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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!

Yes, Natalie, That’s My Final Answer!

It seems it’s interview time again. I don’t get into a lot of these meme dealies, but I’ve got to admit that I really like this one. You get to know me, I get to know you… it’s a whole freakin’ lovefest. It’s beautiful.

If you’re not familiar with this particular game — if you started blogging yesterday, for instance — here’s how it works:

I asked the lovely and talented Natalie over at Natalieville to ask me five questions. (She really asked me seven questions, but who’s gonna quibble, right? Five, seven, seventy-two — it’s all good.

Anyway, it’s now up to me to answer her questions… whether I want to or not. Them’s the rules. And in addition — as though I haven’t suffered enough! — I now have to offer to ask any of you fine folks five questions of your very own. Anyone who leaves a comment asking questions will be ‘rewarded’ with five outlandish, ridiculous questions that you’re obligated to answer on your blog.

Then you’ll take interview requests, and the circle will extend, unbroken, until the very end of time itself. (Or until we get bored, whichever comes first. My money’s on ‘very end of time itself’, but that’s just me.)

Okay, then. I’ll repeat those rules at the end — it’ll take a while to get there; you’ll probably forget by then. In the meantime, with much thanks to Natalie, let’s get this starty parted, shall we? On to the interview!

1. Where have you always dreamed of doing your stand-up act?

Hmmm. Actually, that’s a harder question than you might think. I’ve only been doing standup for a couple of months, after all, and I’ve pretty much played in all the crappy little bars cozy, intimate clubs that I’ve seen around here. So again I say, ‘Hmmmm.’ (With an extra ‘m’ this time, too. Really, I’m thinking hard about this shit!)

Certainly, I’ve been watching standup comedy for a lot of years, and thinking I might like to try it sometime. But even then, I’m not sure I could say that I have a place I wish I could play. Remember A&E’s ‘An Evening at the Improv‘? That’s the most famous running standup show that I know of… but I don’t even know where that club is — or whether it’s even there; the show’s been off for years. And frankly, the Taj Majal it weren’t, if you catch my drifticles. You really don’t need a lot of opulence to do comedy. Nor do you seem to get it, either. Bitches!

I suppose I could go the theoretical route, and answer your question with something like ‘On a girls-only nude beach in Rio‘, or ‘For a hot horny harem of a Saudi sheik who’s willing to share‘ — women like guys who make them laugh, I hear — but that’s not gonna get me anywhere, either. I’m already quite happily married, for one. (And I don’t know where those girls have been!) Plus, my wife tapes all my shows… I don’t see any of the chickies getting within three steps of the stage without getting a HandyCam in the ear. Or worse.

(Or… you know, better, depending on how you look at it. Hell, if nothing else, I’ll tell my wife to make sure the camera’s still rolling, and we’ll sell the video on the internet. Some guys are into that ‘superzoom’ up close ‘n’ personal stuff. Me, I just get dizzy. It’s like being plopped out of the womb again, or something.

You know… I may have lost my train of thought back there somewhere. Imagine that. Now where the hell was I again?)

So, the dream standup venue. Honestly, the best place I can think of is whereever Comedy Central puts on their ‘Showcase’ shows — it’s a huge place, the stage is enormous, and they custom-build a backdrop for each comedian. How cool would that be? I could have a big question mark behind me, or some goofy-looking picture, or a big papier mache crotch, or something. Super.

But, unfortunately, I don’t know where the hell that place is, either. So, I think I’m gonna have to say, right now, my dream gig would be at Nick’s Comedy Stop in Boston. It’s not a particularly opulent place, nor very spacious. And, as far as I know, it’s not especially famous, either. So why Nick’s?

Very simple — they’re local, they’re in downtown Boston, and, unlike most of the other clubs I’ve been to, they don’t have an amateur / open mic night. Which means I simply can’t play there now. So if I play Nick’s, through whatever set of circumstances (other than them starting an open mic night), I’ll know I’ve taken a step up. Maybe a baby step, maybe one large step for mankind — I dunno. But a step. So that’s my goal. Sorry I couldn’t make it any sexier.

