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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!

Thou Shalt Not Worketh, Nor Searcheth for a Job

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your blog.

Well, it’s a damned good thing I don’t believe in omens.

So, I’m ‘between jobs‘, as my favorite euphemism for sitting around unshaven and in my undies on the couch eating pork rinds and watching Oprah goes.

(Speaking of pork rinds, does anybody really ever eat these things any more? You know, outside of cliches, trailer park jokes, and fabulously witty tongue-in-cheek blogs? Seriously. Look, I’ll admit this, and it’s quite embarrassing, but I actually used to eat pork rinds. Not that often, but often enough, believe me.

But that was back before we knew better, not to mention before I put two and two together. The first two being that the things are made from pigs, and the other two being that ‘rind’ means ‘filthy outside part’. And I don’t even want to think about the process that sowhide has to go through to get all airy and crunchy. Ick. There are a lot of things that I like to do with skin — and I mean a lot — but none of them involve stripping it off of something and making it resemble some sort of carnivorous cotton candy. It’s just not natural. It’s not the skin eating that bothers me, mind you — there are really only three criteria that an animal has to meet for me to at least consider taking a quick taste. It’s just got to:

  • have less than six legs (that’s before sadistic plucking, all you insect torturers out there)
  • appear to be tasty, even before the marinade and hot sauce start flying
  • be unable to talk back to me (unable usually meaning ‘biologically unable‘, though it’s okay in my book to gag something temporarily to meet this criterion… but only if it looks exceptionally tasty

(I also reserve the right to lick the skin of certain, um, animals not meeting criterion number three, though I’m rarely allowed to exercise that particular right. Not to mention strictly forbidden to ever do so again in Pennsylvania. There was some… unpleasantness.)

Anyway, I’ve got nothing against eating skin.

(Or licking it, don’t forget. Licking is just peachy, too.)

But skin’s got to look like skin to be edible-eligible, and it doesn’t hurt if it’s still attached to the thing that it came from. Pork rinds meet neither of those criteria, and aren’t even remotely good for you. (As though that would weigh in my decision at all.)

They’re like 113% cholesterol, I think, with chunky fat filling and salt and calories out the pig wazoo. You’d be healthier injecting lukewarm lard into your veins than eating this crap. So I’m interested to know whether there are still people out there that do. Particularly people over the age of thirty. Or under the weight of three-thirty. I’m honestly not sure that either milestone is attainable for the serious pork rind connoisseur. Somehow I don’t think Lance Armstrong is sucking these down as he pedals through the Pyrenees. But that’s just me.)

Okay, way off topic there. Where the hell was I? Oh, right, the omen I don’t believe in. All righty, here we go.

So, me. Unemployed. We covered that part. So, I’m driving to a ‘career counseling’ interview today, when the heavens open and spew buckets of rain all over the highway. And probably other places, too, but I can really only vouch for the area within about three feet of my car, since that’s about as far as I could see for the ten minutes or so that it lasted. It was inconvenient, certainly, and a little spooky, I suppose, if you’re into those ‘bad sign’ sorts of things. Here I am, in my car, hurtling along at several knots over the speed limit to talk to an expert about how to land a job, and suddenly Mother Nature decides to squat over my head and piss on my parade. More or less literally. Makes you wonder, just a little, about how my job hunt’s going to go, doesn’t it? But that’s not the omen; that’s just the tap on the shoulder to get my attention. Foreshadowing, if you will. (And even if you won’t, come to think of it; who’s writing this damn blog, anyway?)

So, as the ancient Sumerians used to say, ‘I made it through the rain’. And the skies had brightened a bit by the time I reached the building housing my expert.

(Well, okay, not my expert; I’m just renting her for a while. Hmmm. Doesn’t sound so good when I put it that way, does it? I’m just one of her bitches until I find a job? Better? No? Eh.)

So, anyway, I get there, and have largely put the torrential attention-getter behind me, and I’m looking forward to a nice, productive meeting. That’s when Mom Nature decides to drop by for another visit.

You see, it seems that just as I’m approaching the building, Zeus or God or Ra or whoever you like to believe is in charge of such things, sees fit to lightning-bolt the shit out of a nearby transformer. Not quite so nearby to turn me all crispy, mind you, but nearby enough to knock out all power to said building. Including the office where my appointment was to be held. On the ninth floor. Bleh.

So, I get in the building, assess the situation, and start climbing stairs. Now I don’t particularly mind stairs. I’ve had some experience with stairs, and we usually get along okay. I’ve even got a few around the house, and some more hanging out beside our porch. I’m good to stairs, and stairs are generally good to me. Well, folks, these stairs obviously hadn’t gotten wind of my stair advocacy, or maybe just didn’t give a damn. These were cutthroat business stairs, and if there’s anything more ruthless than the corporate ladder, boys and girls, then it’s eight frickin’ flights of concrete corporate stairs. But I beat those stairs, and climbed all the way up. Oh, sure, I begged for mercy a couple of times, and swatted at a couple of them out of frustration, but I hung with it, and I climbed all the way up to the ninth floor. And then, on the way through the fire door, I wiped my feet at those stairs — the way a dog or a cat might — just so they’d know they ain’t shit to me. Hell, yeah. Suck on that, stair bitches!

