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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!

Milking a New Idea for All It’s Worth

No-Risk Guarantee: If You Don’t Like This Blog, We’ll Refund Your Eyeballs — No Questions Asked!

I think I coined a phrase today.

Well, okay, that’s currently only true in my demented little world, but that’s simply because I haven’t actually told anyone what the new phrase is, yet. But I’m about to. And you — yes, you, Mrs. Peacock! — can be the first on your block to hear the news and explain it to all of your friends. And other people’s friends, if you want. Hell, tell my friends — I obviously can’t be bothered, or I’d have told someone before now. Clearly, I need to dust off the old priority list and juggle some things around, no?

But I’ll get to that later.

(‘Stop procrastinating’ is deliberately at the very bottom of my priority list, and as long as I can keep it there, then the rest of the list is clearly moot. Or as the manager-drones like to intone, ‘non-actionable’. Weenies.)

Anyway, now I want to tell you about this new thing that I’ve been thinking of all day, so you can drink it up and go pee it into the meme pool.

(I’d do it myself, of course, but I’m banned from entering for a while. Seems the folks running the meme facilities tend to frown on someone floating a Baby Ruth in the pool and yelling, ‘Eww, look! Another Old Navy commercial! Pee–yew!’ So I can still use the meme sauna, and the meme tennis courts, but I’m afraid the meme pool is strictly off limits until the hubbub runs its course.)

Now, where was I? Oh, right. My new phrase.

“These are Things from Whence No Good Can Come. Like a Tom Arnold movie, say, or a gold lame G-string, size XXL.”

So, I was thinking about lose-lose situations this morning. Now normally, I’m a pretty ‘up’ sort of person, but somehow I stumbled into this rather grim topic of thought as I readied myself to face the world. And who can fathom how the newly wakened mind — particularly mine — works in the wee hours after dawn, before it’s been doused with its first dose of caffeine? Anything could have triggered this sad, painful thread about how it is sometimes impossible to win, no matter what option you choose or what course you take. Sometimes you’re just too deep into the muck, and no matter which way you turn, you’re guaranteed to get soiled. Or soil yourself, or both. But who could possibly untangle or interpret the stimuli, and the exact thought process that brought my mind to bear on such a weighty issue? It’s virtually unknowable.

Of course… if I had to guess at when I first started to ponder the vagaries of the no-win situation, I might venture out on a limb and say that it was probably while I was in the kitchen, soon after I got out of bed. With a mouthful of milk. Which came directly from the carton, which in turn was still pressed to my lips.

(Honey, if you’re reading this, I swear that’s the first time — and the last, no question — that I ever, ever drank milk straight from the carton. Truly. Scout’s honor. And I maybe didn’t even do it this time. See, it all depends on what your definition of the word ‘milk‘ is. I suspect this is just a communication breakdown… but we’ll talk about it later, okay? I gotta get back to blogging. Kisses.)

So, anyway, I’m standing there in my Garanimals PJ’s (with the footies, natch), just about to use the full payload of milk in my hopper to wash down a brownie, or whatever I’d just scarfed and called breakfast (hey, what am I, Jack La fuckin’ Lanne? So I had a brownie for breakfast; don’t act like you don’t do it, too…), and that’s when I discover that I’m in a bit of a pickle.

I should mention at this point that I’m horrendously near-sighted, and I didn’t have my contact lenses in yet, which means that I couldn’t really see much of anything more than, oh, maybe six inches in front of my face. But within those six inches, now, I’m the man; like an eagle, I am. Nothing gets past me — nothing. Including, but not limited to, the date on the milk carton that I’d just finished emptying into my gullet.

It took a while for the date to register, of course, and then another chunk of time for my brain to seize onto it, and remember the current date, and manage to compare the two with any degree of accuracy. So several seconds passed with me standing there, looking for all the world like a sleepy Satchmo with his cheeks blown out, trying to play this now-empty milk carton like some back-alley trumpet.

(Well, okay, except that I’m white. And he’s dead, which sucks for everyone. But besides those fussy-ass little details, I looked exactly like what I described. Exactly. Ask anyone.)

In any case, I now wish that I’d enjoyed those few seconds more fully, since those were the last ones I had before it finally clicked into place that I was drinking milk that had expired last Tuesday.