(And yes, I do say that to all the girls. Thank you, thank you — I’ll be here all week.)

2. You just won the Bloggie for best new weblog. How do you spend the $11 cash prize money? What is the first song you purchase on iTunes?

(Did you see how I snuck two questions in behind the number two? Pretty sneaky, eh?)

Damn, a whole eleven dollars? I had no idea blogging could be so damned lucrative. Forget spending it right away — I’d get that prize money in pennies, and take a bath in those bad boys! Whee! Ain’t nothin’ like frolicking naked among a bunch of Abe Lincolns, is there, folks? Solid!

But that doesn’t really answer your question. All that really does is give you a really disturbing mental image of me rubbing pennies over my bare nipples and chanting, ‘Bloggies, Bloggies, Bloggies, Bloggies — Oh, Bloggies, Bloggies…

(What? You didn’t have that image? Oh. Well, now you do. You can thank me later, really.)

Anyway, let’s assume that I’d eventually put some damned clothes on, hose the pennies down, and trade ’em in for eleven bucks. Then what? Well, that’s a good question. What would I spent an eleven dollar windfall on, anyway?

I’ll tell you what — I really can’t think of anything that I just can’t live without (and that only costs eleven dollars!), so here’s what I’d do if I won:

I’d use that eleven bucks to buy a beer for the first two people (or three, if the beer’s cheap!) who read this blog, and come to meet me at a standup show. (And yes, Amber, I already owe you one!)

How’s that for putting your blogging money where your microphone is? Or… um, something. You know what I mean, dammit!

Oh, and as for the iTunes thing — I’ve got to admit, I’d probably take the Amazon gift certificate. I’ve already got a lot of my own CDs ripped to MP3s, and way too many things that I want on my wishlist. Sorry, Natalie. I’ve never even looked at iTunes.

But, if it helps any, I’ll tell you this — if I could magically get MP3s of any songs that I don’t have, I’d pick the hopelessly obscure, but personally cherished ‘Steeltown/Bluestown’ by Broken Homes and ‘No Waitress No More’ by the Del-Lords. I’ve got the LPs that both songs are on — yes, kiddies, vinyl; look at the relic… oooooh! — but still, years later, don’t own a phonograph or the software needed to digitally capture those things.

(So if the prize were actually one hundred and eleven dollars, I think I know what I’d be buying with it. You know, in addition to that beer or three. Yeah, a hundred bucks would just about cover the record player and the software. I’ll have to work on that.)

3. Your wife must be pretty patient (and I mean that in the best possible way!) – how did you get her to marry you? No wait, what I really meant to ask was how did you propose to her?

Oh, for the love of flavored lubricants… you don’t really want me to tell that story, do you? Aw, crap… it’s so cheesy.

All right, all right — just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Jeez, here goes all my ‘street cred’.

(Which I probably never had, and certainly lost just by putting ‘street cred’ in quotes. Dammit, there goes another of my closely-held illusions! I hate this question already!)

Okay, so I had already gone out and picked a ring. By myself, so I was sweating that one a little bit. I knew, like, two of the ‘Four C’s’, and was working on a shoestring budget, so I had no idea what the hell was gonna happen with the ring. She might flush it down the toilet, or lob it out the window, for all the hell I knew.

Anyway, it was the winter of ’94-’95. I very carefully planned out the date. Couldn’t do it at Christmas — too easy. Not on valentine’s Day (which is also her birthday — I know, I know… ‘Awwwwwwww.‘) — she’d see that a mile away.

So, I did some ciphering. (Really — we’re talking all twenty of my digits, and the fingers of two of my closest friends. This was serious shit.) Anyway, I calculated that on January 14th of 1995, we would be dating for fifty months. Our (sort of) golden anniversary — perfect. She’d never think of that, and yet it just reeks of romantic. Even if she said, ‘no’, I’d get some sweaty snuggles, just for thinking of the date. Sweet.

