No Clown Pictures, Please

For a time every morning when I was five years old, my parents found me in bed sobbing in terror. They talked to me and looked around the bedroom, but could not figure out was upsetting me. Then one morning, my mom walked in and caught the early morning sunlight streaming through the window and falling directly on the clown oil painting. The light at this angle had a profound effect on the figure in the painting.

On the best of days, the clown had a white face dominated by a long, blood-red smile that curved like a scythe towards his black staring eyes. He had a huge bald white skull and flames of red-orange hair shooting off the sides in brill-o-ey tufts. He wore a high, cream-colored ruffled collar that made his head seem to float inside the painting.

With the sun at this angle, the clown went from merely unpleasant to absolutely evil. His bloody smile appeared to smear into a sneer, his eyes seemed to suck the sunlight into his hideous skull where they gave life to cruel and messed-up thoughts. The light revealed the truth in this clown: the hate, the desire to torture, the anger, the sickness.

The light gave life to these needs, gave the clown the power he needed to reach out from the wall and commit horrible and hideous acts that negated all that was good in life, entrapped those in his reach and brought them firmly and forever into him to exist open-mouthed and screaming in a never-ceasing sewer of frustration, pain, anguish, terror, despair, loneliness and the complete deprivation of hope. See how it might make me cry?

My parents immediately took down the painting, and all was well. Except the genie was out of the bottle, a crack in the goodness of life had been revealed.

And that is why I hate clowns. Though I think clowns are something hateable without seeing their truth revealed. People in masks are frightening. They don’t want to be identified, they are hiding bad intentions. And the forced hilarity is just one side of manic depression and a bipolar disorder: You don’t want to be around when the other unnaturally large shoe drops.

So parents, please, think twice about hanging a clown picture in your child’s bedroom. Consider instead the alternatives below, Ken at the Dentist or Sixteenth Century Skeleton Hanging in Basel Church. Yes, they suck for a kid’s room. But they are infinitely better than a clown picture.

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