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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!

I Guess I’ll Never Be One of the ‘Cool Kids’

(Note to any regular readers out there:

…and by ‘regular readers’, I mean ‘people who read this blog from time to time’, not ‘plain old regular people who read this blog’. And I certainly don’t mean ‘readers who are regular’. How many times you go to the bathroom a day is no concern of mine, there, skippy. Big wall! Big wall!

Um, okay, then. Back to the note — for any regular readers out there:

If you’re interested in how the standup show — heretofore known as ‘my comic deflowering’ (charming, no?) — went, I’ll post a wrap-up on that a bit later today. Fear not — you’ll soon be ass-deep in the details of me making a jackass of myself on stage.

In the meantime, though, since I was too wiped out to post last night, I’m backdating this post to yesterday, so that there’s something other than my show announcement that counts as ‘entertainment’ for the day. At the moment, Sunday is lacking in both quantity and quality, and I just can’t bear to let that happen.

(I can’t promise to fix both problems, but we’ll see what happens. At least now you’ll have to read through a few hundred words to find out I couldn’t think of anything funny for the day. And that’s better than what was there before. Arguably, anyway.)

So, without further ado, here’s another ranty, rambling train wreck of a post about trivial crap that I’m probably making up from scratch, anyway.

Gee, it sounds so tasty when I put it like that, doesn’t it?)

(UPDATE: Um, note to pretty much everybody… I guess it helps to actually backdate the frigging post when I go to all the trouble of writing six paragraphs about how I’m going to do so, huh? You know, instead of letting the post lounge around all day with the real datestamp on it… dudes, I am such a tool sometimes…)

I have to wonder sometimes whether I’m just out of touch with what the rest of the world is up to. Maybe I’m tragically uncool, or out of the loop, or just plain old; I really can’t say. All I know is that I see a lot of trends out there that I just can’t fathom — people doing things, caring about things — that just make no damned sense to me.

Take collect calling, for instance. Recently, I saw a nice little rant on Lara’s blog about how the various collect calling commercials — and John Stamos’ in particular — are annoying the shit out of her. And it’s true — from sickeningly-sweet Stamos’ spots to the ads with that uppity-smug platinum-blonde ‘angel’, all the way to the murder-suicide-inducing Carrot Top commercials, these clips are some of the worst things on television.

(This side of UPN, anyway.)

But the more fundamental thing that bothers me more about these spots is this: why, for the love of phone-sex operators, do we need all these collect-call companies, anyway? And are enough people making that many collect calls to warrant all these fricking choices and advertising dollars? Who’s making all these fricking calls? Poor college kids phoning home for cash? Homeless dudes checking on the day’s lottery numbers? Carrot Top, going through the list of escort services on his Rolodex? Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I made or received a collect call. Do people really make them any more?

And even if they do… is it really fricking necessary to have thirty different collect-call systems, each with a dizzying array of phone numbers and plan options?

Try 1-800-COLLECT. It’s cheap and easy. Just one dollar for up to twenty minutes, then ten cents a minute after that.

No, no, go with 10-10-987. What could be simpler? It’s twelve cents to connect, then four cents a minute for the first ten minutes, and only seven cents after that.

Don’t be a dumbass — 1-800-CALL-ATT is better, and even a monkey can use it. It’s just sixty cents for the first nine minutes, then six-and-a-half cents per forty-eight seconds after that.

Forget those guys — we know of lobotomized weasels that can use 10-10-220, and it’s cheapest of all. You pay just fourteen point six cents to connect, and then it’s just the square-root-of-pi cents per thousandth-of-an-hour after that.

Who the hell are these people kidding, anyway? ‘Easy to use’? ‘Simple’? ‘Convenient’? You need a frigging degree in differential equations and a Babylonian abacus troop to compare the goddamned rates.

(No, I don’t know what a ‘Babylonian abacus troop’ would look like, or even whether Babylonians would be more proficient with abaci than anyone else. For all I know, the Sumerian abacus squad would kick their ass. Look, I told you I was making this shit up as I went along, didn’t I? I don’t know what the hell you expect from me here.)

Even if you know you’re gonna talk for six and a half minutes per call — which you don’t, of course — you’d have to spend six hours and a thousand brain cells plotting out a line graph to figure out which eleven-digit ‘convenient and easy’ code to prefix your number with. Honestly, I just don’t frigging understand.

