It’s time to stop clowning around


I mean, you probably already already know this by now, though … I mean, you have been watching the presidential and vice presidential debates, right?

Actually, I’m not talking about the clowns in Washington, D.C. who are coming to get us, I’m talking about the actual, literally circus clowns who are coming to get us … although, truth be told, I think it’s getting harder to differentiate between the two types of clowns.

I watched about four seconds of the first presidential debate last week before I switched over to pro wrestling — where at least I know the officials are supposed to be corrupt and I know they are supposed to be lying to me … and to me, it looked like both candidates were wearing about as much make-up as your standard circus clown.

Literally, I mean. How long does it take someone to get their face that wonderful tangerine hue? But I digress.

Anyway, perhaps the only thing people are talking about more than the presidential election or athletes protesting the national anthem are the “creepy clowns” that have gone from (allegedly) trying to lure children into the woods to (allegedly) chasing people down the street to (in actuality) committing very real and very unfunny crimes.

Apparently, this all started somewhere in the South (I mean, come on … imagine that) with reports of people sneaking around late at night dressed as clowns, banging on doors, appearing on darkened roadsides with weapons and standing at the edges of wooded areas, attempting to lure children into said woods.

Granted, none of this seemed to make any sense at all when the reports first started filtering out to the rest of the country. For starters, nobody had any photographic evidence of any of these clowns. In a world in which cell phones capture videos of seemingly every aspect of our lives — from alleged crimes to alleged police brutality to celebrity sexual encounters to pretty much anything and everything that appears on TMZ and WorldStar, how is it that no one — in the nascent days of the creepy clown pandemic, at least — was ever actually able to capture any credible evidence of these clowns on film?

Personally, I filed creepy clowns right alongside Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Jim Harbaugh winning a national championship at Michigan — sure, kind of scary to think about at first, but I’m probably not going to believe it until I actually see it with my own two eyes.

It was almost funny, really.

Until, of course, it stopped being funny.

As is the case with everything on the Internet that is mildly amusing at first, there’s always a few morons out there who have to take things too far. People started calling in fake clown threats to schools, forcing them to go on lockdown. One woman faked a clown attack in order to get off work for the day. Then people actually did start dressing up like clowns and walking around their neighborhoods because they saw it on the Internet and viewed it as their way to YouTube fame.

None of this was funny because while the clown phenomenon may have been fake, the police response to it was very real. Time and money was wasted by police officers who have plenty of real crimes they need to be fighting, as opposed to chasing after phantom clowns.

Now, of course, we’ve reached the point at which real crimes are actually being perpetrated by people wearing clown masks. Sigh. Reading stories about real clown crimes makes me think the same thing as I do when I watch the clown debates … is this really the best we can do as a society? Don’t we all deserve better than this?

First and foremost, the whole “creepy clown” thing already is played out. It’s so two weeks ago. If you still think it’s funny, it just goes to show how on the tail end you are of cutting-edge Internet entertainment. Second, if you are actually thinking about doing this on your own, there’s a good chance you are going to get hurt.

There are a lot of people who don’t find any of this amusing. If you jump out of the bushes and try to scare someone while wearing a stupid clown outfit, there’s a chance they may run the other way — but there’s also a chance they may punch you in your clown jaw. Or mace you in your clown face. Or, God forbid, much worse.

So please, let’s put this stupid creepy clown thing to rest.

It’s time we do the opposite of what composer Stephen Sondheim suggested … it’s time we send out the clowns.

David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News, a division of Civitas Media.

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