My Parents Are Clowns: The Atomic Bomb Of ClowningPosted: April 18, 2012
Part of a series that starts here.
I never did get them to tell me just what they were doing with all that PVC pipe until it was too late.
The ultimate clown weapon of mass destruction stood on a metal base. It was about three feet of pipe. Three more feet of pipe slid snugly over that pipe but moved freely up and down it. That top pipe had handles and a cap on the end, with a valve protruding from the top of the cap.
Late one night, I came home and found this thing standing in the living room. I had no idea what it was, and it wasn’t saying. The only two people who could explain it were asleep. I went to bed and waited for sleep, pretty sure that I was not a fan of whatever that pipe thing was.
In the morning, we played the “what do you think it is?” game. The only thing I was certain of was that it would not explode. My dad was still a Federal Agent; building a bomb was not the sort of thing he would do.
On the other hand, if you’d have asked me before it happened, I’d have told you he was the last man on earth who would ever put on clown make up.
It turned out that I was right. It was not an explosive device. But it was equally as sinister.
A Bit Of Self Revelation
When someone refers to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, I think everyone knows the sound described. That noise sends an uncomfortable jolt along the spine of just about anyone.
Through some accident of biology, I have been gifted with a central nervous system that allows two other things to give me the nails on a chalkboard sensation. The first is styrofoam. The sound of it breaking or twisting gives me that creepy feeling all over.
The other is balloons. Inflated latex balloons, twisted or rubbed together give me that feeling so badly that I have to leave the room. If the day ever came that I decided to participate in a riot, the police wouldn’t need tear gas to get rid of me. One officer with two balloons could drive me from the streets.
The Atomic Bomb Of Clowning
My parents had constructed a balloon pump. It was large enough to inflate one of those long, skinny balloons in one stroke of the pump. They needed this because they were learning to make balloon animals.
Soon, the house was full of squeaking balloons. They practiced making things out of balloons constantly. Anyone who came to our house got a balloon hat. They neighbors got them, so did my grandparents.My girlfriends got balloon flowers whenever they stopped by.
Little kids in the neighborhood had balloon animals. When the animals popped, the kids would ring the doorbell and get a new one. Giraffes, dogs, birds, bees, cats…a menagerie of colorful creatures squeaked to life in my house, and then exploded in the front yard.
Of all their creations, the worst was balloon swords. Think about two little kids, drawing balloon swords from balloon belts and having a sword fight. I counted and found that two kids averaged 1400 squeaks before someone’s sword popped and gave me a few moments of peace.
That squeak sound was a regular occurrence. It was awful. Sometimes they’d even inflate scads of those long skinny balloons and shove them into plastic trash bags so they’d be “ready”. Ready for what? Would they use these things to prevent some sort of clown apocalypse? Whatever it was, they had sufficient balloons to be ready for it.
Imagine living in a chalkboard house with long nailed roommates. Life after the balloon pump was that kind of awful.
And Then The Sound Stopped
My dad took a job transfer while I was in college. It seemed like they told me they were moving, put the house on the market and moved out within a matter of days.
I stayed in the house until they sold it. It was a very quiet place, with a few exceptions. (You can read about when my parents left home here)
Once, I thought about building a mallet like they had. It wouldn’t have been the same.
- My Parents Are Clowns – The Beginning. (blurtblog.net)
- My Parents Are Clowns: Always Check The Back Seat (blurtblog.net)
- My Parents Are Clowns: Research And Development Begins (blurtblog.net)