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Charlie Hatton
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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!


#91. I am an only child. (Explains a lot, doesn’t it?)

Yes, folks, there’s nothing like a complete lack of companionship with your peers during the first few formative years of life to permanently skew your outlook on yourself, the world, and everything around you. The questionable social skills, the extreme skepticism and cynical bent, that creepy awkward feeling of not quite beloning in your own skin, the constantly running internal dialogue, the mistrust of authority figures, and an unhealthy fear of disappointing yourself and others — it’s all here. Really, I’d recommend it to anyone. Anyone with a strong stomach and the sense of humor to pull it off, that is. Nobody likes an antisocial hermit bitch or a clingy, whiny doormat, you know. It’s a very fine line to walk.

But on most days, I think I manage to pull it off. Sometimes, people even tell me that I don’t seem like an only child.

Which I’m not quite sure how to take, frankly — what do you say to someone who’s just questioned something that’s so basic to who you are? ‘Funny, you don’t act like you’re black.‘ ‘Gee, are you sure you’re a woman?‘ ‘German, my ass. You ain’t no German.‘ I think people (generally) mean the comment as a compliment (the only child one; not necessarily the other examples), but it’s a backhanded, bitch-slap compliment at best, isn’t it? Really, it’s saying this:

Hey, I think only children are whiny, selfish, antisocial bastards. But I never thought of you that way. Until now, of course. Now I’ll keep my eye on you, and notice all the weird crap that I let you slide on, because I assumed you had siblings. So you better keep your fucking nose clean. Freakbag.

Or maybe that’s just my cynical side showing again. Whatever. Anyway, I’m glad I’m an only child. I didn’t have to deal with all the ‘he said, she said‘ sibling crap that a lot of people go through. Nobody ever snuck their hand onto ‘my side’ of the car seat, or took the Pop-Tart that Mom promised to me, or peed in my sippy cup out of spite.

(Of course, I’ve had to learn to deal with all of things now that I’m married. Well, okay, not all of them, of course. We always have plenty of Pop-Tarts.)

And I like to think that I didn’t end up ‘spoiled’, either, despite my grandparents’ best efforts. Frankly, I think it’s just the opposite, if anything. I hated people paying attention to me, or fawning over me in any way. I still do. (Okay, this blog and anything else I write or things that I say to try and be funny notwithstanding. These are complicated rules, I admit, but that’s just how it is. Deal.) I tell very few people about my birthday, for instance, lest I have to deal with presents and fuss and bother that I feel I don’t deserve. (Yes, I’m a tragic little waif when you get right down to it. Boo fuckin’ hoo.)

But in ‘normal’ situations — work, home life, parties, and the like — I think I cope pretty well. Almost no one can see that I don’t know what to do with my hands, or that I’d rather be sitting in a corner instead of standing around talking to a half dozen people at once, or that I’m really thinking about baseball. Or, lately, how I can turn the wretched experience into something worth blogging about. Most people who don’t know me well just think I’m a quiet, polite sort — I often remind older ladies of their sons and nephews. Others who know me a little better probably see me as a cutup, always cracking jokes and trying to make them giggle, until strangers come around and I mysteriously shut my piehole. It’s the rare person indeed who sees past all that to whatever’s underneath, covered in cobwebs and dust and pickle juice (really, I don’t know how the hell that got there). Maybe only my wife sees it, and that’s just peachy with me. (Though it probably scares the bejeesus out of her. Sorry, hon — it did say ‘in sickness and in health; for better or for worse‘. And you can’t get much worsely sicker than this.)

But perhaps I’m not fooling anyone. Maybe those first few years alone have left me unable to accurately read people, and they all know who I really am. Again, that’s just fine — as long as they don’t let on, or start hugging me or singing ‘Happy Birthday‘ or ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow‘. (Which, if they really know, they’re overwhelmingly unlikely to do. Run a car over me, perhaps. Sing to me? No. Not likely.)

In any case, I think I’ve ‘made it’. I have a wonderful, beautiful wife who puts up with my near-constant occasional meanderings and phobias, I’ve met a few people who agreed to drop their lawsuits friends along the way, and I am everyday reliving the horrors of survived my awkward years growing up. So I’d say that I’ve been quite successful as an only child, no matter what you may think of them. And after it all, I wouldn’t change a thing.

(At least, that’s what the voices tell me I should think. And I can’t argue with them. When they get mad, they sing to me. Lousy bastard voices. Who invited them, anyway?)

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