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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Magical Moments, or The Day I Came of Age

Dude! You’re gettin’ a Blog!

If you’re anything like me, you’re a bit of a smart-ass.

(Okay, if you’re everything like me, you’re an incurable smart-ass on the wrong side of thirty with a manic pet pit bull, a spouse who’s smarter than you (not to mention a lawyer), a newly-minted mortgage on a hundred-year-old house, and looming unemployment. (Try not to hurl.) Oh, and right now, your ass is kinda sweaty. But not from anything interesting, mind you — you’re just a little warm this morning. Sounds perfectly dreamy, doesn’t it?)

Moving on… let’s assume for the moment that you’re inclined, as I am, to drink deep from the murky pools of smart-assery. I think that’s a pretty safe bet, given that you’ve managed to get this far without flinging your monitor away in disgust and horror. Plus, if you’re not a smart-ass, too, then we’ve really not got a lot to talk about. So let’s go with it, shall we?

So, we’ve extablished that we’re smart-asses.

(Why, oh why, did I decide that word had a hyphen? Dammit, now I’m just annoyed. I can ramble this stuff out at breakneck speed, with the letters and commas and periods… but then I hit a stupid hyphen, and it’s way up there on the keyboard, and if I don’t actually look, then I end up with a ‘=’ or a ‘]’. (Or a ‘]{p_]=’, if I’m having one of my little spells.) Screw this; from now on, it’s ‘smartass’, okay? Please. You’ll be saving me about three hours of therapy. Agreed? Good. S’all right? S’all right.)

Anyway, as a fellow member of the ‘Piss ’em Off and Make ’em Cry‘ club, I want to ask you this: Have you had your Moment yet? That is to say, your ‘Smartass Achievement Award Moment’? The one that proclaims proudly to the world and the pantheon of deities that you are, indeed, a full-time, full-fledged, fine-feathered, don’t-fuck-with-me, card-carrying gen-u-ine Smartass™, with the pedigree papers and restraining orders to prove it.

‘Cause I’ve had mine. And I’m gonna tell you about it. Right now. (Well, okay, in a few minutes, really — I tend to get distracted by random thoughts (and pointless tangents, and shiny objects, and people named Renaldo, or Jasmine, or April…))

(Hey, speaking of ‘April’, who did ‘July’ piss off way back when, as they were deciding which months would be good for naming little girls after? I mean, I understand how the long ones got left out, and March is still shitty and cold in much of the Western hemisphere, so March is out — but what the hell’s wrong with July? We’ve got all sorts of snot-nosed little Aprils, and Mays, and Junes, and even Augusts, running around and jumping rope and leading cheers and joining sororities, but no Julys. It’s not right! And then, to make it worse, there are millions upon millions of Julies. Are they deliberately teasing July, by getting as close as they possibly can without using it? Not to mention the Jills, and Jillys. And Julis with no ‘e’, but a star, or a heart, or a pentagram of some kind, dotting their i’s. (Which is criminal. Girls, if you’re out there, and you have an ‘i’ in your name, please — use the damned dot that you were born with. Please. You didn’t come into this world with a cute little heart, or a smilie, or even a damned circle. Just dot your friggin’ ‘i’ and get it over with, ‘k? ‘Cause if you don’t, I’m afraid that someone’s eventually gonna tie your widdle pigtails over your eyes, and boot you down a flight of stairs. I’m just looking out for your best interests. Really.))

Now, where was I? Ah, the smartass Moment of Glory. Of course.

So, the story of the Moment is handed down from one smartass to another, generation through generation. I had a guide, of course — my ‘peevish professor’, my ‘comeback coach’, my ‘dean of disparagement’, a veritable ‘sensei of sassiness’.

(Why yes, I did just buy stock in Reference.com, and thanks oodles for asking!)

And now I’ll pass the story of the Moment on to you.

I don’t want you to misunderstand the Moment, however. The Moment is not necessarily your best effort, your shining example of how deliciously acerbic you can be if you stay up all night working on witty repartee. No. That sort of effort shows great commitment, certainly, and dedication to your craft… and frankly, that you have no life whatsoever, and really need to find a friend or a hobby or an inflatable doll or something.

(And put on some pants, would you?)

Anyway, burning the midnight oil in this manner won’t get you any closer to your Moment. You may go blind, or grow hair on your palms, perhaps, but your Moment will be as elusive as ever. It’s just the nature of the beasticle.

You see, the Moment is that one opportunity — that one opening — where you find that you’ve blurted out the perfect line for the situation, even before you realized what you were saying. Somewhere deep in your mind, something clicked, and you took just the right angle, with the right delivery, and just the right tone, and bam, without even knowing what you were doing, there it is. Pure reflex. Every single person within the sound of your voice is staring at you, gaping in wonder and shock, rendered utterly speechless, and with a single thought running through their collective minds:

‘What a dickhead.’

