Almost done

I was listening to a radio talk show on my headphones at work, and the next caller said he’s “a deeply religious man.” That’s never the start of a worthwhile conversation, is it? Someone who’s shallowly religious or even just plain religious might be a schmuck or might be a mensch, but anyone who says “I’m deeply religious” is taking it far too seriously.

♦ ♦ ♦

After doing my eight hours, I came home and ate something unhealthy, and watched as my word processor slowly printed out my diary for July. It was 7:00, so it had to be safe, so I went back to work to print 50 copies of the zine, saving the expense of Kinko’s.

If you’re wondering, no, there aren’t 50 people reading this. Just 11 so far, but there were two orders in the mail last week, and printing 50 copies costs the same nothing as 20, so I might as well think big.

While my copies were printing, twice the door opened and strangers came into the copy room. The first was just the janitor, no worries, but my second unwanted visitor about gave me a coronary. I didn’t know her, she didn’t know me, but she was dressed like an executive and I was dressed like nobody because that's who I am. We both knew she had rank.

There are three Xerox machines in the room, but the other two are old and slow, so everyone prefers the newer, bigger machine — the machine I was using. The machine she was waiting for. Since when do executives use the copier, instead of sending some worker-drone to make their copies? And since never do executives wait? But she waited.

“Almost done,” I said, and hoped it was true. There weren’t too many pages left to print, so long as the copier didn’t jam, and it didn’t jam. I was sweating like some fat guy, though, as the last few copies of my zine printed, and the pages automatically sorted and stacked.

And what comes out at the top of the stack? Page 1, with the enormous words PATHETIC LIFE at the top, legible from anywhere in the room or across the street. I flipped the stack upside down as soon as I noticed, and if she saw it she didn’t say anything.

Quickly I stacked my copies in a box, and said “Good night.” She stepped up to the machine and started running her copies, and I walked all casual down the hall, but — I don’t know. Maybe Kinko’s would be worth the price.

From Pathetic Life #3
Wednesday, August 3, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.


Addendum, 2021: For those who aren't senior citizens like me, Kinko's was a nationwide chain of photocopy shops, later bought and rebranded as FedEx.



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