I'm not terribly afraid of clowns.

Sure, John Leguizamo freaked me out in the long-forgotten 1997 film adaptation of Spawn, and I'm mildly horrified by the portraits of Emmett Kelly that used to hang on the walls at Applebee's' back in the 90s when restaurant wall-tchotchke was all the rage. And on a semi-related note, I'm also slightly petrified by the thought of Smokey Robinson in tears. But for the most part, I'm less afraid of clowns than I am of every-day terrors like car accidents and police brutality.

Besides, the people who really want to hurt you generally try to be discrete about it. And in a post-John Wayne Gacy world, dressing up like a clown is tantamount to sending out a press release to let the world know that you're either a Tim Burton fan, a Juggalo, or a creepy murder-pervert. And in today's society, it's only okay to be one of those things.

Whoop whoop!

But people are starting to overreact due to the increased number of reported clown-based tomfoolery throughout the country, with tensions recently boiling over to cause a riot in Penn State. But there's a trend that goes ignored in most of these reported sightings, as it's a recurring theme that the clowns often lurk right outside of the woods while attempting to lure people into the darkness.

For example, a Guardian article reports a clown sighting in Greenville, South Carolina wherein two clowns attempted to lure a young boy into the woods. And that's fucked up. But the report goes on to detail a woman who owns a Mercedes yet lives in an abandoned house in those same woods, which is significantly more terrifying. Do you know how many people that woman has definitely killed? If anything, the clowns were probably trying to escape from her, because the only people who live in the woods are serial killers and adulterous women from the 1600s who've been forced to wear big scarlet letters while being shunned by their Puritan communities. And while slut shaming is undoubtedly wrong, being a Puritan is significantly more terrifying than being a clown.

I have it on good authority that clowns used to bring people joy. In fact, long ago and before any of us were born, clowns lived amongst we humans as neighbors. Clowns were once free to roam the streets, attend birthday parties, and marry human women.

No one's quite sure what happened to force clowns out of polite society, but we do know that nature has always been humanity's greatest nemesis. Because historically, the woods only exist as hiding places for creepy shit like a séances or prayer circles dedicated to Mother Gaia. Or a raves filled with adult men sucking on pacifiers. Or wolves that are is waiting to eat you and blow down two-thirds of your houses before you can deliver treats to your grandmother who inconveniently lives over the river and through the aforementioned woods. Or some asshole named Thoreau whose rich friend Emerson let him write a bunch of angsty bullshit by a pond in the woods. Or a villainous Tim Curry who wants to cut FernGully to the ground. Or a Blair Witch sequel wherein Elly Kedward lures children into a house made of candy so she can fatten them up and then eat them. Or a colonial village that turns out to have set in modern times the whole time! Or Taye Diggs and Richard T. Jones and Omar Epps reflect on coming of age in the 1999 Black cinematic classic The Wood.

You mustn't allow yourself to be the type of person who can't see the forest for the clowns, because the woods are the real enemy here. Besides, the only clowns you really need to be afraid of are all these clown in Washington, AMIRIGHT??????????

**holds hand in the air for a high-five that will never come**