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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!


#83. I’m not impressed by presentation, window dressing, or personal titles.

Look, if I’m eating, I want food. As long as it’s fresh, and prepared properly, I really don’t give a rat’s ass how it looks. Slop it on the plate with a ladle, for all I care, and smoosh it down, and plop it in front of me. It really doesn’t matter. I’m all about the taste. Maybe the smell, and in certain cases, the feel. But the looks? Couldn’t care less.

And while I’m on the subject, I don’t really want to pay an extra ten bucks for you to drizzle olive oil around it ‘festively’ and toss flowers carved out of radishes on the plate next to it. If I’m not gonna be eating it, then keep it the hell away from my plate. I may not be paying a lot of attention while I’m stuffing my gob, and might accidently grab a parsley sprig or lemon rind, thinking it’s a tasty bit of chicken or broccoli, and actually ingest it. Ew! So make it easy for me, and just give me the food I ordered. Leave the garden scraps in the kitchen. Thank you.

Next topic: look, just show me what you’re selling, all right? Please. If you’re peddling clothes, just put the clothes in the window of your store and leave it at that. You can have mannequins; I can see how they provide a service. They allow me to see how the clothes might look when actually in service. I’ve got no beef with that. But there’s ne need to twist and contort said dummies into all sorts of positions, creating life-sized dioramas of people playing tennis, and dancing, and spanking each other on the ass. Really, it’s not necessary. If I’m planning on engaging in those sorts of activities, I’ll want to know more about the garment than how it looks in a still shot of a serve or a pirouette. (And incidentally, if I’m ever at the point where a woman and I are spanking each other, I’m truly not going to be thinking about how my cardigan looks. Bank on it.)

While you’re there at the display reverting your ‘action figures’ to more suitable poses, do you think you could also lose the props? The giftwrapped boxes full of nothing, and the cardboard faux televisions, and crepe paper moons and all of that? Could you just shitcan all of that, pretty please? If you’re selling clothes, I want to see clothes. If it’s office furniture, then show me desks and chairs and those lamps with the funny green shades. Don’t try and use smoke and mirrors and glitzy crap to try to distract me from your high prices and shoddily-made merchandise. It’s not working, and it’s really cheesing me off.

Finally, I don’t give a damn if you’re an ‘executive’. You can be a president, or chairman, or board member, whatever — I’m not impressed. My last company had more VPs than spaces in the parking lot. Similarly, you won’t get special treatment from me for being a mayor, or Senator, or a ‘Chief’ of anything. I didn’t vote for you, and your title doesn’t earn you my respect. Nor should it earn you anyone else’s. You have to earn that. A few people who are accustomed to preferential treatment understand that. Vanishingly few, but they do exist. The majority of people with corner offices or friends in high places seem to be assholes, however. They get used to the fawning and deference and toadying, and come to expect it. I say, fuck that. And if that’s their attitude, then I say fuck them, too.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with climbing up the ladder. There’s no crime or harm done in accepting lofty positions, assuming that you’ve earned your new perch on the basis of your merits. (As is too often not the case.) But the title says nothing about you, in my book. Before we meet, I have no idea whether you’ve earned your way to your post by the sweat of your brow, or by the cash in your wallet, or the clout of your family, or time spent on your back. And frankly, I don’t care, because the title is fluff. Inconsequential.

My concern is going to be with the sort of man or woman that you are. Are you worthy of respect? Can you earn it? Can I trust you, and will you listen when I talk, and who’s side are you on, anyway? Will you be there when it counts, and if you are, what will you do? Are you part of the solution, or part of the problem? Do you do unto others, and do as you say, and do that voodoo that you do so well? (Okay, I’m losing it a little. Back to the rant now.)

In short, are you the kind of person I would be proud to know, most of the time? Hell, I’m not always proud to know myself, but I put in the effort. Will you? And even better, will you try to be the kind of person that you’re proud to know, and to hell with what I think, and if we agree on important principles, then fine. That’s the kind of person I can respect — one who lives, as consistently as possible, in accordance with his or her values. There’s a logic and purity in that that I can understand and admire. Of course, if I don’t agree with those values, then not everything’s going to be peachy. I may argue with you, or even shake my head and walk away. I may not care to spend time with you. I may not even like you. But I’ll have some level of respect for you, so long as you’re sincere and true to your beliefs. (And, you know, not a nutbag. There are some very sincere, very crazy people out there. I have to make exceptions for those, or I’d be respecting some insane mother fuckers, let me tell you. Oh, and who’s to say who’s crazy, you might ask? Well, me. This is my respect we’re talkin’ about here, so no one but me is gonna decide who gets it. Shouldn’t it always work that way?)

Anyway, you can’t meet my criteria for respect in an hour, or a day, or even a week. I’m won’t know whether I’d want to go to bat for you, or war with you, for quite some time. And I expect you to make the same careful consideration about me, whether my title is far loftier or well beneath yours. And regardless of my presentation or ‘window dressing’. I’ll do my best to gloss over your suit and your fancy car, if you’ll try to look past my shorts and rugby and sneakers ensemble. Start me out with a certain level of respect, and I’ll do the same for you. Where we go from there is up to us both. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

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