I’d like Fries with that… The Clown in Yonkers

This op/ed piece (titled appropriately, the clown in Yonkers) appeared in the Westchester Journal News. I felt like I needed to make some reference to it, as I am the clown in Yonkers! (although this particular editorial features a Red-headed clown who slings hamburgers (and a failed protest at the library)

The clown in Yonkers

(Original publication: August 25, 2007)

It’s always amusing when protesters against (pick your cause) are outnumbered by reporters, photographers and, in the case of the anti-McDonald’s protest Tuesday in Yonkers, uniformed and plainclothes police. Warning of an attempt to “brainwash” children into becoming lifelong McDonald’s customers, the Rev. Scott Pellegrino mounted what turned out to be a one-person protest of an appearance by mascot Ronald McDonald, who read to children and handed out “Happy Meal” coupons to kids who read five books as part of a summer library reading club.

The Yonkers resident was easily outnumbered at Grinton I. Will Library by the 60 parents and children on hand to welcome the red-haired clown, whose employer sponsored the reading program. We are thankful there was no violence, as had been feared. Stephen Force, the library’s director, requested a police presence and some half-dozen showed. “It was unclear from my communication with (Pellegrino prior to the visit) whether he intended to disrupt the program.”

Brilliant move. Had the ordained minister failed to comport himself, the kids no doubt would have been on him in a child-sized heartbeat; woe is the protester who stands between a 4-year-old and her “Happy Meal.” And what was Pellegrino bringing to the table anyway? Carrots? Peas? Broccoli? Maybe some business about impressionable minds, high-fat diets, the epidemic in childhood obesity? These kids know who salts their french fries and pours their chocolate shakes.



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