So many reasons to be blue

I'm blue this morning. I miss Sarah-Katherine, though I never knew her all that well. I'm still sad about not moving to New York City with her, though I know San Francisco is ten times better for me.

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Got a voice mail from Margaret, an ex with issues I haven't heard from in a long while. She says, "My daughter liked you, and my sister liked you, and I kind of liked you, miss you, and wonder if you miss me."

Yeah, I like you, Maggie, but I can only handle one crazy person in my life, and he's me.

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I kind of miss everyone I've ever known and moved away from — family and old friends in Seattle, Louie and Kallie and Carlotta at Macy's, Judith and Lugosi in Berkeley… These days, people come into my life for a few months, maybe a year, and then they're gone.

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Asked Corina on a date, but I asked by mail so the answer will be slow coming, and I'm pretty sure she'll turn me down. I'm fat and ugly and have bad breath, but the zine is fairly popular, so why don't I have groupies?

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Sometimes I wonder how my mom's doing, and a voice in my head tells me to give her a call. We haven't spoken in eleven months, and I tell the voice to shut up, because Mom makes me mental. But I feel bad about it.

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So today's a day I'd rather stay in bed, but instead I gotta make the long BART commute and then walk to Telegraph Ave and sell fish. 

So many reasons to be blue, and of course, I'm still devastated because little Jessica's plane crashed…

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Waiting for the train to Berkeley, the BART station was packed with radicals, feminists, hippies, and pinkos in general, all carrying banners and placards and talking earnestly in clusters of two to half a dozen.

At noon there'll be a big March downtown for abortion rights, and I might've liked to have gone to the rally myself. If women don't have the right to abortion, entirely their choice, then it's bogus saying women have any rights at all. 

But I gotta work, and anyway, I don't think the courts or Congress care that people rally in San Francisco.

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Instead I sat at a folding table all day, and said, "Fish," and then a minute later, "Funny fish," and a minute after that, "Fish stickers and magnets," and then "Fish" again.

Those are my usual lines, but today it was literally a minute between lines. I set my little Casio watch to beep every minute and remind me to say the next line, and amused myself by saying nothing but those four lines all day.

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I haven't seen Danny the economist for weeks. Umberto says he hasn't seen him either. 

A homeless man disappears, and who notices? Who cares? To most people the down-and-outers don't matter, and if one of them's dead or gone that's a good thing. Me, I think they're people, but that seems to be a minority perspective.

From Pathetic Life #23
Sunday, April 14, 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. I likely told you this before but I graduated from high school in 1986, the year when Christa McAuliffe, the teacher in space, died in space. I remember sitting there during our graduation ceremony when some lame Board of Ed member gave the uninspiring speech that delayed our getting our diplomas and getting the hell out of there. She spoke of the tragedy of Christa McAuliffe and how her classroom became our classroom and how we all were deeply affected by the tragedy. No one I knew gave a shit. I was chuckling during the speech and mumbling to a friend nearby what any other 17-yr-old boy with a working brain would mumble, "Oh yeah, deeply affected. Not sure I can walk out of here today. Weight...too...much." and "WHO?" and "Who the fuck is this lady and what is she talking about?" If anyone disagreed with me, they didn't say anything to me. And I'm a little guy, so it wasn't like anyone would be afraid to confront my "callousness." A few acquaintances I reconnected with briefly laughed about that bizarre moment when some unknown administrator tried to make a big statement and we all wanted her to shut up. -- Arden

    1. That's a great story, man. I can picture it, squirming and waiting while some administrator feels the need to say something pompous.

      "A teacher in space" was the big hype, as I recall. Maybe that resonated with teachers. Me, I was all growed up, and I can imagine she might have been a fascinating figure to little kids. Not high schoolers, certainly.

      For me, it wasn't at all about Christa McAuliffe. It felt like the end of the dream of space exploration, which it seems to have been.

      At least she was an adult, though, taking her chances at her own choice, not like little Jessica the dead 7-year-old.

    2. Claude Shed A Tear ReignsApril 16, 2023 at 6:50 PM

      Too bad you weren't writing the zine when the Balloon Boy hoax occurred. One of the defining moments in human history...

    3. I do follow the news, probably more than it's wise to, but not usually the idiocies that every channel talks about all at once. I'd forgotten almost everything about the Balloon Boy shenanigans, and had to Wikipedia.

      Says there that Daddy-O always denied it was a hoax, and the Governor issued a pardon. Gov's a Democrat, so I gotta assume the pardon wasn't entirely idiocy.

      Hoax or no hoax, I do remember chuckling at it all, so I clink my diet root beer to the Heenes.


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