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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!

Early to Bed, Often to Rise

There are some days — or more importantly, nights — when it just doesn’t pay to do the right thing. Or try to do the right thing. Or anything, frankly.

Take last night, for example. I had had an eventful weekend after a grueling week, and frankly needed a little extra shuteye. That’s not something I always afford myself, what with the night owl schedule and the insomniac tendencies and that spider bite I had back in third grade that was maybe really a vampire bite and hey, wouldn’t that explain a lot, except I can still sadly see myself in the mirror and garlic is delicious and I could never pull off wearing a cape and other peoples’ necks are gross, and this whole ‘vampire’ thing went to hell in a hurry. Mostly, I just didn’t want to think about some spider slobbering all over me. No such luck.

Anyway, last night. I could feel the walls of extended sleeplessness closing in around me, and so I vowed to get to bed at a reasonable hour (for once). And I did, too — I wrapped up yesterday’s post around eleven in the evening, and settled in for a nice springtime nap.

Which I got — until two o’clock in the morning. That’s when I was awakened by the clicker-clack of little pooched paws making a mutt-line for the back room. In the dead of night in this house, that can only mean one thing. As I often misquote the name of a popular movie:


“I was already suffering from PTSD — Post-Turdic Shivering Dry-heaves.”

I careened out of bed — a flurry of bedhead and boxer shorts and parts in between that no one wants to hear about, no one — and lurched after the dog down the back hallway. As I hissed at her not to do something we’d both regret — she did. A lot. It was not solid. It was not pretty. It was not what I wanted to have my nose next to for twenty minutes cleaning up. But I had no choice. So I did.

(It was either that, or train the dog to use a roll of paper towels — and a squeegee, and a power washer, and a lawn sprinkler filled with Lysol — to clean it up herself. She’d just end up eating it, probably.

And I’d seen enough horror for one night, thanks. I was already suffering from PTSD — Post-Turdic Shivering Dry-heaves. Some ungodly performance of ‘One Dog, No Cups’ wasn’t going to help my world. Or anyone else’s.)

Finally, I collected the mess and four hundred indescribably-soiled paper towels into a bag, sealed it as hermetically as I knew how, and left it for the morning. I simply didn’t have the energy to dispose of it properly, and there was enough disinfectant in the bag to kill ebola — I mean, like, all of it, ever — so I hit the sack and tried to work my way back into a sleeping groove.

That’s when I heard the birds.

Evidently — and I wasn’t aware of this until a quarter til three this morning — birds don’t necessarily wait until dawn to commence their infernal chirping. I don’t know what the hell they were doing up at that hour. They weren’t owls, for crissakes. Maybe they were catching up after taking a red-beak flight in from southern climes. Maybe they were planning some Hitchcockian attack to retaliate for the cheap stuff the neighbors put into their bird feeder. Maybe it was a full-block bobolink booty call.

I don’t know. I didn’t care. And the bastards wouldn’t. Shut. UP. For twenty minutes, I lay awake, cursing the entire avian lineage and imagining how life would be if I could wipe birds off the face of the planet. No chicken sandwiches, which is bad. Thanksgiving dinners would be a lot more ‘hammy’. But otherwise, I couldn’t see a downside. I resolved to begin my ‘If It Flies, It Dies‘ campaign in the morning — starting with whatever the hell was currently CHEEP!ing about worms or birdbaths or randy robins outside my window.

That’s when I heard the dog get up again.

This time, I headed her off at the hallway. I was wide awake at that point, so she was easier to catch. I threw on some pants and a sweatshirt — from the way it jammed my elbows into my chest, probably my wife’s — and walked the dog. At three in the morning. Without my contacts — so if the little squirt dropped a solid turd this time, I had no chance to locating it to bag it up, short of dropping to all fours and Helen Kellering the thing into a baggie.

Mostly, I made the effort so I’d have a chance to toss the gigantic bag of the last hour’s poop somewhere outside my kitchen trash can. Preferably, in a nest.

(On the outside, the birds were thunderous. Or as ‘thunderous’ as chirps belted out of a bunch of pipsqueak feather balls can be. ‘Chirperous’? Whatever.

But there were definitely dozens — at least — of the things for blocks around, peeping and cawing at each other over the trees. I couldn’t decide whether they were just laughing at me now for walking the dog in my pajamas in the middle of the night, carrying a Hefty bag full of terrier turds — or they were coordinating that Hitchcock dive bomb thing.

And at that point, I don’t know which I would have preferred, frankly.)

I felt my way back to the front door, tucked the dog under a blanket — with a staple gun, if I’d had one handy — and collapsed in the bed. I was wrecked, and fell straight to sleep. Neither rain nor sleet nor snow — nor birds, nor turds — would keep me from my appointed sleep any longer. Well past the wrong side of three AM, I finally slipped back into sweet, sweet slumber.

Until the doorbell rang. At six.

My wife had accidentally locked herself out, while what? Walking the dog.

On the third buzz — that I registered, anyway; several dozen more may have preceded it — I shalumphed out of bed, opened the door, greeted my wife in broken Wookie, and hit the sack again, ready for some uninterrupted pillow drooling.

Which was, naturally, interrupted. At seven thirty, when the alarm went off. Rise ‘n’ shine, sleepyhead — there’s a big Monday waiting for you out there, gosh!

I’ve heard that some people — great thinkers like DaVinci and Edison, notably — prefer to get their sleep in short bursts, napping a few times per day or night to optimize their productive time awake.

I’m pretty sure those people weren’t lugging sacks of shit around and contemplating weapons of mass bird genocide during their waking hours. Or they’d have slept till noon. Like I’m going to do tomorrow. The dog and the birds can go doorbell themselves right to hell. I said ‘GOOD NIGHT, SIR!!

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