While we’re on the subject, more or less, I’m sort of perplexed about cell phones, too. Not having a cell phone, or using a cell phone — I’ve got one, and I’ve been known to use it from time to time… usually when I’m driving, or peeing, or in the shower. So I can see how useful cell phones can be.

But it’s the bells and whistles people add onto their phones that I don’t get. Ring tones, for instance. I know people that change the sound of their phone every fricking week, every new ringtone more teeth-gnashingly annoying than the last. Today, it might be ‘Whistle While You Work‘.


Tomorrow, ‘It’s a Small World, After All‘.

(Dude. C’mon — dude!)

Then, that goddamned ‘I Like You, You Like Me‘ Barney song.

(Come here, you dickhead… no jury will convict me for what I’m about to do.)

Now, just to conciliate with you ring-freaks, I will admit that my ringtone is Sousa’s Liberty Bell March, better known (by some of us) as the opening theme of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. So I’m not entirely without guilt in this matter, either.

But — and this is a big, Rosie O’Donnell-sized ‘but‘ — I say this in my defense: for one thing, I keep my phone on ‘vibrate’ most of the time. And not just because it feels good in my pocket, either.

(It does, but that’s not why I do it.)

Secondly, that ringtone came with the phone as one of the options. I didn’t spend fourteen hours online looking for it, wading through clips of fart noises and crappy Muzaked pop songs until I found it.

And third, I set the damned ringtone the day I got the phone, and that’s what it’s been set to ever since. I don’t go changing the stupid ring like it’s a frigging mood phone or something. You can’t tell I’m sad because the phone tinkles out ‘Send in the Clowns‘, or know that I’m pissed because you hear the theme from ‘Halloween‘ when someone calls me. It doesn’t work like that.

So, while I do have a custom ring, I’m not part of what I consider the problem. I’ve got plenty of other ways to waste my time — current blog in point — without combing through the internet to find a way to make my phone yell out ‘Don’t have a cow, man‘ over and over when I get a call. Who are these frigging people, anyway?

Games for cell phones make me scratch my head, too — though I have to admit, so do GameBoys and the like. Not because I’m not a ‘gamer’ — oh, I game, dude. I game. At the same time, I’m not one of those ‘game snobs’ you see sometimes — young, pimply-faced kids with the latest souped-up console system, or with PCs chock full of video cards and forty-three gigs of RAM, with rings of computers set up to multicast Quake Arena or Unreal Tournament or whatever the kick-ass kill-’em-all game du jour happens to be.

I’ll play a lot of those games — and others, too — but I do it on my crappy little home office PC, and that’s just fine. I don’t have to see every single spatter of blood that comes out of my character’s head when I wander into a minefield, or a guard post, or I slip and fall on the virtual sidewalk. Again. I buy my games nice and late — and therefore cheap — and then play ’em slowly, so I never catch up. I’m perpetually two or three years behind, and the games still kick ass, so I’m just tickled pink.

But even I can’t play those phone games. They’re not ‘soooo 2001‘; they’re more like, ‘eek! Pong!‘ The screens are tiny, the keypads cramped, and the graphics laughable. Hmmm. Gee, you’d almost think that cell phones weren’t actually built to play games on! Who’da thunk it?

(And isn’t that what Palm Pilots are for? At least there, you can see what the hell you’re doing and tap right on the screen with that little plastic pencil thingy.)

Anyway, like I said, maybe I’m just out of touch. All the kids seem to like this shit, and I’m sure they’ll continue to play their little crappy micro-games, and download the ‘Freinds‘ theme song onto their phones (Double grrrrr!), and use them to punch out the forty-eight digits now needed to make a collect call. And I’ll still be in the dark. Well, that’s all right. I’m old, and uncool — I don’t care. I’ll just keep playing my PC games from last century, and paying for the calls I make. And I’ll always get a grin on my face when my phone rings.

Of course, that’s usually because it’s on vibrate. Hey, I love Monty Python, people, but some things are more important than having a cool ringtone. And I think a nice little ‘rumble in the undies’ now and then qualifies. Don’t you?

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “I Guess I’ll Never Be One of the ‘Cool Kids’”

  1. A “Babylonian abacus troop?” haha

    funny stuff.

  2. Lara says:

    One thing I forgot to mention in my rant about these STUPID commercials say is that they’re telling EVERYONE that it’s socially “OK” to call people collect! Not in my world it isn’t! You better have been arrested or in the hospital if you’re calling me collect! OK Lara, CALM, we’re through ranting now, deep cleansing breath. OK. Better. Just don’t call me collect!

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