A True Class Clown Doesn’t Take a Summer Vacation

Posted on July 7, 2011


The doctor told my wife and I to sit down, always a sign of impending bad news.  I hoped refusing to sit might somehow change our fate.  “If you don’t mind, doc, I’d rather stand.  Or maybe lie down on the floor.  Or maybe lean against this coat rack over here.  But give it to us straight, doc.  Is there something wrong with our son, The Fonz?”

The doctor removed his glasses, his expression grave.  “I’m afraid your seven-year-old is afflicted with…with,” he swallowed hard, “with Class Clownitis.”

My wife emitted a short, sharp sob.  I clutched her hand and tried to put on my bravest face.  “Are you certain?  You must have made a mistake.  Class Clownitis?  Not my son!  Not my son!”

The doctor crossed the room, placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder.  “Does The Fonz repeat the same joke five times within two minutes?  If the joke didn’t get a laugh the first time, does he repeat it again with twice the volume?”

My wife and I exchanged a knowing glance before she nodded.

He continued, “Does he constantly fall off his chair then look around at his audience with an expectant grin like falling off a chair is the funniest thing in the world?”

I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and dabbed at my eyes.  “Allergies!” I sniffed.

“Does he sometimes act like he can’t find his desk and instead sits in the teacher’s chair?  Can he turn any type of food into a mustache in less than ten seconds?  Does he wear a cape to school every day?  Did he dress as Super Mario for his class picture?  Does he purposely misinterpret information and repeat it back in the form of a joke as in ‘You told me to put on my shoes?  I thought you said put on the news.  That’s why I turned on the TV’?”

A typical school outfit for my son, The Fonz.

“But why are we only discovering this now?  Why didn’t we see the signs earlier?” I demanded.

“We see a lot of parents bringing in kids during summer vacation.  Falling off a chair is solid gold comedy to The Fonz’s first grade classmates.  He’s been getting laughs from his friends every day for a year and now he’s addicted to attention.  He’s gotta get his laughter fix somewhere and during summer vacation his family takes the full brunt of his withdrawal.”

My wife sobbed, “What happened to my son?  Who is this laughter-seeking monster who follows me from room to room and keeps sitting in my chair right before I sit down?”

“Are there harmful side effects?” I asked.

“Not to him.  I’m afraid the two of you and his brother will likely experience some eye-rolling, sighing, and the constant compulsive urge to send him to bed, regardless of the time of day.”

I waved my hands in defeat.  “Fine.  Fine.  Maybe you’re right, doc.  Maybe my son is a class clown.  That doesn’t make him a bad person, right?  I mean, he might be a bad person, the jury is still out, but it would be for a long list of other reasons.  Is there anything you can do?”

“There’s isn’t any medicine we can prescribe but some parents have reported a decrease in symptom strength after playing a laugh track on a repeat loop while the Class Clownitis sufferer sleeps.”

“I meant is there anything you can do for us?”

“Sign him up for summer school.”

Posted in: Family