The Crappy Circus

One day, the circus came to town. We were out running errands and the kids saw the classic red and white tents. They went berserk. They tried to bust out of their car seats and smash the windows and jump out of our moving car to get a closer look.

So we decided to take them. Safer that way.

(Now before anyone gets all up in my ass about how cruel circuses are to animals, this was an animal-free circus so you can save your energy.)

We arrive!

I haven’t been to a circus in years. The kids never have been to one. I’m not really sure what to expect.

I know that Crappy Baby and Crappy Boy aren’t big clown fans after taking them to McDonald’s for the first time. But they’ve never been fearful when we’ve seen clowns in books. It probably won’t be a big deal. If anything, they’ll learn that clowns aren’t scary. (Creepy though, right?)

We are standing in the ticket line. There is one family in front of us. As they walk away, the little girl asks:

Her father laughs and says, “Maybe!”

Crappy Baby heard their conversation. He says something about not wanting pies thrown at him by clowns. I reassure him that it isn’t going to happen.

But he won’t budge.

I pick him up and explain that sometimes in old movies clowns throw pies at each other. Because it is funny. Or at least at one point in time it was funny. Now it is just wasting pie.

Anyway, pies don’t get thrown at the audience so he doesn’t have to worry. It isn’t scary.

He is satisfied with this and he relaxes.

We enter the tent and find our seats. I’m thankful that we didn’t buy the super expensive seats in the front two rows. Not only is it scarier and in pie tossing range but also because they are not much different than our cheaper seats.

We settle in our seats and wait for the show to start. We’re about ten minutes early so we apply cotton candy. I love cotton candy. It is the worst possible thing you can eat. Sugar plus food coloring. An excellent snack for the whole family. (Cotton candy = candy floss or fairy floss to those of you from other parts of the world.)

The kids seem happy.

Except that every time a man walks by, Crappy Baby tenses up and asks:

He seems okay though.

Like most circus shows, there are guys walking around vending stuff. Cotton candy, drinks, popcorn and light-up wands that look like lightsabers.

We’ve seen those lightsabers a million times. At the zoo, at amusement parks, on the 4th of July and just random places where families go. We’ve always said “nah” and steered the kids away from them. Which of course makes them even more seductive. The forbidden fruit of glow-in-the-dark weaponry. I know.

So this time I say it is okay. They can each pick one out. Heck, we’re at the circus eating cotton candy on a Thursday. When we go out, we go all out.

The lightsaber guy walks over. He hands Crappy Baby a green one.

Crappy Baby slowly takes it with a solemn look on his face.

It isn’t the reaction I was expecting. Hmmmm

He also gives me his cotton candy.

And he clutches his lightsaber with a determined look on his face.

Just then the lights go dim. The show is starting!

I look over at Crappy Baby and he looks like a deer in headlights. Completely frozen.

I suddenly realize that he thinks he is going into battle. Against clowns.

Maybe he thinks that the lightsaber man was an arms dealer. “Pick your weapon, my son.”

Poor thing. A child knight totally unprepared for war.

I ask him if he wants to sit on my lap and he scrambles over.

Immediately, he relaxes.

And his courage grows.

And we laugh and enjoy the first act of the show.

The first act finishes and there are a handful of clowns on the stage. One is holding a pie.

He gently presses the pie on the face of another clown. Barely even gets him messy! And that is it. The clowns run off the stage.

Crappy Baby says:

That’s it? That is all he’s got? I could totally take down that clown.

He switches off his lightsaber and goes back to his own seat. He pretty much won.

The rest of the show is awesome. Balance acts, trapeze, acrobats and even a man shot out of a cannon. The classic stuff.

As we are leaving the tent, Crappy Boy says he wants to be an acrobat when he grows up.

Crappy Baby says:

And that?




I apologize for offending actual professional clowns. Though I do have one question… why? I’d love to hear what led you down this career path. That way, I can provide the exact opposite for my aspiring son. 

Other circus folk not included. You guys are rad. And fascinating.


This entry was posted in crappy pictures, outings, parenting, terrible threes. Bookmark the permalink.

