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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!

Man’s New Best Friend?

Hey, I don’t come up with this stuff. I just type what my dog is dictating.

I was at one of my favorite bars the other day. It’s really quite a nice place — they brew their own beer, and serve good food, and they have a deck, and friendly staff, and all the sorts of sunshiny little qualities that go into making it a nice place. But there are a thousand nice places around here, and they’re all pretty much the same, right? I mean, if you go somewhere and someone will give you the opportunity to pour beer down your throat — or better yet, do it for you — then it’s a nice enough place, in my book. They can play Elvis Christmas records on the jukebox, throw Barney on the television, and hook jumper cables to my nipples; I don’t care. As long as they keep slingin’ the swill my way, the place gets my vote.

So, no, the aforementioned amenities are not what makes this place one of my ‘Faboo Faves’. No. And the waitresses hardly ever hook me up to the jumpers, anymore, now that all my hair’s grown back. No, this particular bar holds a special place in my heart (and my liver, and probably parts of my colon by now) mainly because of a particular piece of equipment that they have in the men’s room. I’m not sure what the official name of the thing is (and isn’t that a scary thing to say about something you find in a men’s room?), but I like to call it the ‘I Will Get into Your Pants Tonight, and There’s Not a Damn Thing You Can Do About It‘ machine. Let me elaborate. Please. I insist.

“It’s nice to enjoy longevity, from what I understand, but can you really say you’re enjoying yourself when you’ve looked like a horse-trampled corpse for the past thirty years?”

So essentially, it’s a vending machine. Now, there have been vending machines in bathrooms for the past fifteen years or more. Not full-fledged vending machines, mind you — you’re not gonna walk into the john at a HoJo’s and walk out with a turkey sandwich. Well, okay, at a HoJo’s, you might — but you won’t have gotten it from a machine, I can tell you that. But the discerning male — and probably female, for that matter; I’m afraid I’m not often allowed into the splendor that is the ladies’ room to find out — has for some time been able to walk into a rest room and emerge with a pack of smokes or ‘novelty marital aid’, as it says on the packaging, whether it be a French Tickler or a Belgian Waffler or a Nigerian Nightmare or an Atomic Screaming Melvin.

(Okay, I may have made some of those up… On the other hand, mmmmmm…. waffles…)

(Hey, back to the ladies’ room for just a minute. (And no, I don’t say that to all the girls. Any more.) Anyway, now I have a chance to tell you about my second most favoritest bathroom graffiti moment ever, which tangentially involves a little girls’ room. But no little girls. If there were any little girls involved, then it wouldn’t be a ‘graffiti story’ any more, now would it? Perv.

Anyway, I was in high school, and we were having an ‘annoying little dweeb’ outing to a local eatery of some kind. (And no, at the time, we didn’t call ourselves annoying little dweebs. But we were, anyway. Mercifully, it hit us later in life, when we realized that all pimply, perky, pouty, precocious, poetry-writing, and in countless other ways ‘pre-useful’, teeny-somethings are dweebs, and Dexters, and loserly dorks. So luckily, by the time we realized, we were out of danger.

(By then, we were all cynical groany thirty-somethings who were just as useless, but now without the convenient excuse of youth. Bitches!)

So, to continue, a few of us — two guys and a girl — got to the place early.

(No, it wasn’t a pizza place, either. It was not ‘two guys, a girl, and a pizza place’, no matter how cute you thought that would be. Now shut up and let me tell the goddamned story…)

So we’re there early, and we’d called ahead and reserved a big table for the crowd, so they put us upstairs in a private area.

(See, I told you we were annoying. Don’t you just hate us already?)

So it’s just the three of us up there, and the girl among us needs to powder her nose, so she slips into the facilities.

I should probably pause here to assure any of you out there who are all lubed up at this point that the story does not — repeat, does not — take a Penthouse twist at this point. I know, I know… you got here by searching for ‘French Ticklers’, and I just started a sentence with ‘So it’s just the three of us up there‘, and now there’s a chick in the bathroom and so there must be some action coming. But no. I know how the story ends, and trust me — nothing happens. Okay? No backs get arched, no uglies get bumped, and no freaks get on. None of that — I was there, and it didn’t happen. Serious. So if that’s your game, then you go do what you gotta do — take care of bidness, if you must, and then come back here and we’ll forge ahead. ‘k? ‘k.

So, anyway, she wraps up what she’s doing and comes out, and my friend and I get a peek — just a little peek — of the room behind her. And it’s like a frickin’ fairy tale. Now, we know there’s nobody else in there, so we barge in, and take it all in. It’s breathtaking.

(The room, not the — um, atmosphere, that is. Apparently our friend wasn’t droppin’ number two’s while we were standing by, thank goodness.)

Anyway, it’s a paradise — marble sinks, marble floors, full-length mirrors, carved wood, couches, puffy clouds and deer and chipmunks… I swear to God I saw Tinkerbell flying around. And the place was huge — you could’ve had a World Cup match in there. Unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Well, of course, my buddy and I had to check out the men’s room after that. I mean, how could they possibly top that? Chrome- and silver-plated toilets? Godiva chocolate urinal cakes? Squash courts? A masseuse? We had to know! So we busted through the door with the big ‘M’ on it, and this is the magical grandeur that awaited us:

It could only be described as a bunker. A concrete bunker, maybe 12 x 12 feet, and with no paint and a ‘Yield’ road sign on the far wall. There was a sink, over which hung another sign (‘No Parking’, I think it was), a dingy stall, and two urinals. Over the far urinal hung a glass case, which held a sports page from sometime in the previous month. The paper was yellowed, though whether that was a result of old age or bad aim, I didn’t care to know. Over the pisser closer to us, there was a blackboard and a tiny sliver of chalk.

