Monday, April 4, 2016

(DON'T) SEND IN THE CLOWNS

Coulrophobia. Ever heard of it? I hadn't. When I was little,  I had it and didn't even know it. Coulrophobia means fear of clowns, or more accurately, according to an online dictionary site,"extreme fear of clowns."


I don't know why, but when clowns would see me, they'd come right over to me. I guess they thought  I would be happy to see them. If there was a group of them it would feel like they were descending upon me. When  you are three or four years old, that's scary enough. Add to that the fact that I was disabled and could not get away from them on my own. That's really scary.

My mom always knew when a clown was nearby because I would tense up  and hide my face. I guess I was trying to hide from them.

When I'd have a high fever I'd have the Clown Dream. I would wake up terrified. And, watching The Joker from Batman, forget it. There was no way.

When I was in nursery school, my mom always made me a birthday cake in the shape of a clown's head What was she thinking?  The clown wore a party hat, had a ruffled collar and had a red  rubber ball for a nose. My mom was very proud of it. I remember seeing pictures of me with my nursery school class, sitting at a table eating the cake. I have to admit that the cake was cute. 

I was asked to appear on a local television children's program called Corky The Clown. They wanted me to help introduce the cartoons. My memory is a little fuzzy, but my mom must have explained my fear because it was arranged for me to watch Cliff St. James, The man behind the make-up, transform himself into Corky.  I was mesmerized as I watched him put his clown makeup on. I remember talking a lot. I told him I saw his wife on TV.  His wife Nancy did some local commercials. By the time he was finished putting his makeup on, I wasn't scared at all. In 2014, at the age of eighty-eight, Cliff St. James was inducted into the  Media Hall of fame. Corky the Clown was the first local program to air in color. Being on the show is a fond memory for me. I even had a clown at my tenth birthday party after appearing on it.

I wrote this because I found the subject fascinating. I thought you would too. I had no idea that my childhood fear of clowns is now considered a real phobia with a name and symptoms. I thought I was just weird. If only I'd known .