A Seven Course Pumpkin Meal With Clowns I have noted a time or two in this column that when I lived overseas I lived next door to clowns. This is not a put down. I am talking real rubber nose sporting, floppy shoes wearing, unicycle-riding clowns. You know, the people you fully expect to see on Interstate onramps with signs that say, “Will drop my pants for food.” In turn, I hate clowns. Oh, I am not afraid of them. You are never going to hear the words, “I just got mugged by a clown,” “I was sitting at a bar with this clown. Next thing I knew I woke up in a bathtub filled with ice and my kidney was gone,” or “I just had my heart broken by a clown. She had me at honk-honk.” There will never be a PSA featuring some poor fool speaking about the horrors of doing yayo with clowns. “My friends Bozo and Mrs. Pickles told me it was harmless, just a little nose candy. I thought I was just doing a line of blow. Turns out it was pancake makeup. I have been addicted to spraying seltzer down my pants ever since.”   No police officer will be talking about the consequences of clowning and driving. “We came upon the scene of that single car accident. Some clown had wrapped his car the size of a baby carriage around a tree. There were fright wigs and floppy shoes everywhere. We pulled fifty-seven clown bodies out of that car. One was still alive. I tried to save him. I gave him CPR. Oh, the humanity. Until my dying day I will be haunted by that sound that came out of him with every chest compression, beep, beep, beep.” Out of makeup, I loved living next door to Glenn and Isabel. In makeup, they would only answer to the names Pinkie and Rupert.  I hate, hate, hated Pinkie and Rupert. The first time I met Rupert I was in my bathroom when out of the corner I noticed the head of a clown pass by my open window. I must be seeing things! My backyard sloped away from the house and no clown is ten foot tall. There it was again and again and again after that. Finally, the head stopped in front of my window. Rupert warmly greeted me and invited me over to his place for a cup of tea. I said I would love to, but let me get out of the shower first and put some pants on. I had just been seen naked by a clown. So, I know what Donald Trump’s three wives feel like. For any parent out there concerned with maintaining their child’s virginity, move next door to clowns, especially if they frequently have their clown friends over. Oh, there is a one percent chance that you might find pancake makeup on your kid’s collar, but watching a 250-pound clown in loose fitting pants ride a six-inch tricycle around your front yard is visual saltpeter. Play all the Al Green, Barry White, and Luther Vandross you want, but there is not a woman alive that is going to let you get past first base when juggling pins are flying by your window and the faint sound of a calliope can be heard.  Again, no woman has ever said, “I turned to Clarabell and said, ‘Is that a hankie in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?’ He then spent the next five minutes pulling a hundred feet of scarves out of his pocket.” Yet, if Stephen King’s Pennywise the clown poked his head out of the sewer and said, “Donald Trump is not president down here,” I would slide right in there to join him. They destroyed every major holiday for me. On Easter, Pinkie, dressed as a giant pink rabbit, hopped to my door to bring me a basket of Easter candy. Good Friday. There is nothing funny about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Let me repeat. Nothing funny at all. Still, you try not to laugh when a bunch of clowns reenact the passion and the only hammer they have is one that beeps as they pretend to drive the nails into another clown’s wrists and floppy shoes.  Another church I will never be able to show my face in. Clowns to the left of me. Clowns to the right. Little clowns chasing full size clowns around the yard. I even saw a toddler clown, which I am pretty sure is child abuse and means that clowns breed because no one would choose to be a clown. No kid ever came home from high school to find their mother sitting in her chair, with her head in her hands, crying.  Their father looking solemn at them and saying, “Son, we need to talk. You mother found a squirting flower under your bed today. We excused your rubber chicken when you were in elementary school as a phase. When your mother found a red rubber nose in your pants pocket during laundry, you said it was a friend’s. We accepted it. But this? A clown? Do you know what you are doing to your mother? We still love you. At least tell us, you’re not a mime.” So, it did not surprise me when I received an RSVP inviting me to a gathering featuring a seven-course pumpkin meal.  I did not know that you could make seven different things to eat from pumpkins. Other than pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and carving pumpkins and putting a candle in them so that you could possibly burn down your house, I never saw much purpose in pumpkins. They are the Gallagher of the vegetable world, popular at one time, but I cannot figure out why.   