I’m not mad. I don’t hold any grudges with dear old Pops and if I did there’s nothing I could do about it since he’s dead. Don’t cringe, its not horrible to say that. We all know my sense of humour isn’t the best (or the best, depending on you look at it) I’ve rattled a telemarketer or two in the past when they used to call and ask for my dad. “May I speak to James Whoie?” “Hold on one sec, POP!?…, oh I’m sorry he passed away.”
Well I just wanted to talk about one thing in particular he did for me early on in my life that I will be sure to pass down to my children. He let me watch Poltergesit at age 4. I could handle it, I was pretty bright for my age. I knew it was just a movie. Nothing really got to me. Not the closet, not the TV, not the tree or the bodies in the yard… Oh but wait, that damn clown. You know the one. The one that decided to come to life and go under the bed and shit. Yeah that clown, the same clown that would lead me to multiple spontaneous bowel movements… but not right away. No nightmares right off the bat, in fact it wasn’t a dream sort of fear.
It was an actual real life fear. I would think about it. I would see toy clowns and just know I could not put it past these mother fuckers to come to life. Then of course we had this huge clown painting in the hallway between my room and the bathroom. Can you imagine a small child peering out the door at a painting… writhing from bladder pains. I’d go sit on the end of my bed until I could take it no more. “MOM!!” Problem solved. I have no problem embarrassing myself by admitting that this process was still taking place when I was 16. My room was downstairs. Kitchen was upstairs. I am a midnight snacker. Someone (daddy dearest) determined that the stairway wall was the perfect place for this clown painting. I don’t want to talk about it.
So obviously there is a small issue here. What really set things in motion was my first circus trip after seeing Poltergeist. I expressed my apprehension to my parents about seeing these actual real-life clowns. My dad said “don’t be silly, they are here to make people smile and laugh” Now in my unusual way of thinking, I was like “They MAKE you smile and laugh?!?!?” “Yes” So now I can’t look directly at the clowns because I don’t want some supernatural power making my face smile and chuckle. In my head, as I hid my face and looked away, the entire audience smiled against their will.
Finally it is time to leave, but first I must get a picture with the clown. I didn’t want one, but my dad was a military man so I sucked it up. Which brings me to this picture, taken in Germany circa 1984. I look cute right? Wrong. Check out the body language, look at the half-hearted, uneasy smile… that is pure fear. No one should ever have to go through something like this again. No one… except for my children.