Just some thoughts:
There are people who live to make other people laugh.
I saw him once. It would have been when I was around ten or eleven years old. In Indiana where I grew up there was a minor league baseball team. First the Terre Haute Phillies, farm club of the Philadelphia Phillies and later The Terre Haute Huts a farm club of various major league teams. One of the treats of those early years was to go to a game at what was called Memorial Stadium in Terre Haute. A remnant of it is still standing today as this is where Indiana State University plays their football games.
Often at these game there would be various promotions or attractions other than the game. Trying to increase attendance and interest in support of the team.
He was billed as the Clown Prince of Baseball, his name was Max Patkin. Patkins had had a background in baseball, Joe DiMaggio once hit a home run off him when he was pitching for a service team in 1944. Later Bill Veeck hired him as a coach for the Cleveland Indians.
Patkin left serious baseball and became a "clown." He traveled all over the country doing clown baseball shows before and after games. His appearance immediately brought a laugh. He was very thin, wore a baggy uniform, his cap was always on backwards or some odd way, and he had a face that seemed to be made of rubber.
It was estimated he made more than 4,000 appearances. From 1944 to 1993 he did not miss a date. He was booked in Great Falls, MT on the date that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. He played before a crowd of four that night.
Later in the life of his act he had bad knees, glaucoma and a herniated disk in his back. Near the end of his career one night after a performance in Burlington, NC he was walking to his car in an almost empty parking lot. There was not jets to the next date, no penthouse suites. It was Motel Sixes, two hamburgers, fries and a coke to go and on to the next date. Approaching him he sees a man walking toward him. Patkin is not sure what is about to take place. "I just wanted to shake your hand," the man says. "God bless you. You made the kids laugh. You made me laugh."
Some people in life..... they do what they do to make life a bit better, more enjoyable for others. So with Max. I got to see him once. And with a question mark on his back I don't think one had to question what his purpose was.
"A cheerful disposition is good for your health, gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."
January 22, 2017