Purple and hairy, and thanks, Hollie.

There are worse jobs than selling fish — hell, I worked at McDonald's, where the bun toaster and fry scoop are essential but every employee is replaceable. I worked at Macy's, where they told us the data was vitally important, but the paperwork was usually illegible. I worked at a car dealership, and saw the bottom line on every sale, where customers thought they'd negotiated a great deal, but the dealership almost always came out thousands of dollars ahead.

Working at the car dealership actually bothered my conscience. All the other jobs only bothered my soul and my sanity.

As for selling fish, I like the part of the job where I'm selling fish. Everything else about it blows, though. I hate getting up when an alarm clock says so, hate getting dressed and wearing deodorant, hate the long walk to Telegraph, hate unpacking and setting up the fish stand, hate talking with most of the other vendors and almost all the customers, hate hearing and making the same small talk every day, hate the Christians who freak out at the fish, hate the city schmucks who inspect the fish, on and on. There's so much to hate, but that's the way it is with any job.

I'm selling fish three days a week, five hours a day, so it's only part-time work. On Mondays, I sweep and shred and answer the phones at the smut magazine. Occasionally there's one-day work generated off my "I'll do anything" flyers, so in a good week I'm working 25-30 hours, earning enough to pay the rent and keep me fat — but not enough to save up for the planned move to New York City.

Tuesday is my next day off, and I've really got to spend it tacking and pasting up more work-wanted posters… but that's what I said to myself last Tuesday, and the Tuesday before. I'm a responsible adult when someone's paying me to do a job, but in real life I'm a lazy layabout who always puts off doing whatever needs to be done.

For example, there's a package of hot dogs in the fridge, and they're my hot dogs, but it's been a month and a half since opening the package and now they're the wrong color and I'll never eat them, and every time I see them in the fridge I think I ought to toss 'em in the trash, but my hands are usually full, so they'll stay there until they're purple and hairy.

I'll put up more work-wanted flyers when I'm purple and hairy.

♦ ♦ ♦

Today was a typical day selling fish. Let's see what I remember of it, as if any of it's worth remembering, worth typing up…

Some old man started giving me guff, telling me the fish are "taunting Jesus," but I didn't even respond. Simply sat in my chair, looking him in the eye and pointedly picking my nose until he got sick of the view and left.

There were pretty women on the Avenue. Always, there are pretty women on the Avenue, but today none of them were Andrea.

Wrenched my back trying to fold up the table at the end of the day, and it still hurts. Ouch, but not Ouch! I've taken two pills so I'm hoping the pain subsides overnight.

Special thanks to Hollie in Toronto, who's been trading this zine for Tylenol with codeine — stupidly illegal without a prescription here, but legal in Canada. Definitely my painkiller of choice, and also a good sleeping pill.

Thought I'd listen on the radio to hear the Mariners lose their playoff game and be eliminated. I'd rather they win, but losing is the habitual expectation for anyone who's ever followed the team. "Going to a Mariners game" is just another way to say "Watching the M's lose," and it's the same listening on the radio.

It was different tonight, though, because the game was only being broadcast in Spanish. The only Spanish I know is abierto and burrito.

The game was still the game, though, and maybe even better in a foreign language. The banter in the booth and inane commercials were unintelligible to me. A few of the players' names jumped out of the play-by-play, a foul is still a foul, and the crowd noise told the rest of the story.

When I fell asleep, the Mariners were ahead, seis a dos.

From Pathetic Life #17
Friday, October 6, 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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