A chipped tooth, and a dollar discount

On Telegraph Avenue, all the laws that govern who can sell, who can't, what we can sell, what we can't, where we can sell, and where we can't, are supposed to prevent the chaos of vendors vending without rules. At least, that's the pretense.

One of the many rules is that vendors can sign up for sidewalk space until 12:30. Well, I got the fish cart to the Ave at about 11:20, earliest I've been there since I started skipping the lottery for sidewalk-space — but the sign-in sheets had already been closed and collected by the city's clipboard schmuck.

So instead of signing in and setting up my table, I had to wander Telegraph and ask the other vendors whether an empty space was taken or not. I was halfway set up in an empty slot, when the vendor who'd already claimed it showed up, so I moved to an empty space across the street, and of course, that vendor showed up half an hour later and kicked me out.

I lost about an hour of sell-time, and cost two other vendors some of their sell-time, thanks entirely to the city breaking its own rules. And then the clipboard schmuck didn't even come by! Today I actually wanted to see him, just to tell him the truth about his heritage and IQ.

♦ ♦ ♦

Because of a new threat from the so-called Unabomber, the US Post Office won't accept big packages, until further notice. A "big" package is anything twelve ounces or over, so if you go to a post office and try to send something "big," they'll refuse it. You're supposed to go to a post office, fill out forms, stand in line, show ID, etc.

It's a minor inconvenience for me, as I send the zine to a few stores that sell it, and those packages weigh a few pounds. I don't know when I'll get around to the forms and the lines at the post office, but it won't be in the next few weeks, so you buy this zine at Quincy's or Powell's, it won't be there.

The article in the paper doesn't say this, but you know USPS will only hassle little guys like you and me with these requirements. You think they're going to refuse thousands of packages from the Book-of-the-Month Club, or mail-order purchases from Sears? Those packages are going to be delivered just fine, and nobody's going to be filling out forms or standing in line to mail them.

Seems to me the mail should go through — dead of night, sleet and snow, and all that. The Unabomber is over-publicized, anyway. He's killed three people in fifteen years, which certainly sucks if you're one of those three, but a postal carrier is more likely to be killed by another postal carrier than by a bomb.

And anyway, isn't this exactly what the Unabomber wants — to disrupt everything?

♦ ♦ ♦

Tucked away on page 26 of today's San Francisco Chronicle, there's a report on some witnesses' angry reactions to news from the SFPD in yesterday's paper. I didn't buy a paper yesterday, so it's all news to me, but here's the news:

The cops say they "have found no evidence in their continuing investigation to support criminal homicide or felonious assault charges against the officers involved" in murdering Aaron Williams

We're overdue for a riot, if you ask me.

♦ ♦ ♦

I answered a customer's questions about what the fish are about, and then, whatdyaknow, that customer bought a fish. As he walked away, a neighbor vendor who'd overheard the Q-&-A told me, "You're a natural-born salesman." He meant it as a compliment, but it was the most cutting insult I've received in years.

I don't know squat about sales, and sure don't want to be a salesman, but I've mastered three proven methods to attract customers to the fish stand: ① Take a big bite of a sandwich, so you can't talk. ② Feel shitty, with an upset stomach or mild fever or whatever. ③ Begin breaking down the stand at the end of the day. Any of these techniques will bring in business.

And the best way to drive customers away? For me, it's usually just saying hello.

♦ ♦ ♦

After work, I hurried to Dark Carnival, a cool bookstore, where Dr Weirde, author of A Guide to Mysterious San Francisco, spoke and presented a slide show on the city's strangest sites. The good doctor puts on a fine show, and he was funny and enthusiastic about the subject, despite probably giving the same lecture and showing the same slides at another bookstore the night before.

From living in San Francisco for 3½ years, I'm a naturalized native, but I learned at least two things from Dr Weirde's lecture:

• Despite seeing Harold and Maude countless times and making several trips to the ruins of the Sutro Baths, I hadn't known that the scene where Ruth Gordon falls through a hole was filmed at the Baths.

• I knew that Golden Gate Park was built where there'd been nothing but sand dunes, but I hadn't known that the makeover was mostly accomplished by hauling in all of the city's horse manure. And that was before Frank Jordan was Mayor.

Of course, I bought a copy of Dr Weirde's book, and I've started reading it, and it's quite good. Recommended by me, if you're visiting the city and don't want to do all the boring and usual things.

It has too many Illuminati and/or Anton LaVey references. I prefer weird things that actually happened over such silly running jokes, which feel like filler. Some of the book's better suggestions are free, though, so it'll be useful when Sarah-Katherine is here… in twelve days, ten hours, and 19 minutes.

♦ ♦ ♦

Chipped a tooth while chewing a sandwich at dinner. What had been creamy peanut butter was suddenly chunky. Creamy PB is all it takes to break my flimsy teeth, and It was a fairly substantial chunk of tooth, too. No pain before or after, so I guess that's good luck.

We haven't spoken since last month, but my mother's voice is nagging at me. "See a dentist," she's saying, but — dentist, schmentist. Poor people don't need teeth.

♦ ♦ ♦

OK, that's the June issue, but I'm adding this note on the 18th of July. I'm finally starting to proofread the issue you've just read, so it's probably August as you're reading this.

Being tardy is a tradition amongst zinesters, and anyway I'm a butt-head, so I won't apologize for the lateness. The delay is because Sarah-Katherine has been staying at my place, and she's more interesting than typing.

Want the details? Yeah, you want the details, but they'll cost ya two dollars.

That's right, just $2, not the normal $3. It'll still say $3 on the cover and that's still the price, but the June issue both bites and blows, and if you put up with it, you get a dollar off if you're willing to make the same mistake again.

Hell, maybe I am a natural-born salesman.

From Pathetic Life #13
Friday, June 30, 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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