Almost "Shut the hell up"

Long delayed because his adult-children had other things to do, today they're finally holding the memorial service for Uncle Kyle, that deceased family friend I mentioned a while back. My two brothers and my mom had already asked me to attend, and my answer was nope, nope, and nope. 

My family defies my understanding sometimes. Often, really. 

Sept. 10, 2022

It's not a secret that I abhor funerals and memorials. I've said out loud that I simply don't and won't attend such events. I haven't been to a memorial service since the 1980s, and I regretted it then. When my wife died, there wasn't a memorial service, which was our joint decision, and I don't want a memorial for me when I'm done here.

Never once have I had a good time at a funeral, memorial, or cremation. Memorial services don't help me with my grieving, and my presence doesn't help anyone else. I prefer grieving the same way I live most of my life — alone.

And yet, every time someone dies, the family thinks I'll make an exception, just this once.

Today at the family breakfast, my sister Katrina was there, and my mom, and my friend Leon. Mom pestered me all the way through breakfast to go to Uncle Kyle's memorial. Five or seven times she said it, in different ways but increasingly harshly.

My replies were also increasingly harsh, but after the fifth or sixth nagging 'invitation' — that's the wrong word, because invitations can be declined — I gave a long, surprisingly patient (to me) answer that was basically the third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs above.

To this, Mom only smiled and nodded her head, as she does whenever we reach the brink. Five minutes later she told me again that I should go to the memorial service today.

Katrina, who lives with Mom and knows better than I how to handle her, interrupted to point out that the service will be available online, for viewing at my convenience.

"Who knows," said I, "I might watch it, alone in my underwear on my recliner."

To that, my mom said again to go to the service, which would be easy for me, she said, since I was already wearing all black. And I was; most of my clothes are black, because it's the color that can go longest without laundering. That doesn't mean I'm going to anybody's memorial, though, and I said so.

Mom nodded and smiled at me.

Even Leon, who's almost family, said to my mom, "You keep asking, and he keeps telling you no."

A few minutes later, of course, Mom 'invited' me again, and I came close to losing my temper but didn't. "Give it up and knock it off," I said. "I've said no enough times, so frickin' stop it already." Almost, almost I said Shut the hell up, but I didn't. Next time she asks, I said to myself, she gets my full Shut the hell up.

She didn't ask again, though, and it kinda disappointed me. I've said Shut the hell up only a few times to my mother, and she's old, so I might not have many more opportunities.

My final paycheck from the bus driving job has been deposited, and I took a gander at my on-line bank statement. The balance in my account is on a downward trajectory, cuz I'm not working, but in August I worked, and made a profit, so to speak. Even after paying the rent, there's more in my bank account than a month earlier.

It was really stupid to quit that job. Glad I did, though.

On a bus ride to lunch at Dick's yesterday, a full-size Metro bus whizzed by with "Training Bus" as its destination sign. Had to look as it drove by, and saw someone seated right next to the driver, watching.

And I remembered Vivian, who sat behind the rookie drivers when she was supposed to be teaching us the short bus. She didn't watch us drive much, but she kept telling me I wasn't driving good enough.

"Training Bus" flashed on the front of that Metro bus, alternating with "Now Hiring," and I am tempted to apply for that job and drive that bus. The buses I drove with Vivian were mini-buses, extra-long Ford Econovans, and I got the hang of it, so I'm pretty sure I could drive full-size buses if someone cared to teach me.

I dunno. Maybe I'd flunk out. Even if I did, though, the training is paid, so I could plump up my bank account again.

The job I'm still hoping for is answering the question line for Metro Transit, but there's no word on that yet. If they don't hire me, my runner-up choice for a job would be driving a full-size bus Metro. They're hiring, and I'm looking, so why not?

Or maybe it's just another daydream.

You know what I've learned from re-typing the first 16 issues of Pathetic Life from the 1990s? Despite some success with it, and a pretty big readership by zine standards back then, despite some people telling me they loved it… it really wasn't that good.

Long stretches of it bore me, and it's a chore re-typing it. Where we're at right now in those back issues, it's a series of stories about our battles with Berkeley over selling the Darwin fish. I don't even remember how it all worked out in the end, but win or lose, I'm not sure even I care about the outcome.

And now, the news you need, whether you know it or not…    

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Navy says all UFO videos classified, releasing them "will harm national security" 

In a Freedom of Information Act request response, the Navy told government transparency site The Black Vault that any public dissemination of new UFO videos "will harm national security as it may provide adversaries valuable information regarding Department of Defense/Navy operations, vulnerabilities, and/or capabilities. No portions of the videos can be segregated for release."

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DOJ warns judge that delaying the FBI’s Trump investigation is a national security risk 

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Sweet Insanity 

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Heil Honey I'm Home! 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...



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The End

Anne Garrels
Kazuo Inamori
Bernard Shaw
Drummie Zeb

Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S, Wynn Bruce, and always Stephanie...


  1. You werent't looking for this, and you don't need it but let me say it. Pathetic Life was good and still is good and I am glad you're putting it out there again. Some of it isn't great literature. You never said it was. And some of it IS great literature tho you'd never admit it.

    White I'm showering you with praise deserved I will also say that your website is always worth reading. On your "bad days" it is interesting, on your good days it is profound. Thank you for letting me read it.

    1. Ah, jeez, man, no, I definitely wasn't looking for words of encouragement. They tend to freak me out. Thanks, though.


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