Last word

Not long after meeting the tall, skinny, ugly man, I went alone to a double feature at the Roxie, and a middle-age dweeb approached me during the break between movies.

"You're Doug, right?" he asked, and I sighed and almost cried, but said yeah, and let him talk for a minute.

It was a 1950s sci-fi show, and I've written that love that genre. The dweeb also reminded me that many issues ago in PL, I'd mentioned which row I prefer at the Roxie, and which side of the theater. I'm fat, alone, carrying a backpack, and sitting exactly where I said I'd be sitting, so finding me was a cinch, he said.

I abandoned the second feature soon as the lights dimmed, waited across the street to make sure I hadn't been followed, and then went home to the rez hotel.

On Telegraph Ave one afternoon, a stranger walked up to my table, and the first sentence out of his stupid mouth was, "Do you still wipe your ass with the Chronicle?" I replied with obscenities and nothing but.

Another day, a young, attractive woman smiled and asked politely, "Do you write Pathetic Life?" Overrun with contradictory emotions (Leave me alone, damn it!" vs "Whoa, a gorgeous babe is talking to me"), I said nothing, just sat there dazed until she said, "Sorry, my mistake," and walked away.

It was my mistake, not the pretty woman's, not anyone else's. I've written a zine that describes who I am and what I do in too much detail. It was stupid of me, but when I started writing Pathetic Life, never did I imagine that more than a handful of people would be reading it. Security was lax.

And now, finally, everything is out of control and a Macy's parade of people want to shake my hand or choke my throat, and I'll never know which.

To stop it, I'm ending the zine. Also, I'm quitting my fish-boy job, and getting a different voice mail number, so people who've read the zine won't have a way to leave messages on my phone.

To everyone who bought a copy of the zine and liked it, thank you enormously. It's been the best couple of years of my life. Thanks for the crazy notes, cards, letters, and phone messages. Thanks for the occasional unexpected gifts that came in the mail. Thanks for being there, and reminding me I am not alone, and not the weirdest, in an world overcrowded with weirdos.

To everyone who stalked and spooked and startled me, please die young. If it's too late to die young, please die soon.

♦ ♦ ♦

Ten or fifteen years ago, I stumbled onto the zine world, which maybe saved my life. I was a mega-introvert, had few friends, didn't like my life, and also I was weird. If zines hadn't shown me that I could type a message to the world and someone might respond, where would I be now? I don't know, but I wouldn't be writing, wouldn't be in San Francisco, and I'd be much more boring and pathetic than I am.

Next to masturbation, zines are my favorite thing. Even when making the rent is questionable, I always find $10 or $20 to spend buying zines, and I've always used Factsheet 5, the zine review magazine, as a guide.

Here's the bad news, if you haven't heard: Seth Friedman, publisher of F5, has announced that instead of publishing five times annually, Factsheet 5 will now come out only twice a year — six months between issues. And that sucks.

Unless he prints it the size of a phone book, hundreds of zines won't be listed, just due to space limitations — and zines that are listed will be, what, nine months old? Older? That's eons in zine time. I'd be wary about sending cash in the mail to an address old enough to have a baby.

Well, here's the good news: Without Pathetic Life I'll have some time on my hands, and with help from several fellow zinesters, we'll be publishing a new bi-monthly review of small-scale amateur books and periodicals, to be called Zine World.

Send your zine for review, but sorry, no trades. Sample copy: $3. Overseas: $5.

The first issue of Zine World will be out around Thanksgiving.

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.

Addendum, 2023: What goes around comes around, and it's all part of the circle of life.

With some zine friends old and new, we did indeed publish Zine World, and one of those new friends was the best friend I ever had and best person I ever knew — my wife, Stephanie.

Pathetic Life
← PREVIOUS          NEXT →

← PREVIOUS          NEXT →

No comments:

Post a Comment

🚨🚨 If you have problems posting a comment, please click here for help. 🚨🚨