Outrageous stories are a part of student activities on every campus but I was innocent of that until after the first year. I met quite a collection of characters over the 10 years I was in the business but none was as rich as Wade. He was a workingman and entrepreneur. The man was almost a mirror image of a younger but braver me. We matched in stature but his hands were as thick as 2X4’s and he seemed strong enough to lift a horse. Oh yeah, he’d had as many businesses as I’d had jobs. His current and most successful business was an entertainment company that provided carnival equipment and set-ups for private and company parties. He came into the office because he’d developed a curiosity for politics and he heard I advised Student Government. On a campus of 5,000 students, that can be a rather significant introduction to politics if you do it right. I described the leadership program I was developing and he was intrigued. I was intrigued by his can-do attitude and powerful personality. He got through the interview process and won the election as President of the SGA. He then had access to the board of trustees and the president of the college and I had a real partner in building my program. Wade had stuff to teach me. One of the things he knew about was clowns. When he told me that it’s a dangerous business, I scoffed.
Bozo’s harem wasn’t gonna let that happen. They moved with me. I moved-they moved and they moved in closer. One shouted, “I want that mask, Bozo.” I made a dive for the smallest girl, picked her up and swung her around to block the others and started running. I had bib overalls on and I felt some one pulling at the straps when I dove over one table and under another. As I rolled under the table I saw 10 or 15 girls coming around the ends and I scrambled for the door – pushing through the crowd as fast as I could go. I ran up the hall, my clown feet slapping the floor, found the key to my room, got in, slammed the door behind me, ripped the mask off and threw myself across the bed. Sweat was running off of my face like I’d been hosed down and I was breathing like a racehorse. I started to laugh when the door opened and Wade burst through, slammed it and collapsed on his bed laughing so hard I though he was going to pop an artery.
“Man (he laughed trying to get his breath) you shoulda (more breathing, laughter) seen that bunch (laugh breathe) of women (breathe, breathe, laugh) commin’ up the hall (he stood up and imitated the women looking around, trying door knobs) saying (laugh) saying (laugh and breathe), ‘Where’s Bozo. Where’s Bozo.”
We both collapsed to the floor between the hotel beds laughing so hard it sapped the strength out of us. After a time we settled down and I said, “Did you see those women come after me?” Wade started laughing again. “Damm, Wade. They were coming around the tables to get me.”
Wade was laughing and talking and breathing again. He said (when he could), “Man, they were coming OVER the tables too.”
“No. I told you clown business is dangerous.”
“I need a shower. I’m not goin’ out there again.”
“I am. This is too much fun. I’ll see you later.” Wade went out the door without his mask or clown feet and I dropped any notions I had of Clown College.