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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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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!

Freaky Forensics Friday

A strange and magical thing has been happening over the past few weeks. I’ve been getting email.

Not the regular sort of email, mind you. I mean, I always get email. But the emails lately haven’t been the usual old ‘buy \/1agr@ 0nl1n3!!!1!eleventy‘ and ‘Hot local singles want to rub peanut butter on YOU!‘ and ‘FINAL NOTICE: Student loans overdue — Vinny the Knuckles now handling your account

(Okay, to be fair, most of them are still that kind. Especially the student loans ones — those people are relentless.

Luckily, I was able to score Vinny some Viagra, and set him up with this nice local girl who’s into long walks, jazz fusion, and extra-crunchy Jif. That oughta buy me some time.)

No, the emails I’m talking about have come from people — actual, honest-to-god people — writing to me, specifically. About this site. Seriously.

They’re not from the FBI or anything. I know. It’s weird.

“If I can warp sully ruin shape the mind of just one young student, then I’ll have done something meaningful here.”

Even more specifically, these fine folks have been writing to ask permission (unlike some shifty jackholes) to use one of my posts. And adapt it into a monologue. To be performed in high school.

(Why do I suddenly get the feeling that the next email I get will be from the FBI?)

Actually, it’s not quite so scandalous — but it is pretty cool, and until today, somewhat mysterious. Here’s the story:

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve received three separate requests from high school students to use the contents of my ‘Oh, I Need a Clue, All Right… I’m Just Not Sure It’s This One‘ post as a humorous forensics piece.

For those of you unfamiliar with these sorts of high school competitions and trying to reconcile the apparent paradox of ‘humorous forensics’, I can tell you that it doesn’t involve wearing a Groucho Marx mask while doing an autopsy. Nor fingerpainting knock-knock jokes on the wall with crime scene blood spatter. Nor giving David Caruso an atomic wedgie and dumping him in Biscayne Bay.

(Not that it shouldn’t involve that last one, if there were any justice in the acting world. I’m just saying it doesn’t.)

Instead, high school forensics has to do with public speaking, in its various forms. Giving extemporaneous speeches, debating hot topics, performing dramatic readings, and… if all of that sounds dreadfully dry and distasteful to you, ‘humorous interpretations’. The last one being the only one, of course, that couldn’t possibly assist you in any respectable sort of career down the road.

Which is what makes it. So. Damned. Cool.

As cool as forensics gets, anyway. The whole team is only a half-step above being the ‘tuba kid’ in band, anyway, so why not have some giggles? Story of my life.

And as it so happens, I was myself a forensics fool, back in the day. My muse was a young Bill Cosby, who wrote a bit about a smart-mouthed Noah talking to God about some damned fool boat he was supposed to build. I even made it to the 1987 NCFL National Tournament, as a junior.

(Sadly, the ‘C’ in NCFL stands for ‘Catholic’. And backsassing Biblical belligerence doesn’t go over too well with the yardstick-wielding nun crowd. So while I made it to the tourney, I daresay I barely made it back.)

Now, it seemed, there was a new generation of fresh-faced young orators ready to take up the cause. And instead of Cosby’s words, or anyone else’s, they were asking me to provide the material to propel them into the prestigious national spotlight.

(Insofar as it qualifies as a spotlight. Two decades ago, I experienced the ‘prestige’ of traveling to Buffalo, New York to compete. This year’s competition? In Albany.

Somebody needs to teach these Catholics how to shake off the habits and have a little fun. Sheesh.)

Naturally, I was quick to agree to each of the requests. If I can warp sully ruin shape the mind of just one young student, then I’ll have done something meaningful here. The children are our future. Ye gods help us all.

My only question was… why? Not that I found it completely outside the realm of possibility that someone other than myself would be willing to repeat my words in public. Mostly, sure. But not completely.

But they were all asking about the same post, which is now a little more than five years old. And at the time of the requests, I wasn’t actively writing here, and hadn’t for months. Google had likely forgotten all about me. The Blue’s Clues bit was nearly as old as they were. Flattered as I was, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the sudden hubbub was bubbling.

Until today.

Today, I found a video on YouTube starring a young lady, Chelsea, who asked for permission a few months ago to adapt the piece. I’d forgotten all about it, but the existence of the video — and Chelsea’s super (as in gold medal-winning in the state tourney super) performance — easily explained the renewed interest.

And was pretty interesting for me to watch, actually. The words in the piece are mine — but the inflection, the gestures, the flair is all hers. I’ve never done any scriptwriting, so this is really the first time I’ve seen anything I’ve written interpreted onstage. Mis-interpreted, sure — at family reunions, staff meetings, interventions, holding cells… but acted out, in front of an audience? Pretty damned cool.

So I wanted to share the video below, for anyone interested in seeing Blue’s Clues (or my/Chelsea’s twisted take on it) come to life. Belated congratulations to Chelsea on her win, and many thanks for choosing a piece of mine to perform. Frankly, I hope it inspires more requests from forensics folks — finding this version of an old favorite made my day. I wonder if there’s any future in writing custom monologues that high school smartasses would appreciate?

Come to think of it, I wonder if that’s what I’ve been doing here all along. Dear lord.

Permalink  |  4 Comments



4 Responses to “Freaky Forensics Friday”

  1. kerry says:

    that was fun! and how cool that you’ve been contacted by more students. :)

  2. diesel says:

    I’ve always said that being adapted for a high school forensics class is the sincerest form of flattery.

  3. CHELSEAAA!!!!! says:

    Charlie!

    a.)I want to thank you. That piece was marvelous and everyone loved it…it always hit home with the mom-judges…muwahahaha.

    b.)I’m SO TERRIBLY EXCITED for you getting requests from high school kids for forensics pieces. I think you could publish a book, honestly. Make some good moolah.

    c.)UW-Milwaukee doesn’t have a forensics team (tear), but kids from my high school team keep asking me about it. I love that these people love your stuff [almost] as much as I do.

    d.)I hope you’re doing well, and, of course, I’ll continue to check out your posts. Keep up your fantastic work!

    -Chelsea

  4. Chelsea's Aunt "Georgie" says:

    Charlie! I applaude your humor and definitely your wisdom! I have heard your humor for the past few years, via Chelsea at Forensics. Thanks for the mention and, no, my name is really Cathie!

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