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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!

Attack of the Opinions

I don’t have a lot of opinions.

I mean, not real opinions. Stuff like this — and this and this and this and this and this and this — doesn’t count.

Wow. That’s quite a list.

Okay, so maybe I have a LOT of opinions. But most of them — in person, away from these apparently opinion-soaked pages — I keep to myself.

That’s partly as a public service. Nobody really wants to hear what other people think, and one less voice squawking from atop a soapbox is one more better. So that’s one reason.

(Also, I evidently spew all my personal views into this site, like some firehose full of opines.

Sorry. I’ve only just realized the magnitude of the spewing. It takes some getting used to, and I don’t know exactly how I feel about that just yet.

But when I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know. Clearly.)

More importantly, though, I don’t share opinions because they always turn out to be trouble. Doesn’t matter how innocent or unassuming they look. They may sit around for years, all cute and fuzzy and snurfling around the floor for scraps. You can play with them and train them and pet them and love them and call them George — until one day, one of them will shed their fur, grow scales and fangs and pointy horns, pounce from the floor and BITE YOU IN THE ASS.

“Like hamsters down the toilet or goldfish in a blender, one by one my opinions have gone the way of the dodo, the flat-earthers and people who believe Angelina Jolie’s breasts are real.”

It’s what they do. Opinions are like Gremlins, or piranhas, or bitter ex-wives.

I know this. I’ve embraced it. Over the years, I’ve aggressively thinned my opinion herd. Like hamsters down the toilet or goldfish in a blender, one by one my opinions have gone the way of the dodo, the flat-earthers and people who believe Angelina Jolie’s breasts are real.

Truth be told, it’s easy to off an opinion. And the big ones — the ‘Opinions‘ — are simplest of all. An Opinion is just something you think you’re sure about. A universal truth, the “way things oughta be”, unwavering certainty. To kill one, you’ve only got to question the absolute faith you have that it’s completely, unquestionably, 100% right, 100% of the time.

And that’s the easy part. If you’ve ever put your underwear on backwards — and we both know that you have — then it’s clear that even the simplest things are possible to get wrong once in a while. Think about that for a while, and it’s a trifle to let go of an awful lot of things that seemed rock-solid imperative before.

If you’ve ever walked around for half a day before discovering that the pee-hole in your BVDs is turned around to the back, and can still maintain that you have a righteously unassailable position on economics, morality, societal norms or national governance, then you’re a different man than I. I didn’t say ‘better’; only ‘different’.

(That’s just my Opinion, of course. But that one, I’m keeping.)

Of course, these lessons don’t always stick. The more subjective an opinion, the more likely it is to resist the ‘backward boxers test’ and stick around to capitalize and italicize itself over time. I’ve got a few that have rooted around in dusty corners, making themselves elaborate little nests and condos. Most of them have to do with sports — one of the Big Three of subjective unprovable topics that I’m convinced inspired the original “opinions are like assholes…” line.

(The other two being politics and religion. I’ve long said that if ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’, then politics is the bongwater.

I’m not sure what sports is, exactly. But it probably involves a keg stand.)

Most of these sports-related Opinions will likely never be evicted. They sit in their hidey-holes, lurking, waiting for the right bar debate or game matchup to arise so they can scurry around the room shaking their furry stupid butts at everyone within earshot. And then they scamper home, not to be budged until the next possibly-drunken rambling diatribe.


Which is why I’m sitting here tonight with an opinion-sized chunk of buttcheek missing from my posterior. My two favorite college teams, Syracuse and Pitt, have applied today to leave the Big East conference join the ACC. Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech did the same a few years ago — and I had an Opinion about that.

An ugly one. Repeatedly. I’ve always been a Big East fan, because — duh, my two favorite teams are in it. These three traitorous teams were the scourge of the earth in my book. What of tradition, of loyalty, of rivalries fostered for years? How could they have the gall, the bare-faced naked nerve, to do such a thing? Benedict Arnold was often mentioned. Also, Hitler. I may have invoked Genghis Khan at one point. And Khan from the Star Trek movie. And Madeline Kahn, for reasons I don’t recall. Some of the speeches are kind of a blur, frankly.

But I had me an Opinion. And I let it out, unleashed, to piddle mercilessly on conversations from bars to living rooms to gyms to the office. I’ve been fattening this particular Opinion for years, and it’s huge. It’s like the Roseanne Barr of ‘Things I Think’, and at least as loud.

And now, I have to decide what to do with it. The only teams I ever cared about are shaking their furry butts in my Opinion‘s face. It didn’t know what to do. So it reached around and bit me in the ass. As it was destined to do, from the very first time I opened my stupid mouth about it.

So kids, the lesson here is: don’t think things about things. Not the seemingly important stuff. Not the trivial stuff. Not the stuff in between. You’re going to be wrong — far more often than you think — so it’s better to have an open mind, a closed mouth, and a closet free of Opinions on all subjects. And if you’re not wrong now, you will be some day, because one of Life’s main jobs is to turn you around and yank your pants down so your Opinions can take a nice big chunk of ass out of you, as often as possible.

Me, I’m not going to be doing any more sitting this weekend. But maybe I’ve finally, completely, learned the lesson. Or maybe I should start wearing underpants with steel-reinforced backsides.

Except I’d just put them on backwards. Because there’s no winning here. And that’s not Opinion. It’s FACT.

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