Of course, I spent the next twenty minutes or so in the bathroom, toweling off sweat and catching my breath. I have to wonder what the guy thought who walked into the mens’ room just as I was coming out, wiping my sweat-soaked shirt and still panting from my trip. And probably drooling a little, too, I imagine. He gave me a funny look, and I thought that some explanation was in order, so I just said:

Take my advice, dude. Do not get the meatloaf in the cafeteria today.

That seemed to satisfy him, so I moved on.

So, now comes the fun part. I meet up with my ‘career counselor’, and she invites me into her office. Her dark, lightless, powerless office. Hoo boy. Well, it’s not as if we need light, right? I mean, I’m only there for her to read my stinkin’ resume! So, we make the best of it. We play ‘Marco Polo’ in her office for a few minutes, until one of the admin assistants can find a free conference room with a window that we can use for light.

(We tried playing some other games to pass the time, but they didn’t work out so well, as you might imagine. I spy, with my little eye.. something… black! Pitch black!‘ Not so fun.)

So, after that, I suppose things went relatively well. By that point, I fully expected to see dark clouds out the window spelling out ‘YOU’LL NEVER WORK AGAIN‘ or ‘CHARLIE IS A WEENIE‘, but the actual meeting actually went pretty smoothly. And boringly, from a blog point of view, so I won’t burden you with all the details. Suffice to say that we spent an hour or so discussing what it is that I really want to do, what I’m passionate about, and then another fifteen minutes or so going over why it’s never, ever going to happen.

(Okay, we didn’t really. The lady was quite nice, and patted me on the head when I did well, and corrected me politely when I didn’t. It was actually very civil and encouraging. Sure, she could’ve given me a lollipop when we were done, like I asked, buit apart from that, I was more or less satisfied.)

So, I got past all of the earlier ominous business after all. Like I said, I don’t believe in omens. Of course, even if I did believe in omens, I would’ve had to question whether this particular wet, dark warning was really meant for me, or for someone else. After all, it probably poured in a lot of places around here, and the power was off in the entire building. I might’ve thought that someone else was thinking of quitting his job, or moving her family to California, or committing suicide… or not committing suicide, for that matter, and that all of the ruckus was really meant for them, and not me. At least, I’d have thought that until the power and lights came on just as I was stepping onto the very last stair at the bottom of the staircase, after I’d climbed eight flights back down those bastards. At that point — this is if I believed in omens, mind you — at that point, I probably would have had to conclude that I’ll never find a job again, and should just go ahead and start collecting empty bottles and cans right now.

But I don’t believe in omens.

I mentioned that, right? I must have, ’cause I’ve been repeating it to myself all day since I’ve been back. ‘There’s no such thing as omens. There’s no such thing as omens. There’s no such thing as omens…

I’m even starting to believe it, just a little. On the other hand, the skies are clouding up again, and I’m beginning to wonder where the next lightning bolt is aimed. Maybe it’s best to put this fool-hardy ‘gainful employment’ idea out of my head for a while, and see how things look tomorrow. Or the next day. Or maybe next week sometime. I’d hate to think that me getting another job is somehow contrary to the laws of Nature. I mean, why would I be singled out?

(Pauly Shore did a whole bunch of movies back in the day — he’s at least as heinous a crime against nature as I am.)

So, anyway, that was my day today. It started out with hope and optimism, then some fear, and then some sweating and heaving, and then some more fear, and then a meeting. Then more sweating, and then a bit of abject terror, and finally quite a lot of hiding under the covers and wibbling. Oh, and talking to myself. And now some blogging. Sounds like fun, eh?

So it seems that I may not be getting a job soon, after all. We’ll have to see. In the meantime, I could use a beer. Hey, and not only is it likely to calm me down, but once I empty it, I can get the five cent deposit on the bottle, too. Woo hoo! My new career is looking up, after all!

CRAP (see this post for the CRAP 411):

Hey, speaking of ‘Marco Polo’, doesn’t the idea of that game seem just a teensy odd to you? Think about it. Here’s one of the greatest explorers and adventurers in the history of our species, and we commemorate his monumental feats by what? Splashing around blindly in a pool trying to poke people. Oh yes, I’m certain he’d approve of that. That’s how he and his crew got to China, after all — packed into boats and wearing blindfolds, yelling, ‘Mainland?‘ ‘China!‘ at each other. No, really.

Seriously, wouldn’t it make more sense to use someone else for this sort of smack-your-friends-in-the-dark game? Shouldn’t we be dog-paddling around screaming, ‘Stevie?‘ ‘Wonder!‘, or something? I ask merely for more information. Honest.

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