Slob manifesto

On the first page of every issue, under the big words Pathetic Life, the subhead says "Diary of a fat slob." I’ve written about being fat, but not much about being a slob, so clear yesterday's dinner and dead roaches off the chair and have a seat.

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It's next to stupidity, because beyond washing the plates now and then to avoid botulism, cleanliness serves no useful purpose.

Personal hygiene matters ... some. The appearance of personal hygiene matters more, and I do play that game. When I’m at the office or going to the movies, I make myself neat and presentable. My goal is to not be noticed,  so I don't want to look or smell like I'm homeless. But c’mon, there’s no need to be fanatical about it.

I shower as often as necessary to smell OK and not feel too sticky. In the summer months, that might be every second or third day. In the winter months, twice a week. Showering more often than that is excessive. What’s the point, really? Who are you trying to impress, with your ‘showering every morning’ like fancy people? 

There are only three valid reasons to tidy up:  

① Safety — by golly yes, clean up anything that's a safety or health concern to you or those you live with. It's the botulism example, above, or loose knives on a low shelf if you have children, etc. Common sense!

② Appearance — You and your home (if anyone sees it) should be as neat as needed to prevent friends or strangers from calling 9-1-1, or from having any concern about your mental health.

③ You want to — Beyond safety and appearance, "wanting to" is the only valid reason to vacuum the carpet, wash the windows, or take an unnecessary shower.

I don't want to, so I don't.

A half-finished can of soda sits on my window sill. Should it be promptly cleared away so it doesn’t attract bugs and get all moldy? No. It's diet soda — no sugar, and there's nothing in it that'll rot or attract bugs, so I'm leaving that can right where it is. I might drink the rest of it a week from Sunday.

Before leaving home, I do a hand-over-the-mouth bad breath inspection, and if it stinks too strong, I'll brush my teeth. At work I sniff my arm-pits occasionally, and if it's too gawdawful I'll give the pits a quick soap-down in the men’s room, or spread some deodorant.

Here in the hotel, the dishes stay stacked in the sink for a few weeks until I'm in a dish-washing mood. Until then, I’ll wash one plate and one fork when it’s needed for a meal.

It’s the same sink I piss into at night, so you’ll correctly surmise that I’ve urinated on the dishes and silverware, many times. It doesn't matter, long as the dishes are washed before dining.

This room is my little fiefdom, a land where cleanliness is cheerfully forgotten. There are dead gnats on the refrigerator shelves, but they’re not in the milk so there no urgent need to wipe them away. Zines and books get stacked haphazard on top of each other, and I’ll make a slight effort toward organizing the piles only after they’ve toppled. Coat hangers are unnecessary; instead I've driven 27 nails into the wall, and my pants and shirts, underwear and T’s and keys are draped over the nails. 

Let's talk about those clothes. I sit in an office chair all day. I’m not an auto mechanic, there’s no grease or grime, so my shirts and pants don’t get stinky. There’s therefore no need to do the laundry often, and I don’t. After wearing clothes, they go back to the nails on the wall, to be worn again in a few days.

When the underwear gets smelly or itchy I spray it with Lysol, or hand wash it in the sink with the dishes. Everything is laundered eventually, but not until the clothes get uncomfortably stiff or stink.

There’s maid service here, which is unusual for a residential hotel. Once a week some lady who speaks no English (or fakes it for me) comes in with stained but clean sheets and towels. She doesn't even put the sheets on, but she takes last week's sheets and towels away. That's all she does — no cleaning or vacuuming, no plastic-wrapped cup at the sink, no mints on my pillow — but knowing she's coming once weekly is motivation for me to pick up enough of the mess that she can get in the door. That's why this room is neater than my rooms anywhere else I’ve lived, especially on Tuesdays.

Back at my previous rez hotel, with no maid and no reason to clear the clutter unless something started to stink, that place got scary messy, even for me. When I moved out of that dump to come to this dump, I had to carry out a dozen Hefty bags full of old newspapers and tin cans and Hostess Ding Dong wrappers and everything else. It was piled taller than me, in the corner where the trash can was buried.

