ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Clowns at the carnival

Updated on August 27, 2019
verdict profile image

I have been teaching mathematics in an Australian High School since 1982, and I am a contributing author to many mathematics text books.

My friends and I knew summer was here, and its promises of good times, once the carnival arrived at our local park. It would open for business early each afternoon, so from time to time we played hooky from school and had free reign of the rides.

Even when our funds were depleted, we enjoyed balmy evenings meandering from one side-show attraction to another, often to the accompaniment of muffled music drifting from speakers perched on anchored poles.

As we milled past stall keepers passionately enticing passersby with promises of fun and prizes, I sympathised with the plight of patient parents dragged from one stall to another by their excited progeny.

When our pocket money allowed it, we observed the panorama from a birds-eye view atop the ferris wheel, munching on toffee apples and candy floss.

It was from this vantage point that I became Walter Mitty, imagining some developing crisis amid the festive crowd. My heroism and superhuman powers would have me race to the risk zone and effect a rescue. This deed would always be followed by prolonged appreciative applause and generous offers of money and free rides.

On terra firma we were adrenalin fueled and aimed for total domination with using dodgem cars.

Such pleasant memories kindle a yearning for lost youth, but they also remind of other pleasurable experiences such as the ubiquitous clown ball game.

Although the gaping mouth conveyed images of a visit to the dentist, I could not escape its captivating presence. The clown's head swivelled clockwise and anticlockwise and its eyes followed me as I walked past.

I dared to put my head in the clown’s mouth, so to speak, by playing the game, and losing. What intrigued me was why did I consistently lose.

Here is how the game plays.

There are nine numbered slots. Five ping-pong balls are dropped -one at a time- inside the mouth of the moving clown and the balls land on one of the nine numbers. The total of the five numbers determines the prize.

Astute clown operators would display the totals required to win a big prize, all the while knowing the totals are very difficult to obtain.

To earn one of the coveted major prizes such as a watch or large teddy, the chance is 1 in 500,000. Additionally, you have no better than 1 chance in 20 of securing a mediocre prize, whilst the odds to secure a trinket prize is about 1 in 10.

Only now do I understand why I got stuck with a lousy pencil as a prize each time.

I also now understand why clowns are always laughing. You can never beat them at their own game.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      2 years ago from Ohio

      I can see why you despise clowns now. My children are afraid of clown. They made me understand how clowns look like zombies and such.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)