Friday, June 29

Dear Jim,

It’s a hot morning in Sacto. I’m writing to you at my favorite coffee shop where I’ve written to you so many times in the last year.

I need the place. I’m lucky it’s here for me to regroup, or to smile on the world when I’m inspired.

That’s the way I feel about you. You were there when I was down. You were proud of me when I was up.

A guy just sat down at my table. He has an 8” x 5” x 11” bible. We looked at each other. I said hi. He didn’t. I’m sure he feels he is on a spiritual path.

I’m trying to be on one, to be the passionate truth seeker I was as a kid, to be born again, this time without arrogance.

So I’ve sought you with these letters. I needed you to help me make changes I ache to make, to feel great before I die.

It’s been an incredible year. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t written to you.

I’m scared. Next year I have to make it on my own. If I become great, you won’t be here to laugh with as we sit on the lawn in the back of Sis I’s breathing the country air.

It will be sad for me. It will be sadder for you. You always admired me – your younger brother with unforgettable passion.

There’s lots of regrets. With all our pain, I wish I had prayed for you, for us, for me.


Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, June 22

Dear Jim,

It’s gonna be hot. It was hotter last evening than at midday, so I knew today would be 100° or more.

I’m at my favorite coffee shop. I’m surprised it isn’t crowded because the weather is so nice. I’m also surprised there are so many women.

Women come with other women. I think women justify the expense of gourmet mochas and expensive pastries as the price they are willing to pay to keep up their friendships.

I justify the expense because I need to be outside to read and write, to read their newspaper, and to have somewhere to pee. But too many men are too cheap to come to a coffee shop and spend some money to enjoy their friends, or to have a classy place to sit.

I’d love to have a garden to sit in to write and read. Since I don’t, I’m thinking of renting office space – $50 a month – to go four days a month. The lighting is relaxing and some places have outdoor areas. It’s important for me to do that since I can’t sit outside for five hours anymore when it’s really hot or really cold. Besides, as I get older good office light becomes more important.

It will get me out of my rut. I will be around young business people and young dynamic people. It will broaden my scope a lot.

I’ve gotten out of my rut this week. I worked at one of our offices in a different part of town, way down in the South Area where the sky is big.

You should see the building. The north wall is three stories and all glass. There are windows everywhere and soothing electrical light. I was in my glory feeling relaxed and looking out the window all day. I might be working there a lot this Summer.

Even though I was in my glory and can’t wait to go back, it kills me to think what my life would have been like if offices felt good to be in. I’d be much less pissed off.

To get to the office I had to take lite rail. It’s only been a year or so that lite rail went that far south. When the train left what used to be the end of the line, I closed my eyes for what I thought would be a one mile trip to my stop. I wanted to relax a minute.

Well, the train kept going and going and got faster and faster. The car was rocking and the wheels screeched and squeaked. The train stopped at two stations, then I opened my eyes for the last stretch.

It was great. There is a bridge that goes up as the tracks curve over a creek. I looked out as the train went up and over to see the beautiful expanse of what remains of the wild South Area. Then the train came down and grooved straight into the last station.

On the way home I kept my eyes open the whole time. For most of the trip I was the only one in my car. I ogled at the long shadows and evening light, thinking how great it would be for a kid to grow up wandering the South Area.

I thought too, ”God I’ve got to come down here when it’s raining to watch the rain blow,” and on blustery March days when everything is lush and there is a lot of water to reflect the clouds.

It connected me to nature. I wasn’t expecting that. There’s something else I wasn’t expecting.

My friend went out of town and wanted me to go over to feed his cat for a few days. So I did.

Wow! Talk about connection. I’ve always loved his cat. She purrs a long time when I pet her. I go down her back to the end of her tail. Sometimes I start at the head and go to the end of her tail. Then she’ll turn on her back so I will pet her stomach. She gives me lots of love bites but I have to tell her to stop.

I went from seeing and fantasizing in the evening light on the train to touching and cultivating a relationship in my friends’ dark abode. I got out of two ruts. I feel lucky, but I am afraid I will not be able to stay out of them.

It’s getting hot. As I stop and look around, I see professional women on their phones and women with kids on theirs. These phones are more important to women than to men.

For men the phones are a tool to make money or a gadget to kill time with. For women the phones are a way to keep track of their kids and pester their husbands, to have more control over the family than they had when we were young.

