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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!

The Accidental Exhibitionist

Spanning the globe to unearth silly, ridiculous crap — so you don’t have to!

My wife has a webcam.

(That’s number fourteen on my list of Things I Never Thought I’d Say in Public. And I’m not sure my wife would even immediately realize the stir that such a simple sentence could cause. But she’d figure it out pretty damned quickly, and then kick my ass, so I think I’d better elaborate.)

It’s not that kind of webcam. At the moment, it’s not much of any kind of webcam at all. She got it a while back — for Christmas, I think.

“Hey, what are all you small-nosed sorority girls doing with that tub of Cheese Whiz in my back yard?”

(And from her mother, if I recall correctly. Now she really didn’t realize how itchy and throbby some people start to get these days when they think of ‘woman’ and ‘webcam’ in the same sentence. But to be fair, she lives pretty far away, and just wanted to see her daughter a bit more often. It’s perfectly innocent, of course. Plus, the same people that would get all oiled up and bothered over ‘woman’ and ‘webcam’ usually do the same over ‘woman’ and just about anything else — ‘goldfish’, ‘elevator’, ‘pennywhistle’, you name it. There are some sick puppies out there, just scannin’ the airwaves for ‘woman’ and <something>, so they can get all lathery.)

Anyway, it creeps me out a little. It’s just — sitting there, looking at me. Oh, it’s not turned on, mind you. And there’s a little cyclops-sunglasses thingy that covers the lens. On top of that, I don’t remember the software ever being installed, and I’m not sure the thing’s even plugged into the computer… but I’m not entirely sure that it’s not, either. And that’s creepy. I mean, it’s not like I’m planning on doing anything that I wouldn’t want broadcast all over the planet — it’s just me and the dog in the house right now, and she’s really not that kind of dog.

(Of course, how you can call a beast that spends that much time being naked and smelling crotches ‘not that kind’ of anything is a bit of a mystery to me. I mean, when Aunt Ellen started doing that, they bundled her up and carted her away to a place for ‘that kind’ of people. New Jersey, I think it’s called.)

So it’s not that I feel particularly inhibited or constricted by having this thing watching me. I’m trying to act as naturally as I ever do, which is usually not all that close to ‘natural’ in the first place. But things happen, right? Not major, webcam-broadcast-worthy events, of course.

(Like ‘Gee, my dog can suddenly talk, and she’s channeling the ghost of Chevy Chase’s career’, or ‘Hey, what are all you small-nosed sorority girls doing with that tub of Cheese Whiz in my back yard?’ (Apologies to Mr. Breathed, btw, but kudos to the rest of you if you recognized the Steve Dallas ref.))

Damn, lost my train of thought. Cheese Whiz always does that to me. Oh, right, the webcam.

Okay, so just at the moment, this little one-eyed monster (yes, dearies, we’re still talking about the webcam…) isn’t causing me too much grief. I’m a bit wary, and uneasy, and I keep popping my neck up to look at it like a lemur being goosed, but for now, I can deal. I’m just typing, and I’m not naked or anything, so there’s really nothing to be seen here, even in the worst case scenario. But things do happen, even to the best of us. I mean, what if I had an itch? You know, down there somewhere. Maybe not even there there, but just close to there there. Maybe somewhere completely innocent and uninvolved, but just close enough to the action that you can’t touch it without thinking of… you know, there. Or what if I want to find out whether I can touch my nose with my tongue (this time)? Or what my mouse smells like? These things happen, you know. And I think that they’re perfectly reasonable things to, in order, scratch, lick, and sniff, sitting all alone as I am in the privacy of my own house.

But then there’s this thing, this cam, sitting here and pretending not to watch me. Sleeping, maybe even dead, but with the technical capability to transform any moderately embarrassing moment into the one thing that prevents me from ever holding an elected office.

(Okay, fine, the latest thing that prevents me from holding office. I’m still banned from Baskin-Robbins stores for the last, ah, incident. But it’s not like I need another reason, now is it?)

And I know — I just know — that as soon as I bend fingers toward groinal region, or lift tongue or mouse nostrilward, that this vengeful little bastard is going to pop open with an ‘A-HAH!!’ and simulcast my shame into every office and den around the globe. Really — it’s going to make that noise, and a little red light will come on, and there I’ll be, with a hand up my pant leg, or quarters up my nose, or putting lipstick on the dog, something (again, perfectly reasonable things, as long as no one ever has to know…) — and Mom and Dad and my boss and my Grandma and every teacher or friend I’ve ever had will see it, and say one of two things:

Oh — oh, Charlie… (with head shaking sadly), or:

Oh, yeah, that guy. Well, it was only a matter of time… (with head nodding sagely)

And so, I refrain. When I want to post here, or check email, or surf, I prepare myself. I wear my Sunday-best suit, sit up straight at my desk, and banish evil and lecherous thoughts from my mind (insofar as that’s possible, of course). I don’t touch myself, or make funny faces, or eat or drink at my chair, lest I dribble or gag or snort something out my nose. I even (mainly) stop talking to myself. Mainly.

So that’s it, I suppose. That’s what I have to go through to bring you this nonsense, and I thought you should know. I’ve considered fixing the problem once and for all, telling my wife that it’s either the webcam or me, and one of us has to go. But I really don’t know what my odds are there, so I deal, and the webcam and I continue our rocky relationship. C’est la vie. And now, of course, I have an itch. Not exactly there, but not terribly far away, either. It’s one of those places that’s hard to scratch without making faces of some kind, which certainly puts it in the danger zone. So I guess I’ll wrap up here, and head down to the basement to take care of the situation. It’s the one place left where I can actually get a little privacy. Maybe I’ll take my mouse down there, too. Might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?

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One Response to “The Accidental Exhibitionist”

  1. RRaccoon says:

    I hope in the nearly three years since this post you’ve become a little more comfortable with it. It can be your friend. It’s not there to spy on you.


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