Bring in the clowns!!!

Is there a reason people are so afraid of clowns?  Are you afraid of clowns?  Me personally, I have no aversion.  That’s because any clown stepping to me would get wrecked.  But I don’t have any problem with them.  A lot of people do, though.  There is even a big, fancy name for it: coulrophobia.  So what’s the deal?

Many people attribute their clown phobia to some vague, but somehow bad, childhood experience.  What would that be?  Did a clown tell you a joke, give you some candy, show you a magic trick?  Yes, that sounds just terrifying. Seriously, what did a clown ever do to you?

Of course I have seen and read Stephen King’s It. But he is just playing on people’s fears, not creating them.  This fear of clowns goes a lot deeper, and has been around a lot longer, than that completely fictional novel!

Some people even have nightmares about clowns sneaking into their rooms.  Late at night.  With their big shoes and painted faces.  And to a point, I am with you there.  That would be a privacy invasion.  I wake up and see a guy in my room in a clown suit, I guarantee he is walking out with a limp.  But the same goes for a guy in an Easter Bunny costume, or any costume, for that matter.  Costumed guys, you better stay out of my room!

Still, how could a phrase like “bring in the clowns” strike fear into the hearts and minds of so many otherwise reasonably minded adults?  “Bring in the sharks,” “bring in the flesh-eating bacteria,” even “bring in the dentists,” I can see it.  But “bring in the clowns” is not going to keep me up at night.

Now mimes, that’s another situation entirely…

3 thoughts on “Bring in the clowns!!!

  1. Other than It, the best scary clown scene ever is the end of Clive Barker’s short story Dread.

    The Pilo Family Circus had some weird clowns, and Geek Love is a book about a circus worth being afraid of, but…

    I’ve never been scared of clowns. I think it became a more popular thing to say when Kramer was afraid of clowns, and then there was a clown episode on Malcolm In The Middle. And suddenly it seemed like everyone I knew had been afraid of clowns their entire lives.

    I do have a good clown story. I used to to work at a gold mine outside of Elko Nevada. I’d get up really early to drive in to catch the bus. I was driving down the hill one morning at about 5 am when a car passed me on the left and honked.

    I looked over–the car was being driven by a clown, and it bopped its red nose while I looked. It was elko’s only clown, and was driving the car it took to children’s parties, but it was the last thing I expected to see that early in the morning on an otherwise lonely road.

    I also wrote a poem about a clown that couldn’t take its makeup off. It wasn’t very good.

    • I think I neglected the “circus clown” angle in making my original determinations/declarations. I don’t know much about circuses, but I know enough to be wary. Even in the somewhat toned down Water for Elephants (coming soon to a theatre near you, with Robert Pattinson as the male lead; I can barely contain my excitement!!!), circus people do not seem like the types you would want to turn your back on. Yes, you sleep with one eye open around those carnies, and even then, there are no guarantees. Kind of like pirates. Arg!

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