Sunday, May 20, 2012

Magpie Tales: Memoir of a one time clown

The circus with the yellow clown, Chagall (via Magpie Tales)

i was a clown once, even wore yellow like the one in Chagall's circus. clothes so bright, they called me Sunshine.

we didn't talk, letting expressions speak for us. exaggeration was everything.

make up was the worst, moist sponge filling all the cracks in our faces and then later, the taking off of the mask. trying to get every little speck, leaving no remnant for when we walked through the dressing room door.

the kids would scream. all the pent up energy spilling over their faces in sticky cotton candy grins and they would grab, pull, yank, at the pants, held up only by bungee suspenders.

there were others though that shied away in fear, cowering in their parents laps. climbing their chest to get away, the whole time their mom and dad saying, 'no honey, it will be ok.' 'see how funny he is.' 'oo, look how colorful.'

the kids eyes would roll back in the top of their heads as they went into shock at the trauma as the parents handed them over to us. 'i just want to get one picture. smile, honey,' they'd say as their child went into seizures.

these pictures are used in therapy sessions today, i am sure. i periodically check the wanted posters in the post office, but have yet to see my face---all white with black triangles above and below the eyes, frizzy rainbow hair and red, red lips.

i did not last long, a season. too much work, putting on that face, to still make people cry.

i am who i am & somehow, that is enough.

i tell you this so you know the smile on my face today, has no need of paint and while we have shared both them and tears along the way, i am glad we have lasted these sixteen years.

happy anniversary, baba.

written for Magpie Tales.

It is anniversary week here in our house. The actual day will be Friday, I started leaving the first of my six little gifts out to be found yesterday. Yesterday's was the new Train CD. She will get today's when she gets home so I can't tell you because she will peek. Six gifts for Six-teen years....she asked where the other ten were, but i can't tell you my answer either, just know they are taken care of. Smiles.

86 comments:

kaykuala said...

Number #1 Wow..wee!

Hank

kaykuala said...

Conrats, Brian for all the goodness of 16yrs. It's no mean feat considering relationships these days. Working as a clown is just as challenging. Making others laugh at our expense is no joke! Great write!

Hank

Grace said...

Clowns scare me as well. But when you have been together for so long, there is no need to put on the face.

Congrats on your anniversary ~ Hope you guys have a lovely time ~

Happy Sunday ~

Secret Agent Woman said...

I'm one of those people with coulrophobia - clowns utterly freak me out.

But now I have the REM song "Old Man Kensey" in my head:
"First he's got to learn to count.
He's gonna be a clown on a circus mount."

Claudia said...

awww this is lovely..happy anniversary and would love to see one of the clown pics...maybe i should check the wanted posters in our post office over here..smiles

brenda w said...

Sweet! Your wife is lucky, indeed. I love the memoir, Sunshine.

Pat Hatt said...

Awww so nice of you to do
Even with the wink wink and nod coming due
For the other ten
But that should stay at your den
While the cat goes to eat a hen
And gets Pat back to his pen

Gloria said...

always I think the clowns are so sad persons dear Brian, maybe Im wrong :)

Laurie Kolp said...

Aww... so sweet. Happy Anniversary!

My sons went through periods of crying even at the mall Santa Claus.

Gail said...

What a fantastic write. I can see and smell the circus in your words.

Happy anniversary.

Zuzana said...

Oh my dear friend, this touched me to tears, from one romantic to another, "happy anniversary". Wonderful sentiments and words. I am about to have a month anniversary soon, 16x12 is a long way to go, but then again, so is 4 months... However, time is relative.;)
Enjoy this week, love is the best there is, so is family.
And, yes, I am not too fond of clowns either.;)
xoxo

Paige + Shauna said...

oh! i'm soooo jealous. great poem
with an insight to the person you
are. thank you.

Suz said...

YOU ARE ONE HARD WORKING MAN
AND A ROMANTIC TOO
SHE MUST BE SOME WOMAN
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO YOU BOTH
...!
PS I HATE CLOWNS

Celestial Dreamz said...

oh so touching :) ... hugs

Marie Nicole said...