So. Here’s where we come to the lose-lose bit. As often happens in these cases — that is, where there’s absolutely no way out — I suddenly snapped into perfect lucidity. My senses were keen, my mind a steel trap… and my mouth suddenly a haven for millions of bacteria happily swimming in a sea of chunky green milk, where my mind couldn’t reach and my senses didn’t want to. So I was on my own again. In the few remaining heartbeats before instinct took over, I listed the options in my head. None of them were appetizing; I could:

  • drop my head and dump whatever was willing to spill out of my mouth onto the floor, leaving a nasty puddle to clean up
  • keep the milk carton in front of my mouth and try to shoot the milk back into it, fire-eater style, with a huge milk-spattering possibility
  • try to walk (read: lunge) to the sink and unleash the unholy broth there to save the mess, but risk a premature spewww onto the curtains
  • swallow the foul cheesy chowder and hope to keep it down, lest I be faced with options 1-3 all over again

Well, I watch Fear Factor from time to time, so I know the score. You chew little, think less, and swallow fast. You ralph, and you’re out. So I sucked it up, sucked it in, and gulped it down. The brownie that preceded it seemed surprised, but it surprisingly stayed put, at least so far. I’ve got a sandwich and some chicken parmesan sitting on top of the stuff now, so I hope there’s enough weight pressing down to keep it on the inside for a while. No matter what happens next, I’m pretty well assuming that it’s gonna hurt, one way or another, and probably soon. But I think I’d prefer it to keep travelling the same direction, as opposed to making a U-turn somewhere along the old Hershey highway. I didn’t get a good look at it on the way down (gee, ya think?), and I’d sleep much more soundly at night if I can keep it that way.)

So, anyway, that was my frame of mind — and stomach, I suppose — this morning. And the whole rancid experience got me to thinking about how these sorts of things come up in all of our lives, every single day. Horrible, no-good-choice situations, or worse — the actual physical embodiments of no-win-ness. Places, things — even people — that seem to invite disaster and embarrassment at every turn. These are Things from Whence No Good Can Come. Like a Tom Arnold movie, say, or a gold lame G-string, size XXL.

(Which just coincidentally happens to be Tom’s G-string size, as I understand it. In fact, if I remember my Bible correctly, the third sign of the apocalypse calls for old TA to appear in a musical of some sort, wearing only said ballsling and his patented shit-eating grin, and grinding his way through a dance number. Something from ‘Annie‘, if I remember the passage just right, or maybe ‘Annie, Get Your Gun‘; the King James version is a little fuzzy on the details. Oh, but if that’s the worst thing that happens in the movie, then we move on to the next sign right away. But if for some reason Norm McDonald or Pauly Shore makes a cameo appearance, then we’ll apparently have six more weeks of locust plagues before we proceed. So have an umbrella handy, just in case.)

Now. Where the hell was I? Ah, yes, actually getting somewhere near the point. Tally ho, then!

So now I had a problem. Well, other than having just chugged a pint’s worth of milk that could legally marry in some states. Yes, besides that, I had another nagging issue, which was this: it’s fairly easy to identify the items and people that seem to be specifically designed to suck the goodness — the winning — out of life. And yet, one of our damnable human frailties is the inability to actually avoid these potholes and pitfalls at truly crucial times. Something deep in our collective cerebella switches off under pressure, and before you know it, pop! There you are, in a completely unforgiving, unwinnable situation. You find yourself eating blood sausage, maybe, or arguing politics with your boss. Maybe you’re wearing Spandex. Or leg warmers. Or watching the Jenny Jones show. Or — Moses help you — you’re on the Jenny Jones show.

None of these are good, folks. Not one healthy, socially acceptable situation in the lot. And worse, not one of these nightmare scenarios comes with an easily-executable escape plan. Once you’re in, you’re in up to your armpits, and you’ll be lucky to get out without getting a faceful of muck. Or pig lips, in the case of the blood sausage. And the Jenny Jones show, come to think of it, though pig lips are really more Montel‘s oeuvre. (Or do I mean milieu? Je ne parle pas Francais.) Anyway, the point is this: the only way to get out of these painful straits is to not get into them in the first place. And that’s where I think I can make my contribution.

See, I’ve decided that the biggest problem we face is that we don’t have a single term to describe all of these awful people, and places, and things. Even with the warning signs and alarm bells they set off, we don’t know what to call them, and so we walk right into them, over and over again. I’m convinced that the label is the key. I think bees used to be a much bigger problem, for instance, than they are now that we can say, ‘Hey, look out! Bees!‘ Before we had a name for bees, I think people just ran around willy-nilly, trying to catch them or eat them or dance with them, and getting stung in the unholiest of places in the process. After a while, we entered the ‘awarenesss‘ period, where we knew that these little flying needles were trouble, but we didn’t have a name for them. So we had a lot of, ‘Hey! Look out — it’s those flying, sting-y, um, yellow-ish — Ow! Um, winged — Shit! Er — Ouch! Dammit! Hey!‘ And then someone saw the light, invented the name, and today you can walk into any park or garden and yell, ‘Fuck! Bees!‘, and people will scatter like guilty children. These are truly magical times.

