Sunday, November 1, 2009

Midget Clown Sharks, Deceit, and a Most Unfortunate Husband

The story of the Midget Clown Shark goes like this…over a period of time Chris unwittingly confessed some of his larger fears in life. No, it wasn’t poor health, nor was it some act of terrorism. It was midgets. We here in the Claytor household fully recognize that is a very, VERY un-PC statement – to fear the little people – but we aren’t always able to control our irrational inside voices now can we? So little people, please understand and don’t form in a large (small) angry mob outside my house.

His second fear came later, understandably so – the fear of clowns. I hate clowns too. We acknowledge that they are meant to be fun happy folk, but frankly, their creepy painted faces freak me out too.

And the third fear: sea creatures, deep oceans, and specifically – Sharks. I’m not certain how Chris figures sharks will impact his life here, in the flat suburbia and cornfield ridden, ocean-less expanse of the Midwest. But we must accept at least the very possibility that a newly evolved great white, adapted to the fresh waters of the interior, will make it’s way into the Gulf of Mexico, bypass all the good eating in New Orleans, make it’s way up the Mississippi, and ultimately end up in Lake Michigan. It will then stun the world with it’s ability to leave the fresh water, and walk to our house, hide in the bushes, and eat Chris with great ferocity. It could happen, and as my theory illustrates, it’s a perfectly justifiable concern.

The family joke became the fear of Midget Clown Sharks. A compilation of all that is evil in the world, and what’s hiding in all the dark corners, shrubbery, and watery toilet bowls. Naturally, I thought it prudent to illustrate this, and developed a lovely logo, which I had made into a t-shirt and gave to Chris last Christmas. He was amused. And possibly mildly concerned at my efforts.

So a few months ago, Caitlin and I were scheming about nothing in particular. And somehow that conversation evolved into the notion that it would be a positively brilliant idea to make The Boy a Midget Clown Shark for Halloween. And not tell Chris.


Generally speaking, patterns for Midget Clown Sharks are hard to come by. So I drew up a little sketch, began measuring, and bought about 20 yards of fabric. When one is bringing fear to reality, one must build big, yes?
I informed Chris that I was working on a project, and that this project would be revealed to him at some later date, and he was not to be poking around in the dusty corners of the basement, and at times, he would be banished to the upstairs. He had no awareness of the context of the project – not what it was, when it was, or why it was, simply that there was “A Project”.

I knew I was in trouble when I first cut out the general shape of the shark and pinned it together…in the house alone, I let out a slightly possessed sounding Muwhahahaha! I began to see Seamus the shark take shape and I was positively delighted. I will tell you now that I do not have any definable sewing skills. I can sew on buttons. That’s about the extent of it. But somehow, Seamus seemed to come along so nicely.

Then one day, Chris tells me the kids weren’t going to be here for Halloween. Um. What?! I quietly panicked on the inside, and managed to make the necessary arrangements to have them at least come trick or treating here for a few hours, before going to their Halloween parties.


Work on the midget begins.

Then Chris tells me he’s flying to Brussels. On Halloween. Naturally. There are 364 other days in the year, clearly, October 31st is the best day to fly. I quietly panic on the inside, and managed to plead with him to leave the following day.

Work on the framing begins.

When Seamus was mostly sewn, the midget legs were complete, I devised a plan to have Colin get ready at our wonderfully enabling neighbors house. Up until the shark was stuffed with a giant Curious George balloon and a butt load of stuffing, he’d been relatively easy to keep hidden: under the basement stairs, or in the summer camp trunk on the top shelf, or in Caitlin’s suitcase. But once you’ve got a virtually life size shark named Seamus stuffed with a Curious George balloon, it gets a might difficult to hide. By the way, as far as Chris knew, Colin was Prince Caspian for Halloween and he would be trick-or-treating with Whitney the neighbor girl.

So that is the story. I will let the video and photos explain the rest. And will one of you come bail me out of the mental health ward Chris is checking me into next week? Thanks.