If the pumpkin growers of America wanted a motto it would be, “Pumpkins, at least they are not gourds.” Let’s be honest, if it was not for sweet potato pies, the redheaded stepchildren of the pie world, pumpkin pies would be the wallflowers at the big pie homecoming dance. I was offered a pumpkin beer and worried they felt I was an alcoholic. Clowns AND pumpkins! No way I was going! People talk about a war of the sexes. It is not true. When the lady in my life informed me we were going, I had my surrender flag out before she could finish her sentence. Oh, there was a weak retort regarding how much I hated clowns. She responded by claiming I hated everything. Again, not true. This was an era before the Internet, before people taking narcissistic photos, before the Karadashians, before hipsters, before we elected a circus peanut to the highest office in the land, and before the words “dilly, dilly”. All I had to hate were self-righteous vegetarians, morons who spend ten minutes in front of you at McDonald’s trying to figure out what to order, the Los Angeles Dodgers, every episode of Who’s The Boss and Wham! songs.  I miss those simple times.  On a Friday night at 6:30 p.m., I entered my Kafka-like novel dinner party. There were a dozen clowns in full makeup. The house reeked of pumpkin. Even my girlfriend disappeared with Pinkie to get dressed up in full clown regalia. We were offered pumpkin martinis as I small talked with those of the pancake makeup profession. Much like serial killers, white supremacists, and those in the mortgage industry, what small talk do you make with clowns? “That Emmett Kelly, wasn’t he something?” “If they put you in a casket with your floppy shoes on, how do they get the lid down?” “I know all the words to Bandy the Rodeo Clown.” “Clown porn, is it real or just an urban legend like Bigfoot?” “Are balloon animals involved?” I have a couple of philosophies when it comes to eating. One, if you cannot spell it, don’t eat it. Two, there is nothing that cannot be swallowed if you have a big enough glass of water. This goes out the window when you are given a big, tall glass of pumpkin juice.  With balloon animals on the table, there was pumpkin butter served with pumpkin bread for everyone to enjoy. The first course was spicy pumpkin curry, served with pumpkin chips, followed by pumpkin soup. Surprisingly, there is pumpkin fondue. Too young to remember fondue? In a box, in your grandma’s house, is a fondue set that has not been used in thirty years. Fondue was popular in the 1970s and dipping a piece of meat in lukewarm melted cheese seemed exotic.        Only four courses of pumpkin left. I felt like a prisoner making chalk marks on the wall counting down the days until freedom. Pumpkin Alfredo. I never thought my dear friend pasta would be betray me so. Roast pumpkin with honey and feta followed. The meal naturally ended with pumpkin muffins and pie. Amazingly, it is possible to get all pumpkined out. Looking around the table at a dozen laughing and joyful clowns, I thought, “Yes, Virginia, there are clowns and nobody likes them. [Pub. Note: I love clowns! Trevor is a Fuddy Duddy. It is why nobody but a few clowns like him!]           
A Seven Course Pumpkin Meal With Clowns I have noted a time or two in this column that when I lived overseas I lived next door to clowns. This is not a put down. I am talking real rubber nose sporting, floppy shoes wearing, unicycle-riding clowns. You know, the people you fully expect to see on Interstate onramps with signs that say, “Will drop my pants for food.” In turn, I hate clowns. Oh, I am not afraid of them. You are never going to hear the words, “I just got mugged by a clown,” “I was sitting at a bar with this clown. Next thing I knew I woke up in a bathtub filled with ice and my kidney was gone,” or “I just had my heart broken by a clown. She had me at honk-honk.” There will never be a PSA featuring some poor fool speaking about the horrors of doing yayo with clowns. “My friends Bozo and Mrs. Pickles told me it was harmless, just a little nose candy. I thought I was just doing a line of blow. Turns out it was pancake makeup. I have been addicted to spraying seltzer down my pants ever since.”   No police officer will be talking about the consequences of clowning and driving. “We came upon the scene of that single car accident. Some clown had wrapped his car the size of a baby carriage around a tree. There were fright wigs and floppy shoes everywhere. We pulled fifty-seven clown bodies out of that car. One was still alive. I tried to save him. I gave him CPR. Oh, the humanity. Until my dying day I will be haunted by that sound that came out of him with every chest compression, beep, beep, beep.” Out of makeup, I loved living next door to Glenn and Isabel. In makeup, they would only answer to the names Pinkie and Rupert.  I hate, hate, hated Pinkie and Rupert. The first time I met Rupert I was in my bathroom when out of the corner I noticed the head of a clown pass by my open window. I must be seeing things! My backyard sloped away from the house and no clown is ten foot tall. There it was again and again and again after that. Finally, the head stopped in front of my window. Rupert warmly greeted me and invited me over to his place for a cup of tea. I said I would love to, but let me get out of the shower first and put some pants on. I had just been seen naked by a clown. So, I know what Donald Trump’s three wives feel like. For any parent out there concerned with maintaining their child’s virginity, move next door to clowns, especially if they frequently have their clown friends over. Oh, there is a one percent chance that you might find pancake makeup on your kid’s collar, but watching a 250-pound clown in loose fitting pants ride a six-inch tricycle around your front yard is visual saltpeter. Play all the Al Green, Barry White, and Luther Vandross you want, but there is not a woman alive that is going to let you get past first base when juggling pins are flying by your window and the faint sound of a calliope can be heard.  