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Charlie Hatton
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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!
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Gee, Do We Really Need Yet Another Sucky Thing in the House?

All the crap that’s fit to blog.

Well, hello there. Good to see you. Please, take a seat up front; I won’t bite. You won’t even have to wear a rain jacket. Really, don’t worry. We’re all friends here. Relax.

Now, for those of you who tuned in yesterday, you’ll know where we left off. For those who didn’t, I’ll give you two options:

A. You can go read yesterday’s post, explaining how we came to be expecting a visit from a vacuum cleaner salesman, or

2. Um, you can pretty much just read the sentence above, since it tells you just about everything you need to know.

There you have it, friends — a long, rambly, windy blog entry, or a single simple sentence. Your choice. So don’t you go telling people that I don’t give you options, dammit. I know how you like to talk behind my back.

So, anyway, we were scheduled for an afternoon visit over the weekend. And at the appointed time, give or take an hour or two, our friendly vacuum representative huffed and puffed his way to our door, having just carried his eighty pounds of cleaning crap up our rather significant stairs. Poor dearie. So, we let him in, got him a glass of water, and got started.

Now, I don’t know whether you’ve ever had the privilege of being called upon by one of these nice young chaps. But I can tell you, it’s a bit of an experience. There are pithy remarks, and product demonstrations, and inane rhetorical questions. Not to mention winning smiles, triumphant grins, and sweeping voila-style hand-waving. Really, folks — it’s a boom mike and a drooling crowd of idiots away from having an infomercial in your own home.

(And honestly, in our household, the dog drools and I’m an idiot, so it wasn’t even that far away. Only my wife has any damned sense around here, and I think we’re slowly dragging her IQ down to our level. It won’t be long before she’s scooting around the carpet on her ass and trying to lick her own privates. And who knows? One day, she might even start taking after the dog, too! The dog. Dog. Yes, thank you. I’ll be here all week.)

So, on to the actual festivities. Our ‘sanitation contraption technician’, as he liked to be called, started by unpacking a dizzying array of hoses, attachments, trays, and brushes. I could identify a few of them, based on my rather limited experience, but others looked more like devices from the annals of Nazi torture rather than Good Housekeeping.

Ve use zis one to suction ze testicles, und zis one to viggle around in ze eye sockets. If zey do not talk by zen, ve vill jam zis tube up in ze pooper chuter, und blow ze cotton balls soaked in gasoline through it. No one can vithstand ze ‘Great Balls of Fire Up Ze Ass’ treatment!

Anyway, like any good salesman, he started with the sex toy. And I respect that; all the pros do it. You’re selling houses? Show the jacuzzi first. Cell phones? You lead with those leather sheathy things that are ostensibly to ‘wrap around the phone’. Yeah, right. Maybe you work at a supermarket? Then you put the zucchini right by the door, and the cucumbers right next to ’em. Easy in, easy out. If you’re really ballsy, you’ll display the honey and whipped cream in the same case, but most grocers don’t want to beat you over the head with it. There should be just a bit of subtlety to sex, after all. Nobody likes it when you go at it all chimp-style, like you’re playing ‘Finish That Screw‘:

Chimp 1: I can finish that screw in four strokes!

Chimp 2: Oh, yeah? I can finish that screw in three strokes!

Chimp 1: Your mother flings poop, bitch! I can finish that screw in two strokes!

Chimp 2: All right, fool. You think you a chimp pimp or something? Finish that screw!

Chimp 1: Um, er, too late. I guess I should have said one stroke. Ick. Uh, could I get a towel over here, please?

Okay, I think I lost track just a bit. Chimps and sex and cucumbers all in the same paragraph will do that sometimes. Let’s see — I think the salesman was just starting his routine. Let’s join our blog entry, already in progress:

So, the sex toy. This particular vacuum cleaner model has both a high-speed intake (the ‘sucky end’) and a powerful outflow (the ‘blowy end’).

(And wouldn’t it be useful if people were labelled the same way? I mean, when you first meet someone, it’s hard to tell which end is going to suck, and which end is going to blow. Of course, if you’re like a lot of people I know, both your ends are capable of each, and rarely stop doing one or the other.)

