Radio Libre 103.3 is pretty good pirate radio for the neighborhood, but listening tonight they had some woman talking about how much satisfaction she gets from her job. For that much horseshit, you usually have to listen to the commercial stations.

If your job is helping people somehow, if you're a nurse or a firefighter, maybe. Hypothetically. She said she was a security guard, though, and what's the satisfaction in that? She had a long and stupid explanation, but the real answer feels like nope.

Protecting the property of rich folks is not a path to satisfaction. It's a job, same as any other. Someone's got to do it, and if it's you, congratulations, you're employed.

Nothing's wrong with working. It pays the rent, maybe buys trinkets and clothes and other stuff you need, and long as you have to work, there's nothing wrong with working hard. I usually put some effort into it, not from pride or anything, but because I want to be worth my wages so they don't look for someone better.

Deriving actual satisfaction from work, though? So much satisfaction that you want to talk about it on the radio? That just seems sad. Self-delusional. I'll go through a hundred jobs before I'm dead, and maybe they're all the wrong jobs but I haven't smelled a whiff of satisfaction from any of them yet. 

No, please. You want satisfaction? Create something. Build a shelf. Make a stew. Fix your toaster oven. Adopt a cat. Do someone a kindness. Hell, do someone a meanness, and take satisfaction from that.

♦ ♦ ♦

Sarah-Katherine showed me the clipping when I was in Seattle, and three other readers have sent copies or congratulatory post cards, all because my zine was mentioned in The New York Times last Sunday. 

Am I supposed to take satisfaction from that? I wouldn't mind it — I'm not immune to that crap — but the article is an indifferent piece of piffle, your typical mainstream media coverage of 'a trend', and as I'd expected, there's no contact info. Even if someone's intrigued by the article's description of Terry Ward's Notes From the Dump, or Maria Knopp's Sludge Pond, or my Pathetic Life, they can't send for a copy.

The article is neither kind nor cruel nor even caring, and not very informative. I spotted two mistakes, one minor and one whopper, when it claimed zines were birthed by punk rock. That's bollocks. Zines have been around since at least the golden age of science fiction — the 1930s or '40s — and probably before that, for as long as there's been pens and paper.

Four paragraphs about the article are five paragraphs too many, so I'm done with it. I don't regret not cooperating with the reporter when he called for an interview. Even if he'd wanted to know something about me, which I doubt, there's not much to know that isn't in the zine. I write it and you're reading it, so what's the point of an interview?

From Pathetic Life #12
Monday, May 29, 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.

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