Lost in a cemetery

Part 1 of this issue's
letters to Pathetic Life

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Picked up PL#14 a few days ago at Left Bank Books, and really liked it. My life has been sorta "blessings challenged" per love life, etc. I'm 50 years old and completely the social pariah here in See-Addle. Wish I was as lucky as you per women.

—Randy Fleming,

As lucky as me with women??? I had to look again at PL#14 to see what you were talking about.

That's July 1995, the month when, for the second time this decade, a female human was willing to sleep with me, but I couldn't get it up. Usually I'm not even lucky enough with women to be that unlucky. —DH


With the latest edition of the Bay City Slug, two advertisers called and demanded their ads be taken out. Both said that the Slug was becoming too offensive, and they had received calls from customers threatening to withdraw their patronage. I was very pleased.

I am so sick of working at the beef jerky factory that I have decided to cultivate more advertisers. I have never wanted to produce for a deadline, but this may happen. I am going to try to get the hemp, micro-beer, and gourmet coffee producers that cater to the yuppies in Eugene, Portland, and Seattle (though I drink Folger's Instant in the AM and Bud at night, and the only hemp I'm interested in is the kind you smoke).

If this were not bad enough, I have contacted the Eugene IWW — the Wobblies — and may join up, while continuing to support the Oregon Militia, listening to Chuck Harder's People's Radio Network (hate radio), and working on ways to savage the corporate, national security state. It's important to get on as many lists as possible.

—Peter B Smith,
Bay City Slug,
Bay City OR

Another reason to hate advertising — the bastards pay money for a piece of your zine, and think they own the whole thing. —DH 


I took two shits today. Not world-class, but good, working-man solid BMs. Just another regular guy, doing his business without fuss or fanfare. Sometimes I have squirty poops.

I was really bummed out yesterday at work. I don't know what it is. Life is fatal. Sometimes I think about hurrying it along, but what's the point of that? I'll be dead soon enough.

I went to a cemetery after work last night. A little over a year ago, a friend of mine died and was buried there. Monday, his surviving brother and I went to visit, but we couldn't find the grave. I looked for my parents graves too, and couldn't find them either. I hadn't been there since their funerals 29 years ago (they died three months apart).

I found the area where they bury babies — little headstones, little plots, for babies that lived a day, a week, six months. They never had a chance. The families are still sad, visiting on Memorial Day.

And I found a fresh grave — a 24-year-old woman was kidnapped and strangled recently, and there she was. The accused killers are in custody, awaiting trial.

Life sucks sometimes.

—Corby Simpson,
Salem OR

What do you mean, "sometimes"?

Corby, my old friend, I know a thing or three about misery, same as you, so let me say this about that: Being here sucks a lot, but it beats the hell out of not being here.

When all is bleak and you're trying to decide between asphyxiation and a bullet to the brain, consider one other alternative: Drop everything and come to San Francisco.

I would definitely give you an afternoon on my busy agenda, and you could even buy me a burrito. —DH 


I did a university study on Thursday, which in order to qualify for I had to lie, lie, lie. First I had to pretend to be a University of Washington student ("Oh my god, I can't believe I left my student ID in my boyfriend's dorm!), then I had to pretend to have been sexually assaulted, since that was what the study was about. $25 for an hour of fibbing — pretty good pay, huh? My co-worker Arlene was shocked that I would so cavalierly sway a scientific study by telling lies, but I told her when they start paying $25 for telling the truth, I'd be first in line.

My friend Annabelle called me up yesterday, and I'm dreading returning the call. She goes to college in Florida, where she's pursuing a PhD in something or other. We used to be best friends, but now we have absolutely nothing to talk about together — she's heavily into the whole academic thing, which I just can't relate to at all. For me, school's always functioned as an impediment to *real learning. 

In fact, whenever I ask Annabelle what's going on school-wise, she never talks about what she's learning or what class she currently find boggling or brilliant. It's always, "Well, I talked to my advisor and he says the credits are transferring from this to that program, and if I get into such-and-such a program I'll be able to matriculate thus-and-so, and I made a contact at a conference with Professor Whatever, who may be able to put in a good word for me in his department…"

It appears that her schooling is just another job, with all the office politics and assorted people-skills bullshit you'd find in any medium-to-large corporation. I find it all a crock of shit, so it's hard to be a very sympathetic listener. What the fuck is the point of going to school if it's just going to be another popularity contest? Am I being stupid to think that getting a PhD should be primarily about learning?

So anyhow, we used to be friends but now we have very little to talk about, and I'm supposed to call her but really don't want to. Hell. Why can't we just kind of drift apart, and remember the good times we used to have? Why does she have to call me, grimly determined to pursue a friendship that should've been allowed to expire naturally years ago?

still in Seattle

More of this issue's
letters to Pathetic Life:

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From Pathetic Life #25
June, 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. Captain HampocketsJune 18, 2023 at 10:44 AM

    Haha, I very specifically remember the opening of Corby Simpson's letter, from almost 30 fucking years ago.

    I did not remember the rest, which is less "haha."

    1. Corby was, if I recall correctly, five or ten years older than me, which probably means he's dead.

      Maybe he'll Google himself and chuckle, and tell me below that I'm full of shit.


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