“Making the World Smile”
Have you ever wondered whether clowns just clown around or do they seem to have a purpose in what they are doing?
In pursuit of the answer I visited Seaside Heights,NJ during their annual “Clownfest”. Initially I started out trying to compose a group shot but quickly became overwhelmed by all the colors and variations of clowns. Big,small, loud,silent, funny,sad… so many to choose from. I decided to stop and head to the boardwalk to re-organize myself. I knew from my map that groups, and single clowns would be at different parts of the boardwalk during certain times throughout the day. I was surprised by how many very young children did not seem to like clowns. They even hid behind their parents when approached. But for every miss there was a home run just around the corner.
When adults and children started to truly interact, magic seemed to change their faces. The clowns also began to feed on this enthusiasm and boy was it infectious. Mimes attracted an older clientele, while balloon making clowns drew a younger crowd. Their colors and antics drew looks and then spontaneous interaction. Every clown had its own personality and schtick, which is pretty amazing considering there were over 50.
I found myself looking away from what they were doing and letting my mind be transported back to when I was a child. All I had to do was stand behind any group of clowns and peer over their shoulders to find a mirror image of a younger me in the faces of the crowd.
The answer…. “clowning around” has a deeper purpose. It provides us with an escape, a stage where we can get in touch with the happier times in our lives. If you don’t believe me then just look into the eyes of an audience, both young and old, who are watching clowns perform. You too will smile as you are transformed back — even if just for the moment.