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!

An Incident with the Condiments

I stopped by a local 7-11 on an emergency caffeine run this afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve visited my neighborhood purveyors of overprocessed sundries, but when I walked in the door, it was as though I’d never left. The shelves and freezers were stocked the same way they were months ago. The same bored clerks sat behind the registers, with their buttons claiming ‘DEDICATED TO SERVICE‘ and their expressions screaming ‘SOMEONE PLEASE KILL ME NOW‘. And, of course, there were the ubiquitous mystery meat ‘hot dogs’ spinning on rollers behind a plastic shield, like slow-roasted petrified turds on a conveyor belt.

(No, that’s not a particularly useful analogy, unless maybe you’ve worked in a slow-roasted petrified turd factory. And the turd plants around here closed up shop years ago. Maybe if they’d formed a turd workers union it would have turned out better.

I’ll just stop now. Back to the convenience store. I’m so sorry.)

“Somehow I doubt the DoD has a ‘mutant Polish sausage’ contingency plan. We’d be overrun in no time, and enslaved to work in the mustard mines. I wouldn’t relish that, let me tell you.”

A lot of people focus on how scary the hot dog wieners are in these places. And they are. Don’t get me wrong — they are. Some of those weenies have been there since the Eisenhower administration; there are a couple at my local 7-11 that appear to be sprouting fins, and possibly a tail. Lord help us all if they ever work out a way to escape their plastic heated prisons. Somehow I doubt the DoD has a ‘mutant Polish sausage’ contingency plan. We’d be overrun in no time, and enslaved to work in the mustard mines. I wouldn’t relish that, let me tell you.

The scary (hot) dog meats are nothing, however, compared to the willie-inducing little machine humming away ominously beside them. Over beside the buns and ketchup packets is a device with several greasy brownish stains and a friendly message in large yellow font proclaiming:


Just below this reassuring advertisement are two bright red buttons, with labels reading:




There are corresponding photographs portraying bowls of shimmery melted cheese and hearty chili that are, by all appearances, genuinely delicious. As promised.


My father always told me, ‘son, there’s no such thing as a free lunch‘. I may be extrapolating here, but I take that sentiment to also apply to pre-cooked heated condiments. Do I trust the mustard packets in a place like that? Probably. Do I trust the little bowl of soggy diced onions with the filthy spork? Somewhat less so. And do I trust the FREE and purportedly DELICIOUS cheese and chili, dispensed from a machine that was probably last cleaned back when I was in diapers. Not on your life. My daddy didn’t raise no botulism victim.

Still, I was curious. So when no one was looking — and without a hot dog in hand to provide a cover story — I approached the scary machine for a closer inspection. Looking both ways to ensure the clerks were still sleeping at their registers, I gingerly poked at the ‘FREE CHEESE!‘ button.

What emerged looked nothing at all like the tasty cheese in the picture. The appetizing vibrant yellows of the photo gave way to a disturbing, too-bright orange. It was the sort of color that Mother Nature uses on poisonous snakes and stinging insects to warn innocent animals to steer clear. And if the product in the picture could be described as ‘thick’ and ‘creamy’, the real thing was… what’s a word that means ‘somewhere between the consistency of half-set Jell-O and extra-pulpy orange juice’? It was that. Only ‘congealedier’.

Quickly — before I could be caught wasting ‘food’ or think too hard about what I’d just witnessed — I pressed the ‘FREE CHILI!‘ button. A brown, steaming, lumpy mess spat from the nozzle and collected on the wire rack below. It reminded me less of any chili I’d ever eaten, and more of the contents of the oil pan from my dad’s old Chevy Impala the time he waited too long before an oil change. Forget about putting it on a hot dog; I was scared some of it would splash up and touch my exposed arm. Just a drop would likely take years off your life.

I had seen enough. Haunted and jumpy, I grabbed the first soda bottle in reach, shoved a couple of bucks at the zombie working the register, and hightailed it out of the store. The caffeine was tasty, but my experience with the chili ‘n’ cheese doomsday device will haunt my dreams for weeks. From now on, I think I’ll be getting my sodas from the grocery store. The only free food in that place is the tray of cocktail weenie samples near the meat freezer. I wouldn’t eat those, either, but they’re fun to chuck at other shoppers. Much better.

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “An Incident with the Condiments”

  1. Roofie Raccoon says:

    Hee! Gross.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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