But right now I'd like to talk about "Coulrophobia." Fear of clowns.
Unlike many of my peers in the world of clownfear, I did not become afraid of clowns by watching the movie It. I have never seen that movie and I never WANT to see it, because really Tim Curry's scary enough without being an evil clown. I was afraid of clowns long before I even heard of It(a friend told me about the movie when we were about 9, and convinced me that I should fear my garden hose and shower drain because It could and would emerge from either of those and chew me into tiny pieces).
My phobia started when I was probably about 3 or 4. My folks had taken me to a circus-type thing and there was a clown walking along the bleachers, talking and laughing with all the little children.
Well, I don't know if I thought he was scary just because of his makeup, or the fact that he was talking to everyone (that one doesn't make sense, since my mother was often embarrassed by the sheer number of times I walked up to complete strangers and asked if I could hug them) but I really really really did not want to talk to that clown, so I hid under the bench we were sitting on. I figured Bozo would pass right by, and I would be safe again.
My parents (the traitors) must have done the pointing, mouthing "She's down there!" thing to him because his BIG CLOWN FEET stopped right in front of me.
A BIG CLOWN FACE swung down into my line of vision and said in a booming voice, "WELL HELLO!"
I don't remember the rest of the circus.
Several years later, at about 7 or 8, I think, I was at a mall with my family. We walked inside and I was sticking with my parents and little brother until I noticed that in the direction we were currently traveling, we'd have to walk right by a clown blowing bubbles at people as they passed.
I stopped just inside the door, knowing that I should be keeping up with my family but hoping, I guess, that my parents would change their minds about shopping and take us away.
Of course, no.
They had already passed Bubbles McEvil when they realized I wasn't with them. They looked back and there I was, staring at the scary painted man like a condemned man stares at the electric chair. My dad called, "Come on, Nelli!"
And McEvil had his ammo.
I sucked up my courage and ran, pumping my (then) skinny arms and legs, dashing along the aisle, and as I passed, he blew bubbles at me and yelled, "HI NELLI!"
"IT KNOWS MY NAAAAAAAME!"
And that's when I discovered that clowns are omniscient as well.
I am a little better around clowns now that I am grown. I even have a clown doll, which considering my dollphobia is interesting, but for some reason, this little guy is about the unscariest doll ever. He's filled with sand, and has a soft feathery puff of hair, and kind painted-on eyes. I call him Nicolai. He scares my roommate. But at least it's not me.