Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Woman Who Has A Real Clown For A Neighbor Is Not Amused

Dear Tazi:

I have a terrible neighbor that is driving me nuts and I cannot take it anymore! He is not doing anything illegal, so I cannot take him to court, but I feel that he is thumbing his nose at my complaints.

“Harold” is a single man who is self-employed as a party clown. As if this isn’t enough to give me the creeps, he enjoys decorating his yard with large inflatables for every holiday imaginable, with the most extensive of the lot being dragged out for Halloween and Christmas – two holidays that are centered around children.

Every Halloween Harold gives out full-sized chocolate bars to the neighborhood children; at Thanksgiving he dresses in his clown suit and goes around the neighborhood collecting food for less fortunate families in our town (is the clown suit really necessary?); at Christmas he dresses up like Santa Claus for the local community center and lets the children sit on his lap; and at Easter he holds an egg hunt in his yard (while dressed as a clown and emceeing the events, which include games and  prizes at the end).

I am positively convinced that this man is secretly a sexual predator or worse! What grown man without such proclivities would do so much for children when he doesn’t even have any? This is bothering me even more than the tacky yard décor that I have asked him to take down (and to which his response was to put up more). I have contacted the police and asked them to keep an eye on “Mr. Harold” but without any evidence against him the police said that there is nothing they can do, that he is not doing anything illegal.

I have asked my children not to allow my grandchildren near Harold, but they both say that Harold is a perfectly nice man and that visiting with Mr. Harold is one of the things they look forward to when they come to visit me. With Halloween and Christmas coming around again I am beside myself when I think of what could possibly happen to my grandchildren, who are now all between the ages of 8 – 12 – the perfect age for a predator to take advantage! How can I possibly reveal this man for who he really is – before it’s too late?

Done Clowning Around

Dear Done Clowning Around:

Why, aside from your own annoyance with his yard décor, are you convinced that your neighbor Harold is some kind of criminal deviant? Do you have a pathological fear of clowns that has left you prejudiced against this man? Have you heard rumor or seen something that would lead you to believe that he is laying a plan to predate on the neighborhood children? Or do you just have a problem believing that a man who works with children for a living must have some sort of ulterior motive and is laying a trap like the witch and her candy house in Hansel and Gretel?

Or does he look like this?

Since there have been no complaints about Mr. Harold, since the police see no reason to detain him, and since parents seem to trust him I think you should dig deep inside yourself and ask why you have it in for this man. As a self-employed party clown, Harold must constantly promote himself in order to keep his business afloat. What better way to do that than to endear the neighborhood children to him by giving out full-sized candy bars at Halloween and hosting an egg hunt every spring? Personally, I think it’s marketing genius. So long as the children are attended by a parent or other responsible adult, I see nothing wrong with this kind of outreach.

With regards to Harold’s community service, I think it is a wise choice to dress up in his recognizable costume that brings people joy when he goes to collect food for the less fortunate – when people are in a good mood they are more likely to be generous. As for his dressing up like Santa Claus for the children: visits with Santa are an age-old childhood tradition. The fact that Harold seeks to participate in this tradition is sweet; those Santa suits and beards can be hot and itchy, and you will not find too many men willing to give up their day off to don one while squirming kids sit in their lap – all for the good of the community. Speaking of sitting on Santa’s lap, did you allow your children to sit on the lap of the Santa at the mall, even though you knew nothing about him? Did you ever accuse Santa of trying to cop a feel when he steadied your children on his lap?

I suggest that you lay off of Harold before you find the police at your door, delivering a no-contact order to keep you away from Harold. Your comments and accusations are based upon nothing and could be considered harassment if taken too far. Your concerns, while admirable, appear to be misplaced.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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