Fuck you, Jim Harrison.

There were garbage bags draped over all the computer terminals in the office, and my first thought was that the company was out of business. But no, they would’ve shut the elevators off. 

Remember the rain all day on Saturday? Well, it rained where I work, too, and the store’s roof is no more waterproof than the waterlogged roof of my rez hotel. Water, water everywhere, and I don’t work on the top floor of the department store. There are two floors above me — executive offices and some messy storage areas — so I assume and certainly hope they were flooded even worse than my area.

The carpet was soggy, the chairs were smelly, and it dripped so much on the photocopier that it was out of order, so I couldn't copy my zine. And yet, we were open for business, with big fans set up to blow wet stinking air all around, and we sat in uncomfortable folding metal chairs while our wet chairs were upside-down and drying out. 

It was at least interesting, unlike most days at the office. 

♦ ♦ ♦

What's the toxicity level is for aspirin? I am swallowing three orange enteric-coated tablets every hour or so, the keep the toothless pain subdued, now that all the stronger stuff the dentist prescribed is gone. 

Nobody called me back, from the messages I left at the dentist’s office and at Kaiser-Permanente. I called the dentist’s office, and spoke to whoever answered the phone, because, “Dr Dentist does not talk to patients on the phone unless it’s an emergency.”

She wouldn’t believe it’s an emergency, and told me the same things she'd told me when I called on Friday — my pain is perfectly normal, she said; it’s not unusual that the two tooth extractions are healing differently, she said; it’s normal for disgusting crud to ooze out of the wound, she said. What I said was, “You don’t really give a damn, do you?” 

It is visually obvious that my mouth is infected, so why can’t I just walk into a drug store and buy an antibiotic? Why am I required to get a prescription from the dentist, who caused the infection, and who seems to pay people to keep me from talking to him? He probably wants me to come in and see him for whatever that costs, before he’ll let me have an antibiotic.

♦ ♦ ♦

Did some rush-rush work for Babs, and some unrelated rush-rush work for a junior exec. Babs is my boss’s boss, so I cleared everything off my desk and my morning and did what she wanted to do. Didn’t make a pip. The junior exec, though, isn’t in my chain of command, plus I’ve assessed him as almost human, so I unloaded a little:

“Four people used to do the work I do now, and if you need something ‘rush-rush’ you’ll have to hire a few of them back, or take a number and wait your turn, because Babs outranks you so I gotta do her crap first.”

♦ ♦ ♦

Another example of how stupidly this company is run:

Carlotta has been working in our group for a week now, but the suits in charge still haven’t given her access to any of the programs we use on the computer. It's not intentional, it's incompetence. Darla tells me, "We're working on it," but what's the point of bringing her on board if she's not able to work?

We’re sort-of training her by having her sit beside us and watch us work, but we’re way, way past the maximum she can learn from that, without ever clicking her own keyboard and looking at her own screen. I was working on my own by my first afternoon here, and I assume Carlotta is smarter than me. Most people are. But we have her doing dummy-work, stuff so unimportant that we sometimes simply trash it when it’s stacked too tall.

♦ ♦ ♦

I found today’s Chronicle in the pooproom — the paper is now being published by management and strikebreakers — and saw the front page long enough to absorb just one headline: A striker was killed, electrocuted, while trying to disconnect the power at one of the papers’ distribution centers. This was reported “by Jim Harrison, Chronicle staff writer.”

Fuck you, Jim Harrison. 

I’m not even a big union man, really. Office flunkies have no union.

When I hear about a strike, though, any strike anywhere, that's all I need to know. Do you root for Goliath? No. Nobody walks away from their paycheck on a whim, so if workers vote to strike, any workers, any strike, I’m on the strikers’ side.

It's damned low to be a strikebreaker, a scab, unless you're starving to death, and maybe even then. Being a scab with your byline on the front page, reporting the death of a worker who was trying to keep you, Jim Harrison, from taking his job? That's major league low. 

I would not want to be Jim Harrison, Chronicle staff writer. He should meet a few Teamsters on a cloudy, moonless night.

♦ ♦ ♦

With a never-ending toothache and a new bottle of aspirin in my backpack, I BARTed to the Roxie for a cheap 1960s exploitation double feature, but both movies surprised me. I was expecting enjoyable schlock, but the first movie was quite good and the second was better.

The Shame of Patty Smith (1961) is that she’s pregnant, doesn’t want to be, and abortion is illegal. She goes to her doctor, a balding man who calls all women “child,” and gets a lecture on the law. She goes to church and gets a wide-eyed sermonette from the priest. Finally, she makes a phone call to someone who knows someone who might be able to arrange an abortion, if she can pay an outrageous price. It’s a chilling look at a time some cruel bastards want to return to, when police detectives from the abortion squad arrested doctors, and every pregnant woman was required by law to give birth.

It Won’t Rub Off, Baby (a/k/a Sweet Love, Bitter) is about race relations circa 1968, and I’m not sure much has changed yet. Against a backdrop of drugs, booze, and beautiful jazz, Dick Gregory and Don Murray forge a friendship. Gregory’s character is a sax player with a heavy drug habit, clearly a riff on Charlie Parker, and Murray plays a college prof intent on drinking himself to death after the death of his wife. This movie is tough, realistic, and relentlessly depressing. Hard to watch but I’m glad I did. Excellent music, too.

From Pathetic Life #6
Monday, November 7, 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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