Being a Clown

Being a clown is incredible. Almost every time someone sees me coming their face lights up. It gives me an awesome feeling inside. I love to break people out of their worries – even if just for one moment! I’ve had several people thank me for brightening up their day! The reactions are great – from huge grins, smiles, and waves; to head nods; to quick peace signs and many other ways of saying, “Hi”.

A few people are afraid of clowns, mostly because of watching the movie IT about a scary clown. Many of these folks warm up to me after they realize I am okay.

Kids are really great! I love to do knock-knock jokes with them and sing songs like Down by the Bay. It’s great to hear them make up their own jokes or rhymes! The kids also love to receive my Mophe Racing Card – a wallet size picture of me from the Alzheimer’s Association 5K Run in Loveland, OH. I’ve had a lot of kids (and a few adults) ask for my autograph!

I meet people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. They speak different languages, eat different foods, and they celebrate different holidays. They all treat me the same – everyone loves a clown! I wish the world were like that every day with everyone treated each other the same way I am treated. It doesn’t matter to me what anyone looks like. They are all the same – beautiful! We all breathe, eat, and sleep. We all hurt, worry, and if cut bleed. And most of all we all love, hope, and dream!

Sometimes I do get the “what is this guy selling” attitude when I first meet someone. They think I’m riding around for a business in town or going to a party. Once they hear I’m riding 1000 miles around the country for charities, they switch to amazement and ask a ton of questions about everything, like:

  • Q: How long did it take you to learn to ride the unicycle? A: Me about 6-months, a friend about 3-months, and says 10-15 solid hours of practice
  • Q: Can you do tricks? A: Some on the unicycle (circles, figure 8s, and riding backwards) and I’m trying to learn to juggle, but I don’t know any magic tricks or do balloons!
  • Q: How far have you gone? A: I crossed the 1000 mile mark already, so now I’m just riding for fun.
  • Q: Where have you been? A: I have ridden in over 180 cities in 48-states — all except Alaska and Hawaii. I have been to Boston, New York City and Las Vegas. I also rode my unicycle at Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park, and the Grand Canyon (my personal favorite!).
  • Q: What is your longest ride so far? A: 29-miles when I decided to complete the Columbus Marathon. A marathon is only 26.2 miles, but I circled back a lot in the beginning to high-five spectators since I was only planning to do the half marathon. The last four miles were brutal, but I am proud of the accomplishment. My longest day was when I rode 35-miles around Chicago and its suburbs. Now I understand the “mental thing” (of keeping going) for marathon runners, except I also had to put on a smile and perform that last 5-miles!
  • Q: What was your most incredible ride? A: So far, riding in the Komen Race for the Cure with 45,000 people in Columbus, Ohio. It was awe-inspiring to see so many people and so many survivors. I actually did two laps – one with the runners and a second with the walkers. It really hit home when I saw the sign on the back of one young lady carrying a baby that said, “In celebration of Me!”
  • Q: Can I ride your unicycle? A: No, for safety reasons I cannot let anyone else ride my unicycle. I don’t want any one to get hurt.
  • Q: How many times have you fallen? A: 5,278 times Response: “Wow! He keeps track!” A2: then I tell them I am really just joking. What do you expect from a clown?
  • Q: Do you take your makeup off after each city? A: No, I wear it all day.
  • Q: Why do you cover so many cities and states, then return to Columbus after a few days? A: During my tour of America, I went 3 to 4 days straight clowning around for 11-15 hours each day. I returned home to Columbus to take a break from the makeup and helmet strap, catch-up on my journal, post pictures to Facebook, and to see my girl! We missed each other a lot while I was on the road and she worried about me.
  • Q: What do you eat? A: Some would say I have a weird diet while “Mophing”. I start the day with two raw potatoes and a Diet Dr. Pepper™. The potatoes are the greatest fuel I have found for races or long rides. During the drive to my ride location I eat Life™ cereal right out of the box. During the day, I eat Cheeze-Its™ (Cheddar Jack’s my favorite), bagels, mixed nuts, and granola bars. After a full day of riding, I eat a couple peanut-butter and honey sandwiches and some fruit. I drink lots and lots of water. Sometimes I splurge with a Glaceau lemonade Vitamin Water™, Gatorade™, or a Muscle Milk™ (if I want to get a chocolate fix!). This diet saves time, money, and from having to wipe my chin (the makeup would come off) if I were to eat at restaurants all the time (not to mention the stares!). After the third day out, I would have a pizza or sometimes splurged on a burger and fries in the evening when I was done Mophing.

The most difficult part about being a clown is the makeup: you cannot scratch ANY itch on your face and you can’t wear sunglasses! My outfit is a bit warm on hot days but bearable. I have ridden in as low as 28 and as high as 97 degrees so far. I am sure to hydrate often or take shorter rides in extreme heat and wear Under Armor™ in cold weather.

I have a couple philosophies I share with my new friends I along the way. The first is BAYCDA — sounds like “bay sea da” — and means “Believe And You Can Do Anything.” As you can tell by my journey, I truly believe in BAYCDA. However, you truly must “believe” and be willing to work really hard toward your goals before you can actually make them happen. My other philosophy is “Pobody’s Nerfect!” It’s okay that my makeup looks a little bit different each time I put it on, that it looks like I did it myself (because I did!), or that my hair is a little lopsided, especially after riding in the wind! However, I do warn people that I’m sweaty after a long ride when they want a picture. So, please make BAYCDA your goal too and don’t get too hung up on being perfect! Take care.