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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!

A Rant, a Story, and a ‘Contest’ Update — What More Could You Want?

Well, tomorrow’s gonna suck.

I hate knowing that the next day has a big oily, greasy, smelly black fog hanging over it… but my tomorrow has just that. At least all the gloom is work-related — it’s actually worse to have a dinner I don’t want to go to, or some huge house chore I have to take care of.

Still, though, there’s some suckage involved. I’ve got assloads of crap to do tomorrow. (And where else would a bunch of crap be but loaded into asses, eh? Yeah, don’t answer that. Just… don’t. You don’t wanna sink to my level.) Anyway, I got a couple of things done today, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped. And I’ve already — like a big fat goober — committed to having something finished by next Monday. So it’s either work my tail off tomorrow and Wednesday, or burn the midnight oil over the long weekend, trying to earn my keep. Neither option is good, but working on the weekend could seriously get in the way of my sleeping and drinking plans, so I’m gonna shoot for ‘Plan A’.

Complicating matters, however, is the early-morning meeting I have tomorrow. Now, normally it’s at nine o’clock. And if you’ve been paying attention for any length of time around here, you know that it’s all I can manage to keep my genitals on the correct side of my pants before ten am. So a nine am meeting — where I have to be awake, alert, and even coherent — is positively excruciating for me, under any circumstances.

But tomorrow’s a double-whammy — not only do I have a bit of work to wrap up tonight (which I’ll put off until the last possible minute, as per my regular M.O.), but tomorrow’s little love-in has been moved up — not back, dammit, up(!) — to eight-thirty. Eight-thirty! In the morning! Christ, aren’t there laws about shit like that? I mean, I’ll stick around until seven or eight at night if you want, but I gotta get my beauty rest, folks.

(No, really — you’ve seen me onstageclearly, I need my beauty sleep. And obviously, I’m not getting enough. Bitches.)

Anyway, that’s tomorrow. I’ll worry about that crap when it gets here.

(Or I’ll ‘accidentally’ oversleep and roll in around ten, ready and able to work all day. As opposed to collapsing in a drooly puddle on my laptop keyboard at four in the afternoon, which is what’s gonna happen if I manage to get there anywhere near eight-thirty in the morning. Cause and effect, people… cause and effect.)

So, enough bitching.

(About that, anyway.)

What other trouble can we get into?

Ooh, I know — since Lara asked, I’ll finish up the ‘Broken Lock Saga’, mentioned here and continued here. In short (as short as I get, anyway), I broke my front door key off in the lock on Friday evening, and then proceeded to more or less completely ruin the lock getting it out of the door, trying — and failing — to extract the key, and putting it back in the door… where it got stuck, and wouldn’t come back out. Finally, I managed to extricate the old lock cylinder, and get the new one almost-but-not-quite-installed. And stuck. Dammit. That’s what I get for having the temerity to try a little home repair, I suppose. In the end, we called a locksmith, and that’s where the story left off.

Well, here’s what happened since Saturday night:

I spent much of Sunday afternoon staring at the door. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I simply hate being beaten, especially by inanimate objects. I mean, what the fuck is this overgrown brain and these opposable thumbs for, if a frickin’ door is gonna outwit me? How the hell do you live that down?

So, I took turns throughout the day cursing at the lock in the door and scheming ways to get it out. Finally, I went over and jiggled it a little.

(That’s the lock I jiggled, folks — I’m not saying that I thought walking over to the door and ‘showing it the goods’ would get me anywhere, okay? I might ‘jiggle it a little’ to get the kid at the counter to super-size my fries, or to get out of a parking ticket, but that shit doesn’t work on doors, or door-related accessories. Seriously, I’ve had a lot of experience in this area — it’s just pointless.)

Anyway, I went over there and gave the half-installed lock a twist, and it moved a little. So I grabbed my brandy-new can of miracles — and a girl’s second-best friend, from what I understand — namely, Mr. WD-40, and soaked that lock in slick oily goodness. After just a little huffing and puffing — and most of that over thinking about ‘slick oily goodness’ — I managed to get the cylinder moving, and out of the door. Hooray!

Of course, that only got me back to square one. The door still didn’t do us any damned good — it just didn’t have a big useless piece of metal hanging out of it. But now I had confidence, not to mention a plan — the Tenacious Trio would get the job done. We couldn’t fail — we had my brawn, my wife’s brain, and WD-40’s oh-so-slickery lubricatiousness. We were an unbeatable, unstoppable, nearly-frictionless team. There was nothing we couldn’t tackle.

So, my wife and I spent the next hour and a half sticking our fingers in various holes in the door, trying to deduce how the mechanism inside works. I’m still not sure we have all the details, but we did get the information we needed.

(Part of which is that the inside of a door lock is really, really, really greasy. Especially if you’ve been splooshing WD-40 into it for two days, because you keep getting shit stuck in there. Yeah, you’d think that would have been obvious, huh? Shaddup.)

In any case, we found the little doojobbie (technical term; leave it alone) that would actually unlock the door. So we spent some time studying the cylinder, to see which part of it might act like a finger to accomplish what we’d just done manually. Eventually, it dawned on us that the lock would work — but it had to be installed upside-down, at least with respect to the original mechanism. I think this was the part where the smoke started coming out of my ears — the two cylinders look identical. In the old one, the keyhole’s toward the bottom of the cylinder, and the key turns one way. In the new one, the hole’s up top, and the key turns the other way. How the fuck one worked, and the other one was going to, I didn’t know. All I could say for sure was that I had a mushy brain, a really greasy finger, and what looked like a workable plan. So off we went.

And dammit, it worked. The thing went in, the key turns, and the door opens. How? I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t give a flaming bag of beagle poo. The door locks, and unlocks, and with all that grease swimming around in there, it’s actually easier than before. Breaking that key off in there is the best thing I could have done — I used to have screaming conniption fits in front of that door, because the key wouldn’t turn, or the key would get stuck, or it would turn, but the damned door wouldn’t open. I threatened to break it, and burn it, and chop it up into little pieces and do a Mexican hat dance around it… and all the time, it wasn’t the door’s fault at all. It was the lock, which was completely separate and is now languishing in hell, with half my key shoved permanently up its ass. Yes, life is good.

(And I apologized to the door for all the abuse. It’s gonna be a bit awkward for a while, but I think we’ll be okay.)

So, that’s the story. All’s well that ends with a door that has a working lock in it. Or something like that — I always forget these saying thingies. In any case, the deed is done, and all it took was jiggling the thing a little, lubing it up, and wiggling our fingers in there for a little while. Er… um, yeah. You probably shouldn’t let that get around. That’s how rumors get started. Meh.

Oh, and a final note before I leave — there’s still time to get in on the 200th comment action! So hop in there with a thought or a joke or something, and be number 200. I can’t offer much more at the moment than a public thanks and a bit of free publicity, but hopefully that’s good enough. You want cash and fabulous prizes, you’ll have to find it somewhere else. Or wait until I’m rich and famous. I’ll hook you up then. No, really.

Permalink  |  3 Comments

3 Responses to “A Rant, a Story, and a ‘Contest’ Update — What More Could You Want?”

  1. Tanya says:

    I wanna be #200 :P

  2. Lara says:

    I don’t hear any bells and whistles going off so I MUST NOT be #200! I’m sure a party would have ensued if I had! hee hee Glad you got your door fixed and didnt even have to pay a locksmith! Isn’t it nice when things you put together yourself actually work the way they’re supposed to??? In my house it’s called a MIRACLE.

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