Parents, listen: All we want to do when we try to catch your eye at the county fair is take your children into our semi-permanent shed-like structure and entertain them while teaching them about Jesus. Is that so bad? Is it really necessary to avert your gaze and pretend you’re in a hurry? Because we know you can see us, and we know you’re not in a hurry. We can read your lips when your child says, “Who’s that, Mama?” and you hiss through clenched teeth, “It’s nobody. Come on.”
Nobody? Hurtful. Clowns are people too, and when we see in your eyes the pure terror that’s driving you to tighten your grasp on your child’s hand and flee far the fuck away from our nightmarish faces and lame jokes, it hurts. Once we even saw a mother drop a funnel cake as she grabbed her stroller with both hands and broke into a run—and she didn’t come back for it. She was so repulsed by us that she was willing to let a mass of fried dough covered in powdered sugar languish in the grass. The day I saw someone drop a fried Oreo and not look back was the day I knew we clowns had serious PR problems.
Look, we know how the media depicts us, and it’s all wrong. Clowns as deranged murderers? You’re thinking of Pennywise, from Stephen King’s It. First of all, Pennywise is a fictional character. Second, he isn’t even a real clown. He’s merely one aspect of an interdimensional predatory life form, and he has no degree from an accredited clown college. And third, Pennywise does not know Jesus Christ. (Actually, we’re not totally sure about that; none of us has seen the movie, but Loopsy read the book back in her sinning days, and she says she’s almost 100% sure Pennywise has not dedicated his heart to the Lord.) What we’re saying is, real clowns aren’t killers. The only “killing” I’m doing is with my bit about Moses parting the Red Sea, featuring a half-torn “C” made out of red construction paper.
No child has ever been harmed during our presentations. Occasionally, kids cry over disturbing balloon animals that turn out not at all as expected. And there was that one time Buttons inadvertently spread lice by saying “Create in me, O Lord, a clean heart” and dusting a bunch of kindergarteners with a feather duster. But mostly what we spread is the Word of God.
So why won’t you give us a chance?
About Abby Byrd
Abby Byrd mothers, frets, writes, teaches, and corrects other people’s grammar in an undisclosed location on the East coast of the United States of America. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, BLUNTMoms, Mamalode, In The Powder Room, The Mid, and The Good Men Project, and in two anthologies. She is working on a memoir about her decade-long search for a partner and why correct use of the semicolon may not be the most important quality in a mate. Follow her on Twitter, on Facebook, and at her blog, Little Miss Perfect