Awww, Baba. How sweet.

I am sitting on this one. Clowns are my soft spot in my heart. I have so much love for clowns. And it breaks my heart to shreds when I hear how much people just hate them. How can you hate the one who pours everything into making people smile? And being frightened by clowns? Thanks John Irving - I love you dude, but you killed a beautiful thing.

I will go cry now... cry for the condemned clowns around the world.

Helen said...

Oh Sunshine ~ you made me smile today. Nary a tear! 'Train' ~ a great gift. When they were relatively unknown my son-in-law handed me a demo CD and said 'listen to this Woonie, one day they are going to be famous!' Send in the clowns (I mean gifts.)

Betsy said...

Sunshine is such a good name for you. :) lol.

Happy 16th. Wonderful!

Anyes said...

Happy Anniversary, Brian. Sixteen years can seem long yet from what you write, I bet they went as a flash. Enjoy each other's company for many more years.
Clowns DO scare me and always have...Can't put my finger on it...The giant voracious smile might be a reason...

Linda said...

Happy Anniversary Brian and Baba. Sixteen years of love has a patina, Tess would admire! =D I love that you wrote about the raw side of being a clown. I enjoyed the "sticky, cotton candy grins" and also the "bungee suspenders". My mom used to lock me in the closet when boy scouts came to the door. Anyone dressed differently brought me to tears. Thanks for sharing this life experience.

Mary said...

Happy Anniversary, Brian!

I think it would be a difficult job to be a clown. Last clowns I saw were at the Shrine Circus, and I swear these men were doing it for decades. I think it takes a special calling! (And I often wonder if the 'clowns' are really unhappy people that have to paint on a smile in order to experience joy.)

Other Mary said...

What a thoughtful write. My daughter was one of those scared kids, thought I never forced closeness. Personally, clowns always make me sad.

Myrna R. said...

Happy Anniversary. Congratulations on building a healthy, happy family.

Your poem made me think of my daughter's first birthday. Hubby dressed up as a clown and frightened her to so much that I think it spoiled her party for her. For years, she was afraid of clowns. So much for good intentions.

Daniel said...

Absolutely wonderful my friend. Congrats.

Stafford Ray said...

One of the most challenging gigs around, almost as challenging as 16 years together! Congratulations on all three. The poem, the clowning and the anniversary!

Steve E said...

Conversation:

"My father is a clown."

"Yeah, we know that, but what does he do for a living..."

Sixteen years! WOW! My daughter was once sixteen, now nearly age 46.I ain't gonna tell ya, Brian, how fast the next 30 years will slip by. By the time you read this, yours may be age 46

Enjoyed this, Sir! And your gift-giving should be copied...maybe it now IS!

Cheryl said...

Happy Anniversary week!

I worked taking pictures of kids on Santa's lap as well as the Easter Bunny's lap. The god-awful screaming of those poor kids still sends chills up my spine. Parents can be so damned self-centered and idiotic sometimes.

LadyCat said...

Happy sweet sixteenth anniversary!
Although I think clowns are bittersweet.

ayala said...

Clowns always make me sad...
Happy Anniversary...so sweet of you to hide these presents and to think of all details. I wish you both to always have happiness and love in your life!

happygirl said...

I love clowns. Congrats on the anniversary. This taught me even more about you.

adan said...

nice! and that post-poem write-up was icing ;-)

"Six gifts for Six-teen years....she asked where the other ten were, but i can't tell you my answer either, just know they are taken care of. Smiles."

gonna need a follow-up ;-)

Goofball said...

I think you'd be able to communicate your humor and warmth with or without the make-up without making kids cry

Jinksy said...

What a treasure you and you words are! ♥

Christine said...

couldn't get my kid to sit with Santa I can't imagine what he would have done with a clown, we should all look at it from their perspective, scary...very scary,

Happy Anniversary

Christine said...

couldn't get my kid to sit with Santa I can't imagine what he would have done with a clown, we should all look at it from their perspective, scary...very scary,

Happy Anniversary

hedgewitch said...