Remember when our photographer cousin said his camera was an extension of himself? That’s what smart phones are for women. I think that women with phones are the new technology, that if you want keep up with the times you have to use a phone like a woman does.

I wonder what a wife would say if her husband said ”I’m getting rid of my phone. I don’t want to be standing in the superstore listening to you tell me what to buy for dinner.”

I wonder if any kids ditch their phone at a friend’s house while they go out to get stoned or steal. Mom would be outraged. Just like dad used to be when the kids weren’t home on time. Poor dad doesn’t have any power anymore.

I look at these moms with their baseball caps, their phones, their stressed faces. They are tough, confident, determined. And so male.

It’s no wonder there are so many lost men. Who wants to chase pussy or court when, except for the organ, you’re sleeping with a man.

That’s it for now.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, June 15

Dear Jim,

How are you? I’m sitting outside at my favorite coffee shop. I just said hi to a young Asian women who sat down across from me. I was looking at her sleek expensive computer that is as attractive for a computer as she is for a woman. She was amused by my gaze at her PC. We made good eye contact.

There was another young woman sitting at the table to my right. She was tall and white. She was wearing shorts and sandals and had backed her chair away from the table to face my table. Her legs were stretched out and her feet up on the seat of the chair in front of her.

When I glanced at her feet, her toenails had horrible baby blue polish. I thought ”Oh Christ!”. It’s the shade of the season, so for the rest of the Summer I’ll be seeing toenails of women who have no sense of color.

Before the Asian woman sat down, two cute 18 year olds stood across from me. They were talking.

You know how we used to wear worn out jeans? We wore through the denim so that white threads of the material were visible. The more knee there was the longer the white threads of material were.

Well, one girl had really short shorts. The front covering her pockets was so worn and the threads so long, that you could see the whites of the pockets. I could have peeked at her undies if I wanted, and if she was 28 I would have. But 18. I cringed.

Remember the term root huggers? It always cracked me up.

What was great about the Asian women was that she was dressed modestly not sexually. I could have looked at her all day.

There’s been sad news in the world of famous people. A week and a half ago a celebrity writer and a celebrity fashionista killed themselves. They were boomers.

The media is talking about depression and getting help, about staying connected to your family and friends and neighborhood. But nobody has mentioned that these two were boomers.

We boomers took ourselves too seriously. We still do. We isolated ourselves even further from our stifling Godless culture when we claimed to know all the answers and to have the right to do anything we want.

When I saw the news I thought ”What’s wrong with us boomers?” I wonder how many people made the connection?

You should have seen the photos of the writer. He was very striking, very handsome. He looked like a man of the world- sophisticated and successful, somebody who would attract attention as soon as he walked into a room; somebody you would look to for wisdom; somebody who made you wonder how come you aren’t like that.

I was afraid when I saw the news. I had envied his success – a cook who became a great and famous writer. Now he’s dead. Am I supposed to be happy?

Another thing the media hasn’t mentioned is that boomers have contributed to the destruction of America and Western Civilization. So you can say it serves the boomers who kill themselves right, for boomers have insisted on destroying western culture. Or you can say the boomers have led the nation into the sewer, but they are not mature enough to face their shit so they kill themselves.

Ten years ago I read the beginning of his most famous book. He was working in a restaurant in the seventies. He talks about how the staff used to steal from the owner.

He told a story about the time the crew was cooking for a wedding reception in the dining room. The bride came into the kitchen, said something to or looked at the chef, then they went outside. The chef pulled up his apron, pulled down his pants, then fucked her against the dumpster.

I put the book down. I was disgusted. Like I wrote to you in July, “My generation!!”

Sunday is Father’s Day.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, June 8

Dear Jim,

It’s been a great week. My trip to the peninsula for our nephew’s graduation was a good one. He looked great. About twenty-five people went to the party. Over the weekend I had great cheese pizza our brother-in-law made. Then I had meat two days in a row. I should eat more meat.

At the party I sat at a table with the fellers while the woman sat at their table. It amazed me how accepting the men were of our police state. They were talking about what a tough job cops have. Then they talked about the good cops they know or have met.

I said ”Cops love to intimidate people.” They agreed. Then I said, ”There’s a book- Arrest Proof Yourself. A retired cop wrote it. Cops have twenty minutes to spend with you. If they haven’t arrested you in twenty minutes, they have to let you go.”

