Tears Of A Clown


in essence
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Oxfordshire uk
Palfi the clown calls, tears of laughter or tears upon tears of the real sad thing pouring out the phone. With real clowns it's hard to tell........ But he's a beautiful loving human being who needs a break from being sad. And through all those tears he told me a joke.......

Did you know, Henry Ford invented a laughter fueled car..........
But he couldn't market it because it was the depression.

Palfi travels far, anyone out there know the guy, give him a call.

Your clown needs you.

- c -
Palfi usually calls me. I don't like to call him because, well, even with all the laughter, those tears are just so goshdarn depressing!

On a Saturday in June of 1994, he showed up at my door and wanted to go on a bike ride, as per usual in those days. He had one of those clown bikes, you know, where over a hundred people can fit in there. I had my own bike, though, and didn't ride tandem with Palfi. Didn't quite trust him them.

We stood outside my parents' house in the 'burbs, Palfi and I, smoking Pall Malls and not talking. Palfi, usually quite verbal with me, instead mimed a sad story.

We rode our bikes and got coffee, ate patty melts and waffles at Waffle House. Outside, beautiful banks of weeds grew. The sun beat down. The Waffle House filled with smoke and country music. And all those people staring at poor Palfi. Poor Palfi with his painted-on face, bulbous nose, painted on tears.

I touched his face. He smiled like he does, red lips, quirky. The grease paint slid off onto my fingers. I dabbed it under my eyes.

Palfi mimed to me the following: now you have the touch of the clown.

"I know," I nodded to him, tracing my finger over his lips, putting that red paint on mine. My mask, my very own mask.

That paint is heavy. The more I took from Palfi's face and put on mine, it didn't matter. He still had his own face. I couldn't take it from him, couldn't relieve him of his grief.

Sniffling, I took the red paint, took off my shirt, painted a red raw heart there on my chest.

Now you have opened, Palif mimed. I sobbed.
Perpetual deafness engulfs the clown. His look communicates something to me, something along the lines of, "We are mired in rot." I could still peel my mask away easily, but Palfi's is permanent and contagious. Thick sadness dabs the darkness under his eyes. He hasn't slept.

Perpetual silence, mute, is what Palfi surrounds himself in. He honks his nose, squeak squeak, sure, offers a smile, but he is dead and dead and dead again. A walking undead clown. Now there's something to be frightened of.

"Palfi, you haven't been taking care of yourself," I tell him. He holds up a hand tipped with neglected fingernails, flashes a false smile of unkempt teeth. Palfi lights a cigarette and inhales death.

Then he speaks.

"Not much work left for clowns these days." His voice is broken, deep, cracked with grief.

I watch Palfi, thinking no clown lives there while looking into his dead eyes. When he is satisfied with the smoke in his lungs, he stabs the cigarette out on his hand, does not flinch. No tears, no smile, nothing.

Inside his chest, I swear I hear his heart break.

You play a game of fiction. Palfi is a real person and nothing to do with your assumed fictional writing. It would in fact hurt him to see your words. If you wish to fictionalise a clown could you post on the Fictionalise Yourself thread.

It just feels so wrong to write about him in this way.

- c -
Is that a profession, or a hobby
I remember you writing something about being on the lawn at the Whitehouse, what else does your clowning work involve?
I haven't worn that costume or face in over a dozen years...

Couple years ago I was a member of the DingBats, we performed on dugouts between innings at baseball games. I occaionally perform as a DumbWaiter...I look like a waiter tux shirt and bow tie...but am a clown without makeup at fundraisers and fancy catered dinner parties... I used to perform as a juggler, did a couple of NFL Redskin halftime shows and once opened for John Cougar Mellencamp. My performing today consists mostly of the occasional Emcee job, or some variety juggling, improv stuff...and it is few and far between, I don't promote it or seek it out. I do help organize some workshops for performers which is recognized as a masters level theatrical arts course.

I did some street performing, school shows, corporate events, picnics, fairs and birthday parties back in the day...but when the twins were born I pretty much quit...

I've got an urge to go play at some nursing homes...that was always fun, I'd juggle and goof down the hall...and then give unicycle rides. A lot of the facilities are in quadrangles with courtyards...and I'd get behind their wheelchairs and roll them around the hall with me on my unicycle behind them, wind in their hair and smiles on their faces, we'd dodge the nurses and other residents... they'd line up along the corridor waiting their turn...

reminiscing brings a smile to my face...I oughta start painting up the kids and build a routine...and go play again...
wil, that is awesome!! At first, I was all like, "How can you give a unicycle ride?? What, do they sit on his lap?" But that image you conjured up of you pushing them merrily along with your clown costume and unicycle... fantastic!

Viva la clown!

