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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!

The Quest for Endless Simpsons and Always-On South Park

Baby, once you’ve had blog, you never go back.

My life is incomplete. Hollow, wasted. There’s a gaping void in my world, and I can’t fill the hole. Behold my anguish.

I need TiVo.

Wantsss the preciousss TiVo. Wantsss it. Mussst have preciousss TiVo. Givesss it to me!

(Okay, enough of that. You get the picture. I feel all dirty when I talk like that. Like Ivana Trump or something.)

So, anyway, I’m angling for TiVo. Now, don’t get me wrong. With most things, if I want it, I just go out and buy it. I’m a big boy, after all. If I want a chicken sandwich, I go buy a chicken sandwich. (Mmmm… chicken. With lettuce and mayo and onions and jalapeno peppers… Nnggghhh…) Okay, remind me not to blog right before lunch in future, would ya, folks? Now I’ve gone and drooled all over my keyboard. Hmmm. And my leg, it seems. Eep.

But back to my story. If I want food, I buy food. If I want a video game, I buy a video game. If I want the new Jewel CD, well — okay, I probably kill myself at that point. But theoretically — this is very important — theoretically, I could go out and buy it. And then kill myself. But still, I could. But I won’t. But I could.

Such is not the way with TiVo, I’m afraid. For one thing, it’s a ‘big ticket’ item. I’m not likely to be able to slip it in without causing a blip on the budget radar screen.

(The ‘radar screen’ being my wife’s Mac’s monitor when she’s going over expenses for the month. And believe me, she catches everything. Which is good, because I generally catch nothing. So it’s a nice balance, and the repo man almost never comes around any more, since my wife’s taken over the operation. In the meantime, I make up for my fiscal deficiencies in other ways. We have exactly the opposite responsibilities when it comes to watching baseball, for instance. It’s my job to watch every single pitch and explain the minutiae of the game in as much detail as I possibly can, while she pretends to not listen and read a magazine. So I think it’s pretty even, if you look at it that way.)

Now, I could risk just taking money out of the bank and buying the thing, thereby keeping the charge off of our credit cards, but even that would arouse suspicion, I’m afraid. Why, you ask? Oh, I’d be delighted to tell you! Thanks so much for asking! First of all, the really nice Sony DirecTV TiVo console runs about four bills.

(Look, if I’m going to scheme and plan and wait around to get the damned thing, I’m aiming high, all right?)

Maybe a tad less on eBay, but still — more money than I could justify taking out for ‘play money’. I mean, that’s a frickin’ boatload of chicken sammiches, you know what I’m sayin’? So I’d need a good story, which I sadly don’t have.

And even if I did, there’s still the fact that I haven’t actually gotten money out of an ATM in roughly four years. So the mere withdrawal would set off alarm bells, whether I took out four dollars or four hundred.

(Okay, so maybe I should explain why I don’t take money out. It’s just because I don’t have to. And no, all you smart-asses out there, it’s not because my wife gives me an allowance, either! Don’t be a dickhead! No, the truth is far different, and I resent your implication. Good day, sir!

I’m sorry the rest of you had to see that. Now, for those of you who are truly interested in how I get my spending cash, I’ll tell you. It’s quite simple, really. Every night, I leave my wallet, and my keys, and my trusty slingshot, on my dresser. Most mornings when I wake up, all my stuff is there, untouched. But every so often — once a week or so — something magical happens. On those mornings, when I get to the dresser, there are twenty-dollar bills scattered on top of my wallet. Not piles of them, mind you. A couple, or three. If I’ve been really good that week, maybe even four or five! But it’s not an allowance, of course, as those cretins tried to suggest earlier. It’s nothing so preposterous or demeaning as all of that. No, there’s only one plausible explanation for the phenomenon, and it’s this:

Sometime deep in the night, while all good folks are sleeping, the Andrew Jackson Fairy visits each house in turn, searching for good little boys and girls. When she finds a worthy soul — one full of light and love, but woefully low on dough — the good Fairy waves her wand and sprinkles her magic pixie bills over a wallet or pocketbook, and voila, the lucky person will wake up to a beautiful surprise of legal tender, lovingly submitted for their spending amusement. It’s like Christmas once a week, without all of the trees and wrapping paper and religious crap to get in the way of what’s really important — getting cold, hard cash whether you deserve it or not.

So that’s how I get my money, because I’m a good little boy, and I mow the yard occasionally and generally stay out of trouble. But how do you get your cash? ‘Cause if it’s not from a Fairy, then you’re missing the boat. Sounds like somebody needs to do a little rethinking about how they’re living their life, no?)

All right, what the hell was I saying, anyway? Oh, right, TiVo. Of course.

So, putting TiVo on a credit card is out, and withdrawing money from our account would get me busted, too. And to top it off, when I first brought up TiVo, my wife replied with:

We don’t need TiVo.’

Folks, I have to tell you — the first time she said that, I fell to my knees, breathless. Like I’d been shot, or gotten a really bad wedgie. An elastic-over-the-top-of-the-head wedgie, you know the kind. I didn’t know how to respond. I mean, first of all, she’s wrong. So wrong. Of course we need TiVo. We’ve always needed TiVo, even before it existed. How could anyone not need Tivo? What kind of statement is that, anyway? ‘We don’t NEED TiVo‘ Pish tosh. I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous.

But of course, I couldn’t say that to her. As soon as I try to convince her that we need TiVo, she’ll start cheating and using logic, and tell me how we need to buy food, and we need to pay the mortgage, and we need to make the car payments, and I need to paint the porch… hey, wait a minute. What was that last one? (She sometimes tries to slip one of those in on me.) Anyway, once she gets going, she’ll find some way to make TiVo seem less important than food, and water, and shelter, and not going into debt and hocking our wedding rings. I don’t know how the hell she does it, but somehow she makes it sound plausible. At the time, anyway.