136 Responses to The Crappy Circus

  1. Lindsey says:

    Even as I type this I am still laughing. How gallant of crappy baby to be willing to defend you from the scary pie-throwing clowns! I hope you gave him lots of gratitude for his manly bravery.

  2. Ruth says:

    Oh god, I chocked on a chip at the “Hold my cotton candy Mama.” I also love how Crappy Baby is designated by his diaper as all-time attire. I wish we could be real life friends.

    • amber says:

      I know, poor kid will be ten and I’ll be drawing him that way. Maybe.

      • Denise says:

        Maybe your family could be like the Simpsons and just never grow up. Though that could be difficult to explain when Crappy Baby is having trouble with his algebra homework.

        • Steph says:

          Actually it would DEFINITELY explain why Crappy Baby has difficulties with algebra … how many baby’s do you know who can do algebra? lmfao :”)

  3. DefOAWife says:

    Great job making that light saber look like it was glowing!!

  4. Well played with the lightsaber, Mom, well played. You gave your kids both lightsabers AND cotton candy. To me that is the best day ever!

    Why have I not seen these lightsaber type thingies? I think they could come in pretty handy. To heck with the kids, I want one!

    You know, clowns could very well be the villains in the next three Star Wars movies now that Disney has gotten their hands on them.

  5. Gail says:

    Ah, I could just picture my 4 year old beating a poor helpless clown with his little green light sabre. good stuff.

  6. Lacey S says:

    I think I hurt my chest trying to hold in all the laughter (I’m at work… shhhh)! Wow, you have a very brave boy there. Me, I am scared of clowns and yet I brave Cirque du soleil every few years. Glad you guys had a good time, and weren’t hit with pies 🙂

  7. Connie says:

    Great new classification…Pie Clowns. He was very brave to guard you.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I have been terrified of clowns ever since my brother made me watch “Killer Clowns from Outer Space” when I was 8 years old. Oddly enough, the clowns in that movie shoot people with popcorn guns and turn them into cotton candy cacoons! Now THAT is scary! So will I be bringing my daughter to a circus? Probably not!

    • Jennifer says:

      Cocoon, sorry!

      • Ashley says:

        OMFG. From ages 6-9 I attended a daycare (in-home, OBV) and the sitters sons watched that movie on an endless loop. I still have nightmares of them sticking straws in those cocoons and sucking out the blood of their victims. *Shudder*

    • amber says:

      For me it was Stephen King’s It. With those sharp teeth. And the dead lights. Shudder.

      • They all float down here! Agh! I hate Pennywise. Ruined clowns for me forever.

      • Liz says:

        Forme “It” just confirmed what I already knew about clowns, that they were evil. Maybe because I watched Dumbo so much as a kid, and those clowns are SO mean to Dumbo. However, I still loved Ronald McDonald as a kid. He helped up the little girl who fell when ice skating!

      • Ashley says:

        I’ve never commented but this brought back memories of a babysitter we had… My sister was only 4 so my brother & I would have been 6 and 8. Our babysitter decided to let us watch “It” … My bro & I got through it okay, but my sister (who is now 24) is to this day petrified of clowns!!!
        (My parents fired her shortly afterwards)

        • Janelle says:

          ::cheers your parents on forever!!::

          Also, Amber, this one is the first one that I actually laughed out loud. It was the sense of dread and seriousness you set up with Crappy Baby. PERFECTION in writing. Absolute perfection. And illustrated perfectly to boot. KUDOS

      • Jennifer says:

        I have never seen “It” for obvious reasons. However, I have always been curious because I absolutely love Tim Curry.

      • Kathleen says:

        It never bothered me because I knew that under all that creepiness and makeup was Tim Curry, who I love! Real clowns don’t really bother me but inanimate clowns (dolls, lamps, etc) freak me out a little bit.

    • Shireen says:

      OMG!!! When I was dating my husband I told him that movie was so scary to me. He googled it and from that day has continued to this day to make fun of the popcorn guns and cotton candy coccons and me. Glad to know I’m not the only one who freaked out at that movie.

