The other day, a local police department told people to call the cops only if they saw a clown where he didn’t belong.
This was in response to nationwide reports of “creepy clown sightings.”
Where doesn’t a clown belong?
At a wake? Well, not if the guy in the box is in a clown suit, too. Maybe they worked together.
And what about the birthday party clown who spends a long day pulling handkerchiefs out of his nose and wants to stop on the way home for a beer?
Not long ago, I went out for a beer and I ended up sitting next to a very tall transvestite with visible five o’clock shadow and an Adam’s apple the size of a pool ball. She gets to use the bathroom with me, but I’m supposed to call the cops on Mr. Giggles?
So far, the police haven’t shot a lot of clowns. You’re safer hanging around a graveyard at midnight in a clown suit than you are if you’re a black teenager walking down the street with a cellphone in your hand.
Not that there are no risks attached to being a clown suit prankster.
A couple of nights ago, sitting in the newspaper office where I work, I head a scanner call about a clown walking around the parking lot of a suburban mall after closing time.
I don’t live in a suburb. I live in a city where something is always on fire and everybody hates everybody else.
“That’s it, clown boy,” I muttered to myself. “Stay out in the ‘burbs. We got people in my neighborhood who’d hit you in the mouth just to see what it feels like to punch a clown.”
The urban clown needs to watch nose color, too.
The traditional clown nose is red, but you don’t want to wear the wrong color nose in the wrong neighborhood.
I recommend carrying a blue nose in your pocket, so you can switch from Blood clown to Crip clown without slowing your walk.
If you’re in clown gear and you are stopped by the cops, don’t pull anything out of your nose. Don’t make anything disappear.
For God’s sake, don’t make anything appear. Don’t make any balloon animals.
In dim light, a balloon animal looks just like an AK-47. You’ll get blown out of your big red shoes before you can figure out how to say, “Don’t shoot!” in pantomime.
The national psyche is a confusing thing.
Here we are, slouching and squabbling toward the end of a historic national election, and everyone’s afraid of a creepy clown with orange hair.
With any kind of luck, clown season will be over in a few weeks.
I hope so.
I’m starting to get scared.