April 5th, 2010
My childhood memories are peppered with images of the freaky paintings my mom hung on our walls. I don’t know how she didn’t the hell factor in any of these pictures because to me, they’re the stuff nightmares are made of and they’d keep me awake just thinking about them. Truly, any self-respecting kid would upchuck her Kool-aid walking past one of these in a darkened hall.
Pictures like this:
I love God. I love Jesus. I love the Holy Spirit. I love water turned into wine. But this painting? With the glowing head and thorny heart? Freaked me out night after night. I’d wake up to use the bathroom and see this emanating light in the blackest cover of midnight and almost pee my footy pajamas.
Then there was the painting my mom had done of me as a child. I must have been five. I’m not sure who the artist was…Dante perhaps?…because he made me out to be a hellion spawn. For a time, my mom hung the piece in my room until I made her move it because I could feel it watching me. No one, NO ONE wants to open their eyes to this:
That’s pretty much what it looked like. Bad seed to the max.
But the worst, absolute most horrific thing you can imagine was the velvet clown painting my mom hung from the wall opposite my twin bed. In real life, I’m sure it was semi-innocuous enough, probably something like this:
But to me? It looked like this:
I remember it in detail. The black background, the gold gilded frame, the weirdo painted hobo man my mom thought was cute kid art. I was three when it lived in my room and I now know this because one night we had an earthquake. Later, I learned it was 1971 and we lived in the San Fernando Valley, but that night it was bedtime like any other, and I finally closed my eyes to the clown in front of my bed and woke up some time later to see the killer hobo shaking and trying to get me. My dad tells me he can still hear my screams in his head. I don’t remember the screaming, but I do recall a huge clown reaching its arms out to eat my brains. WORST MEMORY EVER.
So yesterday’s earthquake? The 7.2 in Baja that hit about 3:40PM on Easter Sunday? The one that shook and rattled and rolled for 30 long seconds? I didn’t think, “I gotta check my kids!” or “Get under a door jamb!” or “Holy shit, we’re all going down!” Nope. All I could think?
Blood-sucking zombie clowns on the loose.
An unawesome thought when you are 41 and fresh out of clown repellant.