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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!

There’s a Rebel Between My Ears

My brain is revolting.

I don’t mean that my brain is disgusting, mind you. I mean that it’s defying me and my attempts to use it.

(On the other hand, it is pretty revolting, too. All gray and squishy and full of words like ‘shit-cicle’ and ‘buttsnuggles’. Repulsive, really.)

Anyway, I can’t really blame my brain for checking out — not this time. It’s been through rather a lot in the last few hours. Here, I’ll show you. C’mon — it won’t hurt. And there won’t be any ‘buttsnuggles’ involved. I promise.

About 10:00pm last night:

I finally broke the bad news to brain that we are, in fact, obligated to travel for Christmas this year. Again.

This always throws brain into a funk — he holds out hope until the last possible moment that a blizzard will hit, or airline workers will go on strike, or someone will hit us over the head really hard, and we’ll get to stay at home and get some damned rest, for once. But it never happens. There’s no eleventh hour pardon, and we always end up doing the ‘dead man walkin‘ routine up a ramp and onto a plane.

(Much to the wife’s chagrin and embarrassment, of course. Hey, it might ruin Christmas for her, but I’m not gonna be the only miserable butthead all week. If I go down, she’s goin’ with me.)

(And yes, by the way, she also gets embarrassed when I walk around saying things like, ‘If I go down, she’s goin’ with me‘ out of context. The torture never ends, folks; it’s circles within circles within circles. Poor girl.)

Anyway, at ten last night, I took the hard line with brain, and finally made him get started on packing for the flight this morning. He sulked a little, and I think he cried, just a bit, but he finally got to work.

And then, he got me back. (Brain was always a vindictive little bitch.) He packed, all right — he packed my oldest, flimsiest boxers, and the socks with the holes and stains, and ratty T-shirts, and those jeans with holes where no holes should rightfully be. I had to go behind him and put all that crap away, and repack with more reasonable attire. And he sabotaged that, too! He managed to convince me that several pairs of my wife’s panties were really mine, and that her thongs would probably fit me, if I just used enough Vaseline. So now I’ve got all her underwear in my suitcase, instead of mine.

That’s the trouble with fighting with your own brain — he can tell you anything, and you have to believe it; he’s in charge of that, too, you know. I think I managed to get a pair or two of my own undies in there, but in a couple of days, I’m gonna have some tough decisions to make. Tough, painful decisions, I’m afraid. ‘Commando’ is a very real — and very drafty — possibility. Damned brain, anyway.

12:08am this morning:

Just after midnight, I tucked brain in for the night. Or rather, for the morning, and precious little of that. You see, our flight left this morning at six thirty in the morning. Yes, that’s a six before that ‘thirty’ right there. And our house is a half-hour cab ride or better from the airport, so the ‘wake-up poke’ from the wife came at a none-too-bright but tragically early four am.

(And lest you think there’s any silver lining to this story, and that ‘wake-up poke’ was that sort of poke… well, there isn’t, and it wasn’t. There’s no silver lining, people. The clouds are black, the sky is black, it’s raining shit, and the ground is on fire. There’s nothing good about it.

And anyway, even if it had been ‘that’ sort of ‘poke’, I don’t know that I would’ve been able to hold up my end of the bargain. Or my, um, ‘end’ at all, frankly. I was barely conscious at the time. I might’ve drooled as much as I usually do during sex, but it would’ve been more a matter of failing motor functions than snuggly passion. If any blood had flowed down there during those first few critical minutes, I think I’d have passed out completely. So it’s probably better this way.)


So, like a trooper — and after the sixth or seventh non-sexual finger-poke — I dragged my saggy brain and droopy ass out of bed and into the shower. I was in there for ten minutes or so — I can’t tell you what was washed, if anything, really. There was certainly water involved, and at one point, I had a bar of soap up my nose, but whether anything was actually cleaner after the experience, I really can’t say. Brain’s either blocked it out, or wasn’t paying any attention in the first place. Fat lot of help he is.

But I made it out of the shower, and combed my teeth, rubbed toothpaste in my hair, popped my contacts into my ears, and jabbed Q-tips in my eyes… hey! Goddammit, my brain was screwing with me again! Cut it the fuck out, dude!

(Hmmm… that does explain a few things, too. Besides the blurry, painful vision and that weird taste in my mouth, I’d been wondering why pigeons kept circling around my head every time I stepped outside. At least my follicles will be minty fresh all day. Meh.)


We boarded the flight out of Boston a few minutes before departure time. Nothing significantly shitty happened here; I just wanted to pound it home that we took a six fucking thirty flight. Goddamned ridiculous.

About 10:30am:

We arrived at our ‘destination’ (more on that later) six and a half hours after our ordeal began, thanks to a connecting flight and a short layover in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, in getting to our final stop, we managed to goober up the ratio of people to bags that we’d hoped to preserve. When we left, we had two people, and two checked bags. When we got there, and wandered around baggage claim, we found that we still had both people, but we were down a bag. Apparently, the other one had stopped to take a piss, or get hammered in the airport bar, and missed our flight. Lousy bastard bag.

