As much as this pains me to admit, I’ve been outwitted.
By a 14-year-old student.
If you’re an avid reader of my blogs, you’ll notice a common theme running throughout some of them–that theme being my fear of clowns.
I don’t know why I’m afraid of them. I just am. Maybe it stems from my cranky first-grade teacher, who had a classroom full of hundreds of clowns, or maybe it’s because my best friend and I got hit on by a stumbling drunk clown at the state fair while we were in high school.
Or maybe it’s just the fact that I can’t logic out why any grown adult would want to paint their faces, dance around with balloon animals, and work for a pittance, entertaining little kids at lame birthday parties for a living. Frankly, that sounds like the last thing I’d ever want to do.
In my last blog post, I mentioned that one of my students, Daniel, had written “May the clowns be with you…and also with you” on my office whiteboard.
I thought it was amusing.
Little did I know it would lead to me being the butt of one of the most well-planned pranks ever pulled on me.
A few days after blogging about this, I received a comment on my blog from a clown named “Buttons”. It said this:
“Hey! Love the blogs! Your ‘may the clowns be with you’ line made me want to comment. I’m a professional clown from Chicago! If you live anywhere near there it would be my pleasure to do a birthday party or whatever else you need! Get ready to laugh your guts out!”
Oooooh. Bone-chilling terror set in immediately.
How could this be possible? A real live clown found my blog?!
Luckily, Buttons had left an email address and a website. I checked them both out. Yep, she was a legitimate clown from Chicago.
St. Louis is only five hours away from Chicago. Too close for comfort.
Immediately, I texted the whole saga to Daniel, knowing that he would get a kick out of the thought that his comment on my whiteboard actually led to this whole horrible situation. I even texted him a picture of Buttons, from her website.
He laughed and agreed that it was highly creepy. And then he responded that I better hope she doesn’t pass this off to her other clown friends, because I could end up with 10 clowns following my blog.
Then, a few hours later, I received an alert that I had another comment on my blog.
I gulped and slowly signed in, hoping that this newest comment wasn’t from a clown.
No such luck. This one was from “Belle”:
“Just got done talkin with “buttons”! She’s actally my friend from Chicago. Since im located in Michigan City, which is just East of Chicago we actually went through training together..”clown school” if you will! We were talking this evening and hoping that you would write more clown stuff! Us clowns like a good laugh!! Great blogs and God bless!”
Oh, goodness. Two clowns?!
I scoured Belle’s website. She, too, was a legitimate clown.
Immediately, I did what every fearless, confident young adult would do:
I called my parents.
My parents thought the whole thing was hilarious. My mom did caution me, however, to be careful that I didn’t make the clowns mad. As she wisely told me, “The last thing you want to do is offend a whole bunch of clowns.”
That evening, I posted this subject on my Facebook page. Within half an hour, I received several comments from friends, including several unsought but still useful bits of advice–apparently, my friends took this ironic situation as a mark of my ignorance, and felt compelled to educate me with such sage wisdom as this:
“Never let a clown see your fear.”
“Never hand your cell phone to a comedian in mid-act, as he will always find a way to quickly find your mother’s phone number and dial it before you can stop him.”
“Never say goodbye, never wear sunglasses in a building unless you are trying to hide something, and it is better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”
Finding it curious that one of my friends implied he had actually had first-hand experience with clowns, I asked him what he meant by his “never let a clown see your fear” comment. He cryptically replied, “Once they get their clown shoe stuck in your door of fear, it’s all over.”
Oh, could it get worse?
As I sat in the darkness of my living room, praying that my website wouldn’t get posted on a clown forum somewhere on the internet, my phone rang.
It was Daniel. The words spilled out before I even had time to ask him what was up:
“Cassie, I don’t want to lie to you. Before you do anything, you need to know that it was me. I posted the clown comments.”
Me (incredulously): “Yeah, but they were legitimate clown websites! I saw their pictures, and their names! And…and…they left their email addresses!”
Him (apologetically): “Yeah…I knew you would research the clowns to find out if they were really clowns, so I looked up clowns in the Chicago area and tracked down some feasible ones and left their websites so you would trace it back.”
Me (in wonder): “But…the two comments…they were stylistically different–one had correct grammar and punctuation, and capitalization–the other one was full of misspellings and improper grammar…”
Him (proudly): “Yeah, I did that on purpose, too. I knew you would notice that.”
(several moments pass, as I comprehend the hilarity of the situation)
Me: “Why did you tell me now? You could’ve drawn this out for weeks, and made me think that a whole army of clowns was following my blog–why confess now?”
Him: “Well, uhh…I didn’t want you to call the cops or anything…”
At this point, I just lost it and erupted into laughter, tears streaming down my face. And then I hung up on him.
I suppose the tears were from sheer relief, in part. No clowns. The hanging up part was the result of being totally poned by a teenager.
Never fear–we made amends. And I begrudgingly admit this:
Daniel, you won this round.
But the game’s just beginning, friend…