Anyway, he put some guard on the sucky end, and then a hose over the blow hole thingy. And onto the hose, he strapped — yes, I said strapped, ladies — an attachment with a soft flat red surface. He turned the engine on and made us feel it while it vibrated. With our hands — our hands, you sick bastards! Anyway, he tried to explain it away as a combination ‘sander’ and ‘buffer’ and ‘massager’. Pfffftt, I say. We know what massager means, don’t we, folks? That thing’s designed for ‘tickling the pink’, and nothing else. Don’t try to tell me I can sand the floors with it, and don’t dare suggest that I rub my neck with it! Ew! Not after it’s been plunged down the mine shaft. Who wants to get that on the hardwood? (Um, floors. Hardwood floors. Funny how the answer to that question depends on that last little word, eh?)

So, we giggled appreciatively and he put his big red vibrating thing away.

(Really, it was like a slumber party at Peter North’s place. Creepy.)

But then he got down to the business of showing us what the cleaner was really capable of, when it wasn’t busy making sweet, sweet machine-assisted love in its free time. First, he regaled us with the blowy sorts of attachments. He replaced the big red sin against nature with a small nozzle, and tried to convince us that we could blow leaves, or even snow, with the thing. Right. Like I, as a marginally self-respecting male in this day and age, am going to go out into my yard — in public, mind you — and perform manly yard work with a vacuum cleaner. Uh-uh. That is a one-way express trip to get-a-wedgie-from-every-neighbor-on-the-block-ville, folks. And I’m not going there. I’ve got few enough unstretched undies as it is.

There was also this needle-nosed thing that he stuck on the hose and said could be used for those ‘hard-to-reach’ places. And he said it with a very sly, knowing look, which made me think that maybe this was another sort of sex toy. But I couldn’t imagine exactly how several dozen foot-pounds of air blown at, or in, or up a person could be a turn-on, so I let my mind slowly drift back to whatever the hell he was actually saying. Something about computer keyboards and couch crevasses; I didn’t really catch it. Though it did strike me that if the other attachment was capable of blowing snow off of my driveway, then this little concentrated shooter would hardly blast the crumbs and gunk from between my keyboard keys. With that kind of power, it’d heave the goddamned thing across my desk and embed it in my wall. But I didn’t interrupt. Far be it from me to be rude.

Anyway, that was about it for the blowing. Next up was the sucking.

(So now it’s sounding more like a dinner party at Asia Carrera’s pad. That’s more like it! Rrrrrrrow!)

Anyway, for this bit, he strapped a little doohickey onto the outflow pipe that allowed him to put little paper filters where the collection bag would normally go. That way, we could see all the crap and dirt and bugs and goop that his machine was pulling out of our rugs. Fantabulous! What a selling angle!

Look, you pigs, at your nasty filth! Oink, oink, piggies! Look — filth in the carpet! Filth on the floors! Buy this vacuum, or all of this filth that you’ve never seen, or touched, or known or cared about, will remain just where it was, undisturbed until the end of eternity! You don’t want that, do you? Well, piggy, do you? Do you?

So, that’s where the horrific shame began. Now, I’d just vacuumed the carpets a day or two before. And my wife had dusted, and wiped off the couches and tidied them up. So, of course, when the guy jammed his carpet attachment on the machine and fired it up, she gave me dirty, withering looks as the filter was filled with hair and dirt and sand, and what looked queasily like small animal bones. And the same with the next filter, and the next, and the next. I could only shrug, and say that I thought I’d vacuumed up all the fur and dead animals, so how the hell was I supposed to care? Er, know. How was I to know? I got it right at the time, luckily.

But, ah, how the tables turned when our sanitation magician slapped on the upholstery attachment and went to work on the couch. ‘Oh, suuuuuure you cleaned ’em, hon. No, no, I believe you, really. It’s just that I thought you buried the cat in the yard, not between the cushions.‘ Okay, I didn’t say that. Not because I’m nice, mind you, but because we’ve never owned a cat. But there was a cat’s worth of hair on the filters, mixed in with all the goop and filth and muck. I swear to God, until that day, I thought our couches were green. Turns out, we’re just unwavering slobs. Now we’ve got to paint the walls in that room, since the real color of the couches clashes with the decor. Damned lousy vacuum cleaner!

But that wasn’t the end of it, folks. Not by a long shot, no matter how fervently you pray for this post to be over. No no. Next, he asked to see our mattress. And I said that was fine, but if he brought that damned ‘sander’ with him, we were going to have words. But he didn’t. No, instead, he cranked the rug sweeper dealie back on, and strapped a handle on the engine, and joined us in the guest room.

