First Velveeta, and now this - a national clown shortage.
According to the New York Daily News, clowns are dropping like shaving cream pies.
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but those really are big shoes to fill.
Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger told the Daily News that the World Clown Association lost 1,000 clowns in the last 10 years. Membership stands at about 2,500, which, I think, qualifies clowns as an endangered species.
''The challenge is getting younger people involved in clowning,'' association president Deanna ''Dee Dee'' Hartmier told the Daily News.
The older clowns are dying off, and young Americans are looking for ''real'' jobs, she said.
Seriously? I'm positive that every time I set my big foot in the mall, I'm surrounded by kids trying out for the part.
Lately, we've been beset by shortages.
In September, Kraft began running short of Velveeta processed cheese product. By early February, it was a national crisis, what with all the Super Bowl parties. Velveeta makes up a huge percentage of football food.
A little more than a year ago, field corn ran short. Cattle farmers switched to candy corn.
CNN reported that farmers and bovine nutritionists mixed cattle feed with chocolate bars, gummi worms, marshmallows, crumbled cookies, breakfast cereal and powdered hot chocolate mix.
Corn was selling for about $315 a ton in October 2012. Ice cream sprinkles ran about $160 a ton.
Candied beef, it's what's for dinner.
With the cold and snow, there's been a road salt shortage in a lot of communities across the snow belt area. (Instead of just a snowbelt, this year, it's more like a snow greatcoat, with matching hat, scarf and clown-sized boots.)
I often suspect my paycheck also runs short of my true value. My boss has a different theory on this subject, but it's too crazy to mention here.
We're also running rather short on patience, temper, IQ, civility and common sense.
Worse than shortages are the abundance of other commodities.
There's no shortage of entities willing to tax us.
There's no shortage of calories in my candy bars. Sometimes I fear I've met a candy bar shortage, but I'm informed by others - my wife, mother and doctor - that I am not.
There's no shortage of TV reality shows. We've got models, wives, singles, remodelers, duck hunters, sports teams, singers, dancers, world travelers, bosses, designers, entrepreneurs, celebrities, wrestlers, roommates, survivors, kids, judges, cops, robbers, bounty hunters, rescuers, pawners, treasure hunters, cooks, bakers, and probably candlestick makers.
I hope that the Play-Doh industry and the blowing bubbles industry are doing OK. We need the sanity break.
And clowns. More clowns would help. Then again, I think they're already here. Just like the World Clown Association said, they went out and got ''real'' jobs. Which explains a lot about certain co-workers you've wondered about.
The clowns have been found.
Let's hope they don't get a reality show.
---- Drive your clown car to burts firstname.lastname@example.org or the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook.