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On glossy paper,
opposite an ad for Gucci

This is my diary, and I write something every day. What's easiest is writing about dumb things like poop and boners, or the zit that keeps coming back in my eyebrow, or my recurring jock itch.

It's more difficult, a much greater challenge as a writer, to dig into myself psychologically, and write honestly about my insecurities, my fears, worries, loneliness, and anger at the world.

When I've gone into topics like that, sometimes I'm proud of what I've written, sometimes it's even helped me understand myself better. Yesterday's entry, for example. Jeez, that took a lot of time and effort to write. Can't say whether it's any good, but where it went still scares and saddens me. This would be a better zine if I wrote more entries like yesterday's, and fewer like today's. Today I'm going shallow.

My farts have been really juicy for the past several weeks. I'm not just full of hot air. After most of my farts, there's moisture on the back of my underpants. When I fart without underpants, there are drips on the chair, or on the floor.

I've put off writing about this, because it's too easy and ever-so-slightly icky, but it's become nuisance enough that it's gotta be mentioned.

Is it a dietary thing? I am eating a little more fruit than I used to, because there's always apples and bananas and satsumas and such in Jay's kitchen and she's said I can help myself, and you never have to say something like that to me twice. I've been living here for months, though, eating one or two of Jay's oranges and peaches just about every day, so how come the farts didn't start getting leaky until earlier this month?

I went a few days without eating any of Jay's fruit, but noticed no change. And I've tried skipping my ordinary can of baked beans for breakfast, but still, my farts have fluidity. 

What convinced me to write about it today is, I was lying naked in bed filling orders, shoving sample copies of the zine into envelopes, when I felt a fart on its way.

So I tried an experiment: I pulled my cheeks far apart as they could go, and cupped one of my zine-size envelopes, bent in the shape of the St Louis Arch over my anus, and passed an ordinary slobbering fart. When I pulled the envelope out and looked at it, it was modern art — splatters of brown all over the manila. I'll have to clip it onto a clothesline and let it bake in tomorrow's sun before I can use that envelope to mail someone a sample copy.

Why this is happening? Are moist farts an ordinary side-effect of my advancing age? I'm in my late 30s, which is mathematically middle-aged, if I'm hoping to live to 75.

I'd be eager to hear advice from anyone who knows anything about this wet fart phenomenon, but please, don't tell me to see a doctor unless you enclose a couple of hundred dollars, because that's what it costs to see a doctor and it's money I don't have.

And that's just the doctor. If an MD says "We'll need to run some tests," make it $400 please.

♦ ♦ ♦

Today was my weekly shift at Black Sheets, which was fortunately free of any gas attacks. On my way back to BART, I stopped at my maildrop, and on the train I opened a big envelope from Interview magazine.

They'd interviewed me a while back, so the magazine includes some Pathetic Life excerpts, and I'd like to thank their reporter, Tony Moxham, for writing a notice that seems fair and favorable.

He sent three copies of the magazine, too, which was certainly unexpected, but I'm not so in love with myself that I need three copies. If anyone's interested in reading my brief interview in Interview, send $1.24 (that's the postage) and I'll mail you one of my spare copies.

They printed four Pathetic Life vignettes, from late March and early April. Three of the entries survived editing more or less intact, while one was wounded and reads worse than I'd written it, if that's possible.

But I should complain? Nah, usually my words are just typed and photocopied, so it's exhilarating to see them on glossy paper, surrounded by color and opposite an ad for Gucci boots.

Now I'm running calculations in my head. I don't know how many people read Interview, but it's a big magazine. If 1% of 1% of its readers read the page of Pathetic Life excerpts, and if 1% of 1% of those people order a copy of the zine, that might be...  twenty orders? Ah, dream big — maybe 25 orders. Clearly, I've made the big time.

They'll be ignorant orders, though. I asked them to include my mailing address and the zine's price, but there's no mention of what the zine costs, and they listed my address just slightly wrong, but wrong enough that any inquiries will end up at the dead letter office.

They spelled my name right, though, so thanks again, Tony Moxham and Interview magazine.

From Pathetic Life #16
Monday, September 25, 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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