(Sure, we could have shown him our room, but he was a guest, so that’s where we took him. Plus, we knew this would end up being gross, and if there’s one thing I like to avoid in life, it’s being in my own bedroom with my wife and hearing her say, ‘Ewwwww!‘ Not to mention that I try to keep other men out of the room while we’re in there together. Sometimes I have to beat ’em off with a stick, but that’s my policy, and I wasn’t about to break it for Joe Door-To-Door.)

(Actually, if you’ll indulge an aside to an aside for a moment, his name wasn’t actually ‘Joe’, though he might have wished it were. He signed his name as ‘Mike Angelov’, which to me is just a sad, sad commentary on the state of parenting today. Or twenty years ago, when he was born. Whatever — you know what I mean.

And if you don’t get why that’s so tragic, think for a second. His first name likely isn’t ‘Mike’, now, is it? It’s almost assuredly ‘Michael’. Michael Angelov. MichaelAngelov. Or Michelangelo, plus a ‘v’. Sure, it’s not the most annoying, heinous trick you could play on your kid, but it was so easily avoided. Name the kid Joe, or Steve, or Frank, and it’s done. No muss, no fuss. Name him Michael — or even Mike, for smart-asses like me — and you’re inviting trouble. Most of which will be visited on your kid in the form of swirlies and getting the crap kicked out of him for no apparent reason. Way to go, Pop.

Look, if they wanted him tortured and ridiculed, they could at least have been more obvious about it. Name him ‘Los’. Ooh, or ‘Darkness’. Actually, that would be cool. So when he’s sitting at the DMV, and they call for him, last name first, he’d be ‘Angelov, Darkness‘. Sweeeet! Mike, are you getting this? Your parents fucked up, but there’s still time for you, dude! Get out there and procreate, fer Chrissakes! Time’s a-wastin’!)

Okay, let’s see, where the hell was I? Oh, right, in the guest room.

So, the dude — aw, hell, let’s just call him ‘Dark’ from now on, shall we? — sets up shop on our mattress, and starts sucking on it near the foot of the bed. Um, I should probably also mention that he was using his machine to do so, lest you whip up some sort of disturbing mental image about what went down that day. Be good. Now, for this trick, he used a black filter, rather than the white ones he’d employed to that point. And why, you might ask? Or maybe you’ve already begun to suspect, as I had by then. The reason is that dirt and filth and hair show up quite well against a white background, but crusty dead skin flakes really only stand out with a dark backdrop. Like a black filter. And believe me, skin really shows up well on black. Trust me on this one. It was one of the grossest things I witnessed all day.

(Okay, not the grossest, quite. I did catch a few minutes of that new Roseanne show. Gag me with a putty knife, that shit was rank! And the bitch doesn’t get any prettier, now, does she? You’d think she’d have nowhere to go but up, but goddamn, you’d be wrong. And nauseous, too. Gives me the crawly willies just thinkin’ about it. Wuuuh-ooooh-uuuuuh!)

Anyway, after grossing the hell out of us, Mike — um, Dark, that is — had just one more piece of business. He had to show us that our vacuum cleaner was crap.

(Not a hard sell in our case, since our vacuum cleaner was older than we were. I think it was a family heirloom, passed down from my caveman ancestors. I’m pretty sure it was the first model made right after they phased out the prehistoric elephant kind that they had on the Flintstones.)

So, he set out to make his point. First, he vacuumed a small area of our rug with our vacuum. Over and over and over, like some deranged compulsive freakjob. ‘Out, out, damned spot! Out!‘ Okay, he didn’t say that. I did, but only in my head. My borderline insanity is not on trial here, dammit! What is on trial, or rather, was on trial that day, was his vacuum cleaner. So, after wearing a hole in the carpet with our model, he set to work with his, and — like a true magician — pulled a rabbit out of his hat! Well, okay, not so much a rabbit as a dust bunny. And not so much a dust bunny as a whole frickin’ herd of them. And they didn’t come from his hat, of course; they got sucked from the still-smoking patch of rug he’d just abused with our machine. Boy, you should have seen the proud look on his face. ‘Look, piggy, more filth! Who’s a dirty piggy then, huh? Who’s a dirty little piggy?‘ Bastard.

