The Last Word

Issue #495

January 2016

Waldo loses his shirt...literally!
As we start a new year of unending combat against the Far Right—which should have been crushed like a
Coke can long ago—the recent cleanup of my apartment has yielded some straaaaange items, much like our
celebrated toy sort of 2013.
This isn’t the first comprehensive cleaning of my unassuming digs. One of the most notable was 15 years
ago when a family member conducted a surprise cleaning of my apartment when I wasn’t home. No permission
had been granted first. They just went ahead and did it. They inadvertently left behind a paper grocery bag
containing 3 or 4 ridiculous looking shirts. I don’t know where these shirts came from. They definitely weren’t
mine—and they’re not the sort of thing anyone would have simply given to me for free.
The shirts were brightly colored, and some of them featured cartoon characters in weird places. They
looked so preposterous that I couldn’t imagine anyone wearing them. I can’t see any man, woman, boy, girl, or
infant wanting to be caught dead in such a shirt. Not today, not 15 years ago when they were found, and certainly
not in the ‘70s. The shirts must have been ancient though, since they were in a paper bag from Thriftway—the
long-defunct Cincinnati supermarket chain—and the bag bore the even longer-defunct “Have a Thriftway day”
slogan in red letters.
When I first found these laughable shirts, I told another family member, who had nothing to do with
leaving the shirts behind. I intended to tell the family member who had left the shirts, but I kept forgetting about it
for several years. By the time I remembered, they had forgotten leaving the shirts there. They claimed not to know
anything about the shirts, and never retrieved them. So I was stuck with useless shirts in a Thriftway bag hogging
room in my closet for 15 years.
The shirts turned
up again during my
recent fall cleaning.
(Many important or
valuable things did not.)
This process lasted 2
months. I observed that
the shirts might go great
with a propeller hat. The
shirts were also likened
to something that might
be worn by Waldo from
Van Halen’s “Hot For
envisioned the drums at
the beginning of the
song, followed by David
Lee Roth yelling, “Sit
down, Waldo!” as Waldo
stepped onto the school
bus wearing one of these
As in the Van
Halen video, we’re still
not sure what became of
Waldo after graduation.
Some folks on the
Interpipes say Waldo was
played by one Keith Kessinger, who grew up to become a musician who regularly performs “Hot For Teacher” in
full Waldo regalia. Other peeps say Waldo was portrayed by a David Van Gorder—and it is indeed true that
nobody knows what became of David Van Gorder.

Meanwhile, the shirts bask in notoriety. Who would actually buy these shirts for themselves? The shirts
had to have been intended as a gift for someone—under the pretext of “you need some shirts like this.” Ever think
maybe there’s a reason the intended recipient of the shirts didn’t already have shirts like this? It sounds like the
giver of the shirts barely even knew the recipient. It’s like when your cousin who you haven’t seen since you were
5 gives you a set of DVD’s of the second season of It’s A Living for no apparent reason.
The fact that a clothing manufacturer even produced such absurd shirts makes a mockery of all of
humanity. Food, clothing, and shelter are necessities—rights, in fact. But there are people out there who can’t
afford such basic needs. People who can afford clothes will usually not keep such ridiculous clothing items—and
as you can imagine, it’s hard to sell them. So they put them in the charity bin. Some impoverished soul is
probably going to end up with Waldo’s shirts because nobody—and I mean nobody—actually wants to wear them,
and will only do so if they have absolutely no choice whatsoever. As a society—as a world—we can do better.
What sort of world allows such indignity to be heaped upon the least fortunate? Was there some diabolical fashion
designer somewhere who
designed these shirts just
because they thought it
would be the most desperate
among us who would wear
Also—as always—I
bet that anyone who
criticizes me for not wearing
the shirts has a lot more
money than me. However, I
think they forfeit their right
to attack me, because they
won’t do anything about
poverty themselves. They
privileged “somebody else
has it worse” crowd needs to
pipe down until they start
people having it worse. This
zine has attacked the selfevident injustice of income
inequality for 23 years. What
have my critics ever done?
I have a tough time
thinking of any economically
or socially viable use for the shirts that were stashed in that Thriftway bag in my closet. Occasionally, I get to
thinking about a fictitious island nation holding an annual Stupid Shirt Festival, in which people don shirts like
this, romp in the streets, guzzle good beer, and win prizes from the President for enduring the most public
humiliation because of their shirt. But that’s not real. That’s just one of these fanciful things I’ve imagined.
Anybip, I insisted that a family member take the shirts. And lo! Now they claim one of the shirts has a
hole in it, so now nobody will buy them anyway. If it has a hole in it, someone must have worn it before (unless
paper grocery bags from Thriftway had an invisible serrated lining). Most likely, they wore it in public! But
who??? It wasn’t you, was it?

