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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!

Eight Simple Rules for Pulling Your Damned Life Together

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There are people out there who want to be like me.

Okay, that’s probably not true. I really have no evidence to back that up… but I’ll tell you this, and it’s as true as Christmas cookies:

There are people out there who should want to be like me.

“These should help you make it through those dark times when you’re not sure which way to turn, or whether you should squeeze into those spandex tights, or what an unused condom would taste like.”

At least, more like me, ’cause the people they’re being like now are… well, not very good people. Maybe they’ve decided to be like the folks they see on Cops, or Jackass, or — I dunno, Fear Factor. Clearly, it’s just an issue with their choice of role model, and a better selection would naturally lead to a better life. So I’m here to offer myself as a shining example of How to At Least Be Better Than Those Dimwits. It ain’t much, but you gotta write what you know, right? Right. Baby steps, folks.

So, as a public service for you poor, rudderless souls, I’d like to present my list of Rules to Live By™. These should help you make it through those dark times when you’re not sure which way to turn, or whether you should squeeze into those spandex tights, or what an unused condom would taste like. And for those of you who already know the answers to these questions (‘all the way around’, ‘not in this lifetime’, and ‘like chicken, but a little more gamey’, respectively), then you shouldn’t need my help. Feel free to peruse the list, and take what you can use, of course. But if you’re already set up with a role model better than me — a Gary Busey, perhaps, or a Dame Edna — then please, for the love of sweaty porcupine humping, don’t trade down to me. You’ll be drooling and sitting around picking your ears all day in no time, and you’ll just get bored. I feel qualified to help the goobers who are following ‘Ernest’ to camp, or lurking around Pee-Wee’s ‘Playhouse’, but I don’t have much for the rest of you, I’m afraid. You’re already ahead of this particular curve.

But for you half-evolved gibbering chimps who need my help, here are the eight Golden Rules of Charliehood. Learn ’em, live ’em, and long for more. Practice them well, and you too could be just like me.

(Aching back and graying hair not included. Spousal unit and freaky pit bull sold separately. Limit one personality overhaul per customer. Offer not valid in Montana.)

  • Rule #1: If it’s not food, and you’re not currently having sex, then don’t eat it. And don’t lick it, either, unless you’re double dog dared.
  • Rule #2: When cornered in the company of fools, play dead. They’ll eventually get distracted and wander off.
  • Rule #3: Never date — or even lust after — a person not meeting the following minimum criteria:
    Said person must be at least of ‘legal age‘ in your area (16-18 in most of the world; 14 in Amsterdam, and 9 in Arkansas and parts of Texas).

    Person must be younger than both of your parents (unless your mommy is a stripper / trophy wife for your (sugar) daddy).

    Person in question must have expected number of teeth (yes, that means their own teeth, and no, in a jar does not count).

    If person in question is female, then she should weigh less than you do.

    If person in question is male, then he should have less hair on his back than you have on your head (both the inverse and converse should also be true).

    If the gender of the person is in any way indeterminate, cut your losses and move on (aka the ‘Crying Game‘ rule).
  • Rule #4: Never answer ‘Yes’ to a question you didn’t fully hear or understand. No matter how annoying ‘Huh?’ can get, it’s infinitely better than accidentally agreeing to wash someone’s car, or loan them a thousand dollars, or swap spouses with them. Infinitely.
  • Rule #5: No one — anywhere, ever, under any circumstances — wants to see your genitalia (Ladies, this one certainly doesn’t apply to you).
  • Rule #6: To determine whether an article of clothing is appropriate, follow this checklist:
    Is it made of some sort of ‘stretchy’ material? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does the label mention ‘Speedo’ or ‘Wal-Mart’? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, is the garment pink, ruffly, lacy, or tasseled? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does it involve plaid or polka dots in any way? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does one — or both — of your parents wear similar garments? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, can the garment be described as ‘crusty’ or ‘swampy’? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does wearing the article create a sudden urge to ‘turn tricks’? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, do you have difficulty breathing while wearing it? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does it reveal the outline of your navel, or your ass dimples? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, does the garment fail to hide any hair you have below the neck? (If yes, it is INAPPROPRIATE)

    If no, congratulations! You have chosen an APPROPRIATE article of clothing! Hooray!
  • Rule #7: Be courteous and kind to any person who hasn’t pissed you off yet. As for the others, fuck with their minds. Mercilessly.
  • Rule #8: You can do whatever the hell you want in the shower, as long as you don’t tell anyone. (And you don’t own a webcam, of course).

And that’s it. Really, those are the only criteria I use as I wander through life. So now you know. I can only hope that you’ll take these lessons to heart, and that we’ll have a little more sanity in the world going forward.

(And a lot less hairy bastards with no shirts on running around my damned neighborhood!)

Rock on, grasshopper. Make me proud!

