On the way to work last week I heard on National Public Radio (NPR is a favorite of mine) that the United States is facing a clown shortage, that these once-beloved entertainers no longer hold the appeal with the youngsters like they did once upon a time.
While this sounds like a sad, sad thing, I personally am marginally elated.
You know why? Because I harbor that fear of clowns, cliche as it is. Perhaps dislike of clowns is a better way to describe it.
But anyway, I got to looking into this, because I am curious about this trend.
Turns out, there have been quite a few news reports on the matter regarding an impending clown shortage.
I really am OK with this though.
This kid has never cared for clowns, and it’s not that I begrudge a clown his or her earning a living doing something they love like bringing happiness to children, but I just never got the appeal.
Matter of fact, clowns have only ever brought me anxiety and heebie jeebies. Even the folks that dress up in a big costume, yes, even Brutus Buckeye, set me on edge.
Even those quaint paintings and statues that are really quite prevalent, you know, the ones of the sad, old-timey clowns, make me shiver a bit.
Once, when I was a teenager, and at King’s Island with my family, I was temporarily paralyzed because Quick Draw McGraw decided to put his hoof around my shoulder.
That may have been 20 or so years ago, but I remember it clearly because it was a bit traumatic for me.
I think we had all been seated near the fountain pool and had gotten up to move on, but Hanna Barbera’s cartoon horse made it into our vicinity without my notice, and as my family was walking away there came that hoof, stopping me in my tracks.
I knew it was a flesh and blood person in there, but that is beside the point as I was being held captive by a make-believe horse come to life.
Years later, when Hanna Barbera Land had been changed to a Nickelodeon-themed place we stayed so the kids could watch the parade. Well, the little ones loved it and I found myself, while twitchy, thankful that these characters could not stray far from their parade route.
At Disney World as a kid, I shied away from the lovable Mickey and Minnie and Goofy and whatever other character tried to get too close.
Eeek, I say.
In an article published in Psychology Today a couple years ago, the writer examined coulrophobia, or fear of clowns.
A study done at a British hospital was discussed. I guess the hospital folks were surveying children in an attempt to find what would be best to decorate the children’s ward and found that most children do not like clowns.
But the article goes onto suggest that it may not be the clowns that are so scary to some (me), but the encounter of something familiar but somehow all wrong. Wrong in that body wise, all things are as they should be, but then stuff is all covered up, painted over and then one wonders what’s under all that. Perhaps the not knowing is the real fear, the writer says.
While part of me is ashamed to admit my own dislike, and yes, even fear, it is a much larger part of me that has accepted that this is, inevitably, a part of me for life. I really am OK with that though.
So, I can’t honestly be too sad about the possibility of a clown shortage.
While clowns have a long history in entertainment, and delighting children, this shortage, well, it means that there will be less dodging to do on my part and I can get on to dealing with other fears that could have a very real and detrimental affect on my life, like a chocolate shortage.
Angela Shepherd can be reached at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @ashepherdHTG.