(Here’s where the graffiti part’s gonna come in… it’s foreshadowing, people. It’s a common literary technique. Really, look it up.)

So, the girls get their log-cabin-away-from-home, like some utopian rendering whisked out of a Massengill commercial and into this restaurant, and what do we menfolk have? A half-heartedly refurbished prison cell with street signs to keep us company, and the following wisdom left to us on the blackboard by previous visitors:

  • Huck Sucks!

Oh, yeah, you’ll need this before we go on — the local college football coach at the time was Ken Huckaby, who of course, everyone called Huck. The school was Division I-AA and moderately successful at the time, which means that ‘Huck’ was just popular enough to help local hucksters (heh) sell the occasional used car. Oh, and to inspire derogatory graffiti. Which brings us back to our Wall of Shame, which blessed us with the following news flashes:

  • Huck Sucks!
  • Fuck Huck!
  • Dogs Fucked the Pope!

Now, I don’t know what all of that means, especially the last one — which dogs? And why? Were they Catholic dogs? No one but the author knows for certain, and he apparently ran out of chalk. But I do know this — if I ever go back to that restaurant, I’m pissin’ in the ladies’ room.)

Now, what the hell was I talking about? Ah, yes, the vending apparatus in the bar I was at. The Gettin’ in Your Pants box. It’s all coming back to me now.

So, this marvel of modern technology is a vending machine. A condom dispenser. But this is no ordinary rubber wrangler, no sir. No? No. It’s so much more. For you see, this machine has other wares for sale, as well, and as such, it represents a veritable one-stop shopping center for all of the modern man’s honey-ropin’ needs. Observe. Flanking the pickle-wrappers in this wondrous device are two of Trojans‘ alliterative chums: Tic-Tacs and Tylenol. And past the breath mints, bringing up the rear (so to speak), Pepto-Bismol.

Alone, of course, each of these meek and unassuming household products is of little use. Each has a purpose, to be sure, but mostly, these are the items that get shoved to the back of the medicine cabinet with the floss and the eyebrow wax, and rarely see the light of day. But together — and together in a bar, where at any time an actual woman might be present, single, drinking, and breathing (all at once!) — well, my friends, that’s when these little babies cast aside the geeky glasses and clip-on ties and merge to form an irresistable, unassailable, undefeatable weapon in the war to score some nookie. And for the low, low price of four dollars (a quartet of quarters for each priceless ingredient), you too can have the ace in the hole you’ve been looking for.

Think about it, guys. You storm into the loo with a pocketful of change, and return with four laser-guided missiles ready to shoot down any excuse your lady companion might have. I imagine the conversations go something like this:

She: Oh, you’re back. What took you so long in there?

He: Um, nothing. Just had to see a man about a dog. Or something. Anyway, how ’bout we go lather up the rooster?

She: What?

He: You know — feed the Garden Weasel. Take the O train. No? Hose down the daisies? Nothing? Unroll my Ho-Ho’s?

She: What?

He: Sorry, just trying that last one out. Anyway, dinner’s done — why don’t we just make each other dessert, eh?

She: Wha… oh. Oh! I see… oh, well, I don’t… um, well, I’d love to, really, it’s just that… well…

He: (reaching into pockets) Yeah? C’mon, what is it? I gotcha covered.

She: Well, to be honest, I’ve really got a bit of a headache.

He: (slamming Captain Tylenol on the table) Okay, done. Let’s go.

She: Welllll… you know, the pasta was sort of heavy. I’ve really got a bit of a stomach ache, too.

He: (bringing Dr. Bismol to the rescue) Yeah, I thought you might. All right, can we go now?

She: (thinking hard) Um…uhh… well, you had all that spicy food. I mean, I just don’t think I could, with the garlic breath you must —

He: (shaking the Tic-Tacs at her) Hmmm? You were saying?

She: (really sweating now) Er… well, there’s the matter of… surely you don’t have… no, you couldn’t have protection, too…

He: (slapping his Trojans on the table) Check! And checkmate! Your place or mine, doll?

She: (playing her last card) Bitches! Okay, okay, wait — what kind of condom is that? Is it any good?

He: (without even looking) Why, it’s the very latest model — a Canadian Mounter.

She: (getting up from the table) Shit. Good enough — let’s rock.

And that’s it.

(Thank you, Ridiculous Innuendo Skit Players, thank you. Take a bow. Yes. Thanks.)

Four dollars is all it takes, gents. If you can get to the doorstep, then you can’t lose. Find yourself one of these all-in-one handy-dandy kit dispensers, and you too can close the deal. Or not. I don’t really know. For all I know, you’ll spend your four dollars, go through the drill and get a slap in the face for your troubles.

(Especially if you use the Garden Weasel line, methinks.)

But hey, look on the bright side — you can take the Tylenol to dull the pain of your bruised cheek and battered ego, and some Pepto to ease that empty feeling in your stomach. Dump your Tic-Tacs into your Trojan and throw that party hat onto little Willy Joe, and you’ll at least have a maraca to entertain you for the evening. And that’s worth four bucks right there.

So try it out, and let me know how it goes. Be ready for anything, and use your weapons wisely. And above all, remember: ‘Noalways means no, but ‘Not tonight, I gotta headache‘ just requires a little ingenuity to fix. Well, that and a change machine.

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411): And by ‘Barney’, I mean either the dinosaur or the ‘Miller’; neither one raises my tent in the slightest… though Abe Vigoda is impressive in maintaining his not-dead-ness for so long. That dude’s been around since the Mesozoic Period, so technically he’s even older than the pudgy purple PBS pecker we started off talking about. So kudos to Abe, I guess. It’s nice to enjoy longevity, from what I understand, but can you really say you’re enjoying yourself when you’ve looked like a horse-trampled corpse for the past thirty years?

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