  9. Denise says:

    SO cute! I remember when my son was 2, he had a fascination with Abraham Lincoln (I have no idea why). He had learned that he had died and he cried (the sobby kind, not just tears). I told him it was a long, long time ago and it only helped little. A few months later we went to a show put on by the Army. It had reenacments, and in one of them was Lincoln. My son turned to me and said, “Lincoln okay?” And because it was loud and dark and not a good time to explain I said yes, he’s fine now. (Not my finest mothering moment, but it gets worse). Our cat had died a few days earlier so Tommy asked, “Is Kitty okay too?” Like I said, it was dark and noisy, I just said, “Nope, she’s still dead.” Not my best moment, but it was hilarious!

  10. KiwiBunnz says:

    I currently have about a million reflections to write for my midwifery portfolio which is due in on Monday. (Yes, I should have been writing them all year… but I’m a student, that wouldn’t be ethical). I just wish I could write/draw as well as you – while it is a formal assessment, we (as in the royal we) are tree huggers, so we like creativity… I think I might have kept up with them if they were fun! (This post is O for Oarsum (Kiwi reference) as usual)

    • Kelly says:

      While working on your assignments (you know, the ones you’ve procrastinated on) try to avoid (or not) the use of parenthesis (brackets as I like to call them) in your formal work (it might impact your grade (or it might not ( I dunno ))).

      • Janelle says:

        That. Was awesome, Kelly. Serious.

        Kiwibunnz: you CAN use them but ONLY if you use them with such parenthetical ease and awesomeness like you did in your comment and what Kelly illustrated here. I, as an actor, LOVE both comments. Clear asides and I could read them (or even act them out) with ease.

  11. Justine says:

    Hilarious! you have such a way with words and pictures to make me laugh out loud for real all the time 🙂 and thanks for going to an animal free circus 🙂

  12. Amy says:

    I laughed and laughed at the visual of Crappy Baby preparing for war against clowns – in his diaper. Reminds me of a nightmare I had once. That pause, that wait to see their reaction when facing some formative moment, the wait to decide if Mommy needs to intervene…. it’s so familiar and central to being a parent. You write beautifully!

  13. tara says:

    Haha so cute! Clowns are definitely terrifying. I need a light saber protector.

    Trapeze artists are the coolest!

    Now I want to pie somebody in the face.

    • I feel like Madagascar 3 spoiled the circus for me forever…. I’m going to spend the whole thing waiting for the jetpacks, aquatic cobras, and balloons to the children of the world.

      Also, as a kid I always had an obsession with the whole pie to the face thing… Pie was a rare treat at our house (Thanksgiving or maybe a birthday) and I couldn’t believe they could throw entire pies around like that.

  14. Lizzie says:

    When I went back to my alma mater for a concert the fall after graduation, a group of recent alumni sat under a tree together and discussed life since entering “the real world.” The ONLY classmate present who had secured (paid) employment had quite literally run away with the circus. (I feel compelled to mention that this wasn’t a group of community college alumni- our college is always in US News and World Report’s top 20 and produces employable graduates!) In this economy, perhaps Crappy Baby is onto something!

  15. Nancy says:

    Was I the only one who expected this to go the direction of “glowing green penis?” I need serious therapy…

  16. hmr says:

    “…the lightsaber man was an arms dealer.”

    In the name of all that is holy, I laughed so hard I scared the cat.

  17. Clodia says:

    Dear lord, I loved this. I can’t express how awesome it is that Crappy Baby thought he was going to fight clowns. I hated clowns when I was little; I used to hide under the bleachers at the circus when the clowns came around. When I was an older child I knew a woman who was a clown, and that helped me get over the being scared of them, since I had seen her without clown make-up. It was easier for me to then understand that they were in fact real humans as well (albeit with a weird hobby.)
    Also, it’s pretty cool that there are animal-free circuses now; I’d never heard of that before.
    Anyway, rock on Crappy Baby!

  18. Rachel says:

    Coulraphobia (I think); phobia of clowns. My now 4 yr old has this profoundly, something I only discovered after stumping up the cash for an expensive membership of Gymboree (music and gym for toddlers based around a clown character…). It now extends to anyone dressed up in a large outfit, including the Teeth Cleaning Alligator that visits nursery, and Father Christmas. I guess that means I’ll have to visit the circus by myself, as it sounds fab!

  19. Sunny says:

    YOU ARE SO FUNNY! crappy baby is totally a crappy little kid now.

