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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!

One If By Land, Screwed If By Me

There are times when being achingly lazy can get in the way.

Not many, mind you. But times.

Mostly, laziness is just what the doctor ordered. Not the ‘medical school, heart-healthy, get off your ass and exercise’ kind of doctor, of course. Other doctors, though. Doctor Who, maybe, or Doc Holliday, when he wasn’t busy shooting guns into people. Doc Octopus always struck me as a guy who might stretch out in the hammock for a nice nap. Those kinds of doctors.

I take my prescription for laziness quite seriously. Like, professional competitor seriously. Like I’m in training for some kind of La-Z-Boy-sponsored day-long loaf-off, with contestants going at each other assprint-to-assprint and bedpan-for-bedpan to take the coveted couch-shaped crown.

(No. Those aren’t a real thing.

But if they were, the contest slogan would be: ‘He who loafs longest, rests best.

Alert the marketing weenies. I smell a Professional Lounging League coming out of this. With sponsorships by Cool Ranch Doritos, Pabst Blue Ribbon and adult Depends. Also, whatever you use to treat raw open bed sores.

Lazy’s all fun and games until somebody oozes all over the winner’s circle.)

But laziness does have its occasional dark side. Every once in a while, being lazy actually leads to more work — or at least, harder work — than reasonable effort or a shred of sanity might dictate.

Take grocery shopping, for instance.

The first part of grocery shopping goes great with just a little dash of lazy. I don’t really want to go — so I don’t. I can set aside time for food shopping, and instead use it for a nice nap on the couch or a soak in the tub.

(I’ve tried the soak on the couch and the nap in the tub, and frankly neither is quite as satisfying as the options above. No one likes soggy cushions or breathing under water, it turns out. The more you know.)

Eventually, my wife will get tired of making meals from the last jar of dill pickles or marmalade in the house, and go to the grocery store. This has the disadvantage that if she leaves while I’m soaking in the tub, there would be no one around to save me if I accidentally took a nap in there.

On the other hand, there’d also be no one around to shove my head under the water for being a lazy douche in the first place, so it’s probably a wash. She does get a mite feisty when we’re low on pantry supplies. I sleep with one eye open any time we’re out of milk. Even in the bathtub.

Still, laziness is working for, rather than against, me here. But I do have to do something to help out.

(No, really, I have to. The woman’s a lawyer, and she wrote our marriage vows.

I’m contractually obligated “to have and to hold, and to lift a damned finger around the house every once in a while”. It’s ironclad. The lady is good.)

“I’m like a pruny-skinned culinary Minuteman, ready for any foodstuffs that might invade my territory.”

So when the missus returns from her restocking trip, I make sure to hustle out to help bring the groceries in and put them away. It’s the least I can do.

(It is. I consulted an attorney and everything.

Of course, being lazy and all I talked to the closest lawyer I could find — which was in our bedroom — and she naturally took her own side in the matter. I pointed out that she should really recuse herself from the case, but I was overruled. I pointed out that she was an attorney, not a judge, and she held me in contempt.

Not of the court. She just sneered at me for the rest of the afternoon. I just hope she’s not charging me for that time. Her billable rate is through the roof.)

Anyway, when the groceries arrive in our parking spot, it’s my job to lug them the rest of the way in. So I make sure I’m at least out of the tub and dried off before it happens, the better to leap into action. I’m like a pruny-skinned culinary Minuteman, ready for any foodstuffs that might invade my territory.

(My favorite thing to do is come lurching back across the street to our door with bags of vegetables in hand, shouting:

The red beets are coming! The red beets are coming!

This does not amuse the queen. But the dog seems to get a kick out of it.)

When the missus returns, I double-time it out to the car, usually to find a trunk packed full of edible goodness. Also, fourteen rolls of paper towels, and enough toilet tissue to mummy-wrap the John Hancock Tower. She apparently believes in the theory that if nobody wants to go to the store in the first place, then buy every shred of merchandise there to put off the hell of going back.

(See? I told you she was good.)

This is where the laziness becomes a bit of a problem. My job is to shuttle bags of groceries. Only I’ve got a lot of napping and soaking still on my plate, so I can’t be taking up too much time with this delivery business. Fewer trips means shorter time, which means I can get ass back onto couch that much sooner if I just carry everything all at the same time.

Intense laziness, masquerading as ‘efficiency’. Fear it.

This misbegotten philosophy has all sorts of consequences, none of them positive. Don’t get me wrong — it’s not as though I can’t carry fourteen bags at once. I can. If they’re, say, empty bags or little bean bags or tea bags, maybe.

Fourteen bags of heavy groceries and soda bottles and mondo-gallon all-tempa-detergent bottles, no. There’s no possible way to drag all of that back to the house in one trip. I know this.

Of course, that reality in no way prevents me from trying. So I heave a half-dozen bags in each hand, tuck the toilet tissue under one arm, grip the detergent in my teeth, close the trunk in the only possible way remaining — which only works if I can visualize the cover of the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog we received — and head for home.

I usually make it about three steps before disaster strikes. A bag might rip or spill or leak. The detergent might slip and fall on my foot. The sheer weight of seventeen bottles of DIet Coke could wrench my arm right out of the socket. Something’s going to happen — it always does. And usually before I’ve even left the parking lot.

Most of the time, I can soldier on — but not the way I started. Cans of vegetables and refried beans strew behind me from violated bags. One limp ragged arm might drag a few sacks along the ground, still tethered by the handles around my wrist. If I’m able, I’ll kick the loose products in the right direction — a carton of eggs, a bag of dinner rolls, deli-sliced cold cuts. Whatever I can scooch toward the door.

The military has a motto that says, “No soldier left behind.” Yeah, that shit don’t fly in the grocery corps. It’s every mango or head of lettuce for himself. I’ve lost a lot of good produce out there over the years. Fine strapping fruits and milk and frozen pizzas — too young to be cut down before their prime. And run over by a passing Volvo. And dug out of the gutter by the dog, then pooped out onto lawns for three miles around. No soldier deserves that fate. No soldiers so delicious, anyway.

On a really bad day, I won’t even make it out of the parking lot. My wife will come see what’s become of me and her newly-bought food, and find me lying in a puddle of tears and mud and melted ice cream, mumbling:

The red beets are hurty! The red beets are hurty!

But usually I show up at the door, proud of my accomplishment — and voluntary compliance with Section 8, subparagraph 3E, Appendix G of the nuptial licensing agreement — and with the spoils of my efforts ready at hand. Could be an smooshed bag of Ruffles. Might be half a sack of potatoes. I’ll show up with something.

And even if there’s a steady stream of food leading all the way back to the parking spot, when my wife asks, “Is there anything else in the trunk?” I can honestly answer: “Nope. I got it all.” Which means I don’t have to go back for another trip.

Not for another three hours, at least, when she gets back from her next trip to the store to replace everything I just ruined. But three hours is plenty of time for a really nice nap, or another trip to the tub.

I take it back. There’s no downside to this ‘lazy’ thing, after all. Rubber ducky, here I come.

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