Is there any job worse than being a “funny” birthday clown? The answer is ‘Yes.’
As an admitted clownist, I must confess that I do not approach any variation on someone making a living as a clown with an open mind. I see “clown” and I don’t expect that I’ll come away from the story nodding my head and telling myself, ‘nope, I hadn’t thought of that use of clowning, and it’s a good one.’ I dunno. Maybe there are actually clowns out there who make kids in hospitals happy. (Or maybe those poor little ones are too sick and frightened to say ‘back the f off, buster.’)
Anyway, I did not welcome the news that there’s a joker out there who’s trying to make a living as an “evil birthday clown.”
Dominic Deville rents himself out as an "evil birthday clown" who leaves scary notes for your children, warning them that they're being watched and that they'll soon be attacked.
Fortunately, Cruello Deville plies his trade in Lucerne, Switzerland, and I suspect he doesn’t make house calls. But who knows? It may well be ‘have cake will travel.’ (You can ask him yourself. His web site just has a link to an e-mail address.)
Throughout the week leading up to the child's birthday, "The child feels more and more that it is being pursued," Deville told Metro. "The clown's one and only aim is to smash a cake into the face of his victim, when they least expect it, during the course of seven days."
Deville harasses his targets with texts, phone calls and letters to let them know that their time is coming, according to the Herald Sun. ..
Of course, since the creepy stunt is "all in fun," Deville promises to back off if he's asked to by parents.
Having once had the distinct honor and pleasure of being a child, I am well aware that kids enjoy being scared. But in a controlled way: watching Bambi while holding Mommy’s hand, witches and goblins on Halloween, scary stories around the campfire.
Sometimes kids made up their own things to be scared about. When I was growing up, we had a neighborhood boogey-man we called Elmer. (His real name was Bob.) Now I’m not sure if Elmer was mildly retarded or, as the rumor had it, a shell-shocked WWII vet, but there was something “off” about him. He was an every day sight, peaceably strolling around, smoking a pipe, but the little girl scare-mill had him as “looking” at little girls “down there” (that unmentionable part of our anatomy) in the wooded area at the back of Bennett Field. Because of this, you would never use the Bennett Field cut-through on your own. Not doing so added about 5 minutes to the walk to school, but no one in her right mind would take the short cut unaccompanied. (The one and only time I did so was in the dead of winter, when Elmer was not likely to be lurking.)
Now, maybe Elmer was a pedophile, but, to my knowledge, he never did anyone any harm. And, if he had been as harmless as I remember, I hope that we didn’t cause him any pain. (He never seemed upset or rattled when, on sighting him, little girls would squeal and run away.) I remember once, in second grade, walking down Main Street by myself. Across the street, I saw first grader Judy Tynan walking alone, as well, with Elmer maybe 10 or 15 yards behind her.
“Run, Judy, run” I hollered. “Elmer’s right behind you.”
Judy, quite sensibly, took off, and I proudly believed that I had saved her from depredations “down there” at the icky hands of Elmer.
So I do believe that kids are quite capable of taking care of scaring themselves on their own, without their parents paying an evil clown to get in on the act.
The only way I can see this working is if a kid – by which I’m thinking a boy between the ages of 8 and 11 – asks his parents to hire the evil clown as a birthday treat. Or the parents, knowing their child as they do, asks him if he’d like to do this.
The kid then gets the thrill of the harassing texts and phone calls – knowing it’s from a cake-bearing clown, not from some perv who’s going to chop him into pieces and keep the body parts in his freezer. He gets to pull his posse into the game, and get them all on the lookout for the evil clown. And he gets to strategize on ways to thwart the evil clown’s cake toss. Which sounds like the sort of controlled scary fun that many kids enjoy.
But the idea of some parent just springing this on their unsuspecting kid? Talk about sadism…
Meanwhile, in trying to determine what proportion of the population loathe clowns, I came across I Hate Clowns. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but if the store is still active, I’d be delighted to purchase something from it for my clown-hating sister Trish, who has a birthday coming up. (And who sent me this article, meriting a squeeze of the Pink Slip clown-nose.)
Speaking of birthdays, today is my brother Tom’s 60th, so Happy Birthday, Gus. My first memory – age 2 – is of Tom’s homecoming. My parents placed him, in his yellow sweater and bonnet, in the middle of their bed for my sister Kath and I to examine. We decided to keep him. To my knowledge, he has never been stalked by an evil clown.