Send in the Clowns

Clowns. They’ve been popping up in the media a lot more frequently than they used to. Clowns worldwide have been scaring the shit out of regular, honest folks. This new, viral, phenomena has taken the internet by storm, with people getting together, dressing up as creepy clowns, and trying to frighten others for the lulz. To give you an idea of exactly how bad the clown problem has gotten, there’s a Wikipedia page dedicated to clown sightings for 2016. Hundreds of clowns have been sighted over the world, most notably in North America. Clowns are now being banned from schools, from workplaces, and even entire communities. When did clowns become such a menacing part of our culture? Was it the Joker, from the new Batman films? Was it Stephen King’s IT? Or maybe it’s the fact a clown is currently running for president of the United States?


Scariest Clown sighting of the year

Here’s the kicker, people. I don’t actually remember a time when clowns were popular. I’ve never heard of a clown actually doing a birthday party, except in movies from the 80’s. I’ve seen clowns at the circus, but the circus is something I’ve only been to a handful of times in my life. I’ve never sought out clowns. I’ve never said to myself, “You know what, Mr. Charlton? This day needs more clowns”. In fact, the only time I can remember using the word clown is when I derisively call someone a clown.

I did some research. When I say research, what I mean is I typed ‘when was the last time clowns were funny’ into a search engine. And what I found will shock you.

Clowns have never been funny.

There’s a bizarre notion people before our time weren’t funny. I never really imagined the Romans sitting around, laughing their asses off because Julius made a snide remark to Anthony regarding his footwear, but sarcasm has been around for a while. There were also clowns, but looking through the lens of time shows us clowns were performers showcasing demon tricksters. Clowns showed both the light and dark side of humanity through pranks. What I’ve learned is clowns have been jesters, fools, and pranksters.

You ever met someone who’s a “prankster”? They’re assholes.

“It was just a prank, brah” is the calling card of these jester jerkoffs. Youtube is filled to the brim of dickheads who have confused sadism and masochism with humour. That’s what these clowns are about. The point I’m trying to make is this; clowns are greasy performers, not funny people. We used to laugh at them because they’re terrible human beings, not because they’re comedians.

Why have these clowns started popping up? We stopped laughing at them cruelly, which is the only way to laugh at clowns to keep them at bay. We’ve ignored them for too long. Clowns were ridiculed for years, derided and called out for their foolishness. This was the natural order of things. It was the way to drive the demon spirits away. In our age of extreme tolerance, we’ve forgotten that if there is one group of people who should be laughed at, it’s clowns. We, unfortunately as a society, collectively decided to take clowns seriously. We said “Maybe clowns aren’t so bad, maybe we shouldn’t be spraying them with water, hitting them with pies, or forcing them to pile in clown cars. Clowns deserve every opportunity the rest of us do.” And that’s led us down the dark path we’ve taken. A prominent clown is running for president. The media surrounding him is now a circus.

We’ve stopped laughing at clowns. I guarantee if this clown gets into office, then no one will be laughing for at least the next four years. What can you do, dear reader? If someone is acting like a clown, then make fun of them. They’re the necessary punching bag we need. Clowns serve a very important function in society, and that’s to provide the rest of us an outlet to express our rage and disgust. It allows the rest of us to get along. To not just tolerate out differences, but to celebrate them. Because is some clown is going to spray his face orange and turn democracy into a crazy fun house, then maybe they deserve to be taken down a peg.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. This is going to be the last long form post I’ll be doing for the next month. November is NaNoWriMo, and every damn word needs to count! I’ll still be posting, but it’ll be more of a diary about trying to squeeze out a novel in thirty days.


Mr. Charlton Goes to a Concert

In my younger days, I used to go to a lot of metal shows. This was due to the fact that my roommate, Metal Rob, was seriously into Heavy Metal music. At least once a month, a band he wanted to see came into town, and Jered (another roommate) and I would almost always go with him. Here’s a laundry list of some of the bands that I’ve seen. Bask in my metal credentials.

