The Clown Continuum – by Monica Drake for The Paris Review
A strange man asked if he could hit me in the face, straight on, with a pie. He said he was a clown, pies were his thing.
“Sure!” I emailed back, complete with the seemingly uncontrollable enthusiasm, perhaps a little forced, implied by an exclamation point.
“You’re a good sport, Monica,” he wrote.
His words unnerved me.
When I tell people about the story, I want to talk about the clown. I want to say that Jusby the Clown has a degree from Evergreen State College. A degree! He’s worked to forge “a bridge between Eastern and Western forms of clowning.” He’s interested in “the special healing role of the clown around the world” and “the organic link between the clown and the shaman.”
I want to build his credibility because that builds mine: I didn’t just meet a strange man in a park to let him smear my mascara in his whip cream in front of children. I opened myself up to a spiritual experience.