    • Naomi says:

      He is isn’t he? It was his ‘little-man-manhood’ moment. Awwwwww. And Amber shared it with us. 😀

  20. Jackie says:

    We have really come very far as a people when we recognize pie in the face as no laughing matter, but rather an egregious waste of pie. Well put.

  21. Raven says:

    Okay. I confess. I WAS a clown for a while. (The kiddie party variety). A friend got me the gig, which started out as costumed characters such as Snow White, The Little Mermaid, And Ninja Turtles (not my best look, by the way). We were poor college students and it was a lighthearted-seeming way to make a few bucks. (Kiddie parties are really brutal, and you have not known hell until you spend a few hours in a K-Mart, dressed as Michelangelo the turtle, hawking blue light special crap to sticky children and their tired parents.) On the lighter side, I got to be in parades, I could do almost anything and not be recognized, and it was an easy way to crash parties…I even went to a gubernatorial inaugural ball in mime attire). Plus, I got to learn new skills! Like balloon animals and facepainting. Now, as a mom, I have only recently had to explain to my children why there is a clown costume and makeup hidden in the back of my closet. The teenager was indifferent, the tween was thrilled, and the preschooler was equal parts mystified and terrified. If you want a real look behind the scenes in the life of a clown, read Monica Drake’s “Clown Girl”. You’ll be grossed out and simultaneously have more sympathy for clowning folk… 😉

    • amber says:

      I knew a clown would come out of the woodwork! Costumed characters at kid parties? That has got to be one of the hardest and most exhausting jobs ever. The fact that you have a clown costume hidden in the back of your closet is the funniest part! LOL

    • annie says:

      Oh this comment reminded me of the Walmart commercial where the dad dresses up as a clown for his kid’s birthday party. I can watch that a hundred times and still laugh so hard I cry!!

  22. Greg says:

    I love your stuff – holy crap you are funny and we see life through equally distorted lenses. Thanks for chronicling the craziness of bringing up the Sprogletts!

  23. kylie ford says:

    Hello love your story as always maybe soon crappy baby can just wear boxer shorts and no shirt that seems to be the dress code in our house

    • Michelle Thomas says:

      LOL, that’s all my 5 year old wears at home too 😉 It’s really hard to get him into clothes 😉

  24. Lori says:

    I am terrified of clowns! So when my oldest was 3 my mom decided it was time to take him to a circus. A shriners circus. Many many clowns! She also bought front row tickets. So clowns were always an arms reach away. My mom bought just a sword for him( they has a sword swallower& were making a big deal of it. Plastic swords aplenty). As we waited for the show all these clowns came over to my son. He looked at them & through squinty eyes drew his plastic sword & yelled “GET AWAY FROM MY MOMMY! SHE HATES CLOWNS!” Five grown men in clown outfits looked from me to him& started laughing. It hurt his feelings. He still holds this against clowns( he is 8 now).

  25. Luckily, my son has not inherited my all-encompassing (and TOTALLY justifiable) fear of clowns. About a month ago, we visited a sweet little farm festival. Hay rides, fried apple pie… and a f*cking clown. My son was completely mesmerized while this grotesquely painted, 5 packs a day smoking, creature from the darkest depths made him a balloon… thing. It was supposed to be a sword but it looked way more like a giant blue cocknballs… My son proceeded to run around the festival challenging complete strangers to a duel with his handful of genitalia badly in need of some ointment. Gawd… I was so glad that mess popped when he started going at the hay bales….

  26. Heather says:

    I love this whole post, but the “Pick me up.” frame particularly got me. I have such a love/hate relationship* with the fact that in a toddler’s life, the safest place to be is in the arms of a parent.

    *Mostly love, though. But it can be awfully exhausting to carry around a 35+ pound uncertain person.

  27. Jennifer Scogin says:

    A good friend of mine we, danced and sang together in a group, her dad was a professional clown and one of the head instructors at Clown University (yes, there is a Clown U the all the circus clowns go to). It was funny because she grew up spending he childhood amongst clowns and she would go guest teach at CU. She actually recently met her husband at CU and so know they are a whole family of clowns! They are the COOLEST people EVER!

