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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!

Fibber McGummo and Me

Why must people lie? I just don’t get it.

Oh, sure, I understand some lies. People lie when they want something, or they’re being nice, or being mean, or trying to get out of sometime, or trying to get into something. Usually pants. I understand all of these lies. And I’ve told most of them at one time or another.

Usually to pants.

But there are some lies that serve no purpose, other than to maybe hurt yourself. I don’t get those. Take this email I just got a few minutes ago:

Hi Dear Zolton,

Okay, this might require a slight explanation, seeing as how my name is not, in fact, Zolton. It may help to know that ‘Zolton’ is a handle I use on, where for two years I wrote a series of articles based on Amazon prank reviews. Which I also wrote under the name ‘Zolton’. Here’s my patently ridiculous profile page.

More on Zolton in a second. For now, my biggest concern was that this person couldn’t decide between ‘Hi’ and ‘Dear’ and decided to use them both. This is a person prone to binging and loving too hard and who’s never lost a staring contest, I’ll bet. I began to suspect this person wanted me to review his or her product. The email continues:

I came across your profile on and I liked it.

“Zolton says reading instruction manuals is for small children and men with no hair on their pinkies.”

And here’s the first lie, right out of the gate. Serious people with Products™ to sell don’t like my profile. Why on earth would they like my profile? It says ridiculous things like: “Zolton says reading instruction manuals is for small children and men with no hair on their pinkies.”

Even I don’t know what that nonsense means, and I wrote it. At this point, I wasn’t sure this joker had a head screwed on straight — but I was certain the review request was coming.

I read some of your reviews and they are well written!

Another bald-faced pointless lie. Oh, it’s meant to butter me up, sure — but if Gummo here (I’ve decided to call him “Gummo” to protect the fiery-pantsed innocent) had actually read any of my nearly two hundred product reviews, he’d have noticed that they’re all. Batshit. Wacko. Insane.

(I mean, if they were intended to be real. Which they weren’t. Writer’s privilege and comedic license and all that other shit that makes my apparent mental instability okay. Tada.)

Let’s face it — these reviews are worthless as buying advice. Their only redeeming quality is that enough people found them entertaining (or some of them entertaining, at least) to push my overall “Reviewer Rank” on Amazon up into the top 5000. And that’s why I’m getting this outrageously misguided and duplicitous email.

And why I’m sharing it with you? Eh, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Where were we?:

I have a few bobbledinglehickeys that I want to send out to reviewers to review on Here are the links to the amazon pages.

(I’ve also changed the name of the product to “bobbledinglehickeys” and omitted the links, to protect innocent, desperately-marketed and probably shoddily-assembled merchandise.

Just in case you were getting all moist at the idea of owning a bobbledinglehickey of your own. Stand down, Shopasaurus. Stand down.)

Clearly, I didn’t click on the links to any of the products. Because first of all, clicking links in unsolicited emails is how you get the computer herpes, and secondly of all, if he’d bothered to do the courtesy of clicking on any of my links, old Gummo would’ve seen a review, gotten sick a little in his mouth, and we wouldn’t be having this excuse-of-a-post on a Monday night.

I suppose I should thank him. But mockery is so much easier.

Please let me know if you would be interested in taking the opportunity to review these bobbledinglehickeys.

Should the itch to faux-review your ridiculous trinkets ever crawl down my pants and make itself known, good Gummo, sir, rest assured you shall be the very first to know.

And you’ll be the first to swat said review away from your product’s page, like a horny horsefly with halitosis. Because that review would be a lie. Fair’s fair, Gummer, my man.

Of course, after you test them and review them on they will be yours to keep. They come in handy in many occasions and is our newest style out there,

As an exercise for the reader, I’ll just leave that last bit as-is and ask how many unspeakably uncomfortable sorts of products you think it could apply to.

(And remember, “suppository” only counts once, not once for every brand or every hole the thing was meant for. No cheating.)

Thanks for doing business with us and for helping us provide our #1 seal of one hundred percent costumer satisfactions,

Oh dear lord, that makes it worse, doesn’t it?

Wish you all the best, the Bobbledinglehickey Customer Service Crew

Because remember, it doesn’t take just one Gummo to blindly send requests to pranksters you want nowhere near your product review page. It takes a crew.

Usually, I just ignore these sorts of free-fibbing clearly-cold-called requests. Especially since i don’t write that series any more (I’ve moved on to pestering Facebook, as it happens), and because most requests are for things like books. Long books, which would require actual work to read and digest and then mercilessly mock.

This one’s a bit more intriguing — and I’d get free swag out of the deal, presumably, no matter how harebrained the actual review. I’m actually a little tempted. If only I needed a bobbledinglehickey, or had room for one in my place or had some idea of which holes, exactly, it was meant for.

Ah, well. That’s the life of a mock reviewer, I guess. Requests, lies and bobbledinglehickeys. Makes you wonder how we ever get anywhere on Amazon, doesn’t it?

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