There aren’t many things in this world I fear but the short list does include old ladies with pig tails, clowns, and kids.
There’s just something about old ladies with pig tails. I don’t know what it is, and if they’re in their pajamas, forget about it. My grandmother used to volunteer at the nursing home in Dadeville a lot when we were kids, and we went with her from time to time. I appreciate what she did, but I reckon I just saw too much.
I don’t know where the concept of clowns being funny came from, and I felt this way long before I ever saw Stephen King’s “It.” Clowns are just scary, and I don’t want anything to do with them or their big floppy shoes. They are terrifying!
My fear of clowns and old ladies with pig tails is straight forward. It is what it is. My fear of kids is different, because I love kids. Kids are great. Kids are the reason we get up each day. But, sometimes, kids scare the you know what out of me.
Last summer I had a gig at the Washington County Public Library in Chatom, Ala., for young children and adults. For some reason, I forgot that there would be children present and didn’t prepare any material for the kids—not that I have any material specifically for kids. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat down and let the kids do most of the talking and played off what they said. It seemed to have worked just fine, but I was sweating bullets the whole time. They laughed. I laughed. Everybody laughed, and then we all went home.
Later in the summer, I was on the campus of Western Oregon University speaking at a youth symposium for the Oregon National Guard. The youth present at this event were the children of service members of the Oregon and Idaho National Guard. The theme of the symposium was FEAR (Face Everything And Rise) which was the brainchild of one of the teens in attendance. I had fear of facing those teens when I started to speak when half of them were looking at their phones and the other half were thinking about clowns, but I did my thing the best I could.
When I concluded my speech, I went outside with the group leaders and about a dozen members of the teen leadership to discuss leadership principles. In detail, we talked about the army values which are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. I was blown away by these kids. They were solid kids. I’ve got to learn to get to their level.
Just a few months ago, I turned down an opportunity to speak to the students at Central High School in Phenix City because I knew I wasn’t ready. In fact, I often get asked to speak to students, youth groups, and the like, but that’s just always been outside of my comfort zone, but now, I think it’s time to finally face that fear. I think it’s time to face everything and rise—everything except for nursing homes and clown conventions.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at For more information, please visit