Nothing makes the heart sink like the sight of a clown in the hospital. Clowns are not funny. They are not cheerful. They are embarrassing. My first reaction: look away, walk fast, and try to find cover in a bathroom or an elevator.
Exactly who came up with the idea that grieving families fresh out of a heartbreaking conversation with the palliative care team should be terrorized by a grinning Bozo in floppy shoes and pancake make-up? Apparently clowns are not even welcome on the pediatric wards. A 2008 survey found that an astonishing 250 of 250 hospitalized children aged 4 to 16 disliked clowns.
According to the author of the study, "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them frightening or unknowable."