Anyway, the day neared, and I had my plan in place. At the time, we were living in separate apartments. (She’d just moved to Pittsburgh, where I’d been for a couple of years — we did the long-distance thing for a couple of years after I graduated, and… look, this part’s really not important. We had two apartments, okay? This is gonna take long enough as it is…)

So, I innocently asked that morning — it was a Saturday — what her plans for the day were. She replied that she had to go into work, but she’d be back for dinner, maybe five o’clock or so. Perfect. It took all my strength not to tent my fingers and let out an ‘Exxxxxcellent‘.

And, dutifully enough, she toddled off to work, while I tried to give the impression that I was going to stay in bed all day and be a lazy bum. (I’m pretty sure I pulled it off — years of practice, you see.)

But really, as soon as she hit the door, I hit the shower and put my plan into action. It was masterful — I’d already ordered fifty roses, and just needed to pick them up. Then, I was gonna run to the store, grab some blueberry muffin mix (look, it was a ‘thing’ of ours, all right… I know, it’s blueberry muffins; it’s ridiculous… just let me get the hell through this, all right?), go back to my place, and bake fifty blueberry muffins.

(I know — look, just get it all out. Laugh it out now, okay? I can’t even type that part without shaking my head at myself. What the hell do fifty blueberry muffins have to do with getting engaged? I don’t friggin’ know. It made sense at the time; maybe I was drunk. I honestly don’t have any fricking clue.)

Okay, so. I manage to pick up the flowers, and the muffin mix, and get back to my place. The first batch of muffins goes in at, I don’t know, let’s say one o’clock. Plenty of time. Things are good.

Now, the way I planned it, I’d shuttle the roses and muffins over to her place, along with a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne I picked up, and then come back to finish the baking. Her apartment building was only a half-block away, so I just walked over. If all went well, I’d be done by four or so, and be able to surprise her by waiting for her at her place, when she thought I’d be slacking in my apartment. No problem.

Only… problem.

Around two thirty, I took the wine, the flowers, and a batch of muffins over to her place. I just plopped the stuff whereever — I was coming back in a half-hour or so, and I’d arrange everything then. I bolted out the door to get more muffins in the oven. (Again, with the muffins… really, I’m a loss. Looking back, I’m just bewildered. Anyway.)

So, I hop off the elevator in her building, round the corner… and there she is. Walking in the building. Three freaking hours early. Shit.

I actually managed to sneak past her, thanks to an enormous column in her building’s lobby, and got as far as the door before it hit me. ‘Dude. Duh! She’s gonna go upstairs, and find the stuff strewn all over the apartment, and you’re still busted, whether you creep past her or not.‘ Oh. Oh, yeah, right. Duh, indeed.

So, I basically threw myself at the elevator to keep the doors from closing, and — fumbling and stumbling, with no plausible excuse — sent her to my apartment, to think about what she’d done cool her early-gettin’-home heels until I said she could come out wait for me to call her. Dammit.

I guess that was the right thing to do. The only evidence over there was a used muffin pan and the smell of baked blueberry goodness. Still, very disappointed. Even now, it pains me to think how flawlessly it should have gone. Honestly, I never get this sort of shit quite right. Poopstain!

So, let’s cut to the chase. I took a half-hour or so getting everything just so, and went with the eighteen or so muffins instead of fifty — what the hell could I do at that point? — and called her back over. We had some wine, talked about what to do for dinner, listened to some music, and then the doorbell rang. Only this time, she was the one who was surprised.

It was a Pizza Hut delivery guy, right on time with the pizza I’d ordered a few hours before. I told my wife-to-be that it was our fiftieth month anniversary, and that I wanted to recreate our very first date. We were in college back then, and had planned a picnic. Only it had rained, so we ordered from Pizza Hut, and sat on a blanket in my dorm room, pretending it was a real picnic. So that’s what we would do on our anniversary, too.

Long story short, I think that put her off guard a bit, and explained all the weird behavior. And yes, the muffins. Let the damned muffins go, dude. I can’t do anything about the muffins now.

So, when I pulled the ring out from under the couch and proposed, I don’t think she exactly expected. Maybe a little, but she was a good sport and looked surprised, anyway. And said yes, and didn’t throw the ring anywhere. All in all, it went perfectly.

