The difference between scam and scary

Published 11:05 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One of the first things we discover as kids is the difference between scary and SCARY. Commercial frightful versus downright ghoulish. The gap between a broken-toothed Halloween pumpkin on a porch railing illuminated by a flickering candle and a holographic beheaded ghost peering out of your bathroom mirror dripping blood onto the faucet handle of the sink.

Your brother sneaking up and yelling “Boo,” or the grisly “scrape, scrape, scrape” of a wind-blown, fir limb outside your bedroom window. Or could it be the scratching of a dismembered skeletal hand?The laughing cackle of a cartoon witch compared to the sound of a flashing scythe whistling past your ear in deep dark. Goosebumps down your arm scary and pants- changing scary.

This election season definitely belongs in the second category and it is only our bad luck that Voting Day is the latest possible- on Nov. 8, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of the month. Prompting folks to ask why not the first Tuesday? The only result of that odd predicate is the election can’t be held on Nov. 1. We may accuse the dead of voting but we can never vote on the Day of the Dead.

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Why? Probably because our Founding Fathers were focused on the well-being of their future descendants and worried should Halloween and Election Day be contiguous we might all suffer heart attacks after being scared spitless two days in a row. Even way back then, they were aware that a dead electorate is not a consumer goods purchasing electorate.

Although the distance between these twin spooky events may be stretched the furthest this year, the eerie connection between the two has been magnified with a worldwide epidemic of creepy clown sightings. And no, we’re not talking about the onslaught of election campaign commercials but you’re getting the idea.

Creepy clowns have been reported in small towns, on the side of freeways, memed on social media, and even spread across the Atlantic to the U.K., where the tradition of bloated red noses has long been embraced by both the clergy and Members of Parliament.

The situation has become so dire that a Mississippi county passed a law making it illegal for anyone to appear in clown make-up until after Halloween. Precipitating drastic unintended side-effects such as forcing the Kardashians to cancel any and all appearances scheduled for Kemper County.

Nationally, Ronald McDonald went on enforced hiatus so as not to be confused with his even creepier brethren.

Although to many of us, the term “creepy clown” is very redundant. Seriously, how much more scary is a clown with a chainsaw than a clown with a balloon animal hat or a hand-puppet hamburglar?

Another connection is the creepiest of all the clowns, that orange malignant one currently running for president as a Republican. And speaking of Halloween, why is Donald Trump like a pumpkin? Both are orange on the outside, hollow on the inside and destined to be discarded in early November.

And if you’re looking for future frights: why does the Electoral College meet the First Monday after the Second Wednesday of December? Nobody knows. And if that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you, you should really see about having your central nervous system reconnected to your brain stem.


Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist syndicated by Cagle Cartoons Inc.