“Everyone is a clown…But, only a few of us have the courage to put on the makeup!”
Of all the things I dreamed of becoming as a child, a clown was never one of them. Yet on Saturday, December 20, 2015, I became just that. Within minutes of arriving at Egypt Shrine, I transformed from Domenick Lazzara, attorney at law, to “Lil Bit”, a hobo themed clown and future member of the Fun ‘N Frolic Unit of Egypt Shrine, otherwise known at the Egypt Shrine Clowns.
The clowning profession is a little different than most in that we receive our rewards immediately upon performing. When you have made a connection with your audience, have seen the look of wonder in their eyes and created an escape from whatever pain, distress or sorrow that your audience has held within, you have received an award far better than anything you may be presented at any awards banquet or at any other time.
This is a far cry from the young lawyer, donning a business suit, tie, and lace-up dress shoes. Nevertheless, the goal is the same: make the world a better place by touching, and hopefully changing, one life at a time. In this case, the families and children of Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is “a 22-hospital pediatric healthcare system which provides excellent, no-cost medical care to children with orthopeadic problems or burn injuries.” On this particular Saturday, hundreds of outpatient children from Shriners Hospitals convened at the “Stu Lang Activities Building” with their families for Egypt Shriners Annual Christmas party. As Clowns, our mission was simple; connect with the audience and provide entertainment while the children waited to meet Santa and pick out their own presents from the stores of donated toys. Doing so required me to learn an invaluable lesson as a young lawyer.
Sometimes in life, to really make a difference, you have to be able to step outside yourself and be somebody you never dreamed of being. For me, I had to become the exact opposite of the young lawyer for a day: a goofy, makeup wearing, hobo. The most oft repeated advice from my fellow Clowns was really quite simple, “Don’t be so serious!” And true to that advice, the less serious I became, the more joy I received in return from laughing children and smiling parents.
This Holiday season, I encourage you to step outside of yourself – to not be so serious. I urge you to find your inner clown. In the process of doing so, you will realize the true blessings in your life. And when you do, you too will see that this, this is the true meaning of the Holidays.