So, I have to admit, I was stumped for quite a while. I couldn’t charge TiVo, I couldn’t buy TiVo, and my wife doesn’t want Tivo, so she’s not going to help, either.

(I even paraded my friends and coworkers who have TiVo around, to regale her with glowing testimonials and tales of the life-changing power that is TiVo. She scoffed. And harrumphed. And — more recently — pointed out that I have no job. Man, she’s good! I had to find another way…)

I ran through scenarios. I could earn extra cash by donating blood, or plasma, or sperm… hmmm, giving sperm, eh? Hell, most people do that for free! But I dismissed those ideas. I checked out the first two, and they both involved needles, which I wasn’t interested in. At that point, I could only assume that donating sperm also works the same way, so I didn’t even look into it. Or sleep well for a couple of nights, either, still thinking about it. *shudder*

I considered other alternatives. I could borrow money from my parents, or her parents, or that guy at work who I have incriminating pictures of. But I thought it through, and that wouldn’t fly, either. Even if I could come up with the money somehow, I still had to bring the thing into the house and hook it up. I mean, I couldn’t just hide it under the couch, and pull it out after she went to bed… or could I? No. She’d eventually find it, and then I’d have to tell her the whole story, and then I’d be sleeping in the dog house. I could show her those incriminating pictures of the guy at work, I suppose, and we’d have a good chuckle over that, but I’d still be in the dog house. Which we don’t have. So I’d have to build one, paint it, and then sleep in it. With the dog. And the dog farts, so I’m not doing that. There had to be another way.

Finally, it hit me! There was one loophole, just big enough to squeeze through. I could have my TiVo, and even tell my wife beforehand that I was getting it, to avoid any nasty discoveries down the road.

(Well, any more nasty discoveries, anyway. I think I could have avoided the last fiasco if we had a better mailman. Seriously, just because it’s called a ‘mail order bride‘ does not mean that you have to lodge her in the mail slot for my non-mail order wife to find. Dude, get a frickin’ clue, would ya? Next time, I’m usin’ FedEx.)

Anyway, here’s the plan. All I have to do is buy my TiVo without spending real money. No, no — I’m not talking about counterfeiting cash, people. I’m talking about using money that’s not real, not useful. Stuff that we’d never end up spending, but that can be converted into real, live money. Take dollar bills, for instance. What do you use singles for, apart from the occasional vending machine and the strip club outside of town? Nothing. They’re useless. Maybe you keep a couple to give to the homeless guy doing softshoe at the bus stop, or the Salvation Army Santa. But do you ever really use one dollar bills? No. They’re for charity, strippers, and for bribing little kids to go get you a beer. All good causes, certainly, though I maybe wouldn’t prioritize them in the order they’re listed. But there are alternatives to each, now, aren’t there? You can buy the homeless guy a sandwich instead, or pay your charities with checks. You can get your own damned beer, you lazy prick, and dude — if you can’t find naked horny chicks on the internet for free, well, then you’ve got no business looking in the first place.

So now I’m on a quest.

(For TiVo, dude, not naked horny chicks. Focus.)

Now when I get one of those useless one dollar bills, I don’t just drop it, or light it on fire, or crease it down the middle and stuff it into the first pair of low-rider jeans or halter top that bounces past. No. Now when I get a dollar bill, it goes straight into the Fund. The Gettin’ Me a Goddamn TiVo Fund. And I told my wife. I told her not to change how much money she gives me um, the Andrew Jackson Fairy is scheduled to leave me, or how much we sock away for retirement, or anything. I’m saving on the side, and if that means going without the occasional soda or bag of chips, or G-stringed bimbo, then that’s just the sacrifice I’ll have to make.

(To be honest, I really can’t remember the last time I went to a strip club. I’ve never been to one in Boston, and we’ve been here for four years, if that tells you anything. Of course, since I’ve started my Fund, all my friends tease me about the ‘booby bar’, and want to know where I go, and if they can come next time. It just doesn’t make any damned sense, though. Look, if I were going to strip clubs, you can be pretty damned sure that the last thing I’d have lying around is dozens and dozens of dollar bills. If I were going to bother to go, I’d at least put the things to good use, now, wouldn’t I? Sure, I idly crease a few of the ones in the fund — you know, just in case — but at the moment, I’m more interested in TiVo than titty. Have I mentioned just how old I am, by the way?!?)

Anyway, I think I’ve got all my bases covered. It’s slow going, but I’m making good progress. I’ve been saving for a while now, and I’m nearly half-way to my goal. (Sony, you frickin’ bastards, do not raise the price on your TiVo box before I hit four hundred. So help me God, I will take a cheese grater to all of your asses if you jack me up on this one. You got that?) And being out of work hasn’t really slowed things down too much. Oh, the Fairy’s been a little stingier, since I’m eating at home most days now, but then again, I don’t need a lot of cash, so it’s okay. I still order the occasional pizza, or need a tank of gas (no, not the kind you get from pizza, thank you very little), or go out for a weekend beer. So the singles are trickling in, slowly but surely. There are four more downstairs right now that I got as change for Chinese takeout last night. Cha-ching!

So wish me luck, folks. I have a dream. And I’m going to make it, sooner or later. By the time I reach my goal, TiVo will probably jack right into your brain stem and massage your feet while you watch. I’ll be a hundred and thirty years old, and won’t be able to figure out how to program the friggin’ thing, or even set the damned fool clock. By that point, there’ll be seven thousand channels, and not one that I want to watch anymore. I’ll be my grandfather, sleeping through movies and complaining about ‘all the crap they show on this confounded thing‘. But no matter. I’ll have my TiVo, whether I need it or not. And that’s what it’s all about.

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