The Un-Funny Years

Free time can do strange things to people. Some might seize the extra hours and start a side business or hey, launch a new career. Me, I visit the past. Since I’ve recently started working less than the standard 40 hours per week, I’ve been able to tackle frivolous projects I’ve been meaning to get around to for years. I mean, if you’re going to be poor you might as well be self-indulgent.

Occasionally, I wonder how I got to be the indifferent, less-than-successful 34-year-old that I am today. And then I think back to my early twenties. PBr_henry_thomasresumably, workers my age with the words senior, director, manager, or president in their titles were doing their prestigious internships and getting their ambitious feet in the door when I was playing with freaking scissors and glue sticks.

Before blogs were born (heck, before some bloggers were born) I used to publish a print zine The Scaredy-cat Stalker. It was kind of a ruse to ramble about myself (much like I do now) but it was mostly about my love/hate obsession with Henry Thomas, the kid from E.T.

In those days, if you had a bright idea you’d wait a few months until you had a few more and when you had enough material you’d type up your thoughts, cut and paste the text, add some photos, Xerox say, 100 copies, then mail the damn things out using the U.S. Postal Service.

I did eventually get a computer and internet access around ’96 (but I never mastered Quark and didn’t get a scanner until almost 2000) but web images didn’t abound like they do now. I’d have to go to the library and use InfoTrac or the print Readers Guide to Periodical Literature to find references to Henry Thomas, then buy back issues from used book store Periodicals Paradise (I was baffled that these cheap, junky shops didn’t exist when I moved to NYC) and photocopy and resize the images to fit my purposes. Everything came out black and blobby and that was OK.

It was a slower time. Spewing your thoughts to the public multiple times a day was unthinkable. And frankly, standards were a little lower. You know, kind of how watching old (or current, for that matter) Saturday Night Live skits or reading the new Spy: The Funny Years, isn’t all that humorous. There was less competition, producing these missives took effort and keen social networking skills. The web, great equalizer that it is, doesn’t necessarily demand the same dedication. And I’ve bowed out to some degree, if my paltry 83 MySpace “friends” are any proof.

So, I’m slowing digitizing my old copies of The Scaredy-cat Stalker for posterity’s sake. Maybe it’s the librarian in me, getting caught up in preservation and access. I managed to get my first 1995 issue into PDF format, and if I stay dedicated the other six will follow at some point.

Saw_horz Non-related P.S. You may have noticed that I recently added Google ads as an experiment because I saw everyone else was doing it and I'm very much into peer pressure. Don't think I'm getting rich–so far, I've bagged less than three bucks. But I am amused by the contextual ads that are served. Chinese recipes and even snow chains, I can deal with, but I can't stand those Saw movies and for no reason whatsoever I now have an ad for Saw 3 accompanying this post. What do zines and Henry Thomas have to do with some freak in a stupid papier-mache mask who forces captives to cut off their own limbs and shit?

4 thoughts on “The Un-Funny Years

  1. The first SCS was out in 1995? So recently?

    Three or four years later I trucked my ‘zine collection in several cartons down to the ‘library’ of the anarchist social club on the Hill, where it was eventually cut up into community-minded montages by scissors-and-gluestick wielding sk8ers. So don’t ever go feeling your effort went to waste.

    Please feel free to forget to scan the laboriously retyped account of my ‘thirty-year stalk’ contribution in one of the later SCS issues, though. I fear seeing it would trigger a relapse. (I haven’t quit the core habit – others’ friends and relations on LiveBlogger, etc, make it too easy to keep tabs on others, and for that matter I even had a lovely Public Event conversation about kids with K recently — she’s so *polite*. However, I *have* blessedly lost the compulsion to relay my fascinating studies to, er, *disinterested* third parties. ‘ very glad *you’re* still at it, though.)

    Happy scanning!

  2. Hurrah! I’ve only seen one SCS, courtesy of Inger (who subsequently referred me to your original SCS URL). I look forward to getting sort of caught up.

  3. Inger wrote something for one of the issues–I can’t remember which one off the top of my head. It’s funny that I have people I vaguely know because of the zine that I’ve never met in person. I guess blogs are the same way. Or maybe I’m just anti-social.

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