Still life on paper

First thing every Sunday morning, there’s the annoyance of remembering that tomorrow’s Monday, and I’ll have to go to work. Most people hate their jobs, and I’ve hated other jobs, but I’m starting to hate this job like Republicans hate women. 

It pays better than temping, though, and it comes with health insurance, so I stay … week after week, month, year, waiting for someone to notice my bad attitude and fire me. Or for me to notice my bad attitude, and quit.

A week from today, though, I’ll awaken without that dread. I’ll be on vacation. Paid vacation. One week of actually being alive. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Spent much of the morning working on the zine — proofing, prettying up, and then printing the first few weeks of November. Reading through it, I was struck again by the plain fact that it’s boring as hell. Whyever do people read this zine? Nothing happens. It’s like the novelization of a snapshot, or still life on paper.

It’s the zine that sucks, though, not the life. The life is sweet, except for the job. Evenings and weekends I’m almost always alone, doing what I want, when I want. If I decide to do something, I don’t need anyone’s permission, don’t have to compromise with a Mrs, don’t need to phone home if I’m running late. And if I decide to do nothing, that's even better. I’m the absolute master of my (tiny, pathetic) realm, limited only by a chronic lack of funds and friendships. 

It ain't much but it makes me happy, and writing the zine makes me happy, too, even when it sucks. Or even though it sucks.

I wanted to be a writer, when I was young enough to still have hopes. It became plain to me, though, that writing — at least, professionally — is something I cannot do. At a newspaper or a magazine they’d want me to have a college degree, and if I was writing books or stories they’d want me to have a plot or a point or something.

So I file papers to make the rent, and answer phones, and key numbers into a computer. In my spare time, I write.

The challenge is, can I take a true story where almost nothing happens, and make it hopefully, nominally more interesting than a blank sheet of paper? Not yet I haven’t, but I’ll try again tomorrow.

From Pathetic Life #6
Sunday, November 20, 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. > If I decide to do something this afternoon, I don’t need anyone’s permission, don’t have to compromise with a Mrs, don’t need to phone home if I’m running late.

    Reminds me of the old Tom Waits song, "Better Off Without a Wife."


    Cause I like to sleep until the crack of noon
    Midnight howling at the moon
    Going out when I want to,
    And I'm coming home when I please
    Don't have to ask permission
    If I wanna go out fishing
    Never have to ask for the keys

    1. I was better off with a wife, but I do follow your meaning. And cripes, having to seek permission or compromise from the wrong wife would be like life in prison.


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