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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!

OK, So Maybe You Had to Be There…

Because brevity is the hobgoblin of little blogs.

Have you ever seen something really cool, but weren’t able to show it to anyone else?

You know, something that was obviously a trick of the light, or too fleeting to share, or somehow involved your genitalia?

Well, I had one of those last night. And — thank your lucky, lucky stars, people — it didn’t fall into the third category. So you can breathe again.

Anyway, these sorts of things happen to everyone from time to time, I suspect. Occasionally, someone with enough conviction and faith to convince themselves that it wasn’t a coincidence of atmospheric conditions (or more likely, alcohol consumption) will spread the word of their transient wonder, and flocks of people will scurry forth, straining to get their own look at Elvis’ head in the profile of a muffin, or the Virgin Mary outlined in soap scum on a dingy bathroom wall. Or Puppetry of the Penis.

(And don’t you have to believe that thing started when some guy got drunk and did god-knows-what-unspeakable-thing to his willie, and then just had to show someone, despite the little voice of reason presumably inside his head? I mean, how else could this have come about? And can you imagine the first guy he unleashed it on?

Dude, what the hell are you doin’? Dude, I don’t wanna see that! Jesus, put that thing away before — hey! Cooooool. How the fuck’d you do that?

And then that guy tried it, except his attempt looked more like a squirrel than a hamburger, and the show was on. Hey, it’s a living. Just please tell me that they don’t pass out plastic raincoats to the first few rows of the audience, a la a Gallagher or Shamu performance, and I might consider seeing a show. Might.)

So, anyway, we’ve all been there. (Not to a show featuring genital origami, fool. I mean, we’ve all seen something that we wish we could share with others, but can’t. Keep up, would you?) We’ve all been driving, alone in the car, and seen a double rainbow, or the single ray of sun parting the storm clouds like the hand of God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Ryan Seacrest, or whoever your personal deity-on-high happens to be these days. I think these lonely moments need a name, but I’m not sure exactly what it ought to be. ‘Cool-incidences’ doesn’t really capture the fact that no one but you will ever see the particular event. And ‘brain blips’ doesn’t convey how cool and breathtaking they can be. So frankly, at this late hour, I’m stumped. If you can come up with a better name, I’m all ears.

In the meantime, I’ll tell you about the thing that I had last night.

(‘Paranormal solitare’, maybe? No?)

Anyway, by definition, I can’t really show you what happened, so I’ll just have to describe it. And keep in mind that I had just woken up from a nap and was blearily stumbling in the general direction of the bathroom when it happened. ‘It’ being this:

I stooped over to pet my dog, who was lying on her side. She looked up at me, in just the right way and in precisely the right light, and — I would swear she looked just like Anubis. Yes, that’s right, the ancient Egyptian god of mummification and a dozen other things, Anubis. It’s never happened before, and only lasted a couple of seconds, but there my dog was, for a split second — Anubis, just with a dog-body instead of that of a man. I swear to Horus. Dead on.

Now, if you peruse the site that I linked to above, you’ll see that Basenjis are often thought to be the ‘model’ for the Anubis head. Apparently, they’re an ancient breed, and lived in Egypt around the same time, and may have inspired the Egyptian god-makers to incorporate them into a godhead. Rather, um, literally, as it turns out. This is all well and good, I suppose. It’s hard to say what these olden-day pre-Basenjis were like. I do have a friend who owns a couple of 21st century examples, though, and they seem, to the untrained eye, to be rather skittish, stubborn, and… well, yodely, if that’s even a word. Because Basenjis don’t bark, like normal dogs. No, they howl and whine and emit a high-pitched throaty ‘guh-roooo-ahhh-rooo‘ that someone has rather generously labelled a ‘yodel’, and which the rest of humanity continues to call it for fear of freaking the little shits out.

In any case, I have to wonder a bit whether Basenjis really were the inspiration for Anubis. The qualities I’ve just listed don’t seem at first blush to be characteristics that you’d really want in a mummification god, if you ask me. First of all, I’m convinced that their god-awful growly gargles could wake the dead, which is probably not what you’d ideally want when you’re trying to suck that same dead person’s brain out through their nose and wrap them in gauze. Nor what the, ah, patient would prefer, either, I have to believe. It just seems like something you’d want to be fully asleep for, as well as being dead.