  • MegaDeth
  • Anthrax
  • Slayer (twice)
  • Strapping Young Lad (god knows how many times)
  • Tool
  • System of a Down (twice)
  • Dimmu Borgir
  • Nile
  • Napalm Death
  • Opeth (Three times)
  • Korpiklaani
  • DethKlok
  • Ensiferum
  • The Devin Townsend Project
  • Three Inches of Blood
  • Amon Amarth
  • Zimmers Hole
  • Wood of Ypres
  • Acid Bath
  • Children of Bodom
  • Cavalera Conspiracy
  • FinnTroll
  • Moonsorrow
  • Turisas
  • Tyr
  • Pericardium
  • Therion

And probably a bunch I’m forgetting. I also saw Roger Waters a few back (great show) and Green Day (lame show). I’m throwing the list down to let people know this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve driven to Seattle for the sole purpose of seeing Strapping Young Lad. I’ve flown to Toronto to see Ensiferum. In my early twenties, I was a complete metal head and going to shows was something I was doing all the time. Fast forward a decade. I haven’t been to a show for five years, and since 2013, the only thing I’ve listened to is new retro synthwave.

I only want to listen to music that makes me feel like I’m in a John Carpenter movie.

So it was pretty weird when I get a message from Willoughby, a guy from high school I haven’t seen in 15 years, asking me if I wanted to come see Five Finger Death Punch this last Tuesday. Tickets were free.

Truthfully, I didn’t want to go at first. I’m getting old, and I’ve seen enough live music to last me a lifetime. I was going to have to work the next day, and knew we were going to be getting into a few beers. Here’s a Life Pro Tip kids, right from Mr. Charlton himself. If you have an opportunity to go do anything, whether it’s a rock show or a knitting class, and it’s free, you goddamn go do that thing. You don’t complain about free beer, you don’t bitch about an application that you downloaded for nothing, and you certainly don’t say no to a concert because you might be a little groggy at work the next day. If it’s free, consider it a gift.

A couple of other guys from Golden were going as well; Ringo and Santuchi. So not only was I going to be going to a show for the first time in half a decade, I was going to be hanging out with guys I knew from small times. I’ll be frank here for a second, it’s goddamn weird hanging out with guys you haven’t seen in a long time…

… for about five minutes. Then it stops being weird and now you’re just drinking beers with some dudes you haven’t seen for a bit. Everyone is a little fatter, a little wiser, and with new stories to tell, but everyone is pretty much the same. So we drank beer and then we went and saw a rock concert.

It was a pretty good concert. We saw three bands; Sixx AM, Papa Roach, and Five Finger Death Punch. Let me tell you all about it.

The Good

I’m not really familiar with any of the bands. The only one I’m really familiar with is Papa Roach, and that’s because they had that hit song “Last Resort”, released 16 years ago. I wasn’t expecting much, but both Papa Roach and Five Finger Death Punch put on a great show. I was pleasantly surprised by the performances, and the sound quality was good.

The Bad

I quit smoking almost two years ago, but was using a vaporizer for the longest time. Recently I gave up vaping as well. This was the first time I had drank beer since I gave up nicotine. I didn’t have any cigarettes, but I did stand outside in the smoke pit soaking up second-hand smoke.

The Weird

Sixx AM is the project of Nikki Sixx, the Bassist from Motley Crue. And I’m not going to bash the quality of their performance, because even though it was the first time I heard them, I thought they were pretty good. The only thing is, Nikki Sixx is old. Like pushing sixty old. And he’s done a lot of drugs. You could tell he was the old guy, ’cause while the rest of the band were running around, he kinda just slowly walked everywhere. The stage had this box everyone was leaping off of, except for Nikki, who would step up slowly, play for a bit, then hop back off. And it was definitely a gingerly, I-do-not-want-to-pull-anything, kind of hop. Again, I got nothing against Nikki Sixx, just a little bit of a contrast to the rest of the band.

Here’s the final question, though. Would I go to another concert? And the answer is; maybe. Slayer and Anthrax are coming to town on Willoughby’s birthday, and part of me really wants to go. The other half of me is getting old, and to be honest, I’m one of those people who thinks the record sounds better than the performance. I used to go see shows ’cause it was the thing to do. Now I’ve got other things I’m doing, and getting tinnitus isn’t one of them. If I do go to see this show, it might be the last metal concert I ever go to. But a Slayer / Anthrax combo would be a hell of a way to go out.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Not to brag, but I have gotten the least fat.

p.s.s. Alright, I’m totally bragging.