I'm OK co-existing with the roaches and other crawling things, but flying bugs get in my hair and on my nerves, so there’s always a Shell No-Pest Strip dangling from the light fixture. From years of experience, I know what kinds of trash attract bugs, and I’m lackadaisically fastidious about not letting that trash accumulate. Some of the non-moist and non-food trash, though, has been in this room as long as I have.

Some weeks ago, maybe a month, as I was sitting and typing and eating a second lunch, a splash of tuna fell out of my sandwich and landed on the rug. I was in the middle of banging out an enjoyable paragraph, so I resolved to pick it up later, but forgot about it instead. Now the tuna is gone, along with about one square inch of the rug. There’s a hole where the tuna was, and you can see straight through to the floorboards. This building has very industrious roaches.

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like hovel.

Obviously, hypothetically, if someone came along who made it worthwhile to tidy up, brush my teeth three times a day, and all that tedium, I would cheerfully do it. I'd do the laundry weekly, shower daily, even change my underwear — for her.

For me, though, I ain’t doing diddlysquat. I am wearing yesterbritches and taking the trash out once monthly. It’s only my own damn business how messy me and my mess are, and if you don’t want to see it, that's great, you’re not invited.

♦ ♦ ♦

Beatrice canceled out on the beers. Something about picking up a relative at the airport. I’m a little relieved, to be honest, but we’ll reschedule.

From Pathetic Life #5
Thursday, October 6, 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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  1. Well, I took a test and it says that there is a 90% chance that im on the spectrum. So the internet has diagnosed me with Asperger's.

    1. Condolences? I don't know which disease that is. I could Google it but that would be cheating.

      Is it the one where you're allowed to blurt out everything you're thinking?

    2. Captain HampocketsAugust 6, 2021 at 7:41 AM

      Nah, I believe you're thinking of Tourette's, and it's not quite what you think. It's more likely to manifest with tics and noises, as opposed to loud cursing.

    3. Its high functioning autism. Explains why im so clumsy.

    4. OK. Sorry. An internet test is not really a diagnosis, but if so, will this be a serious issue for you?

    5. No lol Least I know why i broke so many bones and why I was obsessed and am still obsessed with rocks and history.

      didnt know that was a disorder.

      the more you know.

    6. > the more you know.

      But do you know it? It's a damn internet test, not medical science. I don't know that anything asberegersish is linked to a higher likelihood for broken bones or an interest in history/geology? Is that what you're saying?

    7. Well key signs you have Asbergers, you have a hard time looking people in the eyes YUP, I contstantly remind myself to look people in eyes.

      Seem to have hobbies that are all consuming.

      Super facinated with history of all kinds sometimes specializing in one perticular period.

      Me...Civil war and WWII. When i was a kid it was the civil war and Egyptian.

      Im weird

    8. Weird is good. I mean, look at all the NORMAL people all around. It's great to be weird.

      And I don't much look people in the eyes until I trust 'em. Your soul can get sucked out if you're not careful. Not sure it puts me “on the spectrum,” though, or you.

    9. Jokes on them, you gotta have one first.

      I have read probably 500+ books on the civil war. I remember reading in this one book from 1890 it talked about when the battle of Gettysburg happened and even Antietam it was like the thing to do to go watch these battles. People would come in their wagons, pack a lunch and watch the battle.

      The hillsides would be covered in spectators dressed to the hilt to watch.

      A diary entry from a woman says "We saw most of the town had already set up their blankets by the time we arrived. Paw was hard pressed to find a place to steady the wagon before the battle begun. We could see a group of young boys slinking very low on the hill. They had climbed almost to the entrenchment where the cannons had been dug in"

      "All at once the battle startted. Second cannon fire of the day and the boys were struck. Not a one survived. Was a fine show that was put on by both sides that day.

      ....They watched the battles....for entertainment.

      I still cant get over that.

    10. Really? Watching the battle like it's a ball game? That seems insane ... and rude ... and dangerous. Wouldn't the spectators be at risk of misfires and crossfires?

    11. They watched it ate lunch, drank, played cards had a good ol merry time.

      Im not sure i could eat watching people take cannon balls to the body
      It was a big to do back in the day. What did they have for entertainment?

