It Never Would Have Worked Out Between Me and Dave

Letter from summer camp to my parents (postmarked July 1979), rediscovered in an old photo album at my parents. I loved Boy Scouts, but I always hated camping as a kid. No idea what Mom and Dad’s reaction was to the Dave Litt part. Interestingly, Dave introduced me to the movie Alien (via the Marvel comic adaptation), and explained the mechanics of sexual intercourse. Verbally, not physically.


Dear Mom and Dad

Hi! Our Troop has had tick problems. Ralph has had one. I have slept well. Our tents have no bottom. I have taken some nice pictures. The lake is nice.

I am sleeping with Dave Litt.

I will tell you about it when I get home.

Sincerely (crossed out),

P.S. Some of this camp stinks.

Dan’s Drunksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving, at my old job, we had a small party. My boss decided to hold a round robin, asking everyone to share their plans for the holiday. My fellow employees generally reported that they were heading to their relatives’ homes or holding dinner at their own, traveling, or what have you.

Then she got to me. Feeling puckish I said, “Ah, I’ll spend it the same way I always do. Sitting in my dark apartment with a bottle of Wild Turkey.” I almost added, “and a revolver,” but I held back.

Most of my workmates laughed, but my boss had an irony deficiency. A look of total sympathy came over her face, and she asked, slowly, “Ohhhhhh… Would you like… to come over… to my family’s house for Thanksgiving, Dan?”

“You know… I was joking, right, J____?” I asked. I thought the laughter would have been a tip off. “I have a family, and I’m going to my folks’ house in the southwest burbs.”

“Oh… Ha ha!” she replied.

Sheesh, I thought.

Ordinarily, I would have felt some twinge of what you hoo-mans call “guilt.” Not with her. She generally sided with the designers because I always “picked on” them by demanding they correct typos and not make errors.

Errors such as the calendar where the designer determined that Thanksgiving took place on the third Wednesday of November. She was so convinced of this she left it in even after I noted that, no, it was the fourth Thursday. Then the calendar was printed, along with a few other brain-dead errors, such as the week in which the days were numbered “…18, 19, 21, 20, 22…” I was called into the big boss’ office, who asked me, not happily, how I could let something like that get through. I didn’t, I answered, and I showed her the original proof. The designer got less of a rollicking than I did. I really didn’t like working there at the end. I don’t think they liked me working there either, because they let me go with the next round of layoffs.

On the other hand, every year we got a free turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!


Some of the worst people to work with are the ones who deliver their requests with a “Do not disappoint me” tone, even though you’ve rarely, if ever, disappointed them before. They seem less interested in generating good work and more in love with the idea of their own limited power. They provide little to no useful feedback; offer no real assistance; and are inevitably displeased, even when the work is successful. Because dammit, we can’t live in the past/sit on our laurels/etc.

Just once, I’d like to see a person like this on their deathbed, and hear what they have to say about their life of constant unreasonable demands. Most likely, like Oscar Wilde, they’d just bitch about the wallpaper, except they’d mean it. What’s more, they’d expect to see it all rehung by the time they get back from death.

Captain Prolix

Mike: So, are you going to finish that novel?

Me: Yes, eventually.

Mike: Well, how much is left? Where are you at?

Me: Chapter 20 of Section 2.

Mike: (Gapes) Really?

Me: Wait a second. (I leave and return with the print-out of Section 1) Here it is.

Mike: That’s it?

Me: No, that’s just book one.

Mike: (Gapes again) Can I see it?

Me: No, you might read it.

Mike: Just let me see it!

Me: Okay, but no reading.

Mike: (Flips through it without reading.)

Me: So, yeah, I hope to finish it during leave.

Mike: You better not die and leave me with some 14,000 page Henry Darger manuscript.

I Have a Book

Way back in the ‘oughts, I wrote a series of articles for the Chicago Journal that were, for lack of a better term, “church reviews.” I’d visit local places of worship during services and evaluate them according to entertainment value, sanctity, and whatever else occurred to me. At the same time I’d do a little research on the faith du jour, respectfully exploring their histories and whatnot. I’m still quite proud of my stint as a church reviewer. I wrote some fine, funny stuff, if I do say so myself. And I do. I should be careful. Pride is what did Satan in.

Be that as it may, I compiled all my church reviews, along with a few religious writings I did for other zines and magazines (tongue usually lodged firmly in cheek) into a book called Hilaretic (many thanks to my talented friend Kathy for doing the layout and cover). Hilaretic is now available for purchase on Stop by my author profile page to buy a copy!