Charlie Hatton About This
About Me
Email Me

Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

All Quotes


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!

And One for My Mouth, Please — Size 16EEE

Sometimes, I just don’t know whose side to take. Especially when strangers are involved. But especially when the strangers are ‘sharing’. Like this morning, for instance.

My wife and I are in Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey/Nebraska this weekend for a wedding. I planned to wear a black suit to the ceremony. Which was fine, except that my black shoes were still back in my house near Boston, probably walking on all the furniture and eating everything we left in the fridge. You know what they say: ‘When the shoehorn’s away, the wingtips will play’. Something like that.

My brown shoes, which clash more or less completely with the black suit, were here with us. So the missus gave me an option — we venture out in the morning to buy a pair of shoes, or we buy a brown suit. My choice.

(My suggestion of rubbing charcoal or coffee grounds or gunpowder onto my brown shoes to blacken them up was immediately and summarily rejected. Now I just have to hope that she doesn’t open the shoebox and notice that I’d already gotten started on one before I mentioned the idea.

And pray she doesn’t ask for French roast in the morning.)

I’ve got a newborn at home; he’s got a drinking problem.”

So, we set off in search of black shoes. I’m no fan of shoe shopping, but browsing for a suit is a special slice of searing hell that I save for special occasions. I’m sincerely hoping that my next suit purchase will be made posthumously, when they need something to wrap around me in the casket. And if I can wriggle it into my will to bury me in Syracuse orange, then I won’t even need that one. Either that, or it’s going to be one hell of an ugly suit. That’s okay. I don’t want to be caught dead in a suit, anyway.

Back to the stranger, and my conversational predicament.

We found a shoe store, picked out a suitable pair (she picked; I ‘helped’ — naturally), and took them to the register. There were two girls at the counter, one in her early thirties, maybe, and the other a few years younger. There was a short line of people waiting to check out, so the girls were both working — but also carrying on a conversation as they rung up, packaged, bagged, and receipted.

I couldn’t hear much until we got closer, but eventually picked up that the older girl’s shift was over soon (or already), and her replacement hadn’t arrived yet. She seemed a bit agitated about it — and the other girl was agreeing with her at every turn. Egging her on, in other words. As Older Girl worked herself into a nice foamy lather, my wife and I approached the counter to pay. Older Girl was putting away shoeboxes under the counter and yapping to her friend:

I don’t know, but if Gary’s not here in five minutes, I’m seriously just walking out. This is ridiculous. I’ve got a newborn at home; he’s got a drinking problem.

At this point, she popped up from under the counter, presumably ready to help us since she was looking directly at me. At the same time, she finished the thought she was expressing:

… How is that fair?

It wasn’t entirely clear who she was talking to. I mean, she was looking at me. Was that impatient furrowed look on her face because I hadn’t handed my shoes over yet? Because she wanted to get the hell out of there already? Or was she waiting for me to answer the question? Proddingly, but not-so-helpfully, she cocked her head a few inches to the side and said, again to me:


Again, did she want the shoes or the answer? I didn’t know. And I was afraid to pick the wrong one. So I gave her both. I handed over the shoes and a credit card and said:

Hey, Gary works in a shoe store. I’m sure he’s just putting off the nightmare for as long as possible.

Silence. Gaping stare from Older Girl. Also from Other Girl. And probably, though I didn’t dare look around, from my wife. Apparently, now I’m not supposed to answer questions people look directly at me and ask. That goes against everything my father, my teachers and every law enforcement officer I’ve come into contact with have told me. Or screamed at me, for that matter. I tried some damage control:

Anyway, I guess it’s fair, as long as he gets here soon. Unless he’s out drinking in the parking lot now. Or it’s his baby, too.

Well, that didn’t help. Geez, given the tirade she went off on then, you’d think I was the alcoholic coworker late for my shift. I can see why Gary drinks, if he has to spend shifts working with that crazy girl. Must be ‘mommy hormones’ or something.

At any rate, we eventually got checked out — by Other Girl, after Older Girl wrapped up her grousing and stormed out the front door, kicking over displays and leaving piles of shoeboxes in her wake. I hope Gary really wasn’t boozing it up in the parking lot; if she found him there, she might have strangled him with a pair of loafer laces.

We made our way back to the hotel — I with my new shoes, and my wife with that look still on her face. And I knew what I had to do. We couldn’t just let the experience hang there; something had to be said about it. I felt in some small way partly responsible, probably, so I figured I should be the one to chime in. I cleared my throat, and by way of apology, sort of, I said:

Gee. I guess we should have gotten the suit instead, huh?

It’s probably good my loafers don’t have any shoelaces. But I’m sleeping with one eye open tonight, just in case she finds any lying around.

