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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!
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Honor Among Scalpers

You know, I just realized something: dating back to Monday afternoon, my last five meals have been spicy gumbo, chili, Indian food, chili, and chili. Damn. I’m a breakfast burrito and a couple of Buffalo wings away from spontaneous human combustion over here. What’s for dinner tonight? Thai? Curry? Diesel-drenched Ding Dongs for dessert? Only time will tell.

(And for the record, that last one is just wrong. If you’re out there drenching ‘ding dongs’ in diesel, that’s not a ‘dessert’. That’s an ‘ouchie’. Big ouchie. Somebody pass the Bactine.)

But enough about my culinary misadventures, folks. I’ve got plenty of other misadventures to blather on about, without painting you a picture of what’s going on just north of my colon. Because that’s not helping anyone sleep through the night, let’s face it. I’m creeped out, and it’s my colon — just imagine how you people feel. Yeeks.

Anyway, as many of you know, the Super Bowl is this weekend. Now, I’ve already pledged my allegiances for the game — and been backhanded by a few ‘Iggles’ fans already, I might add. Thanks. Thanks so much. I can really feel the love, you know?

(At least, I hope that’s love, because it’s warm, and it’s wet, and I think some of it just dripped down the back of my shirt. Yes, let’s not think too hard about that, either.)

So — the Super Bowl. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see a Super Bowl someday, live and in body-painted person. Sadly, I don’t presently have the wherewithal — read: obscene gobs of cash — to make it happen. I could probably swing the airfare, and maybe even a hotel room — if I’d had the foresight to book one seventeen months ago, of course. Honestly, just try finding a room now in Jacksonville for the weekend. They’d charge you an arm, a leg, and a blowjob just to sleep on a park bench. And who could sleep after all of that?

Anyway, it’s moot, because there’s no way I could afford a ticket. Much less two, which I would abso-lutely need — if I went to a Super Bowl and didn’t take my wife, I’m not sure what would happen, exactly. But I’m certain that it wouldn’t involve speaking, touching, or sleeping in the same bed for a very, very long time.

(And for you smartasses who think you could work out a way to still have sex under those conditions, I’ll be clear on that — there’d be none of that, either. Trust me on this, and stop thinking so damned hard. Perv.)

See, the only tickets you could get now would be through a scalper. And if they’re holding tickets, then they’re also holding all the cards. They’re more than willing to charge anything the market will bear… plus fifty percent for their trouble, another twenty percent markup, a thirty dollar handling fee, twelve-fifty for parking, and eight bucks to buy a ‘I Went to the Super Bowl and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt and Forty-Seven Thousand Dollars‘ T-shirt. Bastards.

Speaking of scalpers, I’ve always been fascinated by the whole routine they use to stay out of trouble. I’m not sure it really works, frankly, but it’s fascinating. Like a perpetual motion machine, or a French tickler. You know what I’m saying.

So, first of all, in my experience, scalpers never say that they have tickets. They always ask — of no one in particular, usually — whether you’ve got tickets. And usually, the answer is ‘yes‘. Which really means:

Yes, I’m walking into the stadium, and I have a ticket. I’m not a player, or a hot dog vendor, and I don’t enjoy being dumped on my ass by beefy security guards. So I’m travelling with a ticket, yes; and thanks so much for asking, you greedy, lawbreaking bastard.

See, that’s called the ‘high road’, folks. Many people who attend sporting events are able to take that approach, because in their ‘real lives’, they don’t have to deal with this sort of smarmy underhanded bullshit.

(Of course, these are the same people who have clicked on every attachment in every lousy email they’ve ever received, because they’re not equipped to handle smarmy underhanded bullshit. They’re completely unprepared for any sort of grinning, evil shenanigans that the world might unleash upon them. See what the ‘high road’ gets you, there, smartass?)

Me, on the other hand — well, sometimes I have a ticket. And sometimes, I don’t. If I always thought far enough in advance to buy actual tickets for events I was supposed to attend, well then I’d have a hell of a time getting anything else done, wouldn’t I? You wouldn’t see me posting much around here, that’s for sure. That’s a full-time job, dammit.

(Plus, I’d probably be dragged to way more operas and ballets and shit. So this silver lining pretty much has another silver lining, right inside. How cool is that? It’s like finding a Snickers bar in your bottle of beer. Double your pleasure!)

Anyway, I’ve been known to chat with scalpers before. And I’ve found that they’ll never make the first move. They ask if you’ve got tickets. So then, you have to say, ‘No — but do you have any tickets?‘ That’s the only way the conversation can progress. I guess there’s some crazy, complicated rule about ‘entrapment’ or something that says they’re in the clear, so long as they don’t offer the merchandise first. It’s all a game of some kind, where they’ve got to seem surprised to be holding a stack of field-level box seats:

Oh, do I have tickets? Why, no, I was just asking for — hey… wait a minute. Well, would you look at that? I do have tickets. Lots of tickets, too! Well, huh. What do you need, buddy? Only seven grand and your left nut for a pair. Best deal in town!

Of course, then there’s the ace in the hole — their ‘stay out of jail free’ card, apparently. Just in case they’ve screwed up the entrapment thing, or said something incriminating, scalpers always say the same thing, just before the money changes hands:

Hey… you’re not a cop, are you? Because you have to tell me if you are.

