"Even clowns can fall in love, but it is no less sad for them when the relationship breaks up than it is for you or I. Beware the tears of a clown!
Have you ever wondered whether clowns are indeed happy people or do they simply paint themselves a smiley face to disguise the deep sadness they hold, but do not share with any audience? Is that big red nose they wear no more than a mask of their amusement; a form of cosmetic concealmeant of the anguish they genuinely feel?
I have worked with and known a number of life's constant jokers in my time, but have never yet come across one that I could describe as being a happy and truly satisfied individual. I recall working with one Probation Officer called 'S' who was the life and soul of every office party and outing we went on. He was a happy go lucky chappie. He was forever joking and pulling pranks and came across as being casual and carefree in a crisis where others might usually panic. He was a non-threatening man whom everyone instantly liked upon first meeting. Not once did I or any of my colleagues ever meet his wife to whom he'd been married for thirty years. Everyone loved 'S' and I don't ever recall anyone ever saying a negative word about him apart from the occasional joke about his laid-back manner which some thought to be too casual on occasions to be true.
As most things that look too good to be true inavariable aren't, neither was his disposition. Suddenly one week we learned that 'S' had packed in the job without serving out his notice on the grounds of ill health and had left the area. It later transpired months after his sudden departure that he had a mountain of problems of a personal, financial and professional nature that would have demoralised and depressed anyone.
We later learned that his wife had been bedbound for five years or more with a dibilitating and wasting muscle disorder and that he'd borrowed heavilly to pay household and additional medical expenses. His wife would be cared for during his absence at work by his a neighbour whom he paid for this supervising service. His debts had mounted and mortgage foreclosure had been looming for nearly eight months. Throughout these years he had maintained that sham that all was right in Denmark and never once did he fail to pay his round in the pub or miss contributing to a colleague's leaving do or birthday present.
We also learned that 'S' performed his job and lived his daily life under a handicap that none of us could have possibly imagined. For many years he had suffered with bi-polar disorder which used to be more commonly known as manic depression. As the name suggests, someone with bipolar disorder will have severe mood swings which can often last several weeks or months and which are far beyond what most of us ever experience. During such periods when this genetic condition is at its worse, it invariably produces intense feelings of depression and can even lead the sufferer to have suicidal thoughts. The most common feature however, is the severe mood swings it produces between a manic high and a despairing low; between total restlessness and frenzied overactivity.
For over two years of the time that I knew 'S,' he used to volunteer to work as an assistant in my weekly 'Relaxation Training Group Sessions' that I ran for over twenty five years. I now realised why he found this involvement very helpful, although he never indicated his own condition to me apart from saying, 'I wouldn't mind being able to relax a bit better, Bill.'
The next time you see someone who always seems to be clowning around or who comes across as the life and soul of the party, beware of the heartache they might be shielding behind that mask of a clown. Below is one of my favourite songs by the late Robin Gibbs of The Bee Gees which epitomises my 'Thought for today', called. 'I started a joke....' Please enjoy:" http://youtu.be/KSxuvNGSrmc " William Forde" June 14th, 2014.