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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’m Tapin’ Matlock, and Murder, She Wrote, and.. and… What Was I Saying?

A blog a day keeps the dickheads away

So, have I mentioned how freakin’ cool my wife is? After months of rebuffing and pooh-poohing my TiVo fantasy, she actually went and offered to buy me a TiVo receiver. Yay, honey! Yay, me! Yay, TiVo! My wonderful, darling wife also surprised me with a cool book all about Fenway Park and the history of our belov’d Red Sox.

In related news, my parents bought me a dozen assorted exotic half-litre beers, some tasty salsa, and a gift pack of hot sauces. Which is nearly as cool as the TiVo. Not quite, but nearly, and certainly much appreciated.

So, if you haven’t figured out by now what black arts voodoo I had to perform to receive such lavish goodies, it was thirty-three years ago today that I finally ended many hours of labor and sploop!-ed into the world, with a wry grin and one raised eyebrow.

(Which was surgically lowered a few days later, but keeps creeping back up nonetheless. I can’t help it — people are just so damned consternating!)

So far, it’s been quite the cool birthday. The soon-to-actually-be-purchased TiVo is the highlight as far as gifts go, if only because I’ve been bitching about wanting one for so long. (Well, okay, not just that. It’s also going to rock serious ass, which is a Good Thing™. A Very Good Thing™, indeed. My wife’s still not so convinced, but she’s a sweetie, and willing to go along for the ride on this one. And once she sees that we can watch the Simpsons or South Park anytime we want — well, okay, I don’t know what she’ll think of that, actually. I’ll keep you posted.

But anyway — good times, good times. I don’t know how you are with birthdays, but it’s been a while since I stressed over one. Actually, I really ony wigged out over one birthday. That was my twenty-eighth, and it’s the only one I had even the itty-bittiest smidgen of trouble with. I thought that twenty-eight made me ‘old’, because I was no longer in my ‘mid-twenties’. And I was right, of course — five years later, and I’m ancient. I’m surprised I’m not losing teeth yet, or having hair come out in clumps.

(Especially seeing as how I’m also the proud mortgage-owner of a house older than my grandparents. If anything — short of little grimy munchkins running around the house yelling at each other — will cause clumpy hair-falling-outy-ness, it’s a gargantuan mortgage on a house built when the US was just forty-five states and a bunch of cowboy yahoos. You know, as opposed to the fifty states and drunken yahoos we have now. Oh, how times have changed!)

But as it happens, I didn’t actually become old on my twenty-eighth birthday, as I’d always thought. The way I always looked at it, I was ‘too young’ until I was twenty-one, and then ‘still young’ until I hit twenty-five. From there through twenty-seven, I was still in my ‘mid-twenties’, so I was ‘young enough’, and then ‘old and washed up’ as soon as twenty-eight rolled around. This is how it is for most people, of course, and how I thought it would work for me, as well. But I was mistaken, sadly. I was cheated out of some of the best times of my life. For you see, I actually got ‘old’ almost seven full months before my twenty-eighth birthday, due to a coincidence of my birthdate, American legal conventions, and the policies of certain popular periodical publications. I didn’t discover it until a couple of months later, but I officially outlived my usefulness on January 1, 1998. And now I’ll tell you why.

(Hey, it’s my birthday. I can talk about whatever the hell I want.)

I was born on this date in 1970.

(Of course, since I was born less than nine months into the year, I like to tell people that ‘I was born in ’70, but I was conceived in ’69!’ Yes, my parents are soooooo proud.)

Anyway, I slid into the world as we all do — naked and slimy and royally pissed off — and proceeded to rack up birthdays. I looked forward to sixteen, then eighteen, and then twenty-one. The next few years were good ones, with fun and frolicky birthdays, and all was well, until twenty-eight loomed next on my radar. I wasn’t ready to abandon my mid-twenties — who is? — and was just starting to work up a good lather in fretting about the upcoming loss when it happened. As I pined about the impending loss of my youth, I found that it had already hit the road. I was already an old man — a dirty old man, mind you, but an old man, nonetheless.

It was spring of ’98, early April or so, and I was chilling in my friend’s apartment. My bachelor friend’s apartment. Not that he was making me feel older, mind you, just because I’d been married for a couple of years already, and he was living the ‘high life’. Apparently the ‘high life’ consisted of doing a lot of your own laundry, eating macaroni and cheese or Taco Bell for every meal, and walking around the apartment in funky underwear. So, okay, I suppose I did miss it, just a little. Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that my bachelor friend also had a subscription to Playboy, and I was thumbing through the latest issue. Um, looking for a nice chicken cacciatore recipe, or something. I’m certain it was something like that.

