Now playing at The Strand

Happy Labor Day. It's a day off from work — the very definition of 'happy' — and with pay. Hooray for that, but what does it mean, really?

Is Labor Day supposed to mean 'thanks' to the people who do the work? That’s me and probably you, but I’ve never felt thanked. I did not receive a “thank you” memo from my boss. Did you? I don’t think I’d want my boss to say a special ‘thank you’. It would be awkward, and anyway, I wouldn’t believe it.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Found in one of the hotel’s shower stalls: One bottle of Revlon Normal-to-Dry Flex Brand Body-Building Balsam & Protein Shampoo (“balanced cleansing for clean, healthy shine”), and one bottle of Revlon Dry/Damaged Flex Brand Body-Building Balsam & Protein Conditioner ("penetrates, moisturizes, helps mend split ends”).

Every word on either bottle is bullshit, I believe, with the possible exception of ‘shampoo’. I don’t even know what a ‘conditioner’ is. Both bottles smell like a chemical accident, and people pay to rub this stuff into their hair?

I shampoo with the same cheap bar of soap that cleans my arms, ass, and genitals. People complain about my breath, my manners, and my zine, but I’ve never heard a word against my hair.

♦ ♦ ♦

On a morning stroll to Civic Center and back, I was pleased to see the marquee lit up at the Strand Theater. I loved that scummy, run-down movie palace, and watched many double and triple features there, until it closed a few months ago.

The Strand is open again, and now playing is … triple-X hardcore porn. The doors are glass so I peered inside, and it’s even seedier than a few months back when the place was legit. It’s still a bargain, too — admission $5 any time, says the sign, for “five fleshy features”.

I’m not a customer, though. I've been to porn theaters a few times, years and years ago, and to each his own, but for me it’s an uncomfortable experience. Everyone’s there to get aroused, obviously, but then what are you supposed to do? Step into the men’s room? Whack off in the seats like Pee Wee Herman? You can usually see guys stroking it in the shadows, and you can smell it too. Call me quaint, but I’m not dripping seed onto the floor in a theater.

♦ ♦ ♦

Still enchanted by Bertolucci’s Little Buddha, I went to the Castro for the restoration of his The Conformist (1970). Quirky camera work, in the story of an average Joe Fascist in WW2 Italy, who’s willing to do almost anything to convince himself he’s normal. (Luckily, I’ve given up on that quest.) It’s an intense drama with moments of absurdity, and it’s supposed to be a classic, but it didn’t work for me.

That might not be the movie’s fault, though. I was stuck in front of a non-stop loud whisperer, and we had words (not whispered) about twenty minutes into the show. When I stood up, he finally shut up, but for the rest of the movie I was wondering if he might kick my head from behind. 

Then from the other side of the auditorium some schmuck started snoring like thunder over a volcano. The movie was half over before anyone nudged him awake, and ten minutes later he started snoring again.

♦ ♦ ♦

On my way home, I wandered into a few head shops, looking for mace or pepper spray to replace what was stolen at the airport.  I bought a very small can for a very big price ($12.95!), but I’m tired of carrying the switchblade. It’s too bulky, and too deadly.

From Pathetic Life #4
Monday, September 5, 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.



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  1. Captain HampocketsJune 26, 2021 at 5:05 AM

    >I shampoo with the same cheap bar of soap that cleans my arms, ass, and genitals.

    I learned this from you, and still do the same. I've upgraded my soap, to the mint Bronner's but the concept is the same.

  2. I switched to Bronner's a couple of years ago, maybe on your advice?

    The idea for shampooing with a bar of soap came from the sci-fi movie Altered States. Professor William Hurt boinks a student, and she showers afterward and asks for some shampoo. He shrugs and says something like, "I use soap." That was 1980, so it's been 41 years since I bought shampoo.

  3. Captain HampocketsJune 26, 2021 at 6:33 AM

    Yeah, I definitely am responsible for your Bronner switch.

    1. Then I'll say thanks — you've made me smell like a better man.

  4. Labor Day is a quaint relic from the past,from when there was a labor movment, unions and strikes and politicians paid attention to what working people wanted, needed.


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