Hay: Do they really have to send in the clowns?

It would be funny if it wasn’t so creepy. Or maybe, it would be creepy if it wasn’t so funny

It would be funny if it wasn’t so creepy. Or, maybe it would be creepy if it wasn’t so funny. And I’m not talking about the U.S. election debacle, although at least one of the presidential candidates down there is certainly a clown.

No, I’m talking about the latest sociological phenomenon that has recently reared its ugly white head from the United Kingdom to Canada to the United States of Obama. Creepy clowns. Ugly creepy clowns. And they are popping up all over the blinkin’ place like 12 circus characters falling out of a cartoon clown car big enough for one.

Now, we’re not talking about those happy Kinsmen clowns who used to stop traffic downtown and sell Macintosh apples, or those cheerful clowns at parades that throw candy and merrily twiddle around with big floppy feet and neon wigs and honkin’ red noses and have names like Sprinkle or Sparkle or Spanky. Oh, no. Not even close.

We’re talking stark white-faced creatures with blood red menacing evil grins and horrible scary expressions that would make Boris Karloff positively spin in his grave. Like the infamous King of Creepy Clowns named “Pennywise” from the seriously wonderfully demented mind of Stephen King in his novel It. And in fact, production is currently underway in Toronto on a major movie remake of the creepy clown story staring Pennywise. Coincidence? Marketing stunt? Mr. King denies that global clown sightings are somehow related to advertising his movie. In fact, the lucratively deranged author, just two weeks ago tweeted: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria — most of ‘em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.” Of course he’s the one who is always scaring the pants off people in the first place.

Milo T. Clown is certainly scared. He’s from Nova Scotia and he’s 62 years old and his real name is Miles Leahy. And he’s been a professional clown for over half his life. In fact he’s a vice-president of Clowns Canada, which is the official association of the Canadian clown business. Who knew? He’s “heartbroken” that all these creepy clowns are ruining the business of making children of all ages happy. And he may be right.

In case you need to win a little trivia contest sometime, according to American psychologist Jason Seacat fear of clowns is called “caulrophobia” and it’s “nothing new”. He blames the quickly spreading mass hysteria on “a combination of sensational headlines and social media.” In fact, at a couple of U.S. universities recently, large crowds have formed because somebody Tweeted or Twittered or Twiddled an unconfirmed creepy clown sighting. Thing is, these crowds armed themselves with shovels and golf clubs and took off into the night clown hunting. What’s next, burning torches and pitchforks?

And we thought the impending zombie apocalypse was a bummer.

The obvious question here though, is: ‘What about Halloween’? I wonder how many creepy clowns we’ll get at our doorstep Trick or Treating this week? And I wonder if manic hordes of college students will be chasing them with home-made weapons.

Ban creepy clowns? Hold on just a tick. Isn’t getting a little pee-in-your-pants scared what Halloween is all about? At least for one night? Send in the clowns indeed. Then, after Halloween — not so much. I for one certainly don’t want to meet Pennywise anywhere, anytime, thank you very much. And I don’t even want to think about what HIS clown car looks like.

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, award-winning author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate.

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