Professional clowns not amused by impostors

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The scary business of a few could harm the business of bringing joy to others

Clowns have been getting a bad rap.

Becoming a clown is a delicate, methodical art. Pam Blacklock does volunteer work dressed as a clown named Touché.

"I just want people to know that we're good," Blacklock said. "I'm what you call a walk-around clown. I don't want to make money at it. I make smiles. That's my payment."

Blacklock is not smiling these days at the clown impersonators threatening local schools with violence.

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"When I first heard about it, it makes you sad that there are a handful of people that want to scare people. And they are not real clowns. I don't even use the name clown. They are impersonators, just like if somebody impersonated a police officer or somebody impersonated a doctor. It's wrong. it's wrong," she explained.

Blacklock said some family members are worried about clowns' safety.

"Somebody was nervous about their grandma -- which, I'm a grandma -- going out as a clown," Blacklock said. "You know, afraid they're gonna get shot or just harassed, if nothing else."

Blacklock wants nothing to do with that negativity. Besides, laughter has a special meaning to her. Especially since she was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago.

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"So I started doing this afterwards, going, you know, I'm just gonna have fun. "A lot of people wait, you know, maybe I'll do that later. I decided I don't want to wait. Who knows when you'll have later."

She said she -- and Touché -- are cancer-free now. They're making the most of every day despite the clown-related threats.
"My day is made when I hear a child laugh. It lightens your heart. That's all I wanted for today," Blacklock said.

"It's worth putting your makeup on, and everything."
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