      They were on hills usually to the sides of the battlefield. Yes, civilian casualties happened frequently.

      But it didnt do much to deter the spectators.

      I love history. God I cannot get enough.

      I read a journal from the year after the war from a southern lady. It was crazy. It was like from the viewpoint of a slave owner. Talked about her point of view and HOLY CRAP was it skewed.

      She was like..."All my dresses are ruined from working in the fields...this shall ruin my reputation".

      PFFFFT...lady being a slave owner is reputation ruining enough.

  2. This is why I have no patience for much of the American South, where a lot of folks still think that way.

    Plus I lived in the South when I was a kid. Not great memories ...

    1. I like to visit there the smokey mountains mostly and Savanah, but its still backwards as hell.

      Went down there when it was Hilary and trump running for election.

      The racist and derogatory stuff i saw was truly shocking. Really do need a passport for that place..

      Still....steeped in history.

      Hill folks, many of the folks actually living away from society deep in the mountains, are ancestors of white slaves brought over with the pilgrims.

      Once their service was deemed Paid in full, they were released from their servitutude. Unfortunately, once a convict (which most were) always a convict. They werent really allowed to live among the pilgrims so many of them fled to the forest.

      they actually were taught to survive by the native americans. As things grew they became more native than european.

      Then the world figured out they were sitting on money...iron, coal, gold, lumber...and these tycoons came in and brought civilization to these folks who did not have education. They were literally given a dime for every acre when it was worth at least 10 dollars.

      They had really no concept of money.

      Then their hillsides eroded from deforestation, most of the hill folks got jobs in mines to buy goods from a company store for things they didnt need, The water was poisoned and the mines brought education if you can call it that.

      So really, the South has been set up to fail for a very long time.

      If you are intrested, there is a book called Night Comes to the Cumberland. Its quite good. Explains just how the south was created.

      Once you read it you get it, but then its even more sad then you originally anticipated.

    2. Sounds interesting but I'd be more interested in how the South can be brought into the 21st Century. It’s solid Red, and generally hostile toward education, health care, minorities, and common sense.

    3. Its impossible. Youd literally have to re-educate and reprogram, in some cases, 10 generations.

      Then again youd have to try to teach individuals complex truths when most have a 4th or 5th grade reading level.

      Some folks in Mississippi still cant read or write.

      I mean most of these folks have no idea what some of the words these politicians use even mean.

      they just vote for who the glowing box tells them to. Keep uneducating the masses and you get stupid voters that will believe whatever you want. They dont question, they have zero concept of original thought. They were raised to do what they are told.

      That is how you create a stupid populous...you pull educational funding and then tell them that God said so.

      Which by the way, most of the deep south Hill folks. The ones who live in the mountains actually do have religious beliefs, but they are also intertwined with folklore and superstitions with native american undertones.

      So they say they are christian, but they added their own "interpretations" of the passages and even the commandments.

      So its a complex system of stupidity that has been cultivated by rich white men....which is why they trust trump. He is a rich white man. Historically Rich white men bring money to the south.

    4. I've been called a "regionist" for saying such things, that there's a lot of stupid down South. Call me what you want to call me, truth is truth.

      I didn't know any of the historical stuff, of course. You are very educational.

    5. I know a bunch of useless and totally random facts.

      It doesnt do anyone any good, but its entertaining.

    6. "Knowledge is good." —Emil Faber

    7. One last fact i will leave you with here. Doileys the white ones that grandma used to have. Those are from the victorian age where bodily fluids were seen as disgusting as with any manner of dirt.

      the war on dirt was so strong that they used doileys to cover everything as they could be washed not dusted.

      Also, it was in this era that bathing took off and sadly many victorians actually boiled themselves to death with self heating bathtubs that actually had the fire set below the tub...what could go wrong.

      Then dresses got shorter because victorians were like OMG my dress has been dragging all through the horse crap and human crap ini the streets and then i bring it home to my house...ewwwww.

      so skirts got shorter, so germs were not brought home. Victorians man...weird. one of the strangest eras.

    8. Boil 'em in the bathwater just like the legendary frogs ...


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