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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!

If Fingers Were Wishes, I’d Still Find a Way to Screw Myself

If at first you don’t succeed, blog, blog again.

I often wonder what I’d do with a monkey’s paw.

Okay, maybe I should rephrase that.

I often run out of real material for this blog, and am forced to think up ridiculous crap to talk about. Today, The Monkey’s Paw popped into my head, probably because earlier this week I saw a rerun of the the Simpsons Halloween special with an adaptation of the story. And so here we are.

(See, there are times when ‘truth in advertising’ really just isn’t worth the effort. Bleh.)

So, anyway, if you haven’t read the story, well, I’ve just linked to it three frickin’ times, so get crackin’, Bobo. It’s not very long, and it’s a pretty cool story, so have a read. I’ll still be here when you get back. Really, what better have I got to do than sit around waiting for you people?

(Don’t answer that. It’s depressing.)

<!– time passes while you read the story… –>

<!– more time passes… hurry up, would you? Just because I have all day to spend sitting here waiting doesn’t mean I want to! –>

So, I’m sure that all of you took the hint, and actually read the story. No, I’m positive, really. But just in case you’re a stubborn cuss, or you aren’t much in the reading comprehension department (and really, if you’re reading my crap, who could be expected to understand it?), I’ll quickly summarize for you:

Creepy military guy drops off mummified monkey’s paw at old friend’s house. He tells his friend that the paw can grant three wishes, but warns him not to use it. And leaves it with him, anyway. Of course. So, the friend wishes for money, at his son’s suggestion. Unspeakable horrors unsue. The end.

The moral of the story: Don’t screw around with fate, or you’ll get bitch-slapped into next week. Metaphorically, that is.

Still, if you read the story, you can’t help but wonder what you’d do if you were in the guy’s place. He really wasn’t greedy, even, and he still got smacked down. Rather forcefully, at that. But the old military coot got his wishes out of it, and he seemed to come out of it okay. So maybe it’s possible to finagle the wording just right, and get the good stuff without any hair-raising repercussions.

(For the record, Homer almost got a perfect turkey sandwich. But the meat was a little dry. ‘A little dry! … What demon from the depths of hell created thee?!‘)

But I think I’d be a chicken, rather than a turkey, in this case. Given the legends, I think I’d be too scared to try my hand at the paw. If this story and the old genie-in-the-lamp legends have taught us norhing else, it’s that you can’t make a wish without loopholes. These magical wishbringers are the sleazy lawyers of the fairy tale world. Forget one phrase, and you get crushed under the mountain of cash that you wanted. Slip up on the wording, and you’re a movie star, all right. In zombie flicks, sans makeup. A disfigured — though rich and famous — freak of nature.

You’ve got to be careful, too — the punishment doesn’t always fit the ‘crime’ in these cases. In the story, the poor sap just wants to pay off his mortgage, and ends up with a mangled son. Now, my situation’s a little different, of course. For one thing, I don’t have a kid to worry about. On the other hand, though, you could run a small country with the money I owe on my mortgage, so I’d have to ask for a lot more cash. And therefore more trouble. Probably not worth the risk.

I could ask for something really small, I suppose, but I’ve got to imagine that the paw would be a couple of steps ahead. It’s been at this game for a lot longer, after all. For instance, I could wish that my dog’s head would stop smelling like a skunk’s ass. Seems simple, doesn’t it? And reasonable, too, I would think. But the paw would find a way to make it worse, of course. Instead of polecat juice, her head would get funkier somehow. Maybe it’d start smelling like Tom Arnold’s dirty undies. Or New Jersey. Something vile like that.

So, I could see that in advance, right? I could wish for her head to smell better than it does now, or even good. So, then, of course, she’d become a damned neighborhood air freshener, scented with so much lilac or lemon or vanilla that you could sniff her from the next county. Think it would work to wish her head to smell ‘like it used to, before she got skunked’? Nah. I’d wind up with a dog scented with canine fetus head. Or some-other-dog’s-ass scent. Really, I’m not sure it’s worth the hypothetical effort.

I guess I’ll just continue to trudge along, doing the best I can with a spirit-crushing mortgage and a stanky-nosed dog. What choice do I have? And if someone offers me wishes, I’ll just say, ‘No, thanks!‘ and bid them a hearty ‘Good day, sir!‘ I know when I’m being set up. I can get into plenty of trouble as it is, without any paranormal muckety-muck further screwing up my life.

So, that’s that. Don’t any of you freaks out there be sending me any monkey’s paws, all right? Or, for that matter, any other dismembered animal parts. Unless it’s cow-derived and has Omaha Steaks stamped on the package.

No, that doesn’t mean written in crayon by you, either. It means from the real Omaha Steaks place.

No, no, don’t have them put dismembered cow snouts or horns or bull testicles in there, either. That’s not what I meant.

Dammit, no, don’t send me steaks that you’ve ordered, and then had sitting out for a month. Gross!

All right, just forget it. Bunch of loophole-crazed assholes. I swear to God, you people are worse than that damned paw!

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