Last week I saw this old black guy again. I say 'old' but he's probably my age. Some nights he stands behind a traffic control box and beats off while looking into the window of a couple of young oriental girls.

I'm sure the girls are attractive, but I'm not sure what they look like since my glasses got stolen last summer. I think they are fairly young, and that's probably enough of an attraction in itself.

Maybe I'm chicken but I haven't said anything to the girls. I don't know if they know they're being watched. I haven't said anything to or about him. He zips up before I get close, and like I said it's dark and I don't have my glasses. Anyway, it gives the neighborhood some character.

—Tim Lauzon
The Voluntary Poverty Newsletter
San Diego

If you're seeking advice, mine would be tell the girls. I'd want to know, wouldn't you? If you're too shy or embarrassed to tell them in person, leave a note under their door. 

Or if you're just telling me what's up, I guess it's that old black guy's dick. —DH 

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We would like to know more about you and your ZINE! Content? Distribution? Readership? Target market? Advertising rates? Classifieds? Free-lance gigs?

Moore-Harmon Productions is compiling a data base for major and indy label advertisers as well as free-lance artists who are interested in working with you! Drop us a line or fax us, ASAP! Please let us know about your ZINE! Details, details, details, please!!!

—Moore-Harmon Productions
Los Angeles

My ZINE has no fax! No details will be forthcoming! No free-lance gigs! No classified ads! No readership to speak of, and only the finest in shit-level content. Also, no interest in whatever you're selling, so please please please go away, ASAP! —DH 

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I need to leave Seattle soon, very soon. If you can't go with me to New York right away, that's all right. I'll go, and wait for you to come to me…

— Sarah-Katherine

Oh, my almost darling, I don't have the money to move to New York any time soon. If you go without me I'll try to catch up eventually, but meanwhile I'd be awfully worried about you. You don't know anyone there, and nobody in that city of millions cares about you.

If your goal is to get out of Seattle, I wish wish wish you'd consider San Francisco. Even if New York remains your destination, six months or a year here would not seem like purgatory, I guarantee.

SF is a city the world thinks is beautiful, and just this once I concur with the world. Never been to New York City, but based on second-hand comments from everyone on Earth who has, San Francisco is cleaner, kinder, more tolerant, more affordable, and maybe easier to get around in. 

For me, the one and only attraction of New York City is that you're going to live there. And you are. I am not trying to talk you out of it, Sarah-Katherine. I'm only trying to persuade you not to go alone.

If you do, you'll kick the Big Apple's core, and I'll try to follow, hoping your invitation doesn't expire while I keep trying to save up the required scratch. 

Your friend wherever, —DH 

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I've been putting in 12-hour days. Since I do a lot of my work on the computer, I'm dizzy and have a headache by evening, and my eyes are getting so hopeless that I can't read easily at times.

I've got this big floater in my left eye that insists on drifting squarely in my line of sight, and my right eye is good at long distance (it's the one that was injured) but doesn't do so well close up.

Nearsighted in my left eye with a brown blob, farsighted in the right, night blind, crotchety, curmudgeonly misanthropic and forty-six. 

— Paul Roasberry
Littleton CO

Your mind is 20/20, though. —DH 

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The holidays (hollow days) were a dismal disaster, as usual. They sent me into a depression I'm still crawling out of…

— Barbara Cooper
San Rafael CA

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When I examine all the reasons I so frequently travel long distances, the bottom line is probably the simple luxury of being alone.

When I'm in Prague, I always book a room with families that only speak Czech, German, or Russian. When I pull into a railway station accommodations booth, they always ask, "Would you prefer a room with a family that speaks English?" and I say NO! It's worked out real well.

—Sam Cucchiara
always on the road

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I'll probably wind up getting Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease or some shit like that, so I'll be perfectly honest with you, Doug — I'm not really planning on living much past 40 anyway. I'm not particularly fond of the idea of growing old.