(Except for the whole ‘three hours early’ thing, and wanting to bake fifty muffins, and stashing her in my room for thirty minutes. You know, besides that.)

And so, we had our champagne and celebrated. And then, we wanted to tell people… but all our friends were out of town. So, we walked down the block to the little dive bar on the corner and had a couple of beers, and grinned shit-eating grins and disgusted everyone there by being so goddamned in love and happy. And we’re living happily ever after.

There. That’s the story. Happy now? I’m gonna get teased about all that sappy shit, and the oohing and the aahing, and the muffins — holy crap, the muffins — forever… I just hope you’re satisfied, that’s all I’m sayin’. Muffins… sheesh.

4. (Your choice here – pick A or B and surprise me)

A) You’re a guest judge on American Idol. Which judge are you most like? Simon (snarky and sometimes downright mean), Paula (uber-nice) or Randy (“Yo, Dawg. That was cool, but I’m not really diggin’ it, you know?”)


B) Who is your favorite author and which book of theirs did you like best?

All right, I’ll surprise you, there, cupcake — I’ll answer both. How’d ya like that, eh?

A) Okay, how’s about this:

If I were judging American Idol, I’d play it as part Simon, part Randy.

(And no, it can’t tell you how much it pains me to know who the hell those people are, and what they’re like. But watching the ‘worst of’ segments was a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, so I did watch a couple of shows in the second season.

But that was before TiVo! I want to stress that I have been born again, and saved by that little blinky box beneath my television. It doesn’t record ‘Da Idol’, so I no longer watch ‘Da Idol’. I am finally free of the off-key chains that bind!

But, um, yeah… in the meantime, I unfortunately know all about what I’m about to say. No amount of scrubbing can wash off my shame. Don’t… just don’t look at me directly, all right? I don’t want to be seen like this.)

Anyway, I think I’d do my best to affect Simon’s disinterested stare and accented monotone, never showing emotion or encouragement with any sort of body language or inflection. I’d practice that really hard for a few weeks, until I had it down.

Then — then! — I’d actually say only things that Randy would be likely to spout. So try, if you will, to imagine Simon, with his bored, dead eyes and arms folded over his chest, flatly declaring:

Well, booyah, my brother. That was tha fashizzle… dog.

Or maybe:

Yo, Snoop ‘Froggy Frog’, my momma didn’t raise no fool. And yo’ momma didn’t raise no Idol. Snap, yo. Next!

I dunno. It’s just a thought. But get me somebody like that on the show, and maybe I’d start watching again. Without cringing, even.

On second thought… no. I’d probably watch, but I’d still smack myself in the head for doing it. Bleh.

B) Okay. In the interest of actually providing more answers than there are questions (even when there are more questions than there are supposed to be!), I’ll say two things about this:

First, my most favoritest book, all-time, without a doubt — and I hate to go all ‘highbrow‘ with this crowd — is The Monster at the End of the Book. Without a doubt.

This is the book that grabbed me during my formative years, shook me upside down by my ankles until milk leaked out my nose, and turned me into a card-carrying, lip-snarling smartass. It’s the bestest book ever, and I’ll take a staple gun to the genitalia of anyone who says otherwise.

(Unless they’d like that sort of thing — you know how kinky some people get. In that case, I’d have to think of some other deterrent. Something with Brillo pads, maybe, or Rosie O’Donnell. But bad. Very, very bad.)

Anyway, I’m not sure that really answers your question, because I had to look up the book to find the author — Jon Stone. And while he did also write Another Monster at the End of This Book, some of his other works include Latin for the Illiterati, The Arms Trade: Security and Conflict, and the outrageously-named An Archaeological Assessment of the Middle Santa Cruz River Basin, Rillito to Green Valley, Arizona, for the Proposed Tucson Aqueduct Phase B. All of which sound like good substitutes for elephant tranquilizers, if you’re in the mood for a nice long nap. So I’m not sure I can call him my favorite author.

