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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!

I Can Almost Smell the Pine Tar Now

Sorry. Can’t write now. Busy.

As many of you know — no, no, I didn’t say you had to care, just know, is all — I’m a huge baseball fan. And yesterday, I broke down and finally bought the new EA Sports baseball game to replace the version of ‘High Heat’ I’ve been playing.

(Hey, the program was only three years old. And the ‘High Heat’ line has been dead for two. My copy even had this weird glitch — for some reason, the players would pat their own asses, and they’d scratch each others’ crotches. But aside from the oddly surreal homoerotic feel of it all, it was a pretty good game.)

Anyway, it’s gonna take me a few weeks — or months, or, if history can be trusted, approximately three years — to get my fill of the game, so I don’t have a lot of free time to write tonight. It’s like having a new puppy in the house. Or a new DVD. Or a Norwegian hooker — all you want to do is spend a couple of hours getting to know your new friend.

Before I trundle off to learn how to hit a curveball in my new toy, though, I’ll share with you the story of how I bought it. Come with me, dear readers, on a strange and mysterious journey, all the way back to yesterday evening, at the local Best Buy megalostore…

<– strange, mysterious wavy flashback lines –>

<– strange, mysterious wavy flashback lines –>

<– strange, mysterious wavy flashback lines –>

(Hey, shut up. I’m on a budget here. Use your imagination, dammit.)

Okay, so there I was at the BeBizzle.

(That’s ‘street’ talk for Best Buy, of course. The judges would also accept ‘B to da Bizzle’, ‘Bizzity Buy’, and ‘Best Biotch, Bitch’. In case you’re scoring at home.)

Anyway, there I was, doing what all guys do when they’re really walking in to buy a video game. I stopped by the CDs, and pretended to browse. I nodded sagely toward a couple of refrigerators, and idly fumbled with a digital camera — making sure, of course, to avoid any contact with the bozos at the counter. The last thing I needed was to have to feign interest about aperture speeds and megapixel mumbo jumbo, when I was actually just killing time before hitting the kiddie aisle.

So, my clever ruse complete, I made a beeline for the video games. I scurried past a bunch of popular titles — yeah, yeah, Grand Theft this, EverQuestin’ that, whatever — until I found my quarry, tucked away in the sports section. There was only one copy left — probably because the thing’s been out for three months or more, already. Nobody ever said I was the quickest beaver in the dam, people.

(I don’t even know what that means. Or where this shit comes from. But I suppose I’ve got big teeth and a flat tail, so maybe it fits. Meh.)

At any rate, I picked up the box, and took it to the counter. And that’s where I learned a valuable lesson about large retail corporations and the perks they offer their customers. The lesson being: yeah, good luck getting those. Right.

You see, I’ve got this thing called… actually, I forget what the hell it’s called right now. Some sort of Best Buy ‘advantage card’, or ‘rewards ticket’, or some nonsense like that. I got it when the wife and I bought a washer and dryer a few weeks ago, and somewhere in that little piece of plastic is fifty bucks in cash that we earned with our purchase. Or so I was led to believe.

So, when I made it to the checkout counter, and the girl — bored, snarky, apparently horrified that her life had come to this — asked me if I had a… whatever-the-hell-the-card-is-called Card, I handed mine to her and said:

Oh, yes. Yes, I do.

Yeah, a little smug. I agree. But I was about to get a free baseball game. I almost have to take back all the mean things I ever said about household appliances, if that’s what happens when we buy them. Hell, throw in a couple of dishwashers — maybe I’ll buy a PlayStation, too. Hey, macarena.

But that’s not how it went down. She took the card. She swiped the card. I was hoping she’d then say, ‘Thanks for shopping Best Buy.‘ Or, ‘Do you want a receipt?‘ Or even, ‘Get the hell out of my store with your swag, cheapass!‘ But no. Instead, she turned a huffy eye to me, pushed the ‘rewards’ card back at me, and said:

That’ll be thirty-one ninety-nine.

So… I paid her. I didn’t ask questions. I’m a married man, people. You don’t screw around with a woman in that sort of mood, and you don’t ask for clarification. About anything. Not unless you’ve always secretly pined for the glamorous, magical life of a royal court eunuch, anyway. And I haven’t, personally. Not so much on the ‘royalty’ thing. Even less excited about the ‘testicle removal’ procedure. Ow.

So, I kept my mouth shut, handed over a credit card, and limped out of there with my game in hand, and my tail between my legs. Some other time, I’ll figure out how to actually use the rewards on the card, instead of — presumably — putting more store credit on the thing. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty damned good scam — hand out the cards, and run ’em up with huge dollar amounts… that you can never, ever get to. Hey, look — you’ve got three hundred dollars on that card! Ooh, and you’ve got seventeen thousand! Good for you! Too bad we don’t have a plan where you actually buy shit with that money. Looks good on paper, though. Or plastic.

Anyway, that’s the story — proving once again that I’m an idiot. At this point, you really don’t need me to tell you that, though. And now, I really have to go play a couple of games. Can’t let a new piece of entertainment software sit around idle, now, can I? ‘Specially when I mutha-paid for that shit. Even if I probably didn’t have to. Play ball, baby!

Permalink  |  1 Comment



One Response to “I Can Almost Smell the Pine Tar Now”

  1. sunShine says:

    Still funny! I would have demanded an explanation of the card and why I couldn’t use my fifty bucks.

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