So, anyway, I must have sneezed or convulsed or something, because somehow — some-how — the centerfold ended up unfolding. Accidents will happen, you know. So, I took a quick glance at the young lady now lounging in front of me — I didn’t want to be rude, of course — and then checked out her personal stats, turnons, turnoffs, etc. Suddenly, I flung the mag to the floor and recoiled in horror. I couldn’t speak; all I could do was point a shaking, incredulous finger at the hot naked chick now crumpled on the floor.

Friend: Hey, what the fuck? What’s the matter with you?

Me: She… she’s…

Friend: Oh, yeah. I noticed that, too.

Me: You saw? Aren’t you horrified?

Friend: What? So her tits are lopsided? She can have that fixed.

(Ten minutes pass as I check this out, and we argue whether it’s a trick of the lighting or actual lopsidery. We eventually decide that she truly is a freak of nature, and must list badly to the left when she walks. I almost forget that this is not the object of my original horror.)

Me: Okay, you win. She’s the Elephant Man, only with a nicer ass. But that’s not the point. Did you check out her stats?

Friend: Hmm? Oh, yeah — she’s turned on by the Village People. That is freaky.

(Five more minutes pass as I verify this in the mag, get re-mesmerized by her unbalanced breasts, and wonder aloud whether she pads just one side of her bra, so she can sit upright. Again I remember that this was not the point.)

Me: Dude, that’s not the point. Check out her birthdate.

Friend: Birthdate? Why the hell would that matter? She’s at least eighteen.

Me: Right. She’s exactly eighteen. Born in January, 1980. Dude, she was born in a whole frickin’ different decade than us, and she’s showin’ off her sugar in a nudie mag. Don’t you get it?

Friend (horrified himself): Dude. We’re old. So fuckin’ old.

Me: Yeah. That’s the point, man. It’s over.

We didn’t say much for a while, as our ancient-ness soaked in fully. It was worse for him, I’m guessing. He had two sisters, one a year younger, and the other about seven years his junior. I’ve known this guy for most of my life — since second grade or so — and I couldn’t even begin to contemplate his little sister as an actual woman, with real body parts and turnons and needs. And she was still born in the seventies, same as us. And yet here was some hot-until-that-moment young thing staring back at us that was even younger, and a child of the eighties, to boot. That’s the day I knew I was old, folks, and I realized that I’d been old since the beginning of the year, ever since the very first flirty, bouncy young teenie became eligible to grace the pages of one of the smut rags wrapped in paper on the top shelf of the magazine rack. I haven’t been the same since, and frankly, I don’t think I’ve perused a Playboy since, either.

My buddy stayed in his room for a week, staring at the ceiling and trying to get his little sister’s face off of the naked chick’s head in his dreams. He finally recovered, but he let his subscription lapse, and started reading Lacy Granny instead. He still had nightmares, of course, but they didn’t involve anyone from his family, so he was happier, by all accounts. Creepy, and a little repulsive, but happier.

Anyway, on the bright side, birthdays haven’t really bothered me since. Thirty came and went, and was just a big party. No muss, no fuss, no nail-biting worry over ‘getting old’. I was already old, and will be forever. I guess it’s different for different people. Maybe if I hadn’t been born at the very beginning of one decade, then the transition to the next wouldn’t have seemed like a big deal. Who knows? I think we all have a day when we suddenly turn old — some people know it at the time, and others never realize. I only saw my aged-ness in the rearview mirror, but I’m glad I got it out of the way when I did. Now I can live the rest of my life, and not worry about when I’m going to lose it, or slow down, or start to go to pot. It’s alredy lost, I’m like a frickin’ turtle, and I’ve been potted, planted, and already wilted by now. So there’s nothing left to fear.

So, that’s my birthday story. Probably a little more rambly than usual, but it’s a big day, and I’m not getting any younger, you know. It’s a wonder this shit makes any sense to begin with. Plus, I’m all excited because I’m gonna finally get my TiVo. So cut me some slack, just this one day.

Ooh, plus I have a softball game to go play soon, which is always fun and always followed by much eating and drinking and general merrymaking with the team. Most of whom are also old, though few of them seem to be ready to admit it. Which is okay — they’re allowed to hang onto their delusions, I suppose. I could clue them in, but what good would that do? Better to sit and struggle to hear what they’re saying, and eat my applesauce and strained peas, and then hobble with my walker back home. No need to drag them down with me. They’ll learn soon enough, as we all do. Hey, at least I was lookin’ at a naked chick when I discovered I was old. Who could ask for more than that?

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “I’m Tapin’ Matlock, and Murder, She Wrote, and.. and… What Was I Saying?”

  1. Bob the Corgi says:

    Birthdays are like opinions, everybody has one …

    No wait. Opinions are like birthdays, every-

    No that’s not it either.

    Never mind. Happy Birthday.

  2. Shelley says:

    Heh. Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fine birthdays, Charlie. Hope this one ranks right up there. Happy day-after-your-birthday! (And happy TIVOing. Yes, I am unashamedly jealous.)

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