Sunday, April 12, 2009


I wouldn't necessarily say that I scare easily. Or maybe I do and enjoy that feeling from time to time. The feeling you get after a really good jump scene in a horror movie. Or the feeling you get on a roller coaster. It's kind of a good scared.

The scary that really disturbs me though, comes from clowns. That's right. I have an irrational fear of clowns.

Once while I was in college I went home for a weekend visit. At the time, my sister was in the high school marching band, which involved itself in a number of fundraising activities. This particular weekend, she was scheduled to work the concessions stand at the civic center while the circus was in town. However, something came up and she was unable to do so. And since I had nothing better to do, my parents asked if I'd be willing to take her place. I didn't think much of it, so I said okay.

So there I was, dishing out frozen lemonade at two bucks a cup. And then there was the clown. I only saw the one that day, but that was more than enough. He kept doing laps around the coliseum, and each time he would come to my cart, he felt the need to do something to try to entertain me. Once he gave me a balloon animal. Another time he pulled an enormous novelty coin from behind my ear. On his third time around, I just told him to leave me alone. I tried to say it as calmly as I could, but I'm sure it came out in a more hateful way than I remember or care to admit.

Every time he would walk towards me, I would tense up. I knew that this clown meant me no harm, but that's not the kind of rational thought I was listening to at the time. I guess I didn't really believe that the clown would hurt me or eat me alive. But that didn't stop me from feeling really nervous.

For a long time, when people would ask why I had a fear of clowns, I would tell them that I had a bad experience at a McDonald's birthday party. I had a very elaborate story to tell too. Turns out I'm just a pretty good liar. Yeah, I had a birthday party at McDonald's when I was six, but it was very uneventful, as birthday parties go.

The reality of this fear most likely comes from the circus. As a kid, when my parents would take me to the circus, I would duck down and cover my ears to shield myself from the loud noises. Subconsciously, I suppose I associated those scary noises with the harmless clowns.

Oddly enough, loud noises don't really bother me these days. I mean, yeah, the music seems to be getting louder and more obnoxious as I get older, but I just attribute that to the fact that the popular music these days just sucks.

My fear of clowns persists. It's not as if I close my eyes and have nightmares about them. Generally, I try not to think about them at all. Generally, I do a pretty good job of that.


  1. We all are scared of something or the other. It might be irrational but it is there.

    as discussed in a writer's workshop

  2. it seems like a lot of people are afraid of clowns. i don't quite understand it myself but when i was around 6 there was a clown with purple lips and i started to cry. freaky.

  3. Very interesting. I'm scared of appearing a clown!

  4. Apparently, coulrophobia (fear of clown) is very of the top 10 most common specific phobias.

    I'm not afraid of them.
    I don't like them, but they don't scare me. Be of good cheer: I've even outgrown my arachnophobia!

  5. Clowns are scary - they are grotesque caricatures of the human form, and as such, we are hardwired to find them objectionable. So a fear of clowns isn't that hard to understand - and maybe easier to deal with than being phobic about an everyday thing like spiders!