Laughing at 'the other ten.' And hey, we're all bozos on this buss--sometimes the smiles painted on are pure protection. Congrats on number 16, bri.

Marie Nicole said...

I was laying in bed resting my headache away when oh snap! I realized my mistake! How the heck could I ever confuse Stephen King with John Irving? Of course I had to rush out here and tell you...

Aren't you glad I came back?

Eva Gallant said...

Happy anniversary! I love 16 presents for 16 years! I also enjoyed the clown post. It's funny how some kids are put off by clowns; and without even having read Stephen King's "IT."

sage said...

There is insight (or a metaphor) in that line about it being too hard to put on your face. Happy anniversary.

Daydreamertoo said...

Oh, I have never liked clowns, don't know why, I always found them scary, freaky and weird underneath all that face paint. LOL
I bet you were a good one though, it seems you out your heart and soul into everything you do.
Awww...congratulatiosn to you both on 16 years. I hope she loves every single one of them :) You old romantic you! Love it!~!

Leovi said...

Very good, this week I found it very tender.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

What a delightful tale. And I love that gift hunt! :)

Speaking of scary clowns, have you read about the Evil Birthday Clown?

Fred Rutherford said...

That's a great tradition you have. I'm going to steal it when that time comes. just letting you know. Love how you saw way, way past the painting, took it to avenues I'd never seen, and I really enjoy these pieces a lot too. Great write.

DJan said...

Clowns are such strange creatures. This is a good one, Brian. I especially love the yellow sunshine... and happy anniversary!

otin said...

Happy anniversary!

KB said...

Clowns didn't scare me until I read It by Stephen King. Happy Anniversary you two!

flaubert said...

Totally sweet, Brian.

Pamela

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Congrats, loved how you ended the ode to your home life.

zongrik said...

ha, ha LOL and all that-> pitures used in therapy sessions. totally!!! this is the kind of picture that will suck the trauma right out of you

Gloria said...

sorry dear I come back and I see dont tell you Happy anniversary Im sure you have a lovely and happy family, happy anniversary to you and your family, blessings


Sorry before only I talk about clawns!

Karen S. said...

Oh how super sweet and thoughtful (I have to begin with this special birthday plan you've set out) cuz it's just so darn wonderful and great for 16! As for the story of the clown, wow that really rocks...I think so many out there want to give it a try and just shy away...more should, and some that do or did should never quit. I love clowns, I know some not so much, but clowns help the world of imagination and happiness go round and round! Hooray for you!

PattiKen said...

Happy anniversary to you and the lucky lady who walks by your side. Hey, did you hear the one about the clown and the dancer who lived happily ever after? I think there's a story in that.

Shawna said...

Happy anniversary, Sunshine. :) This was cute. I am not surprised at all to hear that you were once a clown or that you couldn't last more than a season. I'm sure that was one job you were happy to let go.

Little Ms Blogger said...

At my last job, I worked with a clown. She actually went to clown school and clown conventions. The funniest part of her being a clown was that she wasn't a happy person, always complaining and the forever debbie-downer.

I never saw her dressed as a clown and I only hoped she didn't take her office persona with her when she performed as a clown at parties. Talk about therapy....

Janice said...

Well, aren't you a gem...leaving sweet anniversary gifts here and there. How lovely. Now about those first ten years...?

She Writes Here Now said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY you two!!! Yay for you love :!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Happy Anniversary!! Sounds like all is well in hand. Smiles!!
Have a fabulous celebration week.
Hugs
SueAnn

Catfish Tales said...

Wonderful! My mother was also a clown, not for the big ring but more like a hobbyist who did special events, parties and gatherings. Clown people are interesting. There are layers upon layers in those cracks.

Dave King said...

the kids eyes would roll back in the top of their heads as they went into shock at the trauma as the parents handed them over to us. 'i just want to get one picture. smile, honey,' they'd say as their child went into seizures.

This passage struck mr particularly. I don't know quite why as the rest was equally delicious.

Valerie said...