Again, no woman has ever said, “I turned to Clarabell and said, ‘Is that a hankie in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?’ He then spent the next five minutes pulling a hundred feet of scarves out of his pocket.” Yet, if Stephen King’s Pennywise the clown poked his head out of the sewer and said, “Donald Trump is not president down here,” I would slide right in there to join him. They destroyed every major holiday for me. On Easter, Pinkie, dressed as a giant pink rabbit, hopped to my door to bring me a basket of Easter candy. Good Friday. There is nothing funny about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Let me repeat. Nothing funny at all. Still, you try not to laugh when a bunch of clowns reenact the passion and the only hammer they have is one that beeps as they pretend to drive the nails into another clown’s wrists and floppy shoes.  Another church I will never be able to show my face in. Clowns to the left of me. Clowns to the right. Little clowns chasing full size clowns around the yard. I even saw a toddler clown, which I am pretty sure is child abuse and means that clowns breed because no one would choose to be a clown. No kid ever came home from high school to find their mother sitting in her chair, with her head in her hands, crying.  Their father looking solemn at them and saying, “Son, we need to talk. You mother found a squirting flower under your bed today. We excused your rubber chicken when you were in elementary school as a phase. When your mother found a red rubber nose in your pants pocket during laundry, you said it was a friend’s. We accepted it. But this? A clown? Do you know what you are doing to your mother? We still love you. At least tell us, you’re not a mime.” So, it did not surprise me when I received an RSVP inviting me to a gathering featuring a seven-course pumpkin meal.  I did not know that you could make seven different things to eat from pumpkins. Other than pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and carving pumpkins and putting a candle in them so that you could possibly burn down your house, I never saw much purpose in pumpkins. They are the Gallagher of the vegetable world, popular at one time, but I cannot figure out why.   If the pumpkin growers of America wanted a motto it would be, “Pumpkins, at least they are not gourds.” Let’s be honest, if it was not for sweet potato pies, the redheaded stepchildren of the pie world, pumpkin pies would be the wallflowers at the big pie homecoming dance. I was offered a pumpkin beer and worried they felt I was an alcoholic. Clowns AND pumpkins! No way I was going! People talk about a war of the sexes. It is not true. When the lady in my life informed me we were going, I had my surrender flag out before she could finish her sentence. Oh, there was a weak retort regarding how much I hated clowns. She responded by claiming I hated everything. Again, not true. This was an era before the Internet, before people taking narcissistic photos, before the Karadashians, before hipsters, before we elected a circus peanut to the highest office in the land, and before the words “dilly, dilly”. All I had to hate were self-righteous vegetarians, morons who spend ten minutes in front of you at McDonald’s trying to figure out what to order, the Los Angeles Dodgers, every episode of Who’s The Boss and Wham! songs.  I miss those simple times.  On a Friday night at 6:30 p.m., I entered my Kafka-like novel dinner party. There were a dozen clowns in full makeup. The house reeked of pumpkin. Even my girlfriend disappeared with Pinkie to get dressed up in full clown regalia. We were offered pumpkin martinis as I small talked with those of the pancake makeup profession. Much like serial killers, white supremacists, and those in the mortgage industry, what small talk do you make with clowns? “That Emmett Kelly, wasn’t he something?” “If they put you in a casket with your floppy shoes on, how do they get the lid down?” “I know all the words to Bandy the Rodeo Clown.” “Clown porn, is it real or just an urban legend like Bigfoot?” “Are balloon animals involved?” I have a couple of philosophies when it comes to eating. One, if you cannot spell it, don’t eat it. Two, there is nothing that cannot be swallowed if you have a big enough glass of water. This goes out the window when you are given a big, tall glass of pumpkin juice.  With balloon animals on the table, there was pumpkin butter served with pumpkin bread for everyone to enjoy. The first course was spicy pumpkin curry, served with pumpkin chips, followed by pumpkin soup. Surprisingly, there is pumpkin fondue. Too young to remember fondue? In a box, in your grandma’s house, is a fondue set that has not been used in thirty years. Fondue was popular in the 1970s and dipping a piece of meat in lukewarm melted cheese seemed exotic.        Only four courses of pumpkin left. I felt like a prisoner making chalk marks on the wall counting down the days until freedom. Pumpkin Alfredo. I never thought my dear friend pasta would be betray me so. Roast pumpkin with honey and feta followed. The meal naturally ended with pumpkin muffins and pie. Amazingly, it is possible to get all pumpkined out. Looking around the table at a dozen laughing and joyful clowns, I thought, “Yes, Virginia, there are clowns and nobody likes them. [Pub. Note: I love clowns! Trevor is a Fuddy Duddy. It is why nobody but a few clowns like him!]