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Send in the clowns!

Heidi RicePost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried RiceHeidi Rice
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Like many people, Husband-Head and I share some of our most intimate moments in bed right before falling asleep, and this night was no different.On this particular evening, we were having a heart-to-heart conversation about … clowns.”I HATE clowns,” Husband-Head said adamantly, although I’ve heard him express this feeling before. “I was going through my Halloween stuff the other day, and last night I had a bad dream about clowns.”This always cracks me up, because I can’t understand how in the world someone could be afraid of a clown.”They’re just creepy and evil,” Husband-Head insisted. “A lot of people hate clowns. There’s even a website at http://www.ihateclowns. com for people who don’t like clowns.”I didn’t believe him, so I looked it up on the Internet.Sure enough, there are people who are scared to death of figures with white faces, crazy hair, big red noses and oversized shoes.”I’m 40 years old and my family and friends know how much I truly dislike clowns but they taunt me with the fear!” one woman wrote.”If a huge clown was coming after me, I would cry,” another chimed in.Some people weren’t just afraid, they thought clowns were just downright evil.”One day, the rest of the world will see clowns the way we see them,” a website writer predicted. “They are children of the devil … and together we will smite them down and send them back into the fiery pits of hell where they came from!”Whoa.”So, I assume the circus was not a pleasant place to be when you were a kid,” I said to Husband-Head. “What exactly is it that freaks you out? The nose? The shoes? The painted face or the hair?”Husband-Head was silent for a moment.”It’s just wrong,” he finally said. “Clowns are just wrong.”I couldn’t help but laugh.”So, like going to Jack-in-the Box was never an option for you,” I suggested. “Ronald McDonald probably completely freaks you out and we just won’t even speak about Bozo. …”Which brought to my mind the names of all kinds of famous clowns – Slim Pickens as a rodeo clown; Binky the Clown from Garfield & Friends; Chuckles the Clown on the Mary Tyler Moore show; Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons, and of course, Shakes the alcoholic clown from the movie Citizen Kane… just to name a few.”So what if my mom leaves us that big clown painting she has in her living room?” I taunted Husband-Head.”NO!” he retorted. “I’ll burn it! I will not have a painting of a clown in my house! Give it to your sister!”It’s a very large original oil painting portrait of a clown that my mom bought in Holland years ago.I’ve long known that Husband-Head has, shall we say, a little phobia about certain doll-like things. Years ago, I had a bobble-head dwarf kind of thing that my sister had sent me from Germany – I’m not even sure exactly what it was – but Husband-Head immediately took a disliking to it.And then it mysteriously disappeared one day.”I know you did something to it,” I have always accused him.”No, I didn’t,” he has always sworn. “I think that thing got up and walked away and good riddance.”So the next morning after our clown conversation, I went to go in the bedroom and wake Husband-Head up.But first, I found a clown doll that was nestled in with a bunch of other trinkets on the bookcase in my office.I carefully set the clown on the pillow right next to Husband-Head so it would be the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes.”Honey, time to get up,” I softly whispered.He opened his eyes and saw the clown.”NO!” he screamed, hurling the offensive doll across the room.I laughed my ass off.”Yeah, that’s real funny,” Husband-Head said. “You just wait. I’m going to put a mouse on your pillow, only it’s going to be ALIVE!”I am deathly afraid of mice.And if he does that, I’m going to buy the old Judy Collins song, “Send in the Clowns” and play it full blast.Game on.Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or buy her book collection.


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