Read the dark tale of how I learned to laugh
Bobo the clown taught me to laugh
If I hadn’t met Bobo the Clown, I wouldn’t have ever learned to laugh. It was the year 2408, and I had just gotten out of a three year stay at a hospital. At least I think it was a hospital. It could have been an asylum for all I know. I was drugged most of my stay there, and I honestly can’t remember what I was in there for. I just remember waking up one day, and some woman dressed in white telling me it was time for me to leave.
“Leave?” I asked. “Where will I go?”
“That’s not my concern,” she replied. “We need your room.”
So I got dressed, using the clothes I had worn when I checked in, though I didn’t remember them, either. I stepped outside and looked up, blinking at the bright sun. I was so confused, I felt like I just needed to sit down. I found a nearby bench, and that’s where I met Bobo.
Bobo looked so sad, with his head hung down, and his white make-up streaked across his face from tears. His bright red wig was crooked, leaning to the right side. A red ball was almost falling off his nose. He looked miserable, and I didn’t know what to make of him. By then I could remember most of my life before my stay at the hospital. I could remember my job, my wife, my kids. I also remembered losing my job when another war started, my wife dying in an attack from our enemies, and my kids going off to fight. Then my memory got hazy. For the life of me, I could not figure out what Bobo was, with his silly brightly-colored outfit.
“Uh . . . are you okay?” I asked Bobo, while we were sitting on the bench outside of the hospital.
“No,” Bobo replied. “I’m useless. No one needs me anymore. I’ve been trained to do something that makes no sense to anyone.”
“And what is that?”
“To make people laugh. I‘m a clown. It has been my family‘s trade, for hundreds of years, actually. I‘ve been trained to make people laugh, but no one knows what that is anymore. I‘m obsolete. I have no reason to live.”
I had no idea what Bobo was talking about, of course. I politely said good-bye and walked away, very confused. I took one last look at Bobo, as I turned away. A single tear fell from his left eye, as he hung his head once more.
People used to laugh all the time, I came to understand, from reading at the library shortly after this conversation took place. People used to be happy, genuinely happy, centuries ago, before a long series of wars started. I was in the middle of reading about something called “Comedy T.V. Shows” when I came across a chapter about clowns. They would come to events, like parties and fairs (which I also had to look up in more books), and they would perform tricks to make people laugh, to make people happy. I suddenly felt very sad for Bobo.
I decided to search for Bobo. I was living on the streets near the library. As soon as I was checked in to the hospital, they had sold my apartment to someone else. I had no family to look for or to stay with. I had no purpose in life, really, and I began to think of Bobo constantly. I thought, Maybe, if I can get him to make me happy, that will make him happy. Then we’ll have something to live for again! I needed to find Bobo.
I went back to the hospital, but Bobo was not on the bench anymore. I started asking around, but this proved difficult, because no one knew what a clown was. I tried to describe what he looked like, but they started looking at me strangely, so I stopped that. I was about to give up hope, when a little boy came up to me. He had heard me asking about Bobo, and he knew where the clown was! I rushed over to the spot little Jimmy described to me.
There was Bobo the clown, looking as miserable as ever, sitting on another bench, near an abandoned funeral home. As I approached, Bobo looked up.
“I remember you,” he told me.
“Yes,” I replied. “And I know what a clown is now! I want you to make me laugh! That will solve all of our problems!”
Bobo looked at me with a very curious look in his eyes. He had been waiting so long to hear that he was needed. He picked up a large bag that he carried with him, and began searching through it. He took out some bowling pins, and began juggling and singing. I became very excited, and watched in anticipation, but I didn’t laugh. Bobo began trying all sorts of tricks, with balloons and puppets and jokes, but nothing made me laugh. We were about to give up hope.
Then Bobo decided to try juggling again, since that seemed to affect me the most. He picked up the pins and threw them high up into the air, one at a time. I moved a little farther from Bobo, to get a better look at how high he was throwing the pins. Bobo got distracted for a moment by my movement, and one of the pins flew off course. It came down, and with a loud THWAK, it struck Bobo the clown on the head. Bobo fell to the ground, dead, and I began laughing and laughing and laughing.
I picked up Bobo’s pins that were scattered around his lifeless body. I knew what laughing was, and I felt euphoric! I couldn’t wait to share my enjoyment. I knew now how to make people laugh. I ran off to find little Jimmy to share my good news, and to see if I couldn’t make him laugh as well.