Nobody said anything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the country. Last night I read an article in the New Yorker about victim impact statements.

They are statements the friends and family of a murdered or raped person make in court, claiming how great their loved one was. The intention of the statements are to help get the accused convicted and then sentenced with either the death penalty or a more than life sentence. The article scared the shit out of me.

Mom and dad would not have made a victim impact statement against your killer. I wouldn’t have either. I didn’t consider myself a victim of your murder and I don’t think mom and dad did. They asked God to have mercy on the bastard.

It’s bad enough that our country is unforgiving. It’s even worse that so many people consider themselves victims: unwed mothers, illegal aliens, the homeless, gays, jail birds, families of murdered people. What these family members and friends are saying is that the beauty of the murdered guy or raped woman should count as evidence against the accused.

I wrote a letter to the New Yorker. I asked if people who made victim impact statements would apologize if twenty years later the guy in prison was found not guilty. Probably not.

People look at me like I’m a criminal all the time. It is terrifying to think that I could be arrested for a murder I didn’t commit, then have to listen to all these people tell me how great their loved one was and then have to see all the baby pictures, graduation pictures, and wedding pictures.

We’re a vengeful society. I’m more concerned that the accused get a fair trial. Others aren’t. They don’t understand that in our police state you or your family member might be arrested for something you didn’t do.

One of the points the article made was that making these statements is a great catharsis for the family and friends of the murdered guy. That may be. But do you want to cheapen our criminal justice system by saying your pain should count as evidence? Now I understand what scholars mean when they say America has lost its’ ability to reason.

So, Jim, things have been sinking in. We aren’t much of a country. We are a nation of little men – all the rectal intercourse, all the gang guys, all the jail birds, all the homeless.

We are a nation of even smaller woman – the lust for a right to an abortion, the demand that the government pay for the baby of unwed mothers, the right to claim that any encounter with a man that the woman doesn’t like is a rape.

Really we are nothin’.

People complain about the president, but he is a typical selfish boomer. Just like the hippies, he is doing what he damn well pleases even though it will damage the country in the long run.

On the trip to the party The City looked good. I sat on the Embarcadero and watched a freight liner sail in. There wasn’t one person on deck.

Remember the Hills Brothers Coffee building? There’s no smell of coffee anymore. The building is a place for high tech businesses.

It’s the only building south of Market that I like. The building north of Market that I like is the one way up on I think Sacramento Street. The one with the radio tower at least half as tall as the building. You probably walked by it a lot.

That’s it for now.

It’s a beautiful morning.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Memorial Day

Dear Jim,

You would have liked today. I left the apartment at 5:45 to walk up to the park.

It was already real light and I loved listening to the birds. I stood on the wet lawn and read essays by an Argentinian writer that I tore out of his book so I didn’t have to worry about carrying it with me. I just throw the pages away.

It’s an old paperback. It smells, but not as bad as that other book I told you about.

Usually in collections of essays the publication date of each essay is listed. But there was no list in this book. I don’t think it even had a copyright date.

I can’t tell you when he wrote. 50’s, 60’s, 70’s. I don’t know. But I’m sick of looking at a computer, so I will not look him up. Eventually I will order a new copy to see how my reading of Spanish has improved. There are so many words I don’t know that I only look up a few.

He’s from Buenos Aires. I think he is to Buenos Aires what Charles McCabe was to San Francisco.

He writes about all the different neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. When I read him I think, ”I wish Sacramento had colorful, rich, distinct neighborhoods.” But it doesn’t.

We are boring. I wouldn’t know what to write about if I had to write an essay every week about Sacramento.

Maybe I should try. There are a lot of great murals. There is a barbershop that serves liquor. I walked by a new community garden yesterday. It had all kinds of stuff growing and weeds between plots. It would be a nice place to sprawl myself out in.

But there’s no pzazz. No soul here. I can’t see myself loving Sacramento except for the weather and the trees.

And today the birds. I always complain that there aren’t a lot of birds, especially with all our trees. But today they have been chirping all day. It feels magical.

Dad and I talked this afternoon. He wasn’t in a great mood, but we had a nice conversation.

You know how I loved to drink as a kid? Well, I’ve always been fascinated by the famous old bars in San Francisco. So today I asked dad about Harrington’s and McCarthy’s. He told me where they were, then said he hardly ever went to them.

The place you worked at. Were those bars still there then? Did the staff go there a lot?

