Posts tagged clowns
Posts tagged clowns
When I was a kid., I was terrified of clowns. In fact, according to my mother, I ran a fever every Purim as a toddler so I wouldn’t have to go to the synagogue to hear the Megilla reading (so many people dress up as clowns, it’s not even funny anymore.) I still think clowns are freaky, but luckily I outgrew the habit of running fevers to avoid them.
We have a rule in our small town of Efrat, a suburb of Jerusalem: on Purim, kids are not supposed to use capguns as noisemakers. This rule was originally instated during the years when shooting was a regular part of the daily soundtrack in the hills of Jerusalem, and it was dangerous to assume that if you heard a loud bang, it was only a toy. In 2001, it most likely wasn’t. Somehow, Efrat was never hit, though. People were killed travelling on the road to Jerusalem, but inside the confines of the town, no one was hurt (which was odd since back in those days, we did not even have a security fence.)
But now, nearly 10 years later, nobody really cares about this particluar rule anymore. Capguns, fireworks, and firecrackers are all used to drown out the evil Haman’s name. Hours later, when the megilla readings are all over and most people have already gone to bed, the firecrackers are still going.
I suppose I’m not as damaged as I sometimes think, since I do not hit the floor every time one of those accursed fireworks goes off. I jump, I run into buildings that look sturdy, I walk a little faster. But I still get scared. And it’s really infuriating, after I jump, to realize that I’ve been startled by some ten-year-olds playing with fire.
Walking to the synagogue tonight, I pass by a gang of these boys yelling excitedly over the loud noises they are allowed to make in honor of the holiday of recklessness. I watch them in disgust, thinking of the babies sleeping in the houses nearby, the children who are rushing to their parents arms. I think of the soldiers who fought in the war, although they’d probably tell me that firecrackers don’t sound like gunshots at all. They’ll tell me I’m being a crybaby and I should let the children enjoy themselves.
But then, why is there a rule? And why does nobody give a damn about it anymore? It used to mean something. It used to be life threatening to set off a firecracker on Purim. Now, it’s just a joke. It’s normal. Life is normal here, in Israel. People hear a deafening BANG and assume it’s some stupid kid whose parents are irresponsible enough to let him light fireworks. We sure have come a long way in less than a decade.
And to think, after all that, people are still afraid to come here and visit us.