So, we filed a claim for our lost luggage, rented a car, and drove to my wife’s mother’s house, not far from the airport. The plan had been to pick up a couple of things there, hop back in the Rent-A-Lemon, and drive to my parents’ place, about three hours away. Had all gone well, we’d have been there in time for a late lunch. Or an early martini binge, preferably. Either way, well before dark.

But, alas, all did not go well. Thanks to the missing bag, we were obligated to stick around for another couple of hours, until the next flight from Pittsburgh made it in, hopefully bringing with it our bag, and with that, our toothbrushes, blue jeans, and undies.

(Well, just her undies, I suppose, since it seems we’ll be sharing them this week. But you know what I mean.)


We made it back to the airport for a not-so-quick, not-particularly-good, but exquisitely expensive lunch. Eighteen bucks for a burger, a chicken sammich, and two sodas? What the hell? Were all airports imported from midtown Manhattan, or what? I know you’ve got a ‘captive audience’, but jesus, people, settle down. There’s more ‘gouging‘ going on around those places than the ‘Poke in the Eye’ booth at the county fair.

(Yeah, that’s one of those times where I thought there’d be something good at the end of that idea… and there just wasn’t. I guess I just don’t know where the actual, literal gouging goes on in the world. A flu shot festival? At Pokey McStabby’s Knife Shoppe? A naked fencing tournament? I dunno… all of these have a very Simpsons feel to them.

Hey, that might be the best one of all — ‘more gouging than on a date with O.J.‘. Oh, sure, that’s years old, and I really meant the cartoon Simpsons when I said that a minute ago, but still — it works. Better than a ‘Poke in the Eye‘ booth, anyway. I told you my brain was against me today.)

Anyway, the next Pittsburgh flight finally came in at about one thirty, and we sat and watched the ‘Parade of Other People’s Crappy Bags‘ float past, waiting patiently for our own suitcase to emerge. A dozen bags, then two — many of them collected by their owners.

(As far as we know, anyway. Owners, strangers with weird ‘other people’s underwear’ fetishes; either way. It’s really none of my business.)

A couple of minutes later, the conveyor shut off.

Five minutes later, it started up again, with more bags from the ‘burgh. Ours was not there. The conveyor ground to a halt. Again, leaving us still bagless.

(Hey, hey, hey… dude. I’m talking about luggage here. Don’t get personal with the ‘bagless’ comments, all right? Keep it clean, skippy.)

We were just about to walk up to the counter and admit defeat, when a new crowd of people shuffled over to the baggage claim. From where, we didn’t know — Toledo, maybe, or Ithaca, New York. One of the Portlands, perhaps. It didn’t matter. It was a new hope, however slim, so we parked ass back in our chairs and waited for the conveyor carousel to start again. Finally, it did, and the third time was a charm — among the dinged-up Samsonites and weathered duffel bags, there was our baby. We would brush our teeth tonight, and wear clean underwear tomorrow! Huzzah!


Finally, mercifully, we made it out of the airport, back to our rental car, and to the last leg of our trip — a three-hour drive to my parents’ place. I’m writing all of this from the car, while my beautiful, spectacular, equally-exhausted wife gets us where we’re going. I’m taking short breaks in between my dual jobs of rotating her favorite CDs into the stereo and keeping her awake to bring you this account of life on the road.

(And in the air, and in a dank baggage claim, and a stinky rental car… why does it smell like cheese? I mean, B.O. I could understand. Sweat, urine, heavyset tourist farts — all of these would be explainable, if pretty goddamned revolting. But cheese?! I don’t even wanna know. Man, the sick shit some people do in their rental cars…)

Anyway, we’ll get where we’re going by five pm or so, and I think we’ll get the night more or less off, having dinner ‘in’ with the ‘rents. Then we’ll get some sleep — I’m thinking about fourteen hours ought to just about do it — and get up to continue our whirlwind tour. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow. Or hopefully, I’ll think of something more interesting instead, and won’t have to put you through that. For the moment, with my brain on strike as it is, this is all I’ve got for you. Sorry, this is the best I can do with a civil war going on in my skull.

So, I’d better wrap up here for now. I’ll get you an update, or more snarkiness, or something tomorrow. Right now, I think my wife may be flagging a bit; she’s starting to leak drool onto the steering wheel. So I’ll put in another CD and chat her up for a while, to make sure we reach our destination safe and sound. Hope you’re having more fun — and getting more sleep — than we are. See you again soon.

Permalink  |  4 Comments

4 Responses to “There’s a Rebel Between My Ears”

  1. Lol, poor you. Perhaps you and you brain should make up some sort of a treaty?

  2. The Hearn says:

    Could be worse. Last time I flew anywhere I got stuck in the Dallas airport for 3 days because of 2 feet of snow in Philadelphia. This wouldn’t have been so bad (I got to miss 2 days of work, which was the bomb), except that the Dallas airport hotels are in the one area in the state where, inexplicably, the local grocery stores and 7-11s don’t sell beer.

    Why? I dunno. At least the hotel had a bar. I had to spend twice as much to do it, but I was hammered for 3 days straight.

    My in-laws were so pleased.

  3. tj says:

    well, i’m at work if that’s any consolation to you … and i will be tomorrow to. *sob*

  4. Adrienne says:

    Hope the rest of your trip goes better and that your brain starts to cooperate with you.

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