I have quite a few personal problems. Like most
drunks, my social skills are limited, and when I get high I forget.
Neither of these are really positive attributes in a reporter;
although a great many seem to share my failings. I’m absolutely
certain, for instance, that the editorial boards of most newspapers
are crazy drunk when they make their political endorsements. Nothing
else could account for their abysmal record. Unless, of course, they’re
insane … but, that’s a whole other story. Historically, this
lack of social skills, clarity, discretion and general poor mental
health have caused lots of reporters and editors to be shot,
stabbed, hung, blown up, and otherwise inconvenienced.
There are a variety of methods to protect yourself
from the righteous vengeance members of the public might visit upon
“Desk” names are good. I used to be a minor
clerk in a big L.A. paper & I did vacation relief for a variety
of telephone sales people. Every desk had a name. Not the person
sitting at the desk. The desk itself had a name. Some of the desks’
names were a hundred years old! When you sat down at that desk, you
answered the phone and identified yourself as whatever name was
assigned to the desk. This was a practice that started in the days
of the wild west when drunken reporters and editors were shot or
horse-whipped for being stupid enough to sign their actual names to
articles defaming not just honorable politicians but often
well-meaning leading businessmen.
Now we have metal detectors and “desk” names.
If you manage to get past security, you’ll find no one carrying ID
identifying your nemesis. When my online publisher asked for our
photos to stick next to our columns, I sent in one of a neighbor who
plays his music too loud.
You can wear disguises or lie or hire large people
with violence issues to accompany you.
Not me, boy. Nyet! My ploy is ripped from Robert
Palmer. Surround yourself with beautiful women. No one wants to make
an ass of themselves in front of a beautiful woman. It just doesn’t
make any sense. On the rare occasions when I leave my couch and go
to City Hall, I make certain I’m accompanied by at least one
gorgeous woman. I get them to go with me by showing them pictures of
Matt Gonzalez. The Guardian listed the good supervisor as one of the
ten sexiest people in town. I’ve asked at least a half dozen
gorgeous women to accompany me to a poetry reading where Gonzalez is
a featured speaker. Which, of course, brings me to the first annual
San Francisco Supervisors’ Calendar!
Give me some input on this one. Let your
imagination roam. I think since they’re public figures we can do
all kinds of horrible things with their likenesses. I can see
putting Gavin Newsom’s head on the body of one of those old
Bavarian pictures of a big kid in some kind of short-pants outfit. I
see Tony (Dino) Hall as a gladiator. He can’t complain lots if we
hook him up with Russell Crowe’s body.
Let’s take it further. Add poetry which you feel
best captures the individual supe’s inner self. … “Even a man
who says his prayers when he goes to bed each night / May become a
wolf when the wolf bane grows & the moon is full and bright.”
… You know, that kind of thing. Personal information that might
cast them in a bad light is naturally always welcome. Everyone needs
at least one decent laugh a day. Always try to have it at someone
else’s expense. I’ll help.
We’ll assign you a desk name. It doesn’t have
to be true. Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is that you
get involved in our country’s political process. The essence of
which consists of lies, slander, bribes, sex, and bad things, too.
Speaking of which… my neighbor with the loud
music isn’t doing too well lately.
Since I started using his picture next to my
column, his tires were slashed. He’s been assaulted and had his
phone lines cut. They messed up his locks and attached his wages. He
lost his gas and electricity. Someone gave my student loan officer
He deserves it all. Think of creative ways to
positively vent your emotions.
It’s all lies, of course. Today’s column, I
mean. Well, not all … but certainly all the important parts. My TV
broke. I had to get resourceful. It was one of those things where
the picture would hang in for about 60–70 percent of the time and
then go into an electronic spasm.
I watched. But I didn’t see it all. I saw Aaron
Peskin, boiling with rage, tell the mayor’s Department of
Elections hat-in-hand courier to stuff it when he asked for money to
move the vote counting out of City Hall.
“I want you where I can go downstairs and
watch!!” said Lord Peskin before my picture faded.
I couldn’t do this without help. We all (I’m
resident manager and my place is always full of the wandering
artists and other anti-socials who populate the Tenderloin) … we
all watched the set as long as we could, then set about remedies. We
found that by blowing a hair dryer on the back of the set, the
picture held steady. (One friend was blow-drying Mugsy, my foster
son Persian cat.) It actually helped some of the sit-coms and late
That worked for a couple of days. Then the set
needed more heat. Being sensible, we shut all the windows and turned
on the oven and half undressed and used the hair dryer and drank
lots of beer and finally … when we missed an Allen Iverson drive
to the basket because we couldn’t get enough heat to the TV,
someone noted that maybe we might be losing touch. Everyone looked
at each other and agreed. We then adjourned en masse to the
basement, where we dug through the mounds of furniture and real
stuff that past tenants have left and found a suitable replacement
Ahhhhh … It’s good to be a supe. … Right,
Send help to: firstname.lastname@example.org