  Neither one of us moved.  It was the longest three seconds of my life.  Finally, I realized this clown was holding Randy’s exterminator equipment.  OH MY GOODNESS!  Had Randy been killed by this joker?  Was this psycho trying to get into my house to murder me?  WHAT?!?  (still not slamming the door or calling the cops, btw…)  Catherine’s cutie pie giggles brought me out of my paralysis.  She was so adorable that the clown started to giggle too.  That’s when I discovered the true identity of the clown.  It was Randy!  Thank Heavens and HEY, why are you trying to kill me, Randy?  After he was finished laughing hysterically for what seemed like hours (okay, maybe 2 minutes), Clown Randy informed me that my sister had set him up to do this dastardly deed.  I still owe her big time for that one.  Just you wait, sister.  I will rub my toes on carpet one of these days in front of you until you lose your marbles.  I promise.

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Creepy Clown on the Corner

When my dear friend, Meg shared the above link with me about that creepy clown standing in the UK on corners just staring at people, I know that she sent it with love.  She wouldn’t want me running into that nightmare while trekking through Britain.  She also sent me this little goodie.

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See?  She knows.  She gets me.  She tries to look out for me.  She is a good friend unlike my sister who gave me this magnet as a gift….

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The silver lining is that my family is often entertained by my Coulrophobia.  Allow me to share:)  One Sunday while having brunch, a “lovely” clown / balloon artist sidled up to our table.  Smitty and the kids were doing their best not to burst into laughter.  Not only had a clown approached MY side of the table, but it was a balloon carrying clown.  (which in my world is equivalent to a mob boss carrying a big gun or Linda Blair in “The Exorcist”.)  This clown handed me a balloon that was a work of art. (evil art, but I digress.)  I quickly threw it to Connor who just giggled and patted me on the back.  That balloon taunted me all through lunch. Balloons send me into a whole other type of crazy.  Balloons make me grumpy.  My kids begged me to take the evil art balloon home with us.  Smitty and I had driven separately so I said yes.  I figured the balloon would ride home with Smitty.  Um, no.  I was about a mile down the road when I saw it bobbing in the backseat in my rearview mirror.  Before I could say anything, it POPPED and some small object that had been inside it hit me in the head!  I screamed.  The kids screamed.  Let’s just say it was a dramatic ride home.  No one likes to be shot by a balloon, especially me.  Balloons were forbidden in my car after that until Catherine’s 12th birthday.  It was then that I discovered “balloon bags” at Party City.  It’s a thing!  You can safely ensconce all your balloons inside this bag and not have to look at them bobbing around ready to shoot you.  Clowns, however, will never ever be allowed in my car.

I will admit that one time I actually used a clown to my advantage.  My son had been scaring the bejeezus out of me for about a week.  I couldn’t turn a corner without him jumping out and making me scream and nearly tinkle.  He would jump out of closets, hide behind doors.  I was a nervous wreck after about a week of his shenanigans.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I purchased a Jigsaw clown mask (from the movie “Saw.”)  I put it on his little sister who hid in his closet.  I then directed him to get something from said closet.  Let’s just say the sight of a three foot tall Jigsaw did the trick.  No more jump scare shenanigans from the boy.  

One of the scariest things that ever happened to me was during the Pumpkin Show parade back in the 80’s.  I had to ride in a car with Ronald McDonald.  EEK ACK AND ICK.  I can assure you I was most definitely NOT lovin’ it.  Not one little McBit.   Speaking of the Pumpkin Show, I do love the Pumpkin Show Clown that has been part of the parade since I was a wee girl.  He’s cool.  

I was recently talking to a friend who was kindly telling me that I reminded her of one of those clowns that you knock down and then they bounce right back up with a smile.  I didn’t know whether I should hug her or run away.  Later, that same day (no joke) I was sorting through Christmas photos from my childhood and came across this photo…

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See the creepy fellow in the corner?  Yeah, it’s one of those knock down, bounce back clowns.  I bet my sister told Santa to bring him just for me.  My sister is that sweet little baby on the right…nearest the clown….probably telepathing to it to do her evil bidding.  I’m the sweet innocent toddler next to her who the evil bouncy back clown is eyeing with a creepy smile.

Back to the present….after a night sleeping with the light on, I rolled out of bed to grab my morning cup of java.  I glanced in the hall mirror on the way and discovered that I was still sporting the crazy clown vibe, but it wasn’t super scary in the morning light.  Cat and I exchanged a few funny stories about our weekend.  She told me that I was the most funny person she knows.  One of my dearest soul sisters sent me a message this morning about how quickly I bounce back from challenges and that she was proud of me especially in light of recent events.  Life has certainly been a circus around here.  It was in that moment that I had an epiphany.  I have become my worst nightmare.  I am a clown.  And you know what?  I am completely okay with that.  Who knows?  Maybe I will hold a balloon one day too!  Not likely, but hey, if I can embrace my inner clown then anything is possible 🙂

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