Actually, I’m not sure I have a favorite author. Tell you what — I’ve waffled enough on this one, so I’ll just rattle off a few author-book combos that I like, and you can take it from there. I don’t know what more I can do for you people. So here’s a list, off the top of my head and through my fingertips:

George Alec EffingerThe Nick of Time

John SteakleyArmor

Douglas AdamsThe Salmon of Doubt (Not by him, exactly, but amazing)

Frederik PohlGateway

Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel DennettThe Mind’s I (Okay, so they edited it… pick, pick, pick)

Richard FeynmanThe Pleasure of Finding Things Out

That’s probably more than you bargained for, eh? Anyway, those come to mind as favorites. If you’re a fan of science fiction and nonfiction, feel free to ping me. If I were standing by my bookshelf at home, I could recommend quite a few more.

(And I would, too — don’t you test me, dammit!)

5. You have to choose: Live in a climate where there’s always snow on the ground or live in a climate where the daily high is 100 degrees?

Ah, you ended with an easy one, Natalie! I think I even addressed something similar a while back… lessee, where did I put that?

Nope, not in there…

Not under there… but what the hell is that thing stuck to the floor? I’m gonna pretend I didn’t see that…

Oh! Okay, here it is. That covers a lot of it, but I’ll see what I can add.

(For those of you too lazy to click the link, here’s the basic summary: ‘too cold’ is always better than ‘too hot’, because it’s easier to fix. You can always put on more clothes, and layers, and fuzzy blankies to get warm. But if it’s sweltering hot, you can only take off so many clothes before you’re naked. Or arrested, or both. And you still might not be cool.

And trust me — the very last thing you want to be is naked and slicked up with perspiration in a holding cell. That’s one time where you never wanna let ’em see you sweat. Or let ’em see your winkie, I suppose. Hopefully, the cop’s will at least give you a blanket or something. It might make you hotter again, but I think it beats the alternative. Ouchie.)

But the question doesn’t just specify that the place is cold — there’s also snow, year-round and constant. But see, the thing is, I like snow. Sure, it’s a pain in the ass — and the legs, and the back — to shovel, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun. You can sled on it, and build things with it, and even — back me up here, guys — write your name in it after a six-pack of brewskis.

(Hell, after another six-pack, you could probably write a whole damned letter:

Dearest Love,

Four shots and seven beers ago, my forebrain brought forth to me an idea. A most excellent idea, to write you this letter.

I just want you to know how much I miss you, and hope that you won’t hold it against me that my company had a snow day today, while yours, sadly, did not.

I still love you with all my heart; I hope you see the remarkable romance in what I’m doing now.

I’d love to tell you more… but I believe my testicles have just frozen together. I must away now, to warm them by the fire. I will await there for your return, many hours hence.

By the time you read this, I will be drunk.

With all my heart and bladder,

Your Pookie Bear

(And no, by the way, I don’t know how you’d make some of those words bold by peeing in the snow, either. And yes, I bet the ellipses would be pretty hard to do, too. Look, it’s just a gag. Don’t overthink it, there, Lambchop.)

Anyway, I suppose the short answer would be ‘The snowy place’. But when the hell was the short answer any fun?

So, that concludes the second-ever interview here at the old blog.

(If anyone’s interested, and hasn’t gouged out their eyes yet, you can also read the first one, with questions thoughtfully provided by the ‘poo.)

I hope you had as good a time as I did. And if you’d like your own set of questions, leave me a comment and I’ll deliver them, piping hot and fresh, right to your door. (By which I mean your emailbox. I don’t know where your door is; it’s just a figure of speech, okay?)

Finally, since Natalie will hurt me if I don’t, here are the official interview rules. My interpretation of them may have varied a little, but hopefully nothing here will startle you.


1 – Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.

2 – I will respond; I’ll ask you five questions.

3 – You’ll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.

4 – You’ll include this explanation.

5 – You’ll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

And that’s it! Leave me a message to join the fun, or just to tell me what an odd and unruly beast I am. Whatever — you’re not gonna ruin my mood, buster. It’s Interview Day!

Permalink  |  21 Comments

21 Responses to “Yes, Natalie, That’s My Final Answer!”

  1. erika says:

    Ooooh… mememememe.

