By Greg Price
At last week’s Taber Recreation Board meeting, chairperson Luke Wijna had some really good ideas on how to freshen up the Taber Aquafun Centre on the heels of the facility just recently celebrating its 25th birthday.
No multi-million dollar, unattainable upgrades mind you, just some small things to give the facility a little extra pizzazz to draw more youth into it as the facility has nearby Medicine Hat, Raymond and Lethbridge to contend with.
Unfortunately, there is one of his suggestions I simply cannot go along with in good conscience, for the safety of the fragile well being of our children’s psyche.
That is the introduction of clowns of any sort into the Aquafun Centre, be it through some sort of clown water spray fixture in the kid’s pool, artwork on the floors or walls, or especially letting the demon spawn onto the premise for children’s birthday parties at the Taber Aquafun Centre.
The suggestion has made me spring into action of a bylaw, that I will present to town council, banning all clowns from inside town limits. Birthday parties, parades, promotional ventures…no clowns in any way, shape or form.
As much as I’ve opposed the Taber Community Standards Bylaw in the past, it certainly does not go far enough in the gathering of clowns.
While infamously dubbed the ‘Footloose Bylaw,’ the Town of Taber definitely shouldn’t let clowns be footloose and fancy free, given the false advertising clowns give in the shoe department…they must be compensating for perhaps something else.
For a town wanting more families and businesses to settle here to lessen the tax burden on existing residents and businesses, more clowns will certainly not achieve that end.
How can you trust something with a frozen smile like that to be on the up and up? Recent (legit) stories have surfaced of a group of clowns trying to lure children into a wooden area in South Carolina, along with similar tales in New Mexico to Indiana in 2014. Kids have to cope with enough things from growing up and pursuing their education, do you need to throw Coulrophobia (fear of clowns) into the mix.
Ever see artwork trying to be pawned off at a garage sale? Along with your Velvet Elvis, dimes to doughnuts there is some sort of clown disasterpiece trying to be sold for pennies on the dollar of the original purchase. I certainly remember my uncle and aunt’s painting of a clown in my youth when I visited them in Edson.
The moonlight would shine upon the picture through the curtains, and no matter where I walked in the room, those make-up adorned eyes would follow me.
Flash forward to Stephen King’s 1986 novel, It, in which there was a mini series in 1990 (which I had the displeasure of watching as a teenager, resulting in Vietnam flashbacks of that clown painting in Edson) and an upcoming film in 2017 on the premise where the story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to transform itself into its prey’s worst fears, allowing it to exploit the phobias of its victims. It mostly takes the form of a sadistic, wisecracking clown called Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Coincidence? Have you ever seen a picture of a clown in any photo spread I’ve done of Taber’s parade over the years?
Then you have serial killer and rapist John Wayne Gacy. Gacy became known as the “Killer Clown” due to his charitable services at fundraising events, parades, and children’s parties where he would dress as “Pogo the Clown,” a character he devised himself…before being convicted of 33 murders.
And of course there is the damage that the clown Ronald McDonald does, peddling extremely delicious, but artery-hardening, cheeseburgers for McDonalds. In 2010, the Corporate Accountability International in Boston, Massachusetts suggested Ronald McDonald should retire due to childhood obesity.
Ronald McDonald made a guest appearance at a Lethbridge Hurricanes game I attended last year. I have to thank my friends for pounding on the glass to get his attention so that he would wave to me and move closer to the stands where I was sitting in the front row. I greeted his warm gesture by hightailing it up the steps to the concession…I would have saluted him back with a middle finger, but there were children around.
About the only thing I can remotely say positive about clowns is they leave less of a carbon footprint with so many of them fitting into one car on their way to work. I do not have a bed-wetting fear of clowns, but I have a very definable uneasiness around them. Think of Kramer’s reaction to ‘Crazy’ Joe Davola in the 49th episode of Seinfeld entitled ‘The Opera’, and you’ll catch how I feel about cursed clowns.
Despite my Facebook feed being flooded with clowns by my very compassionate friends celebrating my birthday this week, I stand ever vigilant in my resolve.
I bet if I ran for town council, where my first order of business was passing an anti-clown bylaw, I’d win by a landslide for one of the seats. I’d take a page out of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s playbook where my campaign slogan would be, ‘The only thing we have to fear…is fear itself…and clowns’.
I’ll start making the posters and buttons now.