What’s Next?Man, sometimes it’s tough to even get out of bed in the morning. It seems like every day brings us more disturbing news. Twenty five percent of us don’t realize that the Earth revolves around the sun, the government’s official weather forecasters didn’t realize it would be so cold this winter—but they are sure it’s due to climate change– and the President wants to pay the 16-year old kid at McDonalds $10.10 an hour to get your order wrong. As if things aren’t bad enough, I picked up the paper the other day and found out that this country is facing a severe clown shortage. Now I can explain the whole Earth rotation and revolving thing to those who haven’t grasped the concept of the solar system, wear a heavier jacket when I venture outdoors and go inside to place my next Big Mac order, but there is just no workaround to combat this clown scarcity.

Some of you may not view this as a critical issue since you find clowns to be scary. Apparently this is a common phobia. To you folks I say grow up. It’s a guy with a wig, fake nose and big shoes for crying out loud. The wolfman, that guy is scary. When a clown crosses the line he’s just annoying. See the difference? Anyway, according to the World Clown Association the number of clowns has dropped 28% since 2004. According to a spokesman for the association, younger people just aren’t entering the profession as they view $300 for working an afternoon kids party as not worth the effort. I guess the wage scale at the Gap is a lot higher than the $75/hour you’d make for four hours of making balloon animals and shooting some seltzer down your pants.

Naturally, as disturbing as this clown shortage is, the ripple effect is even worse. For example, what happens to those businesses that make those big clown shoes? Those are real people with families that make those giant red high tops, and what is going to happen to them? When making oversized footwear is your only marketable skill, just how well are you going to fare in today’s job market. Aren’t 90 million people out of the workforce enough? I can’t even imagine what this is going to do to the fright wig and rubber nose industries. I don’t think the phrase “economic carnage” does justice to this financial collapse of the clown and clown related industries. Shouldn’t these folks be eligible for a bailout? If we can provide billions to prop up banks, financial institutions and the current victim de jour, health insurance providers, aren’t these displaced workers of the mirth making industry due their share? Let’s show a little compassion here people.

This dearth of clowns is also going to have a negative impact on some of our most valued and loved institutions. For example, if there aren’t enough clowns will circuses still need three rings? Or imagine having to explain to your kids why it used to be so funny when that tiny car came wheeling into view. I guess it literally is just a “clown car” when only one disembarks from it.  Isn’t it sad when the old vestiges of our culture slowly fade away?

As I read the article further it said that some of these open clown positions were now being filled immigrants from China. Is this what things have come to? We have to hitch a ride with the Russians to get into space, we build our iPods off shore and now this? Folks, when a country can’t even produce its own clowns, it is truly a nation in decline. Perhaps I’m being a little hyperbolic, but I don’t think so. Even though I will still get out of bed in the morning, I worry about the effect this constant barrage of bad news will have on those with less intestinal fortitude than me. Obviously, they no longer have to wait for the next big shoe to drop, but can we blame them for wondering, in an age when the clown may go the way of the Stegosaurus, what’s next?

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