Thursday, December 1, 2005

My condolences to Zesty’s loved ones. I wasn’t aware he had any, but that doesn’t mean you don’t exist, right? So, to you possible people, let me say that Zesty was a good clown. Hang on to that thought, and not so much that he was an angry drunk. To the funeral home: Hi! Do you hire clowns?

—Ed Pankow
“Sunshine the Clown”

What do I remember about Zesty? He was funny. Except when he performed. But when you ran into him, you know, just out in the community, at the instant check-cashing store, at the emergency room, in a holding cell, inside a Dumpster, he was always funny. Funny scary. Say, what do you call a birthday party without a clown? The end of a child’s happiness. Book me today!

—Bill Leffler
“Clunks the Clown”

I ran into Zesty once, as you say, “out in the community.” With my car. What was he doing facedown in the middle of the street? I don’t know. But he got up and walked away, apparently without feeling any pain. So to me, Zesty will never be dead. Because he’s a permanent fixture in my nightmares. Thanks, buddy. A question: What kind of clown do you want performing at your next church picnic? If you said the Alzheimer’s Assisted Living Unit of Glenwood’s “Clown of the Year,” you will be well on your way to a successful church picnic.

—Jim Larvey
“Mr. Suspenders”
A.A.L.U.G. Clown of the Year, 1997

Zesty had a zest for a great many things. Drinking. Cockfighting. Bigamy. All were favorites of his. And firearms, he enjoyed those. Do you know what you’ll enjoy? Juggling lessons. Because I give juggling lessons.

—Frank Dobson
“Spiffy the Clown”

I won’t deny it. Zesty and I fought. A lot. He had such a mouth on him, even without the outline of red paint. In fact, we fought the night he died.

—Name withheld

Speaking from my own experience, there were two Zesty the Clowns. One you stayed away from. And one you ran away from. Want to make points with your boss? For your next corporate retreat, suggest a clown. Me!

—Randy Phillips
“Randy Rainbows”

Now when I said we “fought” the night he died, I meant verbally. Verbally, for the most part. I mean, it started out verbally.

—Name withheld

There are clowns that whip up a frothy meringue of sheer delight and serve it you on a sparkling platter of good fun, making you laugh from deep inside and feel like a kid again. Zesty was one of those clowns … who hated the clowns I just described. Do you like magic? Good! I do magic!

—Dale Steen
“Bouncy the Clown”

The newspaper was somewhat vague about the cause of death, was it not? But knowing Zesty, I’d say homicide or AIDS. Maybe hepatitis. What’s the worst type, hepatitis A, B, or C? I think it’s C, so that would be the one. Perhaps autoerotic asphyxiation. Other contenders: O.D. or Russian roulette with a Mexican street gang. It’s just so hard to choose. Except when it comes to clowns! Choose me!

—Lou Pantelli
“Marbles the Clown”

Everybody knows Zesty hated children. Twisting balloons at the command of those little creatures he despised must have been a kind of death for him anyway. So it worked out for all involved, then. Uh, I didn’t kill him, by the way. If memory serves.

—Name withheld

If I were to characterize Zesty’s act, I wouldn’t call it, I don’t think, “entertaining.” I’d consider “grim” or “soul crushing” as worthy alternatives. In truth, I wouldn’t call it an “act” at all. It was very, very real. Hey, ever seen a clown pull a sousaphone out of his pants? Then what are you waiting for?

—Eddie Bales
“The ‘Mazing Zingo”

Has anybody heard anything, say, about incriminating evidence found at the scene, maybe a tuft of pink hair clutched in his hand, greasepaint under his fingernails, anything like that? Foam rubber particles? Purple ones? It’s kind of my hobby to follow clown killings … if that’s what this is. Zesty. Good clown.

—Name withheld

I would say “sorry for your loss” but to whom would that be directed exactly? Who’s paying for the funeral? Must be some sort of charitable organization, the kind that helps, you know, bums. Because Zesty was a bum. Hey, maybe his Mexican gang pals are picking up the tab. Figures! But picture this: a clown pulling up to your house in a pirate ship on wheels! I’m the only one who does that.

—Ed Rochelle
“Commodore Clown”

Did you know that Commodore Clown actually believes he holds naval rank? Ask anybody! And what do naval officers do to mutinous sailors? They hang them from the yardarm. That’s what they do. Now replace “mutinous sailor” with “drunken clown.” A little high-seas justice for Zesty, eh, Commodore? And have I mentioned I’m available for bachelorette parties? To book me, leave a note in a paper bag outside the bus station. I’ll be watching

—Name withheld

Raleigh Drennon is an advertising executive, if that isn’t bad enough. He has stories in The Big Jewel and upcoming in Opium, but this story is equally fine. In the 90s, he spent time as a writer for an N.P.R.-funded radio comedy show called “The Imagination Workshop,” which indeed felt very much like a workshop, but lacked imagination.

He Knows When You Are Confused and Disappointed Jon says, "Garfield . . . Santa Claus is coming to town!" and Garfield thinks, "Really?" and then he thinks, "He can stay in my room!" and I think Jim Davis just doesn't care about anything at all anymore....
The Recently Discovered "Erotick Poetry" of Daniel Chelly-Ladbourne Scholars at Kent College Pembury, an all-girls preparatory school in England, recently unearthed an astonishing discovery in the rectory directly below the women's faculty quarters: a dusty trunk filled with the long-lost journals of the mildly retarded Lord Daniel Chelly-Ladbourne....
Nice Things to Say to Chris Columbus after Seeing Rent I still really like your screenplay for Gremlins

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