Getting ready to scream again

Part 4 of this issue's
letters to Pathetic Life

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I'm going through a severe hermit phase. Whenever I remember that I owe someone a letter, or that I should call someone, I'm seized with a kind of lethargy that prevents me from doing anything.

The older I get, the more frustrated I get with the whole human race, and I vacillate between periods when I'm in a fulminating rage and others when I can't muster enough energy to sneer. Right now I'm coming out of the lethargy and getting ready to scream again.

—Paul Roasberry.
Littleton CO

Every time I open the incoming mail, I am astounded and fascinated at what people share with me. I rarely reply, and almost never at the length and depth the letters deserve, because I'm introverted and there simply isn't much left of me to share after writing the zine.

But to Paul and everyone else, I can't tell you how much I've appreciated your letters. —DH 


Your encounter with the hairy one (3/18/96) reminds me of a male nurse I knew. He said he had several clients who had trim jobs on a regular basis. He had an electric dog trimmer he had picked up at a garage sale. Not sure how he sterilized the head — rubbing alcohol, I would guess.

I mentioned once about meeting Cedric the sheep (PL#21). Back in the '60s, I used to go to New York on occasion, and stayed at a hotel near the Times building. For whatever reason, the area just up the street was a congregating point for gays, stud hustlers, etc. One night I came back to the hotel rather late and about 3/4 sloshed. I climbed out of the cab and immediately got tangled in a leash, and fell. I was trying to figure out what had happened, trying to get up, and this man was standing there, a hand on his hip, glaring at me like it was all my fault. He pulled the leash tight and said, "Come, Cedric, don't be a nuisance, and off they pranced. Cedric was a sheep.

Another time, in the same general area, a hustler had offered a wide range of possibilities — male, female, young, old, black, white, and various breeds of dog, to no avail. Finally, his last offer, which he said he made only to discriminating gentlemen, was "a first-class goat." I have always regretted not taking him up on that one, even if the odds were about 100% that I'd have been mugged.

But where in the hell in midtown Manhattan does one keep a goat on tap? Besides, a goat is not like a sheep, from an anatomical viewpoint. A doe must be in heat before the entrance opens up. (There are some advantages to growing up a farm boy.)

I've been having some eye problems for a month, and have had to curtail reading. It was my own damned fault. I was in Portland for treatment, and that night the last game of the Stanley Cup was on, and for five hours I tried to focus on the puck. I was almost blind before I gave up. The TV was just a blob of color.

With deteriorating eye muscles, that wasn't the smartest thing to do.

somewhere in Oregon

Jeez, Jim, wasn't the Stanley Cup broadcast on the radio too? —DH 


I was homeless and on the streets two years ago. I managed to get into a program with the YMCA, which gave me a temporary place to live, and helped me get in Job Corps, which I'm still in today.

As of June 28th, I'll have been in this program for a year. I've worked hard, and I'm in their college program, where I'm now working part-time while going to school. I finished my first semester with straight A's a month ago.

It's amazing the kind of incentive living on the streets can give you.

I still have nightmares about how it was being homeless, and my greatest fear is that someday I'll be back there, that I really won't have a way out. But I've survived it so far, and I try to draw strength from it. Mostly I try to forget about it, and put it behind me.

—Robert Sheehy,
Joliet IL


I went to Berkeley last week to visit my family. I walked up and down Telegraph and even asked a few folks where you would be, the fish guy. They pointed me in what they said was the right direction, but I could not find you. Too bad. It would've been cool to meet you and ramble about nothing through my now almost toothless mouth…

—Rev Otis F Odder,
Reno NV

Call or write first, Reverend. I don't do introductions on the Ave. Call or write first. No surprises. —DH


In PL#21, you sarcastically joked about selling your body in prostitution, saying nobody would pay 79¢ for sex with you. The brain is the sexiest part of the human anatomy, and I like the way your brain works, so I hereby bid 79¢. The only catch is, you'd have to come to Washington.

—Mark Winters,
Washington DC


Like you, I generally hate people. People seem to always want to run my life, but they won't let me run theirs, and I hate that! 

But unlike you, I hate the idea of being a loner (though I have few friends). In all honesty, it's not that I hate people per se, it's just that I'd rather associate with people who think like me. I tried to associate with people who didn't think like me, but all they wanted to do was force me to think like them. 

That's why I'm obsessed with the idea of establishing a space colony of like-minded people. Since it seems next to impossible to persuade people to stop trying to run my life, I think it would be much more realistic if I went to Mars to obtain true freedom.

And of course, I have a shit job to deal with. I didn't hate McDonald's before I started working there, but now I think it's an institution of pure evil!

—Yul Tolbert,

A colony of like-minded people would be the only place worth living, which is why I live alone. It's a very small colony. 

I love a good daydream, Yul, but a trip to outer space and landing on Mars would cost more than I make in a week, maybe two weeks. Only trillion-dollar governments and billion-dollar corporations could bankroll space exploration, and such sponsors wouldn't have any interest in freedom for the drones they'd hire — people like you and me. If there are ever space colonies, most likely they'll be as authoritarian as boot camp. —DH 


I happened to be in Berkeley last weekend, so I looked around TieDye City on the Avenue until I found the fish stand, but the man working there said you'd taken the weekend off…

—Jennifer D,

That was me, Jennifer. —DH 


Crying: I'm all for it. Not only do I feel there is no shame in it, I also believe it is vital to good health. Men who don't cry are denying themselves a foolproof stress relief. I've never known it to miss.

Roaches: So far so good. I live in an old building across the street from the East River and upstairs from a restaurant. And no roaches? What's the deal? Well, I keep the place as free from crumbs as possible and hope for the best. 

One place I lived in had so-called water bugs (big fucking roaches if you ask me) the size of the rubber one enclosed. They had limited flying capabilities.

So far the only disturbing element in my new home is a faint catpiss smell left by the pets of the previous tenants. I'm working on it. Not bad, really…

—David T,
New York

More of this issue's
letters to Pathetic Life:

-1-   -2-   -3-   -4-   -5-   -6-   -7-   -8-

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 HampocketsJuly 4, 2023 at 4:58 AM

    I had a couple of very unpleasant interactions with one of your letter writers, Yul Tolbert. Back in the day, he was a benign cartoonist. But if I recall our interactions correctly, he turned into a rather strident religious lunatic.

    1. He was always odd, trending towards belligerent, and finally, a jerk.

    2. Huh. I never knew Yul to be a dick, but then again, I never knew him much. Don't think I had any deep interactions with him.

      I liked Yul's drawing style, enjoyed his zines, and I was pleased to see that he's still active in comics, at least somewhat and at least recently.

      I've Googled the old-timers mentioned in PATHETIC LIFE, and most of them drifted so far away from anything creative, there's simply no finding them at all.

    3. Religion has wasted more minds than heroin and fentanyl.

    4. "and he blocked my ass"

      Consider yourself lucky - that's the part most churchies go for


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