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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!

A Wall to Save Us All

Because a world without parentheses would make too much damn sense…

I thought that it might be nice to start each entry with a tagline. Well, maybe not nice, per se, but useful. For one, it’ll keep me from constantly wanting to change the damned thing, or pining over descriptions I wished I’d chosen. See, this way, instead of that occasional nagging urge to think up a better desc and change it once and for all, there’ll just be this enormous crushing pressure to think of a new clever one every frickin’ time I want to sit down to write something. Better? Probably not. But certainly not nice

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah — I wanted to talk about the Big Wall.

No, not that big crumbling thing in China — that’s the Great Wall.

(What is it with building walls out in the middle of nowhere, anyway? China has theirs, the UK has Hadrian’s Wall… it seems the US has fallen woefully behind in the all-important Enormous Defensive Wall Seemingly Built to Protect Nothing in Particular race. Let’s hope no cheap NBA jerseys one in the Pentagon gets wind of this; we’ll have reinforced concrete thirty feet tall all the way around South Dakota if we’re not careful…)

Anyway, that’s not what the Big Wall is. The Big Wall isn’t really a wall at all.

(Now there’s an L-filled sentence! You just got your Recommended Daily Allowance of L’s all in one convenient serving, plus a little extra to snack on tomorrow.)

Um… moving right along… The Big Wall is actually an idea, a concept that lives in each and every one of us. Sadly, far too many of us ignore our Big Wall, and — even worse — refuse to acknowledge the Big Walls of others. I’d like to do my part OpenL to fight this troubling tendency by telling you just what the Big Wall is all about. It goes something like this:

As you wander through this life, you’ll find that there are many things — pairs of things, that is — between which is a thin, fine line. Sometimes these lines, though thin, are clear and unwavering.

“If the next few words include ‘breast pump’, ‘pus’, ‘Vaseline’, ‘throbbing’, or ‘Volkswagen’, sound the alert.”

(For instance, the line between ‘pregnant’ and ‘not pregnant’. There’s really no argument about which you are at any given time, and frankly, for many of us male sorts of folks the line between the two really isn’t all that fine or thin. #1 But for others… well, entire sitcoms (though generally not very good ones) have been devoted to the fear/hope that one has become pregnant, and I’d say that the uncertainties surrounding most acts of becoming pregnant (or not) show that the line is wholesale NBA jerseys definitely thin (and fine, and usually terrifying). But the line doesn’t really move at all — you’re ‘pregnant’ or you’re not, and ne’er the twain shall meet.)

On the other hand, many of the fine lines you’ll encounter will haze over and shift all over the landscape, sometimes winking out of existence entirely. The status of these lines may depend on the time of day, present company, current meteorological conditions, and a host of other criteria, but mostly, it depends on whether you’ve been drinking or not, and just how shit-faced you’ve managed to become.

(Literally thousands and probably millions of fine lines fall into this category. A few that spring to mind that are particularly susceptible to alcohol-related adjustment are:

  • ‘edible’ vs. ‘non-edible’ (and at its most extreme, ‘edible’ vs. ‘made of concrete’)
  • ‘boinkable’ vs. ‘non-boinkable’ (again, at worst, ‘boinkable’ vs. ‘AARP spokesperson’)
  • ‘friend’ vs. ‘enemy’ (though you may find ‘friend’ vs. ‘random hobo’, ‘friend’ vs. ‘lamppost’ and ‘burly police officer’ vs. ‘enemy’ to be less distinguishable the further you sink)

Okay, for any non-drinkers out there (are there any left?), how about ‘breakfast’ vs. ‘not-breakfast’? If you eat it before noon, is it automagically breakfast? If it’s the first thing you eat, but it’s at 2pm, how about then? Are doughnuts always breakfast? How about with beer? At 3am? I dunno, but now I’m hungry…)

All right, where the hell was I? Oh, right, fine lines. Okay!

So. All of these gray areas in life, where it’s hard to tell exactly what’s what and which side of the line to plop your ass down on. Then there’s this one:

Things you need to know


Things you don’t need to know

Friends, this is where the Big Wall comes in. There is no fine, wispy, ephemeral line between these two concepts. No, sir. Between these, there is an enormous, hulking, three-feet-thick brick fucking wall that should never, never ever be breached, not even with the best of intentions.

Read that last Blog bit again. Please. So few people seem to understand this part. Read. Re-read.

Read. Rinse. Repeat.

<Hans (or Franz, your choice)>

Read me now und believe me latah, girly man!

</Hans (or Franz, your choice)>

Please, folks, understand. I’m not against a little sharing now and then. I’m not condoning a solitary existence or walking around pent-up like a postal worker or some repressed Catholic matron. I’m just asking for a little forethought in conversation, just a little nod to cheap NBA jerseys your Big Wall and the Big Wall of others. I’m appalled by how many people out there barge through Big Walls like they’re not even there. Spend some time on the streets; you’ll hear it, too. You’ll hear people out there — real people! — saying things like this:

  • Well, nobody was lookin’, so I licked it…
  • So I’m giving Grandpa a sponge bath…
  • That’s nothing — let me tell you what cabbage does to me
  • Yeah, by then I knew it wasn’t a woman, but…

Clearly — clearly — there are things that no one needs to know on the other ends of those sentences. No one. Not you, not me, not Mom or Dad or the local priest or the Weekly World News. No one. And that’s what the Big Wall is for — to keep just those sorts of things at bay, out of sight, out of mind, and out of your nightmares. Too many people out there pretend that we (the rest of us, that is) need to, or want to, or are even willing to, know everything there is to know about them, no matter how spine-chillingly, screaming willy-inducingly disturbing it may be. Well, I say it has to stop. And a little Big Wall enforcement is the way to do it.

