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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!

Weekend, As Usual

Apologies for my scarcity over the weekend. The combination of a busy schedule and a new pet project conspired to keep me off the keyboard for a few days. Rest assured, however — just because I wasn’t relaying the constant stream of indignities and embarrassment that make up my world doesn’t mean those indignities and embarrassments failed to happen.

Because that would be too easy. And that’s not how it works. To wit:

Friday. On Friday, I bought deodorant. An entire four sticks of deodorant.

“I’ve only got two places to deodorize. So unless I start growing armpits indiscriminately on my person, then two is the maximum number of deodorants I can possibly need at once.”

(I got a deal. Four for the price of three.

See, that’s how they get you. I went to the store for a stick. One stick. I debated, on the way in, whether I should pick up two. A main stick, and a back-up stick. A travel stick, or a stick in case of emergency. Or maybe, if I was in a huge hurry, two sticks to use at once.

But that’s it. Two sticks, max. I’ve only got two places to deodorize. So unless I start growing armpits indiscriminately on my person, then two is the maximum number of deodorants I can possibly need at once. I’m no math expert, but I have this one pretty much under control.

So I went in the store, and they had a deal. And I walked out with four deodorants. An entire four sticks of deodorant.)

Let me amend that — an entire four sticks of WRONG deodorant.

You see, there are three types of deodorant. There’s the spray kind, which nobody but old people and bicycle messengers use any more. Then there’s the clumpy powder kind, which stains all your shirts white and falls down onto your pants while you walk around during the day, like some sort of underarm dandruff. And finally, you have the cold gooey gel kind, which feels like Jell-O going on and squishes under your pits all morning. These are the options, because deodorant makers hate us all.

I’m a gooey gel man, myself. That’s the path I’ve chosen. And on Friday, I walked out of the store with four sticks of the wrong-path kind. Not gooey gel. Clumpy stupid powder, that’s what I bought. Times four.

So what did I do? How do problems like this get fixed in my world? Clearly, I need to use this deodorant as quickly as possible, to get rid of it. I can’t throw it away, or leave it in the closet. And I can’t give it away — how would that even work? “Hey, happy birthday, buddy! Have some Right Guard. Yaa-aaa-ay!” I don’t think so.

So I’m using it up. I spent most of the weekend rolling on deodorant. Pre-shower. Post-shower. After brushing my teeth. While I’m shaving. In the shower. I’ve got through a stick and a half in three days. When I sit on a chair, it looks like an avalanche falling down each side of my pants. But it’s worth it. Because I’m quickly getting rid of this powdery four-pack misjudgement, and closer all the time to getting back to the store to buy the right kind.

Gee. I hope they have some kind of deal. That would be sweet.

Saturday. On Saturday, I started another session of sketch writing class — the follow-up to the one I took this summer. You may remember — or you may take a quick break to peruse that last link, if you’d like to catch up — that I had a bit of a misunderstanding in my first class of the previous session. A sketch that relied on knowledge — somewhat, shall we say, less than appropriate knowledge — that I thought was common. But it wasn’t. Not in that classroom.

Fast-forward to this Saturday.

(And if you don’t see this coming, then perhaps you’d prefer to read a site more your speed. Something with TeleTubbies, perhaps. Or Lambchop.)

This Saturday, we started class with an exercise. Write down two or three titles, the instructor told us, of stories that you’d like to read. Any topic, any format. I decided to play it… ‘clean’. So my less-than-objectionable headlines were:

“Expose: Inside the Cheesecake Factory” and

“The Truth About Hoarding”

I thought they had potential. But not potential to be easily misunderstood by, say, others less worldly in the ways of the sophomoric and raunchy underbellies of the interwebs and elsewhere. So far, so good.

Now please, asked our instructor, pass your titles to the left.

We did. And the fellow to my right handed over his headlines. Here’s what I saw — not exactly what he wrote, mind you, but what I saw, based on my remarkably limited interest in most pop culture figures and politicians:

“Lindsay Lohan blah blah blah something…”

“Boehner Resigns zzzzzzzzzzzzz Jell-O Wrestling Scandal”

“No Comment from Santorum Camp”

At the time, I didn’t realize that the 3rd ‘headline’ was actually an extension of the 2nd. All I knew was it had the least words, and there was something there I could hold onto. Something that most people — nay, likely everyone knows about Santorum. Or, if you prefer, Santorum.

(Which is to say, the now-long-running campaign to associate the word ‘Santorum’ with a rather graphic sexual reference, thanks to his stance on gay rights. Which, to my understanding, is that he believes there aren’t any.

So, you know, more power to the Google-stackers. Let’s link to them again. Outstanding.)

At that point, we had twenty minutes to ‘free write’ whatever we liked, from one of the borrowed headlines. I decided to write a news story about a group of sex researchers — from “the Netherlands, Las Vegas and a Greyhound station in lower Manhattan” — who’d come up with a completely new sexual byproduct, “never before oozed”. And they piggy-backed on the other, original, beknownst-to-all Santorum campaign, also naming their love juice after the plucky lawmaker. That’s what I wrote.

Twenty minutes later, and we took turns reading our pieces. I barreled through mine, got a couple of giggles — one of the researchers was a “part-time burlesque fluffer”, which I was sort of proud of, frankly — and waited for feedback. I saw a few people around the table nod slowly in that specific uncomfortable way, as they made sure to avoid eye contact with me. Finally, the instructor spoke:

So. I take it you’re not a fan of Santorum, then?

I was honest. “Well.. I don’t know much about his specific politics, I guess. Just his…ah, ‘reputation’, online.

Now all eyes were on me. “I’m not familiar with his ‘reputation’.” The nodding around the table sped up. No one, it seemed, was aware of his ‘reputation’.

Well, shit. I did it again.

I explained, as delicately as I could manage, and we moved on. It struck me only later — just as it had in the previous first class — how effed-up all those people must have thought the piece was, given the complete lack of context they apparently shared.

I figure I’ll last three weeks. Maybe.

Sunday. On Sunday, I had the good fortune of being invited to the Patriots game by a friend of mine. We went out beforehand, had lunch and a few beers, and wandered over to the stadium. A few hundred yards from the gate, my buddy passed the tickets out to our foursome, and it happened.

IT. The thing that you joke about happening, and you assume must happen, like, ever, but never really actually happens. We walked a few more yards, and one of the guys looked down and said:

Hey. I thought we were playing the Cowboys today.

We were. We had the wrong tickets. Twenty minutes till kickoff, miles from home, in no way, shape or form able to get at the right tickets, with the wrong tickets in our hands. It’s so cliche, I could actually believe that it’s never literally happened. But it has. To us.

Luckily, we live in the technological age. We went to a special window, somebody in the group gave a secret season-pass-holder handshake or something, and they sent us on our way. With the right tickets.

So we got to see the game. But for a minute there, we were in a Seinfeld episode. And not a great one. Like, one of the Kramer-heavy ones. I’m just glad it didn’t last long.

So. How was your weekend?

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