(But that’s just me talking, and what do I know? The closest I’ve had to having my brain sucked out my nose was a night at the movies with an overzealous girlfriend back in high school. I’d have probably forgotten it completely by now, but she had braces on her teeth. That’s left sort of an impression that has so far defied my repeated attempts to suppress it. So far.)

So, anyway, where the hell was I? Ah, Anubis and Basenjis. Perfect.

So, apart from the horrific noise, I’m still not convinced that this is the ideal breed for overseeing mummification. As I mentioned, they’re a bit flighty and can be stubborn and untrainable. In other words, Basenjis are like the Charo of the dog world. And while she might not be the very last person on my List of Cheeky Tramps Who Can Wrap Me in Bandages for All Eternity, she’s certainly very, very close to the bottom. Somewhere above Elvira and the Gabor sisters, perhaps, but very near the bottom. Ugh.

Okay, so I’ve gotten off on a bit of a tangent here. Which is nothing new, of course, but let’s reel this fish back in a bit, shall we? See, the thing is, my dog’s not a Basenji. No. If you’ve been paying any attention at all the past few weeks, you’ll already know that my dog is an American Staffordshire Terrier. In other words, a smallish Pit Bull. What’s more, if you’ve ever seen her — and one day I’ll get around to posting pics of my pup — then you’d also know that she is sorely lacking in the one department that would seem to be required in a good Anubis impersonator. Namely, ears.

See those big pointy things sprouting out of Anubis’ head in the picture? Well, our puppy doesn’t have those. See, we adopted her from the pound, and her former owners had already cropped them. Except they did a pretty horrible job, and left our dear doggy with little more than pointy triangles of fur around where her ears once grew. Oh, there’s a little bit of cartilage in there somewhere, but not much. Not much at all. Poor thing looks like she’s got Cheez-Its stuck to the sides of her head. Little, diagonally-cut-in-half, brown-painted Cheez-Its, two on each side. Hey, it’s not much of an analogy, but it’s all I’ve got, folks. Who’s writing this damned blog, anyway?

So, I suppose the point, assuming that there ever was one, is that my dog is not going to win a Most Likely to Be Mistaken for Anubis contest any time soon. Or ever, really. And yet, that’s just what happened. Well, I mean, I knew it was still her, of course, because that’s pretty much where she’d been lying all night. So I didn’t stumble over and say, ‘Anubis? What the hell are you doing here?‘ or anything like that. I think that the whole body-of-a-man thing would have tipped me off, too. But still — from the neck up, very spooky Egyptian god, ear-stubs and all. It was cool. I’m just not sure how to get it across…

I guess there’s a lesson in here for all of us, which seems to be:

Don’t ever tell anyone about your cool private moment, or you’ll come off sounding like a dork.’

So you should learn from my mistake. Do as I write, not as I… um, write. Okay, so never mind that advice. Just don’t go trying to explain the Jesus face on your pancake to anyone, or waxing poetic about the potato chip that looked just like that dreamy hunk Justin Timberlake. If you feel tempted, just think of all the trouble and bother I went to, and where it got me — here I am, two hours and twelve paragraphs later, and my dog still doesn’t look like Anubis to you. And if I could show her to you, you’d say the same damned thing. It’s hopeless.

So just keep your ‘solo spectacles’ to yourself.

(How’s that for a name? Better?)

Learn to cherish them, and feel lucky that at least one person was chosen to witness the wondrous event, and that you were tagged to do it. It’s special, really, and no one else needs to know. Think of each breathtaking moment as your own private memory, and revel in the magic that you’ve seen. (‘Cause no one else is going to believe it anyway, or even likely care.) Make it your own, and remember it always; only you can preserve the event, and hold a special place for it in your heart. Oh, and hey, while you’re at it, can you make those Penis Puppetry guys put some damned pants on?! Nobody wants to see that! Don’t those people have grandmas to keep them from doing that shit onstage?

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