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I am a sick, sick man.

I think (hope) most guys tend to "like" women on the TV shows they watch. Like on Three's Company -- most guys had a thing for Chrissy. The Dukes of Hazzard owes more to Daisy Duke and her hotpants than it ever did to slow motion car jumps. And who could forget WKRP? Every guy -- EVERY guy -- had it bad for Bailey.

So developing an attraction to women on television isn't so terribly unusual, is it? It's kind of normal, right? Sure it is. But what happens when you watch children's television?

Take Stella on Barney, for example. She's kind of hot, isn't she? Or how about the woman from Romper Room? I don't know if that's even on anymore, but man oh man, I used to have it bad for her when I was a kid. She'd start looking around in that magic mirror, calling off everyone she could see in TV land, and I'd be slicking my hair down and tucking in my shirt.

But my true weakness, my real downfall, the benchmark of my perversion is ... Loonette the Clown from The Big Comfy Couch. Oh, momma! I have sick, disturbing fantasies about that clown.

She's so cute! And she wears those stripy stockings that kind of show off her legs, even as they hide them. And that overall thing that hints at a respectable rack underneath, but you're never really sure. And those pouty lips. And those green eyes...

Sometimes she does this thing where she lies on her back and pretends she's a clock and her legs are the hands. The camera's mounted above, looking down, and she's counting off the hours with her legs and she starts getting into the evening hours and... Oh, mommababy!!! If she ever shows us 9:15, I'm a goner.

I am a sick, sick man. But, dammit, she is one hot clown!


Thursday -- August 12, 1999
Home Improvement, Part 392

I had me an unexpected day to myself today.

I was scheduled to teach two classes at one of the hospitals downtown, so I got up almost on time, threw on a shirt/tie/trousers/socks/shoes ensemble which nearly went together well, hit the 7/11 for coffee, and joined the huddled masses yearning to breathe fresh air on the freeway. When I came fully awake about a half hour later I realized I was going to be about 10 minutes late, which always happens when I go to this particular hospital. I don't know what it is about that place, but I'm always late there. Probably because I don't like the facility, and the fact that my contact there is just flat-out scary-looking doesn't incline me toward arriving early either.

So I got there late, which is always a great way to start your day. I barreled into a training room full of students, tossed out an empty apology for being late, and starting taking my materials out of my briefcase. And then something felt wrong.

I looked up and saw everyone was staring at me, including a woman who was giving off clear "I'm in charge and who the hell are you?" body language. Always quick on the uptake, I asked nobody in particular: "This isn't my Windows class, is it?" And it wasn't. My class had been canceled, but nobody had bothered to tell me.

This is where you figure I got mad, right? Wrong. I was thrilled. First because I really didn't want to be there in the first place. Second because I suddenly had my day free. Third because ka-ching! We trainers get paid our full fee when a class is canceled at the last minute, so we love it when it happens.

I checked in with the scary-looking coordinator before I left to confirm that the class had indeed been canceled and that my boss knew about it, then I was out the door before she could even finish apologizing for canceling the class. Apologizing. Ha! She should have been asking for a kickback.

And what did I do with my surprise day off? Go to the movies? Read a book? Nap? Nope. I built things. I went up to Home Depot, where I bought a circular saw and a pile of lumber, then I came home and modified my darkroom.

Our guest bathroom is masquerading as the darkroom, and while it's laid out just fine for a bathroom, its design leaves something to be desired when used for alternative applications. I've been having to work with my enlarger and papers and filters and other dry stuff on a very small counter while I have my chemical trays set up in the bathtub. It's not the worst possible set up by any means, but neither is it the best.

What's really been bugging me about it is that the tub takes up so much space but yields so little use. It takes up a good 1/4 of the bathroom and all I can use that 11.27 square feet of real estate for is four stupid little trays -- and I have to be on my knees to use them.

What that tub really needed was a tabletop, a nice one that was high enough to be a good work surface while still allowing access to the tub for possible use as a print wash or storage area. And so it got one. It took the better part of three hours but I built that table, and now that's where my enlarger lives while my developing trays live on the counter. I'm not using the tub for anything. At the moment. But inspiration could strike at any time.

While I was at it I decided to preserve the local property values by doing something about the darkroom windows. Light in a darkroom is clearly not a good thing, so you've got to do something to block the windows. What works best for that on short notice? Well, if you're an Okie or a reject from the movie Near Dark or me, you use aluminum foil. Believe me, it's the essence of tacky, especially since when I put it up I made it half and half shiny/dull side out. Oops. On the plus side, though, you know nobody's controlling your mind when you're in there.

Nice as it is to have control of your mental state, though, foiled windows just don't look good. So, out with the brain scan blockers, in with the classier stuff. I built some window block-outs. They're really just squares of plywood covered with fabric, but I call them block-outs because they block out the light. I'm clever that way.

They're cut to just smaller than the perimeter of the window casing, and when you wedge them in they completely block the light. I put drawer pull handles on the backs so you can insert and remove them with one hand, and I'm going to put some cool-looking fabric from one of Beth's quilting stores on them so they look interesting from outside. I think they're very cool and incredibly clever -- no more monkeying around trying to cover with window with curtains or foil or whatever, just slam in the block-outs and you're done in 3.2 seconds. I ought to patent it, it's so handy.

I just realized how unlikely my entire day was. I worked with lumber, bought and used power tools, cut things, measured things, screwed things, glued things and basically built things ... and nothing went wrong. At least nothing major. I did manage to slice the hell out of my thumb at Home Depot (where they get really freaked out when bloody men calmly ask for a First Aid kit), but I count that a very small price for what I accomplished. By all rights I should be in a wheelchair by now, or maybe typing this entry with a pencil in my mouth.

I built shit and nobody got hurt. Wow. That's going down in the ledger book as a good day.


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Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins