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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!

Finally, an Entry with a Message!

Well, let’s see how this goes. Today, I had a wild-eyed, bushy-haired, nearly-pee-your-pants idea. Okay, it wasn’t really that good. But it was an idea, so I’m goin’ with it, dammit.

Here’s the thing — I came up with a little game for us to play. I decided to leave a secret message in this post, for those of you intrepid enough — or, let’s face it, bored enough — to bother to find it. Actually, it’s a ‘semi-secret’ message, I suppose. If it were really secret, I wouldn’t have just told you about it. But the message is actually a question, so it’s really more fun if you find it. And even better, answer it, on your own site, using the same ‘code’ I used to leave this message. And then leave a comment here, so I can come and decipher your message, too. See how fun this is?

(Oh, and by the way, if you’re wondering where the message might be — why, it’s already started. You’re soaking in it right now. Does it tickle, just a little bit?)

In the meantime, though, I’ve got a post to get to. And it centers around how weird and ridiculous I am, so you should get a chuckle out of this. Everybody gather around to laugh at the funny monkey. Whee!

So, I’ve found that I’m generally a pretty suggestible person. Not in a ‘loaning money’ or ‘oral favors’ sort of way, you understand — I generally come to my senses well before it comes to those kinds of shenanigans. But my brain is apparently soft and spongy, soaking up bits and pieces of what it hears during the day.

You might, of course, think that this sounds like a good thing. Hey, my mind is learning from what goes on around it. It’s tapping into its environment and yanking out information to store for later, like a chubby-cheeked squirrel storing nuts for the long winter ahead. Nice thought. But you obviously don’t know what kind of things are going on near my brain on a typical day.

One thing that goes on near my brain, just as an example, is an awful lot of television. I don’t have a boatload of free time, per se, but I spend quite a bit of it with the TV on, regardless of whether I’m actually watching anything or not. It keeps me company — like an old friend, or a favorite blanket. Or a vodka martini. You get the idea.

Unfortunately, watching a lot of television means that my brain gets exposed to a lot of television commercials, as well. I see less of them than most people, of course — the TiVo helps with that — but there are plenty of times when I don’t have the remote close by, or I forget that I have the remote close by, or I get distracted by something, like writing a blog entry, and I end up sitting through commercials.

(Right now is a good example, dammit. I’m writing this post, and I’m watching some bottle-blondie chick on the Food Network blather on about Quaker rice cakes. Like anyone would eat that styrofoam cat crap. Where in the hell did the remote go, anyway? Shit.)

Fandangoing back to the point, though, the very worst parts about these commercials are the jingles. These are the bits that my brain seems to take special interest in, and ferrets away for absent-minded humming later, when I’ve let my guard down. My brain seems to take unnatural pleasure in whipping these ditties out at completely inappropriate moments, when I’m supposed to be concentrating, or having sex, or listening to my boss chew me out — or once, rather memorably, all three at the same time — but all I can think of is that damned ‘zoom zoom zoom‘ Mazda song, or the jingle glommed onto that flagrantly Frankensteinish ‘Christmakwanzaahanukkah’ nightmare that Virgin Mobile dreamed up last month.

(And what the fuck were those people injecting into their eyeballs, anyway? What the hell kind of ad campaign is that, and what back alley did they get the ‘actors’ doing the ‘singing’ in that commercial from? The whole thing left me bewildered. Bewildered and scared and thirsty for something to make it all go away. Like brass polish, maybe, or rubbing alcohol. Yet I still hummed their damned song. Farging bastiges!)

Verily, such annoyances are bad enough. By simply hearing that nonsense again in my head, I’m certain that I’ve been thoroughly punished for whatever mean, awful things I’ve done in my life. I haven’t mass-murdered anyone recently, for chrissakes — get that goddamned Old Navy jingle the hell out of my head! Lousy assbag karma, anyway.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. No, no. It’s not hair-pulling annoyance that my brain is after, you see. The real goal seems to be withering embarrassment, as far as I can tell, because I often find myself actually humming — or, egads, singing(!) — these tunes. Out loud, for all of god’s creatures to hear and cringe over, and to gouge out their eardrums with sharpened sticks to get away from.

(Really, can’t my brain be satisfied with spilling my soup on me sometimes, or making me leave my fly unzipped occasionally? What the hell does it want from me? What have I ever done to it, other than pickling it in alcohol and banging it on walls and poking it with Q-Tips and blaring loud music at it and making it sit through these posts and… oh. Right.

I suppose I see its point, come to think of it. I suppose I’d have to fight back, too. Hell, reading this drivel would be the last straw for any internal organ. I’m pretty sure my pancreas wouldn’t put up with that nonsense. And don’t even talk to me about my testicles. Yow.)

