virtual children by Scott Warnock

Grades online…

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Teachers now are under a great deal of scrutiny because of digital gradebooks. They are expected to update grades on an almost hourly basis and…

Okay, this is an important topic, and I promise to revisit, but we’ve got clowns to deal with.

You know what I’m talking about. Clowns. Creepy Clowns are everywhere. It’s gotten so bad that even Ronald MacDonald is laying low.

My kids, like your kids, are scared out of their minds (admission: my wife and I have not helped by several times sneaking up on them with a clown mask we have). So we had to have a family safety talk, something we haven’t done in ages. (The last two were prompted thusly: To my question about what to do if a white van pulls up, my preteen daughter responded, “I’m getting in that van! YOLO!” To my question about what to do if a guy pulls up and asks you to help find his lost puppy, my middle son replied, proudly, “You help him!”)

I needed to give them some advice and perspective to ease their minds. At times like this, I speak in bullet points and semicolons. “Kids,” says me,

  • “if you see a clown, simply run away. Proper clowns, who wear size 22 shoes, will never catch you” (note: Admittedly, my kids are all kind of fast [certainly a maternal gene]);
  • “but say you have a fast clown. I don’t have scientific proof, but I have this sense that clowns have bad diets, what with their hanging around circuses. They’ll wear down fast. Just get a good head start;
  • “carry balloons. If the chase starts, drop some, hoping to tap into a clown’s innate urge to craft balloon animals;
  • “in honor of recently departed Mr. Fuji, carry salt and launch it in the clown’s eyes as you make your getaway;
  • carry Noxzema; it’s a like a cross to a vampire for clowns (note: ineffective vs. masked clowns, though);
  • “no creepy clown is going to sneak up on you in the woods. Short of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ throwback jerseys, a clown costume is the worst camouflage there is. Someone committed to snatching children in the woods is not doing it in clown garb;
  • “based on about 8 million YouTube videos, it appears lots of these creepy clowns wave. Most onlookers don’t wave back. Maybe some simple human kindness will work: Wave back — then run if need be;
  • “finally, now that this whole thing is out, don’t you realize clowns are going underground? Like Ronald, other clowns realize that it’s a bad time to be a clown. They’re the hunted — and remember, they don’t run well.” (Short but worthwhile aside: Once we attended the birthday party of a family friend’s daughter, who was about five. The parents had ordered entertainment, which ended up being a scantily clad “genie” woman who was not very skilled with magic tricks. The kids were kind of stunned by her revealing attire, but all of a sudden, the dads started eddying toward the entertainment, beers in hand. We watched in a kind of shocked awe, figuring someone must have messed up the party “order.” That’s when one guy leaned over to me and said, out of the side of his mouth, “Somewhere right now a clown at a bachelor party is getting his ass kicked.”)

I didn’t want to downplay or ignore this trend (in fact, here’s my Halloween costume). I wanted to handle this straight on: “Kids, we can deal with the Creepy Clowns.”

Scott Warnock is a writer and teacher who lives in South Jersey. He is a professor of English at Drexel University, where he directs the University Writing Program. Father of three and husband of one, Scott is on two local school boards and coaches all kinds of youth sports.

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5 Responses to “Grades online…”

  1. In the “FWIW” category, clowns in Levittown, PA get beaten. Badly…

  2. “Alas, poor Yorick.”

  3. OG…

  4. What do we do if a clown wins the White House?

  5. Don Riggs – don’t you mean “when” a clown wins? Guaranteed with two running.
    But I’m just disappointed that Scott didn’t get back on topic about those poor teachers having to post grades so parents could stay informed……
    Maybe next article.

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