I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. Most things have been flattering. Others, well, not so much.
One of names that irked me more than most was when an upset newspaper reader called me a “clown” because I had written something about stereotypes and the two paragraphs in question were obviously over this person’s reading level, and they missed the point of what was being written.
So, yes, I’ve been a called a clown … despite not wearing one stitch of make-up on my skin, nary a red nose on the tip of own proboscis, and no red hair pulled up skyward in a crazed escape attempt from my scalp.
For some reason, people don’t like clowns, and I haven’t quite grasped why that is.
I grew up in a time of Bozo the Clown and he was good. The thought of running into Ronald McDonald at his fast-food eatery was always a goal every time I stepped under the Golden Arches. (And if thought Ronald McDonald was scary, have you really taken a good look at Burger King lately?)
And clown jokes? Maybe you can find a chuckle there.
“Why was the clown sad? She broke her funny bone!” Or, “I manufactured clown shoes… which was no small feat.” And the classic, “Why did the clown cross the road? To get his rubber chicken!”
OK, so maybe clown jokes aren’t funny.
Still, somewhere along the line, clowns became very bad people. Evil even.
Perhaps we should blame John Wayne Gacy, AKA The Killer Clown. Between 1972 and 1978 in Cook County, Ill., he murdered 33 teenage boys and young men, and he had a penchant for dressing up as a clown.
Maybe it’s Stephen King’s fault. The image of Pennywise the clown (see photo at top) grew in his head and he put it onto paper in his book “It” and the rest his history.
Suddenly clowns are bad and in this day and age of the real world going “viral” clowns are especially in the cross hairs … and it’s not buckets of confetti that they could be dodging.
All over our lost country, “clown sightings” have thrown a scare into a lot of people. After a story popping up here and there, the latest surge of clown-spotting has been happening on college campuses.
Those frat boys and their games, huh?
But it’s also trickled down to high schools and middle schools, even here in Connecticut, just miles from where I live.
Two 13 year old girls were arrested this morning for making clown-based threats.
Their exact post, under the name of “Ansonia_clown” was that “a whole gang of clowns” would be arriving at one school to do harm.
There was no report if they would be all arriving in one Mini-Cooper, but I digress.
Look, on the surface, this entire clown thing is silly and border-line stupid.
I don’t think a clown has killed anybody since Gacy claimed his last victim.
Yet “Coulrophobia” lives.
That’s a thing, believe it or not … A fear of clowns.
I have a gut feeling, though, that something bad is going to happen in the coming future, though it’s likely to be the clown that is the victim.
It’s all fun and games until a clown gets shot trying to scare the be-jesus out of somebody, and don’t be surprised if that happens by the end of this Halloween-hosted month.
You can joke about #clownlivesmatters all you want, but one person trying to play a practical joke is going to be at the right place and wrong time and they will either die, or get the living crap kicked out of them.
Nobody will be laughing then.
Bottom line: If you want to be a clown, go join a circus and entertain people. Don’t walk in the woods and put yourself at risk. You’re just asking for Trouble.
And, for the record, Trouble the Clown retired from the business after the great balloon mishap of 1984.