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Happy birthday to me
[Pathetic Life]

In San Francisco in the mid-1990s, I wrote a zine called "Pathetic Life: Diary of a Fat Slob." Recently I found my copies of it in a mildewed box in the basement, so one entry at a time I'm going to re-type the text off smelly paper and post it to the internet. Recycling is good for the earth, right?

The opinions stated here were my opinions long ago, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Birthdays are for children, and people happy to hear from Willard Scott, but birthdays mean less than squat to me. I'm 36 today. Hold the cake and candles, it's just another day.

Called my mother, something I rarely do. Just wanted to thank her for birthing me and raising me, and especially for not tossing my ass into the oven when I so often, so richly deserved to be baked.

My only other birthday tradition is to think back on another year's mistakes, squandered time, lost opportunities and former friends. Morbidly obese, I don't need an actuarial table to determine that my life is more than halfway to its end — half wasted and well into wasting the second half. But I'm having a good time here on earth, and if that's not the point of it all I don't know what is.

Enjoying it, babe. Therein lies the meaning of life. So now seems as good a time as any to put together a zine, and if it's boring rubbish for the reader, at least the writer was entertained. So the author proudly presents his pathetic life, for your amusement, or lack thereof.

By way of introduction, my name is Doug Holland, and I'm a fat balding old fart with chronic bad breath, precious few friends, barely the funds to hover a week from homelessness, a lot of disgusting habits, a wardrobe that's utterly unstylish, a routine that's very very routine, and a job that's menial and not worth mentioning. So now you know, I'm someone you're glad you never met, writing a diary you'll probably wish you weren't reading.

Yes, the pleasure is all mine.

If your standards are so low you're willing to endure this kind of crap, be assured I've got lots more crap just like it. I've got crap coming out the wazoo, and you have been warned.

From Pathetic Life #1
Wednesday, June 1, 1994 

Pathetic Life
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19 comments:

  1. 30 years. Jesus Aitch Christ!

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  2. >Called my mother, something I rarely do.<


    If your mother deserves to be called a name, maybe you should do it more frequently.

    Just a thought.

    jtb

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    1. Ha! Made me smile, but you know, I think Mom and I are closer now than we've been for about 60 years.

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  3. I'd give just about everything I have to spend an evening with Mom and Dad (when they were in good health). Not many sixty-something guys get to have a semi-normal visit with their moms. I hope your visits keep getting better.

    John

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    1. Not to get all profound 'n shit, but other people dying is the worst part of being alive. Mom's in great health, and she'll probably outlive me.

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  4. I don't care about my birthday, some notably bad things have happened on it but mostly I just feel uncomfortable being congratulated for something I didn't have anything to do with.

    It's a weird thing for someone like me (us?) to try to wrap our heads around the fact that other people get a jolt out of this, it's one of those bouncy notifications that remind people to stop and smell the roses and say what they probably don't say any other day of the year to people for whom they have meaningful feelings.

    The ultimate realization is that birthdays, like everything else, are for other people, including our own. I guess I wanted it to be a holiday when I didn't have to work for other people but that's too much to ask for.

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    1. I can feel the years, so there's no need to count them.

      For adults, birthdays are something to talk about, same as sports and the weather, and most people love having something to talk about. I hate talking and listening to other people talk, unless it's about something that matters and what they're saying isn't stupid, but save me from stupid chit-chat, and that's all "happy birthday" adds up to.

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  5. Life whooshes by like a train on rickety tracks as we hang on for, well, dear life. Living day to day gives us the illusion that life is really long, but noting the passage of each year can serve to remind us to value the time we have. Martha buys me a cup of coffee on each birthday, apparently forgetting that I don't drink coffee, and haven't since 1996. So she drinks it. Every year.

    John

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    Replies
    1. That's sweet, man. 28 years without a cup of coffee, though. Do you not have it black, or do you not have it with cream and sugar?

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  6. It is useful to me to remember that time and space are different perceptual manifestations of the same underlying cosmos. In a billion years (that's with a "b" in case I didn't pronounce it well) our star, the Sun, will expand and boil the Earth like a lobster that got trapped just trying to make a living. Meanwhile, a fifth of the way across our galaxy, the Milky Way, a message will be beamed toward our dying solar system: SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY.

    Some things last longer than others.

    jtb

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    Replies
    1. It would be awesome if we could order a refill of Chick Berry, but one's the limit. Seattle Sprocket has an employee named Pat Boone, but he's no relation and doesn't sing.

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    2. Well that makes two of them.

      John

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    3. Pat Boone ripped off Chuck Berry for hundreds of thousands of dollars in songwriting and performance royalties. When Berry tried to sue the famous white guy with the expensive attorneys the courts found for Boone every time. Things changed with regard to Black court outcomes a few years later, but the feds had nailed Berry on a Mann Act violation in the mean time, and he was in prison for a while. After Voyager 2 completed the Grand Tour by visiting Neptune in 1989, NASA and JPL threw a big party for the 5,000 or so Voyager Project participants. Pat Boone wasn't invited, but Chuck Berry was well-paid to come and rock the night away.

      John

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    4. It was a bad time to be black. Still is, but it was badder then. You got me reading, and it seems to have been almost traditional for white singers to whitewash black rock, and avoid even paying royalties.

      Just the name Pat Boone brings a silly white man to mind. Hope that's where he fits into history.

      But I *did* like Journey to the Center of the Earth, in spite of him.

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  7. JTTCOTE was one of the first movies I went to a theater to see. For some reason all I remember about the movie is Pat Boone in his underwear. He could have kept going until he was nekked and he still wouldn't have been an actor. I seem to remember saying, "Hey, that guy in the underwear can't act," but that might be one of those false memories. At the minimum, it's a true false memory. And the wholesale mugging of Black songwriters, singers and musicians is a damned accurate memory.

    Boone is still alive and should be tried by the World Court for crimes against humanity and locked in Spandau Prison. He could join Rudolf Hess in the prison glee club.

    jtb

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    Replies
    1. It's on my rewatch list, but all I remember is James Mason and liking it, and thinking it would be better without Pat Boone. A lot off things would be.

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  8. Birthdays are a curse on humanity.

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    Replies
    1. Fun until you're 10 or so, long as there's no party. 21 is nice, I suppose, if you're drinking. After that, just a waste of time.

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