And Palfi, I am sorry. I knew not what I did. :(
Is that ICP, 17th? I was speaking with someone the other day about the dark carnival, lol.
That's a photo of you? lol... nice... I used to kinda HALF dress up like a clown years back... more like this though. http://www.pub.umich.edu/daily/1999/nov/11-01-99/photos/icp.gif Playing on the darker sides of a clown...
Yeah, that was about my forth incarnation as a clown...started out making just a mess of my face..not knowing what I was doing..graduated to a white face with red long underwear and shorts as a costume...then my mom made a jump suit and my sister gave me another wig...then when I went Auguste, Whacci was born...bald head...lots of black hair...the convention says rounded features...no points...my eyes and mouth both came to points..my nose was a witches nose which I put red on....

Adults thought I was hideous...kids loved me...never once did I have one cry or runaway in that outfit...they'd spot me and come runnin up for a hug... Whacci also did a couple of innaugural parades and a lot of other parades in DC...and a few stints on the White House Lawn for Easter egg rolls...Yeah, I performed for the Bush's and the Lawn's and the Tree's....

I developped a parade secret...they always want you to be at your station like two hours before the parade...and you wait, and you wait...so what I'd do is park at the end of the parade. And then I'd either Juggle or ride my unicycle backwards up the parade route.... thousands of people waiting for a parade with nothing to do... they were mine. When I got to the beginning I'd find my group...and then turn around and hit the empty street again...up the route and back down again....doing a different thing each time...so by the time I was officially in my spot with my group the entire parade route had seen me three times...and doing various things...so as we walked up again, all along the way we'd hear "Hey Whacci do this, or do that" And the other clowns or participants (sometimes I'd be hired by some company to 'liven' up their float or walk with them) would really think I was one well known clown!!

Of course one year I got to the end of a long parade (for the fourth time) and I was tired. I was riding a skate bike (12" wheel in the back, skateboard trucks in the front..12" wheel base) and pushing an unconnected wheel and handle bars out front. One trip I carried the wheel the whole way and played air guitar with it. One trip I popped wheelies the whole time. And one trip I wheeled it around back and front of me like I was loosing control... So it is Clinton's first Cherry Blossom Parade...I'm all the way at the end..in front of the Grand Stands and Bill and Hillary and someone yells "Hey Whacci pop a wheelie" So I do, I lift the wheel way up in the air and turn and smile all the while holding it up for a long way leaning back precariously to make sure it is real obvious it is disconnected. My skateboard truck hits a rock and it throws me over backwards as it shoots out in front of me. As I fall I toss the wheel and handlebars over my head behind me. I try to use my best marshall arts fall and have my upper arms hit simultaneously with my back and head...instead I timed it wrong (falling from an extra 5" high) and my elbows hit first, which sling shotted my head into the pavement...

I lay there...literally seeing stars wind knocked out of me... feeling like I wa about to be sick... the show must go on. I lifted one leg...they laughed...I dropped it. I lifted the opposite arm and dropped it...more laughs. I lifted both opposite legs and arms...they roared. I almost had my breath back, and could think straight...I lifted all my arms and legs held them for a second and let them fall...the crowd went nuts. I dizzily got up, and barely able to walk, I staggered around like a drunk sailor (no offence Q) picked up my toys...got on my bike and road away waving....I had to wave, the blood was rolling down my arm, and also under my skull cap and down my back. The crowd never knew how hurt I was...my clown buddies had no idea until we got to the end of the route two blocks later...
Will, my hat goes off to you. Like most people I guess, I thought clowning was a pretty simple, easy thing. Reminds me of something Billy Connelly said about being a stand-up, that everyone thinks it's easy because they all be funny down the pub, but that being a stand-up comic was about being funny all the time, including when you're sick, feeling tired or sad. Or when you're a clown, even being funny with blood pouring down your back.
Hi All--:)

When I first read Ciel's post, I googled Palfi. I read that he had once been a rodeo clown. Now, I am not always happy about everything that happens at these events, but I find rodeo clowns fascinating. Where I live, the rodeo is a large part of the community's heritage, so I have had the opportunity to observe these folks in action up close. When I read cavalier's most recent post in response to wil's story, I couldn't help but think of the rodeo clowns and what they endure. And I couldn't help wondering what Palfi might have to say regarding his rodeo days, and how he might tell the story.

I love clowns, except for those ones like the one in Derry. ;) :eek: I used to hang out with a guy whose dad was a professional clown, and it was fascinating to watch him get ready for a gig. He used to let us play with his makeup kit.

If anyone would like to read more about rodeo clowns, I found an interesting site while I was surfing around regarding Palfi. I hope nothing there is offensive to anyone--I never know these days. :confused: :) I haven't read through the whole site, btw, but just thought it was interesting as far as the subject of clowns goes. If I have committed any social transgressions by posting about rodeos, feel free to help me with my own reality check. This thread looks relatively peaceful, and I don't want to interrupt that!

David Copher:Artist & Rodeo Clown

I've also been wondering if there has ever been any female rodeo clowns. I didn't find any, but that would be interesting.

Anyway, like I said, I'll bet Palfi would have some thoughts on it all.