Saturday, October 24, 2015

Send Out The Clowns

Send Out The Clowns

Some people dread circus clowns. After all, clowns dress in vagabond clothing, hide behind a mask that is not quite a mask, squirt water guns in your face, and generally create havoc. They're sort of absurd gangsters, in a way, pulling off the ultimate drive-by taunting.

I love circus clowns. Sad clowns, happy clowns, it doesn't matter. In fact, my favourite act in any circus is when all those clowns come tumbling out of a little red car.

Now, that's a tough gig.

It's also a bit of slapstick that I find somewhat unsettling.

My life has been a bit of a circus at times, and it's had its share of clown acts — class clowns, office clowns, neighbourhood clowns, you-name-it clowns. I was never sure how many freaks in colourful disguises were going to show up in a little red car. After all, you open the door to your world, and in pops one clown, who opens the door for another, who opens the door for another, who opens the door for another, until suddenly there they are — spilling into your scene, crashing around you with their best slapstick routine. Chaos ... it's what life's clowns will create if you let them ... chaos and confusion, one surprise after another, and you're the butt of every joke.

It's a great act. It shows you what can happen if you simply hand out free passes and let anyone and everyone into your world.

In the circus, clowns are almost always outrageous. Circus clowns can do and say almost anything they want, because it's a show, and when you buy your ticket, you sign up for the abuse, like it or not. I mean you can't really climb down from the first balcony and stop the circus just so you can pop some rude clown in his or her red bulbous nose. Just doesn't work like that.

In life, it's a bit different. You do have control of the people you allow into your world. You're the ringmaster, and it's really your decision who gets to be the lion tamer, the trapeze artist, the juggler, the dog trainer, the whole lifelong show. It never hurts to be selective. Some people simply won't fit under your "big top." Some will do the most outrageous and hurtful things and then excuse themselves by saying, "Oh, I was just clowning around."

Sometimes you just have to stuff those clowns back into that little red car and send them packing. Don't worry. They'll find a new victim in the second matinée.



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