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Charlie Hatton
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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!

Maybe It’s the New Ford Flush-O-Matic

(As promised, things are getting hot ‘n’ heavy over at the nearly-newly-revamped Bugs & Cranks baseball extravaganza. Since last we met, I’ve posted the poser How Many Schmoes Would an Old Lowe Mow… and the quasi-Biblical The Rules of Entradement.

Even now, there’s a new ‘Wednesday Walk Watch’ on deck, and possibly something about the Chipper Jones contract extension. And you know how exciting contract extensions can be. Check out the site, if you have a chance; soon enough, it’ll all be different. And then where will you be?

In the meantime, here’s some non-baseball stuff. Like anyone would want to read that. Sheesh.)

Look. By no means do I want to morph this site into an ‘a funny thing happened to me on the way to the office’ blog. And I realize that my last non-weekend post concerned the walking portion of my commute to work. I like to mix things up as best I can, and there are an awful lot of topics to cover.


Today, on that same walk to work from the car, I noticed something else odd and unsettling that I’ve never seen before. And I have the short-term memory of a retarded garden slug, so if I don’t mention it now, it’s going to be lost forever. I’m sure you don’t want that hanging over your heads — and neither do I. So here goes. Apologies in advance for any repetition in the setup.

” I don’t drag you into my own sordid little farm animal-public official-breaking news story ordeals. Show me the same courtesy, is all I’m asking.”

I was on my way to work today, walking the few blocks from my car to the office.

(Sound familiar? Too bad, junior. We’ll branch out soon enough, just you keep reading and see.)

Now, I’m not an especially nosy person by nature. If you have a secret, for instance, it’s safe with me. Actually, most secrets are safer than safe with me, because if you come to me with a really juicy, hush-hush secret and you obviously want to tell someone, I’ll likely try to discourage you from divulging it by feigning lack of interest.

Except I won’t be feigning. I really don’t want to know. Honestly. It’s probably something disturbing about you, or someone you know — or worse yet, someone you and I know — and I’d frankly prefer not to see the person involved in a whole different light based on some bit of knowledge that I was never supposed to hear in the first place. It’s none of my business, and it makes me all scrunchy inside, and it’s an awful lot of unnecessary pressure to remember who I can tell, and who I can’t tell, and which TV stations get exclusive scoops, and exactly whose farm animals were involved, and how many public officials could lose their offices over this, and so forth. Really, just leave me out of it. I don’t drag you into my own sordid little farm animal-public official-breaking news story ordeals. Show me the same courtesy, is all I’m asking.


That doesn’t mean I’m above gently poking my honker into the private lives of people I don’t know, just for the sake of curiosity. Particularly when that honker-poking is done anonymously, surreptitiously, and with precious little possibility of backlash of any kind. If I could just satisfy the few nosy cells in my person with an act or two of clandestine nosiness, then I could have my cake and spy on it, too. It’s win-win.

So that’s what I do. I’m barely conscious of it sometimes, but I do slake my occasional nosy thirst by ducking briefly into strangers’ private lives when they’re least expecting it. And when they’re unlikely to catch me doing it. And most important, when they’re not even around in the first place.

I’ll admit it. I’m an other-people’s-cars peeker-inner.

I peek. I’m a peeker. I’m not proud of it. But that hasn’t stopped me yet. And so, on the way to work this morning, as I passed the row of parked cars on the street, I craned my neck just a little to the side, set my shifty eyes a-darting, and I peeked into the front window of each car I passed. The seats, the dashboard, the console, the mirror adornments — I saw it all. Each vehicle a snapshot of the person who’d driven it there — some messy, some neat, some dusty, some clean, cluttered or immaculate, kitschy or minimalist, each front seat was a little vignette telling a story of the life or lives that included that car. There was personality there. Individuality. Creativity. Toilet paper.

I stopped in my tracks near the front bumper of the last car. ‘Toilet paper?

Indeed. I scanned the street for any other pedestrians, and finding none, I took two steps backward for another glance inside the car. And there it was, plain as day. Sitting underneath the dashboard, in a little tray probably meant for soda cups or spare change or spare oil filters or something, was a roll of what appeared to be heavy-duty two-ply quilted cotton ass paper. Minus several sheets for god-knows-what, and all of a sudden I was ruing the day those few curious bones had grown in my body. Of all the things to keep close at hand while you’re driving, can toilet paper really be tops on someone’s list?

Don’t get me wrong, now. I realize that a car can be a messy place. You might spill your coffee, or drop a sandwich, or own a precocious and persnickety incontinent mutt who dribbles on your backseat like a Harlem Globetrotter running a keepaway drill. I understand that. It happens.

But I’d argue that toilet paper is not your best defense against long-term stains and odors once these sorts of things happen. You want to keep Wet-Naps in the car, I’ve got no problem with that. A roll or paper towels in the glove box, perhaps? Fine thinking, I say. You have a box of industrial-strength Depends and a bucket of water for rinsing in the back seat? Your child/grandpa/stupid incontinent mutt will thank you one day for your foresight. Well played, indeed.

But toilet paper? What it lacks in jack-of-all-trades absorbency, it’s also missing in strongman-hero toughness. Flimsy, papery and fragile, there’s frankly no application for which toilet paper could possibly be the best option.


As I stood pondering the possibility that someone out there was carrying toilet paper in their car and using it precisely in the way that Nature and god and that squeezy Charmin guy intended, three thoughts dawned upon my stunned mind.

Thought the First: If you’re using toilet paper in a car at, say, seventy miles an hour on the highway, then you must have some serious foot control on the pedals. One wrong swipe and you could go careening off a cliff somewhere. That’d be a tough one to explain to the insurance adjustors.

Thought the Second: If the toilet paper is there for ‘afterward’, what the hell happens to the ‘during’? Either there’s a hole in the middle of this guy’s drivers’ seat, or I do not want to know what’s in his glove compartment.

Thought the Third: I really need to stop nosing around other people’s cars on the way to work.

So, for the rest of my commute I kept my eyes forward, my head up and was never again tempted by the ride of another. Whatever the hell happens in some of those cars out there stays in those cars out there, and that’s just the way i like it.

And if I ever drive past some bunch of wadded-up Charmin on the side of the road, I’m done. I’m taking the frigging bus before I want to think about what’s going on there.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “Maybe It’s the New Ford Flush-O-Matic”

  1. Joe says:

    About the only thing I came up with is the person in the car travels a lot, and is afraid of being stuck at a rest stop paperless.

  2. Shush, just keep doing what you’re doing.

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