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.Scary - Can't Sleep the Clowns Will Eat MeOnce, 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 Roanoke Civic Center while the circus was in town. However, something came up and she was unable to fill her spot. 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.Scary - PennywiseSo 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 (or did he?), 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 (or would he?). 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.Scary - Uncle Buck


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