  2. nv says:

    um, i would like to be interviewed BUT i am a full-time student so i hope you don’t expect the novella length ananswers you’re spittin, shnizzle dog.

  3. HR Lady says:

    About #3: I already thought you’re more fun than a barrell of monkeys; now I know you’re absolutely adorable too. Good thing we’re both already married

  4. HR Lady says:

    About #5: I would normally agree with you on the “Always snow” -’cause it’s easier to pile on extra clothes, blankets, bodies -er, uh I mean hats and mittens; however, there’s the major problem of getting stuck driving behind, beside, and ahead of the morons who will never learn to drive in snow no matter how many years they’ve lived with it. -‘course with the always 100 degrees you have the added burden of always driving behind the 80 somethings who went to retire there and are living a peaceful protest by refusing to drive as fast as that “ungodly speed limit of 45 or greater” by never accelerating over 35 miles per hour.

  5. Jon says:

    Charlie, if you could hit me up with 5 of the wittiest gasp-inducing questions your wonderful head can spit out for me, that would be great.

    I actually read all of that. MAN do I have to pee or WHAT? I’m also a little thirsty I guess, and the chair has somehow melded to my ass…Man! what the hell time is it anyway?!

  6. HR Lady says:

    You could interview me, but I haven’t a blog of my own yet.

  7. zoot says:

    Lovable.. Furry.. Old Grover… DO NOT TURN THIS PAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!! God I loved that story.

  8. Joe says:

    What the hell…give me your best shot Charlie!

  9. Jeff A says:

    I like muffins too!

    I think muffin will now be your nickname, who’s with me?

  10. Natalie says:

    Excellent, excellent job, Charlie. Bravo! Bravo! I learned about you, I laughed at (and with) you, and I .. Well, I can’t think of another “l” word.

    Thank you, Sir. It seems as though you have plenty of questions to dish out, but if you feel the need, you are more than welcome to hand me down some reciprocal questions (although I’m still really scared) as punishment for not having read #72 of your 101 posts. (There’s only so much time in the day, Charlie. Cut me some slack.) (Boy am I proud of that run-on sentence.)

    Thanks again.

  11. Rae says:

    O.K. I … am…. addicted!

    Now that I have parked your ass over at my blog, may as well shove a little more into the space.

    If you had said “Green Eggs and Ham” I would have lost serious respect!

  12. Cometgrrl says:

    Very funny…not sure I can withstand 5 questions from you, but I’m game to try.

  13. Amber says:

    This is a shameless, blatent attempt to swindle comments out of innocent readers. I love it! Quiz me, baby. And make ’em good. Can you believe you’ll actually get me to write actual words when I just figured out how to post photos?! I thought I was off the hook.

  14. Mark (R80o) says:

    For the love of blog, ask me! ask me!

    PS- BIG KOO-DOES on the nomination! What will you do with the new found celebrity? MTV Cribs or a cameo on Survivor maybe?

  15. Marti says:

    I’m in, I’m in!

  16. Erin says:

    Ask me five questions, Charlie; I’m not afraid!

  17. Faith says:

    I’m in if you want to interview me. Not sure how well I’ll handle it, but I’ll give it a shot

  18. Count me in. Are one-word answers ok? If the word is poop?

  19. Jenn says:

    You don’t scare me! (Yes you do.) I can handle whatever you dish out. (No, I can’t.) Shoot me your 5, Charlie. I’ll give it a shot.

  20. susan says:

    can i have 5 questions, please! i don’t know if i’ll ever have time to read all of your stuff and look at all of the links… between your page, andy’s walking stick and quality control, i’ll be online forever.

  21. Flip says:

    Umm… Hi. I’m definitely a newbie (well, ok, about 3 months old) in the blogging game. The interview thing seems like a fun idea, so if you’d like to ask me 5 questions, I’ll do my best to answer. I’m not American, though, so I’d appreciate if the questions aren’t about my views on US internal affairs, new legislation plans or such… thanks… Asking other people questions on demand will not be a problem, though

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