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):

Speaking of Fear Factor, what in the name of all that is holy has happened to that show? I caught a couple of the early episodes, and they were fine — amusing, entertaining, nothing to dicker over.

(Dicker? Officer, I barely even know her! Ba-dum-bum.)

They’d invite a few clowns into the studio to talk smack about each other, and then dislocate a few limbs trying to parasail, or run an army obstacle course, or whatever. In between, they’d be asked to do something mildly disgusting, like letting bugs crawl on their heads, or eating tofu, or giving Rosanne sloppy tummy raspberries. (Okay, they never did that last one; there are laws against that sort of thing.)

Anyway, it was all good, messy, but still-watchable fun. But have you seen this shit lately? They ratcheted the stunts up a notch or two, sure — they’re taming lions now, and throwing knives at each other, and performing open-heart surgeries and whatnot. It’s all very death-defiant and all, but it pales — absolutely pales like a Kennedy at last call — to the horrific crap they’re making these poor people do in the ‘gross-out’ segment of the show.

Seriously — and if you don’t watch the show, I am (starting… now!) not making this shit up. A couple of weeks ago, they made the contestants eat liquefied pig livers (by the glassful), ‘cereal’ made of crunchy beetles in some sort of vinegar or bile juice or something, and nasty-ass duck embryos peeled right outta the fertilized eggs. Mmm-mmm! Nothin’ says finger-lickin’ good like pureed pig parts and stillborn birds. Tas-tee. The week before that, only two lucky gentlemen survived their first round of derring-do, and earned the privilege of transferring as many earthworms as they could from a giant bowl onto a scale, using only their mouths. I couldn’t tell you who won, but suffice to say that they each broke double digits in terms of poundage, and they both had filth and worm parts from ear to ear when they were done. How do you come back from that, anyway? I mean, who’s gonna kiss that mouth, knowing where it’s been? Ew! Those sons of bitches are gonna be pickin’ earthworm out of their teeth for months now. And that taste doesn’t just go away, you know. Nuh-uh. Listerine won’t help you now, child. Sandblasting, maybe, or a good napalm rinse, but mouthwash is futile in the face of wiggly worm breath. Believe it.

This past week’s show was a little milder, I have to admit — the lucky boys and girls just had to eat a slice of pizza. Of course, the pizza crust was made out of… crap, I forget. I forgot all about the crust when I leaned that the ‘sauce’ consisted of coagulated blood sucked from some poor animal or other. Just like mom used to make, eh, boys and girls? For toppings, our Chef Boy-Ar-Dolts had their choice of eyeballs (from pigs, I think) or live snakes. All right, fine — they were called worms, but trust me, they were snakes. Any momma or poppa snake out there would be proud to have one of these little puppies for an offspring; trust me. One of ’em was fighting a mongoose, right there on stage. Honest. Oh, and by the way, the pizza cheese was all moldy and rancid. Like an afterthought — ‘Oh yeah, the cheese is older than you are, but really — isn’t that the least of your problems right now?

But some of these people get through it. I don’t see how — or more to the point, why, but they do. I mean, the show only gives away fifty grand each week. Would you go swallowing worms and bugs and homogenated organs for just fifty G’s? Mind you, I can’t personally take the ‘high road’ and pretend that I have either enough money or enough dignity to not make an ass outta myself for cash. You know me better than that by now — I’ll whore myself out, certainly, but only if ‘The Price Is Right‘. Fifty large might buy you some interesting items at Chez Charlie — a fully-shaved body, perhaps, or an embarrassing tattoo. Maybe a tender French kissin’ Kodak moment with a goat, or a pig, or even Janet Reno. But bugs and worms and eyeballs, out there on the airwaves to be TiVo’d and replayed and screen-scraped to hell and back? No, thanks. Not for fifty thou.

(Okay, dude, look — if you can make it sixty, and get Janet Reno over here before I sober up, you got a deal. I got mortgage payments coming up, you know…)

So, anyway, the people I really feel bad for are the people who lose in the last round. They get a belly-full of raw slimy hell, and then get nothing out of it. Well, not quite nothing, I suppose — ‘All of our contestants on Fear Factor receive a week’s worth of debilitating stomach cramps, just for making it to the second round! Plus three days and four fabulous nights of shrieking bathroom horror that they’ll never forget. Suck that, Rice-A-Roni!‘.

But as much as I like to watch these morons destroying themselves, I have to hope that the show peters out before it gets any worse. I mean, if the ratings start to sag, where can they possibly go from here? Drinking horse piss? Licking an elephant’s ass? Fat Bastard blowjobs? Can actually literally eating shit be far behind? ‘Your challenge today will be to swallow this squiggly tapeworm that we’ve just pulled out of the business end of a live pig. If you can manage to keep it down for four days without gagging, you get to move on to the next round. But if you actually digest any food in that time, then we’ll have to send you home. Good luck!‘ And God help us all…

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