The worst offense of all came today. I went to work a bit late this morning. And I managed to watch a bit of TV before going. And — obviously, or this wouldn’t be terribly relevant — I also managed to forget, within the first eight minutes of my program, that I was actually holding the remote control. The one that allows me to skip commercials. And, as it happened, the very last thing I saw was an ad. An ad with a jingle. An ad for Enzyte.

Enzyte. That’s right, people — Enzyte. You know the ones, with the announcer saying:

Check out Bob — he’s a happy-go-lucky guy! What fun Bob’s having today! He’s living large, and laughing easy!

(Of course, they never say, ‘Hey, look at Bob, and his enormous, bulging boner! Hey, Bob, can we use you for horseshoes?‘ Laugh easy at that, pecker man.)

Maybe you’ve seen these commercials. In the few minutes I watched my show this morning, I saw, like, nine of them. I saw Bob on the golf course, and Bob at a dinner party, and — claw out my eyes and set my soul on fire, dammit — Bob as Santa Claus. For the love of a candy cane-flavored enema, people, the absolute last thing I need to think about at nine thirty in the morning is a creeped-out grinning maniac with a pharmaceutically-juiced throbbing chubby asking me to sit on his lap and tell him what I’d like him to send down my ‘Christmas chimney’, okay? Again, please tell me who lobotomized the goddamned ad execs before they made it to work that day.

Even as disturbing as that image was, though, it was a fricking Sunday picnic compared to what happened when I actually got to work. Just picture this, lads and lasses — I made it to work in a fantabulous mood. I’d gotten plenty of sleep, I had clean undies on, my fly was zipped, and there was no soup spilled anywhere on my person — it had all the makings of a red-letter day. I was just strolling down the hallway, past a gaggle of co-workers going to the same meeting I was about to attend, when the old brain kicked in. Giddy like a skipping Frenchman, I began to hum, without even realizing it:

Doot doot dootle-dootle doot doo doo… Doot doot dootle-dootle doot doo doo…

I wondered for a moment why everyone was looking at me strangely. And not in the normal strange way they look at me, either. This wasn’t the usual ‘what the hell did he just say?’ look, or the ‘christ, somebody tell him to zip his pants’ gape. No, this was… different. Less frightened, and more amused. It was the kind of look that’s usually followed by pointing, and laughing, and shaking of heads and wiping of tears. I recognized that look. I’ve seen that look. I get that look a lot, actually. Bitches.

And that’s when I realized that I was bopping through the throng of people, belting out the Enzyte tune. They’d all heard me, and they knew what it was. And none of them knew I’d simply been watching the commercials before coming to work. They had to be thinking that I was popping the damned pills, instead. Poopstain! So, I did what anyone else would do in that situation — I slapped on a maniacal grin, waved like an idiot to everyone, kept humming, and sat down. And I didn’t change my expression for the entire meeting. Or, for that matter, the rest of the day. Finally, in the car on the way home, I wiped off the ‘Enzyte look’ and returned to normal. I mean, I couldn’t very well walk in the house like that — no need to scare the wife. Homina.

(Now, folks, you’ve read the whole story. And, if you’re a clever little boy or girl, you’ve also deciphered the not-so-terribly-secret message hidden within. And since I’m hoping you’ll answer it in kind, and let me know about it, I’ll give you my answer right here, just to be fair: Jake Johannsen, or maybe Greg Giraldo, or — depending on how ‘old school’ I’m feeling — Bill Hicks, Eddie Murphy, or way-way-old Bill Cosby. Like from before I was born. And that’s freaking old. So there you go, folks — your turn. Tag. You’re it.)

Permalink  |  8 Comments

8 Responses to “Finally, an Entry with a Message!”

  1. oh, shit. what am I supposed to do here?

  2. #Debi says:

    I must be truly thick. I’ve read your post, and Mark’s response, and I still don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. I think I’ll sit this one out and just watch the fun as it unfolds…

  3. shelley says:

    I’d have to say George Carlin. Or maybe Seinfeld, but only the very early years. Or Cosby. ‘Cause I’m just THAT old and I used to listen to his records (yes, VINYL) at the local library. And I would have answered using the secret code, like Mark did, but it would have had to be a wicked long post and I can’t imagine what I would’ve talked about for that long. So.

  4. SilverBubble says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a friggin’ idiot. I can’t figure this whole “semi-secret message” thing out.

  5. Zoot says:

    I wanna play! My response is on my blog :-)

  6. Lunasea says:

    OK, I can’t believe how fast I figured it out given that we only have decaf in the house this morning. Answer’s on my blog, but the whole name is way too long, so I did the first name and last initial.

  7. James says:

    You should setup shop in some tech town and become a stand-up comedian. Office humor. Gets me every time.

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