Send in the Clowns

The Double Entendre

“Send in the Clowns” was written by Stephen Sondheim in 1973 for a musical called A Little Night Music. He was asked quite often what the song was all about. He said that the clowns in the title had nothing to do with circus clowns. We all try to figure out what an artist means by particular lyrics of a song or a piece of literature. The real key to this song was “Don’t bother, they’re here”. Of course, ‘they’ refers to clowns and refers to us, and that at times we are the fools. Jan Henderson wrote the following:

“In a lifelong search for meaning, I have found the clown to be the best, all-encompassing metaphor for the human condition – an uncompromising mirror to look into for glimpses of the truth. We look at the clown and see ourselves – our hopes, dreams, fear, and virtues, our flaws and our process. Clowns show us how as a species, we get into trouble – without ever meaning or wanting to – and how we sometimes stumble into sub-line solutions to our problems”.

The Great Clown Shortage-No Laughing Matter

Wow!! Who knew that clowns were just for kids? However, the number of clowns in the US has been shrinking at an alarming rate. The World Clown Association has seen its members decline from 3500 in 2004 to 2400 clowns in 2014, with the average age over 40 years old. Even though a clown can average $200-$300 for a birthday party, younger people seem to show a lack of interest in this noble profession. For those that are left in the clown business, there are always challenges.

A recent chat forum for clowns posed this question. “I use a lot of silks in my show. In the summer I have no problems. I set my iron at the lowest setting and iron them when they are real bad. But in winter I end up with a lot of static electricity and wrinkles in my clown suit.

“I tried static sprays but that doesn’t seem to work, so I misted them, but didn’t want to soak them. Does anyone have any other ideas?”

Others wrote, with suggestions to use a dryer sheet and to rub the silk clothing and props with the various brands of static sheets, which will take out 90% of the static. A popular response was to run the silk clothes under cold water and spread them out flat on paper towels and wait for them to dry. Do some of these suggestions sound “silly” to you? Actually, they’re not. These recommendations are based in fact and while not always sensible, they work, but there may be more practical solutions.

Static Free Solutions

Conductive and stainless steel fibers have been added to clothing to make them static-free during the manufacturing process in the textile industry. With enough of these static reducing threads, static electricity is controlled to a manageable level. In munitions plants, these conductive fibers are a total requirement in keeping operators from static electricity to the point of discharge, which can cause an explosion or a fire. Besides using these additives in clothing, flooring, and work surfaces, ionization in combinations of passive, nuclear and electrical designs are also implemented. In the electronics industry the same precautions are common in protecting sensitive devices that are susceptible to an electrostatic discharge (ESD).

When it comes to safety and reliability, there’s no time to clown around. Please contact Static Clean with the confidence in knowing that if we can’t solve your problem, we will put you in the right direction. How else can we look in the mirror and feel good about addressing something so serious?