Winking.... I WANNA know where the other ten are. Congratulations to you both. Have a wonder week.

Raven said...

This indeed made me smile.

Lyn said...

Talk about synchronicity! That's some wave length we coasted along...You said it all very well. So glad you lasted!

izzy said...

I always thought it would take eons for make-up to go on and off!
enjoy your anniversary days!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Whomever came up with the idea that clowns were a good thing should have to spend the rest of their life with clowns.

christopher said...

Live theater is often no less involved daily. Movies less so because it is often a team approach and so not as debilitating to create character.

Congratulations on your longevity in your marriage. You make it sound like the right stuff.

Tara Miller said...

I don't like clowns....but you, my love, make my heart melt. <3

Our joys and our tears are all a part of the special story of "us". Happy 16th Anniversary! And I'm loving my daily surprises by the way ;) You might have some coming your way as well....

Tess Kincaid said...

Nice memories, Sunshine...Happy Anniversary...

Tigerbrite said...

Happy Anniversary.
Must have been quite an experience being a clown :)

Ginny Brannan said...

Enjoyed reading your story, much cheerier than my thoughts. For some reason I always tend to think of a clown hiding sadness behind the make-up.


Happy 16th Anniversary!! Still a "newlywed" in the scheme of things!*smiles* Your wife a lucky woman to be married to such a thoughtful man! Enjoy your week, my friend. Wishing you many more years of happiness!

Sue said...

I think your wife and I both got lucky with our husbands.

Love that you have an anniversary WEEK.

=)

kez said...

How lovely the sentiment ! ...clowns are a bit taboo here bought them for my daughter for years real collector type ones ...26yrs later I find out she hated them ( poor kid ) ..hope you and your wife have a fab anniversary X

Lolamouse said...

I find clowns rather sad for some reason. Maybe the psychologist in me. Anyway, Happy Anniversary! You are such a romantic!

Helena said...

I laughed out loud reading;

'smile honey - as their kids went into seizures.' It's soooo true. I've a circus picture of my kid up an elephant (it's back) and he looks terrified! May blog that soon!

Happy Anniversaries!! x

william said...

hehe some people think clowns are more scary than most things.. they do look weird lol.

The Empress said...

"Know they are taken care of.."

You are too fun.

xo

Bee's Blog said...

I like your tale and it made me smile. I was never one for clowns - there always seemed to be a sadness about them Yet I went to school with the daughter of one of the, if not the most famous, clown in Britain, Carletto "Charlie" Cairoli. She didn't seem to think her Dad was sad! For his history you can read about him on Wikipedia.

Happy, happy Anniversary to you both.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Mmmm - I don't like clowns - but I do love your words!

Happy Anniversary to you both!

Anna :o]

DCW said...

May the next sixteen be as good. You are right . . . if the relationship is to last longterm in reality we need to remove the mask.

I am still learning that and our 22nd was this week.

Magpie said...

Happy Anniversary! So glad that first vocation didn't last.

Chris Okelberry said...

Happy Anniversary!

And cool story...vibrantly picturesque

Kathe W. said...

Wonderful story- even better are your 16 years- Happy Anniversary!

Tumblewords: said...

Happy Anniversary! Clowns are not for everyone. :)

Kathe W. said...

oh- and what about Santa Claus?
Thre's another scary guy!

Margaret said...

Mr. Sunshine... I'm sure you made more laugh than cry. (and I am that parent, thrusting my 18 month year old girl into a dragon's lap at a Renaissance Festival. (I need to dig up that photo and write a poem about it ha ha) My son remembers that day as he got to meet his idol, Robin Hood. My daughter.... well, I think she has forgiven me. Happy 16th! :)

Syd said...

Nice, Brian. This one is so poignant. Nothing like having a marriage with the love of your life. And the idea of the gifts left around is a great one.

Dave King said...

I really admire what you've done here. Brilliantly contrived, both the initial response to the stimulus and the way you have incorporated your own personal celebration. Excellent.

Alice Audrey said...

I did the clown gig one time. That was more than enough for me.