As my husband left for work this morning, I jokingly said "clown lives matter," not realizing it was already disgracefully trending on Twitter. My husband has reigned as one of the New York City's favorite clowns for the last 20 years and yet the media has suddenly made the profession which historically has one of the longest life expectancies, into a threatened species overnight. I'm not sure how we've become the kind of breed who need reminding - across the globe - that human lives are fragile and valuable - and no joking matter.
Clown stories are flooding the evening news and our social media feeds are blowing up with grotesque clown memes and photos. Folks love to jump on a good bully bandwagon and this one is no different - until it goes too far.
Yesterday Looney Lenny the Clown was outside Maria Fareri Children's Hospital in Westchester, New York, when several construction workers began to heckle him, which has been the norm throughout the entire span of his career, so he thought nothing of it. This time, though, the kidding went too far. "Did you hear a clown got shot in Long Island?" the construction worker said. "Some guy drove up to him and shot him point blank from his car." WHAT THE FUCK, AMERICA - now we shoot clowns?
The story proved to be unsubstantiated, but nonetheless, my husband, who thought he was in the least harmful profession in history, now has to walk trepidatiously through the streets as a potential clown target?
My husband, the CLOWN, is a talented and hilarious comic entertainer, who aside from doing celebrity birthday parties, Fortune 500 events, and large outdoor festivals has consistently visited at least five New York City-based hospitals EVERY WEEK for the last 20 years. He's made over 5,000 visits and has affected tens of thousands of children's lives. He does this at a 75% discount from his regular rate . He is a like am magical medicine man who floats around encapsulated in a bubble of happiness, which is precisely the priceless prescription he delivers to children in pain. While doctors come in to poke and prod and nurses come to administer pills and insert IVs and draw blood, Lenny Lenny the Clown enters the hospital room with the sole purpose of bringing joy and laughter. It's palpable to witness the children's eyes reignite with wonder and delight, happy to be whisked away from their difficult place. This is what my husband, the clown, the comic, the performer does every week.
I wish on no one the darkness having a child in the hospital, but if you've been at this grim crossroads, you understand the hefty impact this clown, this human, this healer, will have on your child, on your world as he fills it will hilarious antics and his unique brand of alchemy. He will be the savior who made your child smile in the bleakest hours and there is nothing more valuable than that.
I'm aware with the election a month away, America has found itself in a three-ring circus, but let's keep the scary clowns in Stephen King movies and out of the headlines.