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The year's final pettiness

In the six months I've been working on Telegraph Avenue, Jasper has never said hello to me, nor goodbye, nor see ya later. I've said "Good morning, Jasper" several times, and come to enjoy saying it, because I know he'll never reply. I've even started stretching out the "ass" part, saying, "Good morning, Jasssper." Nothing's too childish for me.

We have spoken, certainly, but he's never said anything to me that wasn't a threat or a promise to turn me in to the authorities for violating the rules of vending on Telegraph.

And I've cheerfully been guilty of those violations, and still enjoy any violations I can commit, but now that Jasper and I are equally allowed to sell Darwin fish, he hasn't said word-one to me all month.

Which is, of course, delightful. I am not yearning to hoist a few brews with him. The title of "Vendor I Most Despise" varies from day to day, but Jasper is often the champ and always in the running.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Today, for the very first time, he spoke a civil sentence to me. He said this, so easy-going that I was taken aback: "That's a great fish. Where did you get it?" 

He was pointing  at a new variety of manufactured plastic Darwin fish that we're buying from a different funny-fish wholesaler. It has fish-scales, which reflect the light and give the fish an illusion of movement. It's very eye-catching, and twice the price.

While pretending to be an anarchist, Jasper has always acted like nothing but a shopkeeper, never like an anarchist or even a decent human. When we were finally allowed to sell the same Darwin fish Jasper sells, his response was to lower his price on Darwin fish, thinking he'd start a price war or drive us out of business. Now he thinks I'll blurt out our new supplier's name, so he can order and sell the same fish and undercut us again? 

I looked at him and smiled, didn't answer. I can be as petty as Jasper, or anyone else.

I don't know the name of the company that's making our scaly Darwin fish, and their name isn't molded into the back of the fish. I promise, though, that I'll make it my mission not to find out and get back to Jasssper.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

As usual for my boring self, I was asleep by 8:00 tonight. The gunshots woke me as midnight approached, though. Soon there were hundreds of shots, hopefully into the air, though even that seems unreasonably dangerous. Gravity exists, people.

Many of the weapons were automatics, with six quick explosions in about one second. It sounded like a war movie, worse even than a bad night back at my old neighborhood in San Francisco's Mission. 

America is a suicidal society, ain't it? We're doing so many dumb things to kill ourselves — drug prohibition but guns everywhere, money for prisons but never enough for education, loving every war and arming every country, nuclear stockpiles but ignoring global warming, on and on — so of course gunshots at midnight on New Year's is how Americans celebrate a new calendar.

♦ ♦ ♦  

What bug's been dragging me down since Xmas is apparently letting me go. All that's left is a craggy throat, but otherwise I'm feeling dang fine.

It's 12:30 AM, with no gunshots in the past few minutes, so I'm going back to sleep now. See you next year, if you send me three dollars.

From Pathetic Life #19
Sunday, Dec. 31, 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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