Permalink  |  7 Comments

7 Responses to “And One for My Mouth, Please — Size 16EEE”

  1. Lois Lane says:

    It’s not your fault that Gary is a drunk. And I don’t think it’s your fault that girl has a newborn…is it?? Should I call Maury?

    And you probably would have been able to keep your big mouth (said in the nice friendly way) shut had your dad, all those teachers, and cops not FORCED you to answer their questions.

    Happy new year, Charlie!

  2. David says:

    Loved the line about it maybe being his baby too.

    Srsly, she pulled you into the discussion all barefooted and screaming – How’s come the wife didn’t intervene in a woman-to-woman way that woulda spared you this agony?


  3. #Debi says:

    Perhaps that will teach the ‘girl’ not to talk about her personal life on the sales floor (one of my pet peeves). If I were in line behind you, I might have applauded…

  4. Charlie says:

    Lois: I’m definitely not the one who got the girl pregnant. I mean, for one thing, she works in a shoe store; what do I look like, Peg Bundy?

    Don’t answer that.

    David: I’m guessing the missus was holding back, waiting to see how much trouble I’d get into.

    Sadly for her, she usually grossly underestimates my ability to cram my foot in my mouth. I suspect she represses a lot of the old memories.

    Debi: Thanks for the support; I could have used some backup, that’s for sure.

    With all the shoe-throwing in the news lately, I thought for sure I was getting a wingtip in the noggin.

  5. Lori says:

    I find it’s good to have a completely inappropriate conversation starter available for times just like these. I’m with ya’

  6. Charlie says:

    Heya, Lori! Long time, no see!

    And let’s face it. All of my conversation starters are inappropriate. Most of the enders, too, for that matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail © 2003-15 Charlie Hatton All Rights Reserved
Me on Film 'n' Stage:
  Drinkstorm Studios

Me on Science (silly):
  Secondhand SCIENCE

Me on Science (real):
  Meta Science News

Me on ZuG (RIP):
  Zolton's FB Pranks
  Zolton Does Amazon

Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
Grammar, Revisitated
How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
How I Feel About Pirates
Life Is Like...
Life Is Also Like...
Smartass 101
Twelve Simple Rules
Unreal Reality Shows
V-Day for Dummies
Wheel of Misfortune
Zolton, Interview Demon

Me, Elsewhere

Standup Comedy Clips

Selected Clips:
  09/10/05: Com. Studio
  04/30/05: Goodfellaz
  04/09/05: Com. Studio
  01/28/05: Com. Studio
  12/11/04: Emerald Isle
  09/06/04: Connection

Boston Comedy Clubs

 My 100 Things Posts

Selected Things:
  #6: My Stitches
  #7: My Name
  #11: My Spelling Bee
  #35: My Spring Break
  #36: My Skydives
  #53: My Memory
  #55: My Quote
  #78: My Pencil
  #91: My Family
  #100: My Poor Knee

More Features:

List of Lists
33 Faces of Me
Punchline Fever
Simpsons Quotes
Quantum Terminology

...Bleeding Obvious
By Ken Levine
Defective Yeti
Divorced Dad of Two
Gallivanting Monkey
Junk Drawer
Life... Weirder
Little. Red. Boat.
Mighty Geek
Scott's Tip of the Day
Something Authorly
Unlikely Explanations

Full Archive

Category Archives:

(Stupid) Computers
A Doofus Is Me
Articles 'n' Zines
Audience Participation
Awkward Conversations
Bits About Blogging
Bitter Old Man Rants
Blasts from My Past
Cars 'n' Drivers
Dog Drivel
Foodstuff Fluff
Fun with Words!
Grooming Gaffes
Just Life
Loopy Lists
Making Fun of Jerks
Marketing Weenies
Married and a Moron
Miscellaneous Nonsense
Potty Talk / Yes, I'm a Pig
Sleep, and Lack Thereof
Tales from the Stage
Tasty Beverages
The Happy Homeowner
TV & Movies & Games, O My!
Vacations 'n' Holidays
Weird for the Sake of Weird
Whither the Weather
Wicked Pissah Bahstan
Wide World o' Sports
Work, Work, Work

Alas Smith and Jones
Berkeley Breathed
Bill Hicks
Dave Barry
Dexter's Laboratory
Douglas Adams
Evening at the Improv
Fawlty Towers
George Alec Effinger
Jake Johannsen
Married... With Children
Monty Python
Nick Bakay
Peter King
Ren and Stimpy
Rob Neyer
Sluggy Freelance
The Simpsons
The State

Plugs, Shameless
100 Best Humor Blogs | Healthy Moms Magazine



Feeds and More
Subscribe via FeedBurner


RSS 2.0
Site Hosting:
Solid Solutions

Powered by:

Title Banner Photo:
Shirley Harshenin

Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License

Performancing Metrics

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid CSS!

© 2003-15 Charlie Hatton
All Rights Reserved