Letters, we get letters.

Sometimes there are long letters from readers, and I read 'em and enjoy and appreciate 'em, and then a few weeks later there's another letter from the same reader asking why I haven't answered. Two readers have recently included a self-addressed stamped envelope, thinking that will get me to reply.

That won't get me to reply.

May I ask cordially, politely, what the fuck is wrong with you? On almost every page of every issue, there's evidence that I'm generally anti-social, and it's not an act. I really am generally anti-social. I don't want to be your pen-pal. If you send me a SASE, I'll scratch your name and address off the envelope, and use your stamp to pay the gas & electric.

Please send money, send zines, send gifts, and sure, send cards and letters — I like 'em, whether you love me or hate me. Don't expect a reply, though. Even if I had the inclination (I don't) to carry on correspondence with the dozens of readers who regularly write, I'd never have the time.

… there's something I don't understand in the March issue. Why did you settle for less than time-and-a-half overtime pay when you went into overtime hours? Money is money and you were entitled to overtime… 

—Cindy Wallace  

Life is a negotiation, Cindy. I need five bucks an hour. Stevi needed someone to hand out flyers that day, but not for $7.50. We all choose which rules to break, and by mutual choice Stevi and I broke a rule. 

Honestly, it's hard for me to imagine a life so painted by numbers that we all follow the rules all the time.

In a way I guess I can identify with you, even though my circumstances are not the same. Could it be life, if it is really looked at honestly by everyone, is the same pathetic piece of shit?

—David R Wyder  


[on letterhead]
Howdy. Don Reimus here, assistant music director for WOUI radio station in Chicago. I just read a short listing in
Milan's Zine concerning Pathetic Life. Needless to say, it caught my interest. Can you please send me further information on how to obtain a copy? Any info will be greatly appreciated.

—Don Reimus

Now and then I get letters like this one of yours, asking for "further information" on "how to obtain a copy" of my zine, etc. Like I don't see enough panhandlers on the sidewalk, now I get panhandlers in my mailbox. Are there really people who respond to such letters by sending freebies?

Mister Reimus, I have never seen my zine mentioned in any review that included an address but not a price. The price is three dollars. Is it worth it? Some say yes, some say no, but it costs me money to print it and money to mail it so I ask three dollars. Ya put it in an envelope and mail it to the same address you mailed your request for "more information."

As you may have guessed, I am an asshole, but based on your company letterhead, I'd say you can afford the price more than I can afford the freebie.

As you can see from the Milan's Zine review (enclosed) no price was listed. I simply wanted further information and in no way intended to get a freebie. In short, you are an asshole (your words not mine).

Also, Milan's review was rather uninformative. Enclosed is a stamp; please send a more detailed description. I am still interested in your zine, but I am slowly slipping into a nervous bankruptcy (looks like we are all in the same boat).

Thanks again for your time. Insult me, love me, reject me…

—Don Reimus  

PS. WOUI is a non-commercial, non-profit, student-run organization. We get no financial support from our institution. My request was personal and had no connection with the station other than the stationery.

Hey, who are you calling an asshole? Just kidding. It's me. I'm not always an asshole; sometimes I'm asleep. Please accept my apologies, my embarrassment, and these two sample issues.

No excuses, but I'll explain myself briefly: Milan's review is of a very early Pathetic Life, when trades were preferred. Eventually I noticed that about 90% of the zines people sent in trade kinda sucked, so I added a price tag. Eventually I quit my real-world job, and eliminated trades entirely. "Everybody pays" is my default setting.

And then, shortly before your first letter came, Factsheet Five named Pathetic Life as a "publisher's choice." Anyone who does a zine should *pray* to never win this alleged honor. It's flooded my mailbox with trade requests, and "please send more information" requests, and letters seeking "review copies" for magazines I'm almost certain don't exist.

All that adds up, makes me impatient, and you caught me in a bad mood on a bad day, and your filched stationery set me over the edge. Again, my apologies for being an asshole. I gotta be me. What else can I be...


From Pathetic Life #12
Wednesday, May 31, 1995

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.


  1. Captain HampocketsMarch 28, 2022 at 4:53 AM

    Reading this again makes me even more surprised and grateful that you, for whatever reason, DID correspond with me. Not sure what the hell you were thinking, but I'm glad! Hope South Dakota is Dako-terriffic!

    1. You were a special case. More a brother than my brothers, and I knew it when I first saw your zine.


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