And that, my lords and ladies, is when you’ve arrived. You’ve graduated into full smartass-hood, with your own parking spot and a key to the executive bidet. You are now more highly evolved than the rest of your neighbors — you have the ‘fight or flight or put that bitch in its place‘ instinct. You pimpin’, baby. And you’ll be able to die a happy man or woman (whichever way you decide to go with the operation…).

So here’s my guru’s Moment, as transcribed from the official log. It’s not exactly Abbott and Costello, but that’s not the point, remember. The reason that he earned his wings with what you’re about to read is that he took a situation in which no tomfoolery was expected or encouraged, and he went and tomfooled all over the floor and halfway up the walls.

(And if you’ve ever had tomfool stains, you know how hard it is to get the smell out of shag carpet.)

Anyway, here’s his proudest moment, culled from a phone conversation to his dentist’s office:

Receptionist (via phone): Hello, Dr. Payne’s office.

(No, I don’t know the dentist’s real name; let it go. Dr. Payne was my old dentist growing up, and let me tell you — never in the history of our species has a moniker better suited a man. He drilled, he pulled, he poked and prodded… I think he’s got parts of my lung somewhere in that infernal office of his, he probed so deeply. And then, he started working on my teeth! My teeth, ladies and germs! Teeth! Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)

All right, I’m starting over. From the top, everyone. Places! And…. action!

Receptionist: Hello, Dr. Payne’s office.

Mark: Hi, I need to make an appointment. One of my teeth has been giving me some trouble.

Receptionist: Okay. (pause) Would next Tuesday be okay?

Mark: Sure.

Receptionist: And would morning or afternoon be better?

Mark: Um, afternoons are usually better.

Receptionist: Okay. (pause) Two thirty?

Mark (with mock anger, without missing a beat): Two thirty?! Tooth hurty?! Well, of course my tooth hurty; why the hell do you think I’m calling?!

Receptionist (thinking to herself): ‘What a dickhead.’

And that’s it. The shining pinnacle of Mark’s life; his fifteen seconds of fame. (His mother is sooo proud, let me assure you.)

And the best part is, the receptionist didn’t call the cops. Or sue him, or even hang up. As a matter of fact, when Marky showed up for his appointment the next week, he even scored a date with said appointment-taker. Of course, Mark’s kind of a runty little guy, with scruffyish, receding hair. And a bad hip, which gives him sort of a gimpy walk. Think of a thin Jason Alexander on a bad hair day with a stick up his ass, and you’ve pretty much got Mark. So obviously, he didn’t get a second date, but I think he got to second base or thereabouts (and even further, after he dropped her off at her place), so I’d say he did all right.

(Heya, Mark, if you’re out there — you’re a weener, dude. I know, I know — ‘don’t care!’ Jagoff…)

So that’s Mark’s story. Mine was a little different, and in an even less appropriate situation. My wife and I were having dinner with a group of my in-laws — her mother, and some aunts and uncles, I think — and it went something like this:

Aunt-in-law (to everyone, more or less): Oh, yeah, I used to have a terrible time remembering things. I’d forget my keys, or my purse, all sorts of things.

Wife: Wow, what’d you do?

Aunt-in-law: Well, I bought this book on how to improve your memory. And it was fantastic! It had all sorts of tricks you could use to help you remember, memory games to help yourself —

Wife: Oh, mnemonics?

Aunt-in-law: Gesundheit, honey. Anyway, it really helped me out. I don’t have any problems with forgetting things now. My memory’s like a steel trap!

Me (before I even knew I’d said it): Really? What was it called?

Aunt-in-law (surprised, because I hadn’t been paying much attention): What?

Me (trying to keep a straight face as my mind caught up to my mouth): The book. What’s the name of the book?

Aunt-in-law: Oh! It’s… um… er, it’s… uh. Hmmm. Oh. *sigh*

Everyone at table (thinking to themselves): ‘What a dickhead.’

So as you might surmise, that aunt really doesn’t talk to me much anymore (though I suspect it may be because she has trouble remembering my name *tee hee*). And that’s the story of my most smartassedy Moment. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

And that’s also all I can really tell you about Moments in general. So now you know. Or maybe you’ve already had your Moment; if so, lemme hear about it. You can never read too many smartass stories, ya know. And if not, well, keep tryin’, kid. Eat right. Meditate. Watch a lot of those angry standup comics all the kids are raving about. And maybe one day, you’ll have your time in the sun. Cherish it. Remember it always. Just don’t take a bow afterwards, or laugh at the zinger you’ve unleashed. The very last thing you want is to ruin your own Moment.

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One Response to “Magical Moments, or The Day I Came of Age”

  1. Andy Lee says:

    Setting: A group of guys and girls hanging out before heading out before dinner and minature golfing.

    Candace: Things have really been working out well this summer. I’ve got a great place lined up for next semester with awesome roommates, I finally got a job, which not only pays well, but requires little work, and I’m heading to Europe here in a few weeks.

    John: What more could you want?

    Me: A boyfriend.

    Yeah, not one of my prouder moments. It was totally reflex…unfortunately.

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