Bedtime for Bandit
“IT’S 8:00!!! TO BED!!!”
When I was young—I’m talking very young—one of the surest ways to incur parental wrath was to stay
up past my bedtime. I remember being sent to bed when it was still light outside.
But sometimes the oldsters would forget. I knew I was up too late when I heard Three’s Company blaring
in from the TV in the living room. I’d always think to myself, “Wow! Three’s Company! It must be really late!”
And to still be awake when Hawaii Five-O started was to live dangerously. I knew it was extremely late if I was
still playing in the living room when one of those little clips about the American Revolution sponsored by Shell
Oil came on. When I saw the Colonial-era paintings and Shell sign appear on the screen, I knew I was going to be

chased out of the living room any second.
Years later, real hilarity ensued because I kept disrupting the oldsters’ TV viewing. When I was about 12,
my mom didn’t want me in the living room when she watched television—even though the shows she watched
were pretty tame. She acted like there was porn on the TV, when really it was nothing harsher than Knots
Landing. Remember, this was network TV, so it was nothing too risque. Despite this, she ordered me out of the
living room. I had to go in the den and shut the door.
So I protested. I kept leaving the den and stomping through the living room to the kitchen to get a drink of
water. After each sip of water, I would loudly release a sigh of refreshment: “Aahhh!”
After I made so much noise, my mom would get mad: “Get back in the den!”
I’m a funny guy.

Fillin’ it out funny, cool people style
Here’s a flashback to my fact-finding mission to Huntington, West Virginia, in 2007...

As you can see, I took the survey card from the motel in nearby Kentucky and filled it out funny. But I
never mailed it, because—unlike some survey cards—it required a postage stamp, and I’m cheap. Instead, I took
it home and sandwiched it between some seldom read books on my bookshelf—only for it to be just recently
unearthed in my apartment cleanup.
This hotel was substandard, but we didn’t discover the swimming pool was closed for maintenance until
we got settled in. This prompted us to argue with the clerk until she canceled our reservation. We busted our asses
to be able to afford a hotel with a pool, and we weren’t going to pay for a pool we couldn’t use. We found a
different inn instead. This is the only time I can recall offhand ever canceling a hotel reservation once I got to the
I’m pretty sure there was a hotel in Kansas on the way home on our Mesa Verde trip that lost our
reservation. When my family went on vacation to Washington, D.C., when I was 12, our Holiday Inn where we
had a reservation pulled out of the Holiday Inn chain and didn’t tell us until we arrived. When I went to New
Orleans with a college group, we almost ditched our hotel after arriving and seeing how filthy the inn was. But
Huntington in 2007 is the only time I remember actually canceling once we got there. If the hotel had sharply
reduced its rate to make up for the pool being closed, I would have accepted it.
Instead, I took their survey card and filled it out funny! Because that’s what cool people do when they’re
going on 34.

Progressive safe space coming to area
Welcome to greater Cincinnati’s progressive safe space! It’s just a
few smiles from home! And our users are big, so you won’t slip, trip, and
Don’t look now, but I’m raising money to buy a “safe space” for
those on the political left in northern Kentucky. Even in the Tea Party’s
America, political persecution by the Far Right should have its limits. Don’t
you agree? The Media doesn’t seem to think so, but Americans think so.
The “safe space” movement has been attacked for months by a
facebleed-needing media that seems almost singularly dedicated to stifling
left-leaning political views. But I take exception to the professional opinion
havers’ catatonic whining.
I estimate a “safe space” in this area will cost approximately $50,000
costly dollars. And I’ve beginned up a GoFundMe account to pay for it all...
After all, the people want me in the Cincinnati area to fight their many battles for them—not in Detroit or
Columbus like I planned.
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