Now… honestly, folks, think about this for a minute. ‘You have to tell me’? Does that really work? Come on.

Just imagine an undercover vice cop, or whoever it is that would cover such an event — the Football Bureau of Investigation, maybe, or the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Football — working his way into a scalper’s confidence. He’s making all the right moves, saying all the right things; the poor scalper really believes he’s just a regular guy, trying to get into a game. And just when the cop is about to drop the hammer and throw the cuffs on, he’s pimp-slapped with:

Are you a cop? ‘Cause you have to tell me.

Oooooh. Rejected.

Yeah… you got me. I’m a cop. Curses!

Yeah, I just don’t see it. Call me cynical, but I’m thinking the cop says, ‘no‘, hands over the money, billy-clubs the bastard in the babymakers, and carts him off to jail. How the hell else would it work? Nobody would ever go undercover, for any reason, if they knew that anywhere, at any time, a perp could put a gun to their head and just ask if they’re a cop. And that they’d be compelled to say, ‘Aw, shucks. Yeah, I am. No hard feelings, eh?‘ Ridiculous.

On the other hand… what if it did work that way? And what if you could use that technique in other walks of life? Like dating, for instance:

So, it’s nice to meet you, Nancy. Before we go to the restaurant, I just want to ask — are you an uptight freaky bitch? Because, you know — you have to tell me.

Man, would that have saved a lot of time back in college. Whew.

Or how about in a job interview:

Well, this looks like a fine resume, Charlie. But I wonder — are you just going to come in here, coast by, take three-hour martini lunches, and blame your coworkers for all of your failures? And remember — you have to tell me.

See? Now that would have saved a boatload of time, in the years after college. For the people who hired me. Oh.

Yeah, come to think of it, maybe that’s not such a good system, after all. I can see where I’d be on the wrong end of that particular stick, most of the time. Wow. I’ve never felt so close to scalpers before. I think I need a shower now; I just feel dirty all over, only without the scads of cash. Bah.

Permalink  |  7 Comments

7 Responses to “Honor Among Scalpers”

  1. SilverBubble says:

    Scalping is illegal? Man, I learn something new every day.

  2. mrhaney says:

    i liked your blog. i laughed a lot. those scalpers make a lot of money. i can not afford the regular price , never mind a scalpers prices.

    My nickname is mrhaney. I am a 58 year old male married to a wonderful woman. We have 4 grown children . We have been married 39 years. I like good honest and caring people. I like to talk with people. I also like old music and old cars. My wife and I live in Atlanta, ga. I met her in 1965 when I was stationed at north island naval air station in san diego. We met at a dance and I proposed to her 2 weeks after. We got married on may 1, 1965. I got out of the navy in 1967 and we went to my home state of Massachusetts for a couple of years. We now live here in Atlanta and we have four grown children who are on their own. We have no pets although I would really like to have a dog, maybe some day. We are both retired now and we do a lot of remodeling on the house we are in now. if you have a minute stop by my site and leave me a comment. have a great day.

  3. #Debi says:

    “It’s like finding a Snickers bar in your bottle of beer.” Dude, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but that wasn’t a Snickers bar… Oh, yeah, thanks for inviting me to your bigass dinner party. What time is it and what should I bring? Of course, you’ll be invited to mine, if I ever get around to making up the guest list…

  4. Elisson says:

    Of course, I gravitate to the food portion of the post. Screw all that Super Bowl and scalper stuff, innit?

    “…my last five meals have been spicy gumbo, chili, Indian food, chili, and chili.”

    Buddy-boy, you are looking at (well, not looking at, exactly, but…feeling, a monstrous case of Ring-Burn. The kind of thing you don’t wanna be experiencing on a 747 in mid-Pacific after a night in Seoul drinking soju and eating kimchee. Nice, spicy kimchee.

    Oy. You have my sympathies, Charlie.

  5. Elisson says:

    Of course, I gravitate to the food portion of the post. Screw all that Super Bowl and scalper stuff, innit?

    “…my last five meals have been spicy gumbo, chili, Indian food, chili, and chili.”

    Buddy-boy, you are looking at (well, not looking at, exactly, but…feeling) a monstrous case of Ring-Burn. The kind of thing you don’t wanna be experiencing on a 747 in mid-Pacific after a night in Seoul drinking soju and eating kimchee. Nice, spicy kimchee.

    Oy. You have my sympathies, Charlie.

  6. sunShine says:

    Take some tums for your tummy. It has to be hurting from all that spicy food. Thanks for giving me a look in to the life of a scalper. When I interview people for a job I wish I could ask them, “Now are you a lazy ass that calls in sick all the time? C’mon you have to tell me.” That would have saved me from the barage of lazy people that seem to be applying for jobs lately.

  7. Jason says:

    I got TiVo but correct me if I’m wrong (and I hope that I am) but you can’t program a TiVo to skip commercials. It does a lot of stuff but in essence, it just tapes it and lets you skip through like a VCR.

    PLEASE tell me I’m wrong. I’ll publically admit I’ve not been using the TiVo to it’s full benefit.

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