I’m about to reveal something that is a deep and dark secret.
I have a fear of Ronald McDonald.
I don’t like clowns to begin with. Male clowns are actually the worst.
It began in kindergarten. Mind you, my parents didn’t take my sisters and I out that much when we were very little. I don’t ever remember going to McDonald’s before I turned 5 nor did we watch a lot of TV during that time. So my interactions with this clown was very limited if any. I remember going to a school assembly and being excited. Then as I’m seated high in the bleachers with my classmates, this man comes out dressed in a yellow suit, white makeup, and red hair, and I remembered suddenly being terrified.
I don’t know why but I just remember a sense of fear gripping me and I was glad that was I high up and away from him. To a five year old, the image of a man who covered his face with makeup and that garrish red wig was enough to provoke nightmares. And they did.
I remember this nightmare as clear as when it happened 25 years ago. My younger sister and I were running together in a world where everyone was turning into Ronald McDonald’s. It was a very bleak world as we ran and hid from clowns left and right. We got behind a car and stopped for a minute to catch our breaths. I turned to her to make sure that she was ok, and then saw that her hair had turned red. I woke up screaming.
To this day, I will not approach anyone dressed up as Ronald McDonald. Those statues of him on the benches in front of the restaurants? I avoid them. Like I said, I don’t like clowns in general. If you are a horrible person and want to make an enemy of me for life, all you have to do is dress up like one and you will ensure that 1) you will never be friends with me ever again and 2) you will inflict deep trauma on my life. Maybe for this reason, I rarely visit the inside of an actual McDonald’s in the fear of him randomly hanging out. For the record, I never wanted to visit McDonaldland. Grimace, Hamburglar, Birdie, and the gang can all hang out without me.
Here is the first commercial starring him. Tell me this is not terrifying.