Money diet

It was a bad day to be fat. 92° on the sidewalk, and of course hotter than that working in a corporate office where the executives have air conditioning but the workers don’t.

At home I took a shower to wash away the sweat, before riding BART to movies in the Mission.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’m a sucker for film noir, the shadowy black-and-white dead serious dramas of the ‘40s and ‘50s, where people have ulterior motives or dark secrets, or both — kinda like real people. If there’s a film calendar with noir,  you’ll find me in the ticket holders’ line.

Tonight at the Roxie, two directed by Anthony Mann, who made a lot of great noir movies.

Desperate (1947) was not one of them. It's a story so convoluted I couldn’t suspend my disbelief past the first ten minutes. Yeah, right, a criminal gang is going to plan a burglary and hire a truck driver for their getaway — without telling him it’s a heist? And then get angry when he won’t go along with the crime? Even in the 1940s, I don’t think bad guys were that stupid. 

Raw Deal (1948) is about a good boy who grows up to be a bad man, and a semi-floozy dame from Corkscrew Lane who’s helping to break him out of prison so he can chase down the man he took the fall for. The storyline is almost as implausible as the first feature, but Raw Deal is exponentially more fun. It looks great, too — it was photographed by the master of darkness, John Alton. 

Picture this, from the picture: A murderer bangs on the door, comes in, confesses that he’s just killed his wife, and the house is soon surrounded by police, and the murderer runs out to the front lawn and gets shot dead — and that’s two minutes in the middle of the movie, only tangentially related to the rest of the story. There's a lot going on in Raw Deal, and it adds up to excellent.

♦ ♦ ♦

I had to raid my cash stash to go to the movies tonight, and couldn’t even afford popcorn.

Not sure what exactly is going on with me and money right now. I’m barely a responsible adult so I don’t have a budget or anything, but not so long ago, I had a job that paid less, an apartment that cost more, and ate out more often — yet I always had a few hundred dollars stashed away. Now I earn more, pay a lower rent, eat out less frequently — but I’m nearly flat?

And at work today, Jennifer said again, “Stretch it out. Work slow.” After being swamped with work a few weeks ago, tasks have been restructured, and now I have about six hours of work to do daily, and eight hours to do it. It wouldn't surprise me if there are layoffs soon. Maybe tomorrow.

Bottom line: I’m damned poor, and my job ain't secure, so I'm going on a money diet. Tomorrow is payday, but instead of cashing the check, I’m going to stash it in a drawer and live without money for a while. Next week’s rent is already paid, and there’s food stacked on my shelves, so until next Friday’s paycheck there will be no movies, no restaurant meals, not even fast food or a newspaper. Bay Guardian doesn't count — it's free — but Chronicle or Examiner only if I find a copy in the break room or lift one from the trash.

A week without spending will be good for my soul, and good for my wallet. I’ll miss out on a few movies I’d wanted to see, but I can spend time entertaining myself, instead of spending money to be entertained. 

From Pathetic Life #4
Thursday, September 15, 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.

Pathetic Life 

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