So I want to do my part to help, ’cause Lord knows I don’t contribute in any other way to society. Anyway, here’s what I’m thinking — all of these things we’ve talked about, the Things from Whence No Good Can Come, the way they work is not by spewing forth bad vibes and heebie jeebies. No, from my experience, these things tend to suck you in, along with all the goodness they can find. Take Michael Jackson, for instance. Not only is he a flailing psychotic rampage just waiting to happen, but there’s nothing good left for miles around him, either. His kid? Please! His palace / playground? Creepy. And his family? His dad’s a known piece of work, and then you got LaToya, and Janet, and Frito, and Geranium, and whoever the hell the rest of them are… not a normal leaf on the whole damned genealogical tree. it’s like the ‘Crack Whore Players’ production of the Addams Family. It’s a swirling vortex of non-goodness, and it’s exactly this phenomenon that needs a precise, concise name that we can scream to each other to get everyone running the other way.

And that name is: Evil Holes.

That’s what we all see, you see, but never had a name for. It’s the goodness equivalent of a black hole; a space so dense and crawling with evil that no good can escape. Once in its clutches, you’ll be sucked in and hurled through the other side, and you just have to hope it’s a smooth ride, and that nobody ends up puking. An Evil Hole can slurp us up three or four at a time (or in the case of a Ricki Lake Show taping, whole studio audiences in one fell swoop). We have to pass through this ‘awareness‘ phase we’ve been stuck in and graduate to the ‘abject fear‘ stage that Evil Holes properly deserve. Our only protection is a watchful eye, a strong set of lungs, and our newfound moniker for all that would belittle and humiliate us: Evil Holes. So please, folks — the next time you find yourself or a loved one in one of these situations:

  • playing with a bear cub in the woods
  • leaving a bar with a ‘woman’ that’s not really a woman
  • standing anywhere in Alabama

sound the alarm. ‘Evil Holes! Evil Holes! Save yourselves, and run! Evil Holes!‘ Don’t allow yourself or your friend to fall too close to the event horizon, or the next choice to make is going to be unpleasant, and squishy. And may involve donkeys.

So remember the name — ‘Evil Holes‘, and don’t be afraid to scream it like a banshee with a beard of bees. You’ll be glad you did, and you may just save a life. Or at least a curdly stomach. I only wish now that I’d thought of all this before I opened the fridge this morning. One of you might’ve spared me a lot of trouble, not to mention a fair amount of stomach lining. Speaking of which, I think I feel the milk calling now. And it’s angry. Eep!

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):

Can someone please explain to me why in the name of Gordon’s Fish Sticks any man would ever — ever — agree to appear on a daytime talk show? Anyone? Hmm? Bueller? No?

I mean, c’mon, folks, I don’t watch that asanine drivel — I truly don’t, and place it above only soap operas and perhaps America’s Funniest Home Videos on my list of Shows Starring People Who Desperately Need Flaming Pokers Shoved Up Their Recta. Really, I feel strongly about this. I do. But even I, in my relative ignorance of these shows, know — just instinctively, in a ‘snow cold’, ‘stove hot’, ‘sex good’ kind of way — that there are only three reasons for a man to be asked to appear on one of these shows:

  • A) You’re the illicit lover, and the producer wants to see you with one of his microphones jammed up your nose
  • 2) You’re the original lover, and the host wants to make you cry (and then watch you grab a mic and commence with the nostril-stretching)
  • iii) You’re torturing your family with your drinking, or cross-dressing, or incest, or toe-sucking, and the whole crew wants the audience to start bawling

And that’s it. There are no other options, and none of these is a damned picnic, let me tell you. And yet, these gullible lemming bastards get fed a story — ‘You’re up for Dad of the Year‘, or ‘Your wife wants to renew her vows’, or ‘Montel wants to talk to you about fishing’ — just ridiculous, wholly implausible lies, and these slack-jawed, slope-browed cretins eat it up with fries on the side. And then they actually show up on the set, fer Chrissakes. Look, my dog has an IQ roughly equal to the number of teats she sports, but even she knows when she’s within a mile of the vet’s office, and that it’s a Bad Thing™.

I’m sure that these guys are contractually roped in at some point, but don’t they have to see their fate coming a mile away? How many brain cells could it possibly take — ‘Hmmm. Man come. Man get ridiculed, cry like baby. Next man come, fight with bearded woman, leave with concussion. Next man come in fishnet stockings, cry, get punched by biker, then cry again. Hmmm. Next man — me! Ooh! Me excited, me excited! Gonna tell Montel about favorite bait shop! Fun fun!

I don’t know. These guys get what they deserve, I suppose. I just hate to give the women out there just one more reason to point out how goddamned stupid we are sometimes. Especially when the evidence is plopped on national television, to be watched and taped and TiVo’d and beamed to a million little green men out there somewhere. Just imagine how the Alpha Centaurians are gonna react if the first glimse they get of Earth culture is Gummy from the holler tryin’ ta keep his cousin Hattie Mae from his other cousin Elbert, ’cause a whatta ‘I sawed her first’. Lemme tell you, folks, those extraterrestrial bitches’ll tear our ice caps off and shove ’em up our Marianas Trench so fast our Andes’ll spin. They’re not fuckin’ around out there in space, you know.

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