But he didn’t stop there. Oh, no. Next, he set out to prove that his uber-vac could handle all the spills and thrills of modern life, and pick up new dirt as well as old. So, he littered our rug with new dirt. You know, to make a point. Now, folks, I’m a fairly open-minded fellow. I’m all for amazing demos and dramatic demonstrations. So I really didn’t mind when he poured salt all over our rug, or mushed grape jelly into it, or even flipped our dog over and ground the hair off her back into the fibers. All of that was cool — I could see where he was going with it. Plus, it made the dog smell like salty grapes, which was a marked improvement. But did he really have to drop trou and pee all over the pile? Really, I ask you, was that necessary? Was it critical for the demonstration? Or was the glass of water we gave him just too big? I don’t know, frankly, but I was a little taken aback. Not to mention disappointed. Somehow I’d always expected the Angel of Darkness to be, you know, bigger.

So, anyway, that was pretty much the end of it. He used our machine to roll all the shit around for a while, and then swooped in like SuperMaid and slurped up the sluice with his own vacuum. Not only did it not stain, but the carpet was even cleaner than before, and nicely scented with lavender.

(And asparagus, disturbingly enough. Made me wonder what he had for lunch that day.)

And so, my wife and I were stuck between a rock and a giant, invisiible mound of our own filth. So we did what we always do in that situation, and gave the guy lots of money for the vacuum, and to make him stop calling us ‘piggies’. In hindsight, it was probably the right thing to do. We needed a new vac, and nothing, but nothing, was going to suck as hard as this wonder machine we’d just been shown.

(Okay, except for that Roseanne show. Sorry, I just can’t get over it. Of all the people whose behind-the-scenes shenanigans I’m not interested in seeing, she’s right near the top of the list. With Weird Al Yankovic and Bob Dole in the running for top spot, too. I mean, did they really think that just because she’s an overweight ex-trailer ho that it was going to work out like The Anna Nicole Show? Seriously, I have trouble watching that one, too, but at least she was in Playboy a while back. I think if you’re going to be completely self-absorbed, barely literate, and stereotypically bass-ackwards, then the least you could do is have some naked pictures of yourself from when you were hot lying around. You know, to keep folks interested. But god forbid that Roseanne gets wind of that idea — seeing her skinny-romp on a nude beach would be like watching the Michelin Man run wind sprints. Or Homer Simpson on a treadmill — remember that one? ‘The jiggling… it’s almost… mesmerizing…‘ Eek.)

So, that’s pretty much it. We shelled out a big wad of cash for a big ugly noisy thing that sucks, blows, and will even vibrate your ass if you ask it nicely.

(Which is a lot like hiring Sandra Bernhard to do a movie, from what I understand. Hey, come to think of it, that’s another crappy bitchy monster that came out of the original Roseanne show. Was that studio built over a Hell Mouth or what?)

Anyway, our house will be cleaner, if nothing else. My wife’s already given all the floors a good once-over, though we haven’t tried the blower, or the shampooer, or even sucking our mattress yet. I’m a little frightened of that last one, truth be told. I’m worried that all the skin we’ve accumulated in there is the only thing holding it together and firming it up. What if we Hoover it out, and go from ‘skinny’ to ‘saggy’ in the blink of an eye? Oh, the horror!

(I think I’ll wrap it up there, before I make another Anna Nicole joke out of ‘skinny to saggy in the blink of an eye’. Really, sometimes it’s just too easy, and I think you nice folks have had enough for one day. Just think of it as one for the road. G’night!)

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “Gee, Do We Really Need Yet Another Sucky Thing in the House?”

  1. SueP. says:

    Oh man – this IS all the crap that’s fit to blog.

    The lead story in the New York Times today clocks in at 439 words. Even adding the two companion pieces, the total count is a mere 2,792. Charlie, you made the bell ring with 3,394. You sure know how to make a big impression.

    In an odd coincidence, the NYT smells like asparagus today.

  2. I have nothing if not integrity. Correction: the word count for the lead article is 636, but the total NYT count remains the same.

    Now I’m late for work.

  3. Charlie says:

    Yes, but if not for asides and parentheses, it would have been… let’s see… carry the four, six plus eight is… forty-seven words!

    Okay, so I didn’t really add it up. Apparently, I’m all out of integrity. Maybe I have nothing if not verbosity. Ick.

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