I was let go from my job last week. The rodeo clown industry—like everything else—is in sharp decline. It's sad to see that the most American of activities, tormenting livestock, is on the verge of economic collapse. I blame vegetarians. I was fired for several rodeo clown dress code violations. Things like the wrong shade of orange hair and shoes a little too big. They said I was too gaudy for American Rodeo Association standards. They were looking for more dignified, more conservative clowns. The big question is where do I go from here? And do I have to ride in that Volkswagen Beetle with 37 other freaks?
I took my work seriously, as seriously as one can be expected to take a job where a bike horn is considered a fashion accessory. Now I’m in the unemployment line after 25 years of taking bull horns where the sun don’t shine, 25 years of getting kicked in the face by bucking broncos. I endured a lot of pain. You can bet your big happy butt that I was one of those “crying on the outside” clowns but I loved my job. Now all I have to show for the scars is my retirement gift from the clown guild: a gold carnation that squirts water—that and the student loans for Clown College.
The circus would be a big step down at this stage of my career, too minor league, too humiliating—if the word “humiliating” even exists in my vocabulary. Besides, circus clowns wear way too much make-up for my tastes. I don’t want to look cheap. Old and trashy isn’t a good look for anyone.
They won’t let me do children’s parties any more after the...I can’t believe the newspapers called it a “massacre.” I don’t see what the big deal was. I mean, can we all just take a deep breath and put this thing into perspective? It only involved five kids, three of whom have made almost complete recoveries. Lots of things can be dangerous for children: crossing the street, cleaning products under the sink, running with scissors, and riding their bikes. Is setting off a controlled explosion at a birthday party for eight year olds any worse? OK, obviously I’m being a little generous with the word “controlled” here but you know what I’m trying to say.
There aren’t a lot of job opportunities for a laid-off and disgraced rodeo clown. I wanted to work in the automobile safety industry but they said they only use dummies for crash testing. I guess they didn’t bother to look at my college grades on the resume. If there are three words I thoroughly understand they are “dumb it down.”
They say that it’s never too late for a career change. In my line of work I’d say it’s never too soon to start looking for a new job.