    • amber says:

      A family of clowns? Okay, that is fascinating too. But…why? Because you get to be goofy and uninhibited while in costume? Slightly appealing. And that is awesome that there is a Clown University.

  28. Chris Carter says:

    Oh man….I was seriously (in some vile and weird way) hoping the clown threw a pie right at crappy baby and he SWOOSHED it away with his sword!!! Oh that would have been the COOLEST ending EVER!!! Oh well. Maybe the next circus. My favorite part though? Your disclaimer at the beginning. SO freaking great. 😉

  29. eccentricess says:

    Absolutely adorable.
    Timing is everything when it comes to buying your child their first lightsaber!

    And Circus is the best fun ever – I have to ask… were there any hoop acts?

    • amber says:

      Yes! The 3 daughters of the ringmaster did a hoop act. And another woman did one while suspended in the air.

  30. Pami says:

    My husband was a clown as part of an extracurricular activity in high school. His troupe would go to the local feeder schools for pep rallies and morale boosters and that sort of thing. He really enjoyed doing it, and I love hearing his stories!

    As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do “in real life”, his character was loosely based on martial arts (he was named Bruise Lee). One of their skits was Bruise Lee teaching the other clowns how to do a high kick. While he was facing him, the others would get it all wrong, fall over each other etc. When he would turn his back to his clowns and complain to the audience about it, the troupe would all do the kick perfectly in unison. He said the hardest part wasn’t teaching them how to do the kick for the skit – it was teaching them how NOT to do it once they got it down. 🙂

  31. Liz says:

    My band director’s father was a professional clown. He made over $50 an hour and could set his own hours.

    What I don’t get are the Emmett Kelly style clowns.

  32. Was I the only one who thought, “Oh no, he’s going to whack a clown!” when the light saber entered the picture?

  33. Regina W says:

    I went through a clown mini-university when I was 16. I decided to do it because it was an easy way to be involved in reaching out to people/kids to make their lives a little happier for a while that didn’t involve me being me. I’m a pretty reserved, shy person normally. My favorite (though I think favorite is the wrong word) place to go as a clown was the Give Kids the World Make-a-Wish Foundation village. Every month a group of us would go and just walk around the village interacting with the families, passing out balloons, entertaining with various tricks (I love juggling, so that was generally what I did). It added to the specialness of the place and made me feel like I was giving something to these hurting families–something I couldn’t give them as a normal person.

    So that’s a little bit of the “why.” I’ve let my clowning fall by the wayside now with two little kids running around, but I do have a costume, make-up, and my wig still stored away waiting for some reason for me to need it.

  34. llaney says:

    My mother was a clown when she was in her mid-40s. She wasn’t a great mother when I was a little kid (pregnant in high school in 1955 will do that to a person) and she did not relate well to children until she became a grandmother (mom was 43 when my daughter was born) and then she realized she LOVED toddlers and preschoolers and LIKED elementary school kids. So she went to Ringling Bros. Clown College in Florida and became a professional clown, with an official clown name registered in the Clown Name Bank.

    She worked with the Ringling Bros. for a few years (she did not travel with the circus, just performed with them when they came to Arizona, where she lived) and also made personal appearances at things like Zoo and Veterinary Hospital openings, and also at various Children’s Hospitals, on behalf of Ringling Bros. She quit after about 10 years, but she always speaks fondly of those years. And she can still make some pretty cool balloon animals!!!

  35. That? Is wonderful. And I don’t just say that because I fear clowns (which I do), but because this story is so much better than the “Crappy Family Circus” idea that came into my mind when I saw the post title.

  36. Sara says:

    I think Crappy Baby clutching the glowing lightsaber is my favorite crappy picture EVER so far.

  37. Elinor says:

    Omg, laughing and crying and omg. I hope my son one day chooses his weapon to defend me from pie throwing clowns.

    Also, this? “Now it is just wasting pie.” Genius.

    Have you ever read anything by Terry Pratchett? (You totally should, great satire.) His take on clowns is epic.

  38. Kim says:

    Ohmygosh I hate clowns SO much. SOOOOOooo much!!! I’m 39 and I’m not over it.

