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Thank you, nobody.

It’s Thanksgiving Day. There’s so much to be thankful for, and thankfully, no god to thank. 

Thank you, nobody, for my reasonably good health. Thanks for this tiny room at $85 per week, and thanks for a job I hate that pays the rent, sometimes even a few weeks in advance. Thanks for soles with no holes, canned beans with instant rice, and a pair of glasses that keep the movies in focus. Thanks for white skin in this racist nation, so I’m not routinely hassled or beaten by police. Thanks for the U.S. Constitution, which lets me write this. And thanks especially for a day without work.

There was no Thanksgiving feast. What, am I gonna buy a turkey and slice it into chunks small enough to microwave? I don’t much like turkey anyway, and I hate cranberry sauce. 

Peanut butter sandwiches were breakfast, tuna sandwiches were lunch, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were a late dinner. T'was a glorious bounty on wheat bread.

♦ ♦ ♦

Wrote my first column for Twisted Times. My deal with Stuart didn't specify that I'd write something original, so I simply lifted a few movie reviews from Pathetic Life. Then I changed a line here and a punctuation mark there, same as any time I look at something I’ve written. When it wasn’t long enough, I grabbed and inserted another review.

I read it out loud, slowly, about twenty times, always stopping to switch a few words around. Then I re-did a paragraph, moved this sentence there and that sentence here, over and over again. Then I watched as the word processor printed it, and when I didn’t like the 14th paragraph I hit cancel and went back to editing. So even though I wasn’t really writing, it took hours. And I'm still not happy with it, so I haven't mailed it yet.

The zine comes out the same way. Every day's entry is like a painfully constipated crap, and then I re-crap the crap a week later, and re-re-crap the crap at the end of the month, and then I wipe up all this crap and mail it to you for three dollars. It’s only the monthly deadline that makes me eventually say it’s finished, else I’d still be editing the first issue.

♦ ♦ ♦

The Roxie’s western round-up ended today, with an oddly mismatched double feature. Wagon Master (1950) is about a couple of young bucks leading a wagon train westward-ho. The movie and the wagon train are filled with Mormons, floozies, and inbred thugs, and it adds up to a pleasant enough yarn, with a soft-spoken message about tolerance.

The Searchers (1956) has the opposite message, that if you’re not white then shooting you dead doesn’t count as murder or even a misdemeanor. Tough-talking John Wayne brings violence and vengeance, looking to slaughter the natives who killed his brother and kidnapped his niece. You get the impression, though, that killing any natives will do, long as they’re dead and the Duke can ride off into the sunset. 

Obviously, The Searchers left me sour, but judged by the standards of its time instead of ours, it’s a fine adventure. It's on a lot of critics' top-10 lists, and Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide says it's a masterpiece. It is a real purdy movie, and it's from John Ford, who was terrific, and we're supposed to see Wayne as an imperfect protagonist. For me, though, The Searchers was disturbing, in ways I don't think its creators intended. It’s six years newer than Wagon Master, and that movie didn’t make me cringe.

♦ ♦ ♦

I brought some pitted prunes to nibble during the movies, and when I got home and put the leftovers in the fridge, I read this at the bottom of the package: “Best if served before 3/93.” That’s a year and a half ago.

Well, they tasted fine, and they’d been vacuum-sealed in plastic, so I don’t think they’ll kill me. I’ll finish off the prunes tomorrow. They’re having the desired effect tonight, and for that I’m thankful.

From Pathetic Life #6
Thursday, November 24, 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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6 comments:

  1. >There was no Thanksgiving feast.

    I remember us going to the long-defunct Section 8 Cafeteria, AKA, I think, New Mission Cafeteria at 18th and Mission, on my first (or maybe second) Thanksgiving in SF. Turkey and taters and stuffing with the homeless and addicts and drunks. Still part of my favorite years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you maka me laugh, and then wistful for the Section 8 Cafe. The customers were mostly bums and derelicts, drunks and psychotics, and you and me, but the food was ... decent, wasn't it? It wasn't homestyle fancy cooking or anything, but we had a plausible Thanksgiving there, in what, 1996? It was better than a turkey TV dinner, for sure.

      I ate a lot of breakfasts there, too. With you, sometimes, if we were going to the movies.

      Gotta be quite a life, running a restaurant for losers like us, and yet still somehow managing to make the food palatable.

      Delete
  2. >the food was ... decent, wasn't it?

    The food was cheap as fuck, and hot, and not bad. I think the T-giving meal was like 5 bucks, a dollar or two more than a standard daily meal. Good times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that was my "breakfast at the diner" in San Francisco. Squat & Gobble was good too, but too crowded and pricey.

      Delete
  3. You know I like it all but the first two paragraphs here is a poem, so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, you are authorized to recite it as grace before Thanksgiving dinner.

      Delete

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