Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns.
Please note that I did not say it was the irrational fear of clowns.
Nothing could be more rational than being afraid of a guy in floppy shoes, fright wig, garish make-up and a red nose.
It is not unlike my fear of bad Irish drag queens. Perfectly reasonable.
I don’t know who first came up with the idea of clowns. I’m sure it was the result of some drunken Graeco-Roman stage gag gone horribly out of control.
It is interesting to note that I don’t have a fear of mimes. I harbour a deep-seated loathing for them, of course. Who doesn’t? But not fear.
I’m also not afraid of the old commedia dell’arte clowns. I do not lie awake at night knowing that Pulchinello or Arlecchino is hiding under my bed just waiting to get up to no good.
Nor am I afraid of Shakespearean clowns… other than the not-unreasonable fear that they might bore me to death.
(Bring on the waterworks!)
Nor do I fear the heart-broken clown in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, although I am embarrassed at the fact that I cry every effen time I hear him sing “Vesti la Giubba.”
Truly, I do. It’s sad yet pathetic. Can’t stop the waterworks. Really.
Nope… the source of my greatest nightmare is the 19th and early 20th century Barnum & Bailey style ‘modern’ circus clown.
Scares the crap out of me.
I get the sinking feeling that the moment I turn my back, the psychotic sociopath who is masquerading (literally) as a clown reveals his true self, thrusting a knife into my neck.
So parents, for the love of all that is good and decent, don’t inflict clowns on your kids. Don’t take them to the circus thinking they’ll have a blast as they watch an ever increasing hoard of serial killers come out of a tiny clown car.
All you are doing is guaranteeing them years on some psychiatrist’s couch, blaming you for why they break into a cold sweat whenever they see Ronald McDonald.