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."


When clowns would see me, they'd come right over to me. I suppose 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. I would tense up and hide my face. 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 found this topic 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.