It was October 31, Halloween.
A woman and some of her employees or coworkers went to lunch at a local restaurant where Matthew Hager, one of our actors from THE LEADER, works.
Being that it was Halloween, the employees of this restaurant had decided to dress up in costumes. This was fully condoned by the management as a fun way to celebrate the day with patrons. It just so happened that Matthew decided to dress as a clown.
Matthew played several roles in the show and he also did quite a bit of clown work. He showed a real aptitude for clowning and he seemed to enjoy it. He is not only very funny and creative, but he is also able to juggle and has various other talents.
He engaged patrons as a non-verbal clown. This is not uncommon in the world of clowning, however it is worth noting that this is different from a mime – the clown can make noises, but does not use perceptible language.
Overall, Matthew’s clowning was a hit that day. He received good tips.
His performance was not mean-spirited and his service did not suffer. He was able to creatively answer questions about the menu through pantomime and a little assistance from his co-workers, who were happy to participate.
Apparently there was a woman who disliked his avoidance of language so much that she repeatedly called and wrote the management of the restaurant to complain.
Now, in fairness she may have had a bad day that day. I can appreciate that. I don’t know what her circumstances were and it could be that she just really was not in the mood.
However, this incident got me thinking about why we need clowns in the world.
It strikes me that this woman’s day might have improved if she had simply joined the others at her table in some laughs and enjoyed the experience. Certainly this was a story to tell, was it not?
I believe that all of us in this world need not take ourselves so seriously. We need to laugh once and a while. We need to be reminded that we all have the right to be silly on occasion.
This was a spontaneous opportunity for the woman and her co-workers/employees to enjoy lunch together, have fun, and share a unique experience that they could not have received in any other restaurant on any other day of the year. Moments like this do not happen all the time, and I believe any person can benefit from being open to such moments, letting them happen, and taking whatever joy in them we can. Life is too short to do otherwise, is it not?
Obviously I don’t know all the circumstances of this incident. It’s not my place to criticize, I simply want to suggest we might all find a little more happiness if we relax a bit and don’t take things quite as seriously.
And please, if you ever see a clown out in public – take a moment to laugh!