Years ago I worked at The Ground Round Restaurant (in Bangor & South Portland, ME and Cambridge, MA) as Bingo the Clown. I’d work on the Penny a Pound nights (Tuesday and Thursday), & Fridays. On Saturday and Sunday I’d do birthday parties all day.
My work consisted of walking through the restaurant interacting with the kids and adults, making people laugh and feel-at-home. I’d do (simple) magic tricks, balloon animals, and I’d talk. All the birthday party kids got a 15-minute “show”, and I’d help them open their presents: “it’s a new car!” I’d say in a loud Bob Barker voice. For every gift. Or I’d say, “It’s a box!” with wonderment. I’d sing “Happy Birthday” at the top of my lungs. Every. Single. Time.
I once overheard a server tell someone, “she’s the best Bingo in the business.” I was pretty good. Let’s face it, as a clown, I ruled.
It got so I could walk onto the dining room floor and in a moment could assess who needed to be seen first and what needed to be done, and I would get to work. I could tell if kids were scared, and would let them come to me instead (and they usually did.) I’d make my way through all the tables spreading whatever it is that clowns spread in their wake. Hilarity. Joy. Fun. Whatever it is. I was on fire. I was cool.
And then I’d have a bad clown day. An Ugh day. A day where my joviality was forced and I didn’t want to do it. Just. Did. Not. Want. I was tired and would rather be in bed. Or reading. Or anything else. That’s when I’d tell my co-workers, “I’m Sucko the Clown today.”
Sucko the Clown just went through the motions. Sucko the Clown pretended. Sucko the Clown was kinda funny, and kinda not. Sucko the Clown sucked.
The funny thing about being Sucko The Clown, is that Sucko The Clown didn’t stick around for the whole day. After being there for 15 minutes, or an hour there would be a kid who loved Sucko The Clown. He or she would give her a hug, or say something adorable, and Sucko The Clown would vamoose, leaving Bingo in her wake.
I still have Sucko The Clown days. Where I go through the motions. And, there isn’t always a kid around to make me feel better. But I know that Sucko the Clown is fickle and doesn’t stick around. That’s a good thing.
Do you have “Sucko The Clown Days”?