Why 1000 pies?
An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.
Similarly, we clowns have an ancient legend that First Clown will grant a wish to anyone who delivers a thousand pies in the face.
Clowns provide many surprising gifts but none are quite as powerful as a pie in the face when it comes to pleasing First Clown enough for wish granting.
We do not ordinarily count how many balloons we have twisted. I know colleagues who have undoubtedly re-enacted that ritual well over a thousand times. Balloon twisting also goes back to the ancient times. Early clown shaman twisted the intestines of sacrificial animals into the basic dog/ quadruped sculpture. It symbolized a resurrection and primacy of breath as life. The dog/ quadruped was also sacrificed to indicate the inevitable end of human creation.
We do not ordinarily count how many faces we have painted or arms tattooed/ bejeweled. We accept that these are a constant part of the ancient tradition of body decoration/ modification. The clown shaman performed a magical transformation on members of their tribe with pigmentation and design. We call for the characteristics of animal totems or admirable human role models when we assume their faces. We recognize this practice as part of the infinite flowing process of becoming. The face paint washes off and the tattoos/ jewels are only temporarily affixed in place.
A pie delivered to a willing face is a different matter. Although it is also symbolic of things ephemeral, the memory of that sudden moment lasts a great deal longer than most complicated multi-balloon sculptures, full face paintings, or even arm-length henna tattoos. It has to do with the trust generated between the clown, the clowned, and those around. A pie delivered as a spectacle can help those in attendance to face their fear and believe that in spite of it all there is sweetness in life.