    People always think it’s funny to show me pictures of scary clowns (like Pennywise from Steven King’s “IT”). I let them think those scare me but it’s NOT the scary looking clowns that frighten me. It’s the ridiculously-so-fucking-happy-it-hurts-to-look-at-painted-on-smiles-giant-ass-red-nose clowns. THOSE clowns are terrifying.

    *sigh* Crappy Baby is awesome for protecting you. My kids just taunt me. Little turds.

  39. Lee says:

    Super cute! Crappy baby is so brave. (BTW, thanks for going to the animal-free circus!)

  40. Dianne says:

    Glad he didn’t jump out of his seat, run down to the arena/stage, and take out that pie clown!! You are the awesome-est mom evah – cotton candy, the circus, AND a light saber all on a Thursday. You so rock!

    p.s. When I got to the email announcing this fun post, I read it as “Crappy Citrus.” I was curious, for sure. Imagine my delight that it was really about the circus and not citrus. Although I’m sure you’d have made citrus equally hilarious. Not sure if there would’ve been cotton candy involved, though.

  41. Kara says:

    Is there anyone left in the world who DOESN’T think clowns are creepy? I don’t know anyone who actually thinks they’re just funny!
    Go crappy baby for protecting your mum!

  42. Carolyn says:

    This reminds me of the time our house alarm went off unexpectedly because the garage window sensors are screwy. When my husband was about to go to the garage to check things out, my son handed him his Anakin Skywalker lightsabre and says in all seriousness, “Here. Take this. Just in case.” Classic!

  43. Tessa says:

    When Crappy Baby said, “Hold my cotton candy”, I was waiting for him to jab the sales guy. Kind of sad that he didn’t. That would have been great. LOL

  44. Kammie says:

    I love you! You are so “real”. Love how you made a point about the circus having no animals. People get crazy about saving animals. I love animals too but It’s almost more important than saving human lives these days. I guess too much of anything is bad!

    • Phaedra says:

      I completely agree with you!

    • Mariah says:

      I agree too about people being crazier about protecting animals than they are about protecting people. I guess they like animals better because if an animal does something bad to you it’s more instinct than disrespect. It’s unfortunate, though, that we have these 5-minute-long commercials about abused animals and virtually nothing on TV about abused people.

      Anyway, that being said, I do appreciate animal-free circuses. I’ve been wanting to go to one for a while. My favorite parts have always been the acrobats and the trapeze artists anyway. So awesome.

  45. Claire H says:

    I always imagined that clowns (some of them anyway) were the circus acrobats or tightrope walkers who were too old to do the very physical acts anymore. I assume I made this up at some point.

    • Jessie says:

      Huh, you might be on to something there, at least for maybe a few clowns here and there that actually travel with circuses. It would seem logical that if they were too old to do the physical acts anymore or got injured somehow and it prevented them from continuing that particular line of work, they might turn to clowning if they wanted to stay with the circus.

  46. Jen says:

    I too grew up in a family of “Children’s Entertainers”, or clowns. I was trained in face painting and balloon modeling from the age of about 10. I’m now 24, and no longer dress up as a clown or do kids parties, but sometimes I really miss it! Perhaps one day when I have kids, the paintbrushes will come out again. Maybe not the outfit though. That shit was just plain scary.

  47. First of all, I love that after the last post’s what/butt rhyme confusion you went full disclosure with fairy floss for the overseas readership. Awesome.

    Secondly, I love how serious crappy baby’s face was before he got into your seat. My boy did that one time when I jokingly acted scared of a bug that he was afraid of. He pulled together all the courage he could, manned up (or should I say babied up) and stomped it. He was so, so brave.

    • Crystal Armstrong says:

      “babied up”- love it!
      I frequently say to my 11 week old son “pull yourself together, man!” when he’s crying because I don’t get the bottle fast enough.

  48. Ginger says:

    LMAO oh my goodness!!!Totally laughing while typing this, my 16 month old son is trying to see what I am laughing at. Also at the same time trying to swat his hands on the keyboard. Anyways I really liked how you did the “glow” of the glowstick!! 🙂 Very cool!

  49. Emily S. says:

    I hate when I read your blog in a public place (ballet studio lobby) and start guffawing… Thanks for the smile! 🙂

  50. Crystal Armstrong says:

    “Now it’s just wasting pie.”
    That was exactly what I was thinking about the pie throwing, too.