—Matt Frisbee
The Frisian Journal
Corpus Christi TX

I dunno, Mr Matt. Growing old, feeble in mind and body, and becoming an all-expenses-paid ward of the state? That is my highest aspiration. —DH 

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"Put a pretty woman in a short skirt, and show me any man who's not hoping for a breeze, and it's gotta be a gay man."

That made me laugh, and though it describes my desires now, back in my active political days I would've been appalled by this sentiment. Perhaps it was all a repression of natural instincts, but I had no desire to sneak glimpses at women's bodies. I was the perfect feminist male, interested only in a woman's intelligence and personality, and boy did this ever get me laid a lot!

—Paul Kazee

I repress my natural instincts by not openly ogling woman, never drooling if I can help it, and keeping my filthy thoughts to myself. I am a feminist male, but that's not even why — it's just good manners. —DH

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Remember me? I wrote from Little, Brown and asked if you had thought about doing a book. Have you thought about it any more or do you still think I'm crazy?

—Jacquie Miller
Little, Brown & Company
New York City

I don't think you're crazy, but also don't think anyone wants to read a book I'd write. And anyway, I don't want to make my words fit onto your shelf. Maybe an editor would improve my many crappy entries, but Little, Brown or any big-time publisher would water down the pages I'm proudest of, and make me tack on a happy ending I don't believe in, so — no hard feelings, but no thanks. —DH

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I don't care much about getting laid. Sex isn't very important to me these days. I've been taking Zoloft (it's a lot like Prozac) for two and a half years, but I'm going off it as of last week, so maybe my sexual interest will rise, so to speak. 

I was taking Zoloft for depression, but I've moved back to Oregon where I have friends, so depression doesn't seem to be as much of a problem as when I lived in Seattle…

— Corby Simpson
Salem OR

Welcome home, to your home in Oregon, Corby. Hope your depression goes away and your erection comes back. —DH

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New York City ought to be nuked off the face of the earth. It would be a true service to humanity. Fuck, man, I used to live there, and stress the word "used to." I don't get why you'd move there, why anyone would.

If you're going there for Sarah-Katherine, she must be a hell of a woman. You must love her, huh? I wouldn't go there for Uma fuckin' Thruman.

—Jay Robinson

For Uma Thurman? Neither would I. 

For Sarah-Katherine? Maybe, but it'll be a while. —DH 

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Don't apologize for what you think is sappy writing over true love. I've just met a wonderful woman and we have connected like we were made for each other. I too find myself saying sappy things, thinking of her and nothing else, etc, but I've realized that it just means I'm happy, and who cares what it seems like to anyone else? Art may come from suffering, but give me happiness any day.

—Jim Moul
Acworth NH

Congratulations, Jim. If I'm ever in love, I won't apologize for anything sappy, I promise, but I don't think I'll ever be in love. —DH

From Pathetic Life #20
Wednesday, January 10, 1996

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.


  1. Love your comment about how you don't think you'll ever be in love. Because now we know it happened.

    But despite all the population numbers of millions in every metro area, finding that ONE person who you like and who will tolerate you and even like -- and maybe one day LOVE? -- is an 'against the odds' proposition for most people. It's ridiculous that it's so hard. Yet, humans are ridiculous. As I've told you, I'm the lucky one who continues to live with the most amazing woman alive. Yet, even the exact night before I met her, I was in a diner with a group of guys bemoaning with them about never meeting anyone. The one thing I had going for myself at the time was youth. I was 27. If I had to do it now, I don't think I'd have the energy or at this point the conscience to put another person through the trauma that is my medical life. I have no idea why my girl sticks around. I think she's used to me. -- Arden

    1. I think she loves you like you love her, and YOU'RE the one person she can tolerate and like and love and does, just like she's yours.

      When people say there's someone out there for everyone, I believe it's true, but also believe the odds are stacked against ever meeting that someone.

      Congrats on beating the odds, both of you.

  2. Got you fooled, then. At my very best I'm an ass who's not trying to be an ass, at the moment.


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