The greatest show on earth. For others.

I have tremendous anxiety issues, but I am a lot better than I used to be.  My parents can attest to that. 

When I was younger I was afraid of everything: fireworks, drums, Farrell’s ice cream parlor (because they hit a drum when it was your birthday)….basically anything that made a noise, being away from home (like sleepovers with friends) anything new, birthday parties, sleeping with my door open…just to name a few.  There was one mother of all fears though and that one has held on through adulthood.  Clowns.  Creepy, over-made-up, too friendly, clowns. 

I would get invited to birthday parties and a stipulation for attending was whether or not a clown would be present.  There was even a party when I recall my grandmother have a designated time to come pick me up before the clown’s arrival. 

I would have stomach issues for days beforehand…  Oh, the anxiety.  I used to tell my parents that I couldn’t go to the parties because “my hips hurt.”  I don’t even know what that means, but that’s how I felt before pretty much any occasion that wasn’t a normal occurrence – especially birthday parties. 

There was this one exciting time my father got tickets for the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus.  I was pretty apprehensive about this outing, but I thought I would be able to make it.  Even more exciting, he arranged for my sister to be able to go backstage and see the tigers (super cool!!) and I was going to be able to be IN the circus.  The plan was that was part of a group of kids who were going to ride in a unicorn-drawn carriage [at the time, I was unaware that the unicorn was a goat with a horn on its head and black light on it to make it look purple].  I reached deep inside and told my hips to settle down; I was NOT going to miss this opportunity.  How many little girls get to be that close to a unicorn?? 

The big day arrived.  My hips were iffy.  We got to the circus and were in our seats.  I was told the big moment was going to be happening soon.  Then, as the moment grew closer, my parents broke the news to me: someone was coming to my seat to bring me to the unicorn carriage. 

Folks, it wasn’t just any someone. 

The someone was a clown. 

My hips had never hurt so bad as they did then and they probably never will again.  It was awful.  I broke it to my parents that I was NOT going to go in the unicorn carriage if a clown was going to come get me. 

I distinctly remember my mother saying, “Elizabeth, you are going to regret this.”

“What does regret mean?”

“You’ll know what it means some day.”

I know what it means now.  To this day that is one of the very few things I regret.  I missed my chance and I only have a poster of a unicorn head to remember that day.


~ by zuzu on September 20, 2007.

One Response to “The greatest show on earth. For others.”

  1. I had that poster!! I’m sorry you missed it. You could always go now… 🙂

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