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Ha! I got the last word!

This was my best day yet at Black Sheets, the sex mag where I work on Mondays. After doing my traditional chores — trash and recycling, literally scrubbing the toilets, filing and filling orders — Bill had me read through the stack of unsolicited submissions. My assignment: Give everything a fair chance, and mark each submission with either a smiley face or a frowny face.

Four hours of reading poetry, short stories, and non-fiction, all on assorted sexual subjects, was hardly what I'd call work. Sure, lots more frowns than smileys were drawn, but some of it was so awful it was funny, and are few of the short stories were quite good. Too bad the room I was reading in didn't have a door.

Oh, and Bill paid me cash, for accumulated hours worked. Payday is always the best day of the week, and now I'm rich, or will be until I spend it all on stamps for the next issue of PL.

♦ ♦ ♦

At the BART station, two of the gates were out of order, so everyone was lined up behind the one gate that was working, but your average white man in a silk suit was fumbling for his ticket and blocking the way. Not known for my patience, I groused out loud, "Are you going in, or are you just thinking about going in?"

"You don't have to be so smart about it," he said, but he stepped aside, let people through, so I should've said thanks or said nothing.

Instead I said, "It's not very 'smart' to stand in the way," and inserted my ticket in the gate, walked through, walked away. Ha! I got the last word!

But no, in the distance behind me I heard him say, "Blow it out your ass, fatboy."

Without pausing, slowing, or breaking stride, I mimed scratching my butt, then turn a little sideways so he could see that I was licking my fingers. This, of course, triggered another insult shouted at me, and well deserved.

He's right, of course. I am a big fat jerk, or at least I was to him. He caught me at a bad moment, I guess. Usually I'm Mr Zen, unflappable, but sometimes something silly will set me off, like a man in a nice suit blocking access to the subway. 

I shouldn't have complained. What, like I'm so important, and it's urgent that I get into the train station without being forced to wait for 15 seconds?

At the platform, it was five minutes until the next train came, so it made no difference anyway. If I'd said nothing to that man, we both would've been in a better mood, but instead he stood toward the back of the platform, I stood toward the front, and we discreetly glowered at each other.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Got a letter from Sarah-Katherine, with an unusual request in the fourth paragraph:

My dad is extremely interested in the zine phenomenon, but I'm not sure he understands the whole concept yet, since all he's read has been my zines. I think he'd enjoy the current issue of Pathetic Life, because it's got me in it but doesn't contain any, well, graphic scenes. I told him I'd contact a couple of my favorite zinesters and have them send him samples, and gee, Wally, you're definitely one of my favorites… 

She included her father's address, so I'm sending him a copy of the current issue. It feels awkward, because I've boinked his daughter, and the corny note I enclosed probably made it worse.

Also weird, in my family we have nothing but secrets. None of my relatives know what a zine is, or that I write one, and they never will. But I'm sending my zine, my diary fer cripes sake, to Sarah-Katherine's dad. She must have a saner family than mine.

♦ ♦ ♦

Also in the mail came a pretty good zine called Oblong. I hadn't sent for it, never heard of it, and it didn't come with an ordinary zinester-to-zinester note asking for a trade. In fact, there was no note at all, just Oblong in an oblong envelope. Your basic un-asked for freebie.

And I liked the zine. I'm not sure it's for public consumption, so I won't list an address, but it includes a well-written write-up of last year's film noir series at the Roxie. I'm planning to attend at least two double features at the Roxie next week, so I did something I've never done before. I wrote to Bruce, the Oblong author, and invited him to join me.

How utterly anti-anti-social. Don't know what came over me.

From Pathetic Life #17
Monday, October 16, 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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