  51. Michelle says:

    LOL! I absolutely love the very end…”why? I’d love to hear what led you down this career path. That way, I can provide the exact opposite for my aspiring son.” Hahahah! You rock mama!

  52. Kelly @ Creating a Family Home says:

    That was rich! I love it when your blog makes me laugh out loud –like, every post. My nursing infant must love it — poor guy, I’m always startling him. 😛

  53. Heather says:

    There is a rather large youth circus in my city for kids aged 3-22. My 8 yo daughter takes classes and freaking loves it. There recently was an older boy who ‘graduated’ and began touring with a world famous clown named Bello. But, just as most high school football players never join the NFL, most of the circus kids go on to college and more ‘normal’ careers.

    I must admit, while they teach clowning I’m far more a fan of the acrobatic and balance classes. No fears here, clowns just aren’t funny.

    Oh, and I start an adult ‘Circus Arts’ class next week. 🙂

  54. Beth says:

    This may be my favorite post ever! It had it all!!! Thank you for doing what you do.

  55. Heather says:

    Damn, forgot to say how much I loved this post. LOVED. The glowing lightsaber was pure awesomeness.

  56. Jamie says:

    This reminds me of an incident from my own childhood. The Minnesota Orchestra was having a kids’ day or something, and I got to go. I spotted a gong on stage immediately, and sat petrified in my seat throughout the entire performance, waiting for the sonic boom that would knock out the room when someone struck it (thanks, Looney Tunes!). Somewhere near the end of the performance, someone *did* strike it, and it was the most anti-climactic thing I had yet encountered in my young life. “That was it?” indeed. But the terror must have left an impression on me, because I still remember it clearly.

  57. Michelle says:

    Hilarious! The writing and the pictures captured the moment brilliantly! :0)

  58. Elle says:

    My son use to like clowns until he saw an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine in which a stray cork knocked a clown’s red nose off. He ran shrieking with horror into my arms. Now he’s afraid of clowns.

  59. Roy Conelly says:

    Great article! I actually enjoyed reading this!

  60. Jason Good says:

    “I protect you from pie clowns”

    Pie = delicious. Clown=funny/sad


  61. Anel says:

    Candy floss. Here in South Africa and in my language, we call it spook asem = GHOST BREATH… coooooool!! Heheheheheeeee.

    • I like that! In France (which is not where I am from) they call in barbe à papa which is “Papa’s beard”. I love that one too! (My dad is a Russian Orthodox Priest and has a beard like Santa…he also looks a little like Santa. Tangent – Children actually get confused when they see him hanging out somewhere on December 24th. Orthodox Christmas is Jan 7).

  62. Jessie says:

    “Now it is just a waste of pie.” Love it!

    But I have a hypothesis that those “pies” are usually just made solely of whipped cream, pudding, or possibly even shaving cream, because can you imagine being hit in the face with an actual pie with a crust? Ouch! Any “pie clowns” out there who can confirm or deny my suspicions? 🙂

    • Angel says:

      They are usually whipped cream. NEVER shaving cream, since the chemicals in it (particularly pre-1960’s formulations) can damage the eyes. Pudding is to thin and too heavy to stick to the face.

  63. Carol Winsor says:

    I really have to stop reading these posts. My coworkers and boss are beginning to wonder and my random bursts into riotous laughter and tears.

    And I’m going to have nightmares of pie clowns now.

  64. Deneen says:

    Totally agree that clowns are creepy. Yay for you guys to make a great day at the circus!

  65. Fabel says:

    So funny! What is it about circuses? I remember the first time I went as a child, & spent the entire show with my hands over my ears because of some idea I had that they’d shoot cannons! (without any warning, I guess?)

    They didn’t.

  66. Azara says:

    I especially liked your very last line about the career path. This was so awesome that I feel like packing up my 14 week old and 2.5 year old and roaming the countryside until we find a circus, just so the toddler can experience the wonder of pie-throwing clowns right now.

  67. Lawmommy says:

    I needed this laugh today, thank you.

