My Parents Are Clowns: Do Your Friends Have Names?

The last part of a series that started here.

A bowl of pork and beans. Photo taken in the p...

A bowl of pork and beans. You'll understand why later. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So my clown parents moved out of state. I lived on in the house I grew up in until they sold it. I stayed in college, they stayed clowns.

In fact, when they got to their new city, they joined a local organization of clowns.

Yes, Clowns Organize

There are clown organizations. They have meetings, by-laws, officers and elections. My parents’ group even had a coup and deposed its leaders. I called it the coo coo coup.

I guess it was good for my folks to be in this new group. They had ample opportunity to perform and to get out to see their new community.

They also had an instant, but very odd, social group. I’d call from school to see how they were doing. They’d tell me they were going to a dinner party at Honker and Bee Bee’s place. Of course, I’d have to ask “do Honker and Bee Bee have names?” The answer was always “yeah, but I don’t remember them”.

“Yeah, but I don’t remember them.” This from people who’d spent my high school years saying things like “you are not leaving this house with someone named Crunch. Does Crunch have a name and parents? Where does this Crunch person live?” Apparently clowns have no problem living with a double standard.

Who was I to question them? I was twenty one and living on their dime. Off they’d go to Honker and Bee Bee’s place. I met those people a few times, I was never told their actual names.

The Part With An Unexpected Reference To A Song On Springsteen’s Masterpiece Album, Nebraska

image via wikipedia

My parents and their clown group went everywhere. If someone called for a clown, they went.

In the song Johnny 99, Bruce Springsteen refers to “the part of town where when you hit a red light you don’t stop”. What Bruce didn’t realize is that if you are a clown, apparently you do stop in that part of town.

My mom told me about going to a neighborhood festival in a very tough part of town. She got there early, as things were being set up. A woman had a big can of beans to heat up, but no can opener. My mother watched the woman put the can on a table and stab it open with a very large kitchen knife.

Naturally, I had some concerns about her going places where cans were stabbed open and I expressed them. Mom answered “no one hurts the clown”.

Fortunately, she was correct.

My Parents Don’t Clown Anymore

They’re both lifetime members of their clown group.They both rose through the ranks and were elected to office, Mom was the president for a bit. They stayed at if for decades. Then, gradually, my clown parents eased out of their hobby.

But they stayed at it long enough to delight three grandsons and their kindergarten classes with clown shows and balloon animals.

They gave time, energy and concern to countless people. They still do, they just don’t do it with foam noses on anymore.

They still say things like “we heard from Crackers, we’re getting together for lunch”. Out of respect, I do not say “does Crackers have a name? Does he have a son?” I know the answer is that they don’t know Crackers’ name and don’t care if he has a son.

I Wonder…

There is a closet in my parents’ basement. It is full of clown costumes and props.

I wonder if they think about jumping back into their old roles. Maybe they’ll drive off in their normal sized car one more time and lace up each other big shoes when they get to the gig.

The one thing I’ve figured out in writing this rambling tale is that I think I know why they stayed at it so long. They love to see people happy. I don’t think that feeling ever leaves.

Just in case, I think I’m going to sneak in and disable that balloon pump. A come back is fine. That contraption is still evil.

18 Comments on “My Parents Are Clowns: Do Your Friends Have Names?”

  1. AiXeLsyD13 says:

    Genius! I loved this entire series. It’s heart-warming and helps illustrate that it takes all kinds to make the world go ’round …and a special kind to make balloon animals.

    The name thing made me laugh as I was in a punk band many years ago and the drummer was named Boner. I didn’t know his real name (Anthony/Tony) for quite some time, and introduced him to my mother as “Boner”. That was akward enough… then she said “Hi Boner” and it really really really weirded me out.

  2. Betty says:

    No one hurts the clown. Love it. I may have to use that this weekend.

  3. robincoyle says:

    Coo coo coup? Awesome.

  4. Yesterday I found pictures of NotElvis in his NotElvis costume and a cassette tape of him singing — at precisely the moment that I needed to laugh. The funny memories are the greatest treasures. I’m going to guess that you love that balloon pump more than you’re letting on.

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh man, you’ve got to do something to preserve that cassette, get it digitized somehow.

      There are no bad balloon pumps, just balloon pumps that make bad choices.

  5. Omawarison says:

    Yeah Mommom and Poppop’s clown closet, as many times as I was in there as a kid, and as small as it is, I still think I haven’t seen everything in there. It may appear to be limited in technical physical size, but I think if you keep walking into it, it just keeps going. If it squeaks, if its colorful, if it makes a child laugh, smile, or giggle, its there. And that fits Mommom and Poppop’s personalities well.

  6. Debbie says:

    Great wrapup to a fun series! I like that your folks were so giving of their time to learn how to be clowns and entertain others. I like that, much like actors, they “became” their personas (and so did their clown friends). I’m still afraid of clowns, though — sorry!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well done Oma!

  8. tsanda says:

    There is a room full of clown gear? Can you hear at night clown laughter coming from that room?

  9. […] General Bag It–has his own blog “Blurt” ┬áthat you might want to click over and visit–his administration is known for solving world problems […]

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