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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!

The Dream Job Giveth, and the Dream Job Taketh Away

First I write it on the walls in crayon; then I take my meds and type it in for you!

So, I had a plan in mind for this entry, and I may even get to it at the end, but I have to share something with you.

(‘Look, Martha; he’s changin’ the subject before he even starts now! Back in the old country, we’d call him a mo-ron.’ ‘

Shut up, Grandpa.’)

No, that’s not what I want to share. Frankly, I wish I could take that part back, but the electrons have already been zapped into place, and there it is. Deal. No, this is what I want to share. I got it yesterday from a friend of mine:

Saw this posting and thought you might be interested.

> 4 — Beer Drinkers Needed! Males 22-29 — Earn $75 for 2-hrs

> (Downtown Boston)


> Mon Jun 23rd

> Hey Guys! Do you like beer? I mean, do you really like beer?

> XXXXXXXX are currently recruiting young men to participate in a two-hour

> focus group discussion on one of the world’s favorite carbohydrates – beer.

> These round table discussion groups are taking place this coming Monday,

> June 30 in downtown Boston. Participants will receive $75- as a token of

> our appreciation. In addition, a $15-stipend is available for those of you

> needing to park downtown.


> As always, not everyone will qualify to take part in this research session.

> There are a few questions we need to ask you to ensure that your

> background and experiences match the requirements of this study.

> (Unfortunately, the questions cannot be e-mailed.)


> If you are interested in participating in one of these focus groups,

> please do one of the following:


> – Contact XXXXXX toll-free at XXXXXXXXX Ext 7. The best time to reach him

> is after 4:30pm weekdays.

> – OR –

> – Reply to this post with your name and a phone number where you can be

> reached in the evening.


> And if any of your buddies think they might be interested as well, we would

> be happy to see if they qualify to participate, so please pass along this

> e-mail to anyone you think might be appropriate.


Now these are the kinds of emails I appreciate, folks. Sweet, simple, and to the point. And what a point! ‘Please let us give you $90 to talk about beer.’ I mean, I’m gonna be hanging around talking about beer, anyway — bending the ear of any coworker or passerby or fire hydrant that will take the time to listen. And now I can get paid for it? Shweet! A whole new world has opened to me — like the majestic Monarch butterfly, I emerge from my cocoon and spread my wings to the winds of opportunity. Fly! Fly to the beer panel! O fly away!

And it’s downtown, too.

(Sorry, this is Boston — it’s dahn tahhhhhn, for any locals needing translation.)

“I couldn’t make this shit up if I had Robin Williams and Hugh Hefner on acid, working overtime and weekends to concoct ridiculous crap.”

So after getting all squinchy talking about beer for two hours, you can just walk out the door and practically fall into a Irish pub. That’s downtown Boston after 5pm, basically — dozens of people falling into — and later, out of — pubs. It looks like banana peel day at the clown college. It’s beautiful.

But of course, much like Pamela Anderson, it’s a little more complicated and annoying than it seems at first.

(So you’ve seen the latest on her, right? Besides being a cartoonish caricature of a booby blonde, as usual, now she’s got her own… cartoon. Where she plays a booby blonde. Who’s an exotic dancer. Named Striperella. I couldn’t make this shit up if I had Robin Williams and Hugh Hefner on acid, working overtime and weekends to concoct ridiculous crap. Oh, but my favorite part — Pammy demanded that there be absolutely no anima-nudity in the show. She’s got standards, you see — nay, a vision. This has to be a family show… about a super-hero snatch-flasher with lie detector jubblies whose chief crime-fighting weapon involves some sort of thighs-around-the-perp’s-head move she calls the scissor-ella.

(D’ya think she came up with that one all my her iddle self?)

So, anyway, Pam’s willing to unleash her own plastic protuberences at the drop of a hat, or to sign an autograph, or tip a waiter, or accept an award, etc., but her ‘anime alter ego’ has to keep her slingshot on at all times. Fine. On one condition: if Tommy shows up in that damned cartoon, and starts swingin’ it around all over the place, I’m going back to Scooby Doo. (Mmmmm… Velma….))

Okay, where the hell was I? Oh, yeah — the beer doohickey.

So, there are a couple of issues with this beer summit thing. First, the ‘few questions‘ concern me a bit. I mean, I can answer all the easy beer questions — I know which end of the bottle to open, and which hole of mine to stick it in for best effect (learned that the hard way, let me tell you). Anyway, I think I’ve got the basics covered. But their questions seem somehow more sinister — ‘Unfortunately, the questions cannot be e-mailed.‘ What the hell is that? I can’t think of a question that can’t be emailed, or even ‘e-mailed‘. Can you? Are they dirty, steamery questions, maybe?

(‘So if you needed to get a donkey drunk, for… some… reason… which brand would you choose?’)

Or questions of national import, perhaps, that must’nt fall into enemy hands?

(‘We’re thinking of getting al-Qaida hammered, so we can sneak up on them. Which beer do you think goes best with desert lizard and three-year old hummus?’)

Anyway, that’s not the worst part — if I can’t fake my way through a beer test, then what the hell did my nine years of college get me? No, the absolute worst part is this:

I am ineligible to participate.

It pains me to write that, of course. But I’m afraid I have a disease — a horrible, incurable disease — and its effects exclude me from the target group for this study. That disease, my friends, is the debilitating horror known as: oldness. Damn this infernal monster! See, I’m just a couple of planet rotations past the cutoff date of twenty-nine. So no matter how much I like beer, and how eloquently I can wax on about dewy hops and sun-kiss’d malted barley, the Guinness cascade and the perfect pour, the frogs and the High Life and the Swedish Bikini Team… they don’t want me. I’m too old to care about. I should go back and crawl under my shawl and gum my applesauce while the young bucks get to dictate the hot new trends in the brewing industry.

(And is that really what we want? ‘D00dz! How about… pepperoni beer? Or no, no — make little holes in the bottom of the b0ttlez and plug ’em up, so we can sh0tgun right off the six-pack. D00d — that would r0x0r!’)

Anyway, I think I’ve still got something to contribute to the discussion. And I think someone needs to be there to represent my ‘generation’ — someone to offset the script weenies and frat jocks sure to be in attendance. So there’s only one thing left to do — I gotta get a fake ID. One that says I’m 25 or so. Hey, if it worked at 16, it oughta work at 32, right? I just have to go about it a little differently than I did then — I’ll shave right before I go, and wear a baseball cap (backwards, natch) to cover my gray hairs, and I’ll make sure I’ve got my teeth Polydent-ed in tight. And I’ll have to find a dirty old T-shirt to wear. I guess the ‘REM World Tour ’88’ isn’t gonna cut it, huh? Well, I’ll just go buy something and age it… at Lazarus, or Chess King or somewhere, whereever the cool kids are shopping these days.

So, if you’re over 30 and still enjoy beer, even if it’s through a straw or an IV — wish me luck. The fate of our beer-swilling experience depends on it. And to the rest of you out there — stay the hell out of Boston on the 30th, dammit. I’ve got a great idea for a pepperoni beer, and I don’t want any of you stealin’ it…

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