Here’s all it takes. It’s simple, really. Mingle amongst the ignorant heathens as you normally would; don’t let on that anything is different. Converse naturally. If you want to get in a little practice, maybe, or you want to get that first encounter out of the way, ask about someone’s health, or their pets. Or their grandparents. Or their weekend in Vegas. All of these are good ways to bring someone right up to the very edge of telling you something that you have no desire to hear under any circumstances.

Now, just as they’re about to tell you all about the nasty oozy thing with all the wrinkles and the hair where no hair should be (that description works for pretty much everything you could’ve asked about above…), simply take the following actions:

  1. In a loud, authoritative voice, bellow ‘Big Wall!! Big Wall!!’
  2. At the same time, raise either or both hands quickly in one motion over your head, as though you’re pulling a sheet (or Big Wall) between you and the icky person about to make you retch.
  3. Look frightened and squeamish. This should be the easiest of the steps, and you may have started working on this earlier in the conversation. This is both normal and highly encouraged.

Your antagonist will likely do one of three things, all of which achieve the desired effect of preventing you from being a party to the horrors that were about to be unleashed. First, he or she may stop and gape at you, confused by your sudden yelling and flailing. It’s also possible that all the action may frighten the person, and he/she will run away, dive under a desk, etc. to avoid becoming a victim of your sudden cheap jerseys instability. Finally, and best of all, the person might just ask, ‘Big Wall? What’s a Big Wall?’. At which point, you have the opening you need to indoctrinate another poor soul into the Nirvana that is Big Wall awareness. And that’s what it’s all about — I can tell you from experience, leading another person out of the Wilderness and to their Wall is just about the best feeling you can have. Not only will your new cadet be a better person because of it, but you’ll also never have to hear about their baby’s ‘cute’ green poop or transvestite hooker stories ever again.

Now, I won’t lie to you. There are certain risks to being a Disciple of Урок the Big Wall. First, yelling and gesturing wildly while someone else is talking can, in some circles, be seen as ‘rude’, ‘inconsiderate’, or ‘jack-assed’. Be secure in the knowledge that in taking a small social hit by using the Big Wall, you’re saving yourself and the speaker from a far more painful experience. Take one for the team, and be proud to do so.

Putting up the Big Wall may also frighten some in your audience. In a cruel twist of fate, those most likely to suffer health problems from sudden stress — the young and the elderly — are also exactly the same groups most likely to force you to whip out your Wall in the first place. Just be careful. Pace yourself. While battling wits with particularly fragile foes, you may even want to forego the standard behavior and mimic building the wall brick by brick from the ground up. This should cause your wholesale MLB jerseys accoster to (eventually) stop and ask just what the hell you’re doing, which again gives you the opportunity to sprinkle a little enlightenment in their direction. However, in losing the ‘startle factor’ (and because some of these subjects don’t see so well in the first place), you may be forced to hear just a bit more than you can stomach. You’ll have to decide whether your sanity or their heart is more at risk in these cases.

Finally, you only want to use the Big Wall in a real emergency. Don’t cry wolf with the Wall, folks. It’s like a powerful antibiotic — it’ll get the job done, but if you overuse it, the vermin will become immune to it, and soon you’re back where you started, and without one of your greatest weapons. So be sure you’re going to need the Wall before you whip it out and cower in fear behind it. There’s probably nothing good on the other end of phrases like:

  • Well, now I had my hand all the way up in it…
  • But the other guy said his was even bigger, so…
  • I said, ‘Hey, if you’re not gonna eat it’…
  • So I was at Wal-Mart…

…but it’s possible that these are false alarms. Wait a beat. If the next few words include ‘breast pump’, ‘pus’, ‘Vaseline’, ‘throbbing’, or ‘Volkswagen’, sound the alert. Bring the Wall. Bring it old school, and don’t take, ‘But ya gotta hear this’ for an answer. Be strong, and you’ll sleep like a baby.

Okay. I’ll assume that since you’ve gotten this far that you’re with me.

(Cause you’re either with me or again’ me on this one, and I don’t wants ya again’ me…)

I’m hoping that you really, truly believe in the Big Wall the way I do, and I want you go forth and spread the Gospel to the masses. And please, for God’s sakes, hurry. The masses have masses — and lumps and boils and open sores and all manner of other beastly ailments — and they’re just itching to tell us all about them.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “A Wall to Save Us All”

  1. Lisa says:

    I completely accept the BIG WALL theory. However…

    I recently moved from NJ to the polar opposite a tiny little farm town (I didn’t even know there were farmtowns in FL) in FL. The only store in town IS WALMART SUPERCENTER (yes, folks that’s where we have to grocery shop) -I’m dying here. The nearest real town is 45 minutes or more away -that includes malls, movies, etc.

    Therefore, I may one day be forced to begin a sentence with “so I was at Walmart”. But I promise to bite my tongue first and think twice every bloody time.

    But seriously,ya gotta hear this one…

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