    My girlfriends and I recently were able to take our kids to a private showing for the circus. (The big one…the one that’s not animal free and that tours all over the place with the big train. Yes, that one. We went. We did. THE TICKETS WERE FREE FOR A PRIVATE SHOW, so…seriously, how could we not go??? Also, they didn’t use any animals in this one hour private show.)

    Anyway, the clowns came out to amuse our kids, and my girlfriends and I turned to eachother and said (and I’m not making this up) – “That is one hot clown.” And he totally WAS. He was a smoking hot dude in a clown suit with an exotic eastern European accent. I think there were problem a dozen mid-western moms who would have molested that clown, given the chance….why he was a clown, though, I have no idea.

  68. Amber says:

    I just knew this was going to end with y’all getting hit with a pie! What a brave little guy you’ve got 🙂 I was cracking up reading this, so of course I have to read it to my husband, but I could barely finish it b/c I was laughing so hard. Too funny!

  69. Megan says:

    i’m so happy you said “rad” … i’ve been working on bringing it back, and your assistance is very helpful 🙂

  70. Robonanny says:

    My son’s godfather is a clown called “Eek”. He knows clowns freak some kids out so when he did his act for my son’s 4th birthday party, he arrived at the party in his motorcycle leathers – cool, not scary, right? – and said hi to everyone.

    Eek then changed his trousers in private (bathroom, iirc) but put the rest of his clown outfit on in front of the kids, so they could see the transformation and not freak out. It worked beautifully and everyone had a great time giggling at his truly terrible jokes and magic tricks.

    Best of all was his own special magic word – not “abracadabra”, but “f-f-f-f-f-f-fffff…” All of the adults present were waiting for him to fluff it and accidentally say “fuck” in front of the kids, so they laughed more than the kids did!

  71. Lisa says:

    A couple years ago, there was a clown named “Buffo” entertaining at a Cub Scout Event. He was kind of interesting, but all I remember is some of the other mothers commenting that they had seen him as the “entertainment” at a bachellorette party. Couldn’t look at him the same after that…

  72. Melissa says:

    My grandmother collected glass clown figures, so I never thought they were scary. Now that she’s passed on I have about 10 of them that creep out all of my friends.

  73. TC says:

    Aw, this was really sweet. Maybe my favorite post ever.

  74. nina sapir says:

    cotton candy is called grandma’s hair in Israel.

  75. Nessa says:

    I used to live next door to one of the real Bozo the clowns in the early 80s. Had a college roomate whose dad was a clown part time. They’re following me….

  76. Katia says:

    I laughed so much reading this. It’s funny and touching at the same time. When I finished reading I asked three year old what he tought of clowns. His response: What do you think of Humpty Dumpty. Stumped.

  77. Darcie says:

    ROFL, your blog is good medicine 🙂 Kuddos on the glow-in-the-dark effects, your crappy pictures are the best and not crappy at all. btw, is crappy baby going to get more clothes one day?

  78. Rachele says:

    I’ve been a professional clown in San Diego for 20 years (since I was 14). I started because my parents were Christian magicians and puppeteers; we went to a conference and I didn’t want to hang out with them. The clown classes were the only classes they weren’t taking. After that I simply made connections that continued me down that path. In high school, I made more money in one hour then most my friends made during a shift at a fast food place. It’s a fun job and I can do it part time or full time or as needed.

  79. Marianne says:

    That is so cute!! It is funny how these thoughts get into their minds. Regarding Cotton Candy… there really isn’t as much sugar as you think in it. It is mostly air. 😉

  80. Bianca says:

    Favourite post ever! I love Crappy Baby!

  81. Matt says:

    This post has an awesome narrative… great story telling!

  82. Meghann says:

    OMG! I was literally laughing so hard that I was crying! Hil-ar-ious! My husband even stopped watching House Hunters to see what was so funny and when I read it again with him, I was giggling all over again.
    Thanks for doing what you do (and for sharing your totally adorable family)!

  83. Jessica L says:

    Was this Circus Vargas by chance? We saw them this summer in Irvine and it sounds quite similar. I think we even sat in the same seating area.

  84. Marci says:

    This is just what I needed today! Hilarious!!!

  85. Lauren says:

    That was fantastic! Also, I admire the “scene” where the lightsaber/anti-clown weaponry glows. Impressive! Your blog is so funny and I love it!