After careful thought, I decided to become, once again, Robbie the Clown…the owner of Purpleborough. The change happened on September 25, 1982, one day before my dad’s birthday. The following letters are the beginning…and, Robbie comes and goes. Yes, we do all have many different personalities and it is healthy as long as we know that these layers are all part of the whole that make us who we are:
It all began with four letters to the President, Ronald Reagan. I actually mailed all four letters to The President with the signature: Robbie the Clown.
The world hasn’t seemed to change much.
Letter Number One:
September 25, 1982
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
I’m really confused these days. As a very simple clown, I don’t understand so I thought I’d write and ask you to explain a few things for me in very simple terms.
You see Sir, I’m really confused about the difference in the words Reaganomics and economics. Does Reaganomics replace the word economics and how do I explain this to my friends in the circus? In the past I thought I understood economics…that meant that I worked every day, got paid every week and paid my few bills, ate well enough and kept Po, my little dog, with bones. Nowadays that does not happen.
The parents don’t seem to bring their children anymore to see me and my friends. They mutter something about Reaganomics and say they can’t afford frivolous things like circuses and clowns. That hurts, Sir, because of the joy it brings to me to see the smiles on the faces of the children (and their parents when they think no one is looking.)
I’ve seen lines of people at big office buildings waiting…what are they waiting for, Sir…what does SSI mean? Is that some kind of secret service? It seems that some are taken in and given little slips of paper and they smile and hurry on to another place. Following one, one day, I discovered that this person waited in line at a different big building and came out after a while with a little book of stamps and a big hunk of cheese. He seemed very happy as he drove away in his big white car. I waited in line back at the first big building but no one ever called my name…they only called numbers. That seemed odd that these people had no names, only numbers. Why is that, Sir? Can they use the stamps to come to the circus? What are the stamps for? How do I get a number?
And then there was the day when winter came and snow filled the streets. I saw the people hovered in doorways and wondered why they had no stamps and no big cars. The children seemed cold and hungry and they spoke of better days when they had a warm house, warm clothes and enough to eat before Reaganomics.
I hear talk of defense and budgets and, Sir, tell me if our best defense is not laughter? or is it weapons to keep us safe from whom? ourselves?
Do you hear the hungry children without plesures…all caused by unemployment? What difference does it make to you that tonight I am hungry because there are no children under the big top and my Po has no bones?
Can you help, Sir? if you need my help please let me know. I’m a very good clown.
Robbie the Clown.