Bars are bad news. Remember the sports columnist for The Examiner who wrote a column like it was an episode in history? When he died of alcoholism at 37, you and I were upset. He was one of the few things about growing up in San Francisco that I liked.

McCabe was another. He always talked about his own drinking, but if it killed him it wasn’t until he was old.

On Saturday is a party for our great nephew. He graduates from a Catholic elementary school on Thursday night, then will attend a public high school when school starts again.

I will take the long tiring trip to Sis II’s on Friday afternoon. I hardly ever go there in Summer.

Our nephew is easy going like we wish all kids were. He’s a whiz with his hands. He loves the times he lives in. Just the opposite of me.

It will be a challenge for me to attend a milestone party for someone who will be a success in the modern world that failed me (and you), and what I have failed in.

As they say in Spanish, un abrazo.

As mom used to write,




Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Wednesday, May 23

Dear Jim,

Still more San Francisco weather. It was 58° at noon.

On Sunday afternoon I left the apartment at 3:00 pm to go down to the river. I wanted to take advantage of the cool weather.

When I got off the bus, I put my scarf on to walk the eight blocks to the water. Then at the river I stood in the sun for half an hour without getting warm. On the way back I walked all the way, alternating between my scarf and ski cap.

The river wasn’t exciting, but it was good to see it and to see the cottonwoods. The cottonwoods were either at the very beginning or very end of their letting go of their cotton puffs.

When I came to town I’d always see the cotton puffs in Spring, even though they grow mainly along the shores of the two rivers. The flood plain was so big, that in the old days cottonwoods grew along creeks and sloughs a mile from the rivers. There were two great ones, two huge ones, at Sutter’s Fort that they cut down several years after I got here.

Remember you loved the row of poplars below Sis I’s property? They were stately like you were. Cottonwoods are sensuous like I am.

You were devastated when the poplars were cut down. I was pissed off when they removed the cottonwoods at Sutter’s Fort. At least the cottonwoods were very old and in bad shape. It was a crime they cut down your poplars.

There’s another walk I took last weekend to take advantage of the cool weather. I walked to the end of the neighborhood park like I always do, but instead of turning back, I left the park, walked up the overpass over the railroad tracks, then down to City College. As I passed City College there was a sign that said something like This is a smoke free, tobacco free, vaping free campus.

I couldn’t believe it. What horseshit! Someone 19 years old can’t smoke or chew tobacco. The rule probably exists mainly to protect non-smokers from other students’ nasty habit.

But it’s also a preachy paternal rule. We know what’s best for you. We are looking out for you.

It amazes me. This is an example of zero tolerance. Why can’t there be a smoking section on a roof of one of the buildings for Our students who enjoy tobacco and need a nice safe place?

It amazes me even more that students are told that smoking is evil, but if a student gets AIDS from having too much gay sex, or has a baby without having money or a husband, none of the administrators will say a word of criticism.

No administator would ever propose putting a sign on campus that says Having sex with every asshole in town is very dangerous, or Don’t have a baby unless you have the money to support it and a husband to be its’ father.

Once in a while somebody reeks of cigarettes. I get nostalgic and think that that’s what everybody used to smell like.

These last two weeks have been different at work. I have gone to another office while ours is being repainted and recarpeted.

I could have taken the two weeks off, but I didn’t want that much time on my hands. It turned out to be a good decision because between the cool Bay Area weather and the unusually bad allergy season, I haven’t wanted to spend a lot of hours outdoors.

I wanted to go to another office so that I could put mine in better perspective. I’ve had fun in the office, but I wouldn’t want to work there all the time because the lights are almost as bad as the lights in the seventies. I know even more than before how much I don’t like my job and need to get out of it.

One day when I was there a woman who I haven’t seen in several years came in. We used to talk a lot.

She worked for the company you worked for some of the years you were there. I was going to ask her a few years ago if she remembered Jim Vaszko, but since she doesn’t know my last name I decided against it. I feel like I deceived her, but I don’t want her telling everybody what happened.

Today I talked with dad. We are in a slump. He is frustrated because he isn’t free. I am frustrated because my struggle is immense. So our conversations have been awkward.

I didn’t feel like calling him today, but I said don’t be a baby. After we hung up I thought that it isn’t a matter of relieving dad’s loneliness or me not being selfish. It isn’t ”How can you do that to dad?” – not calling him because I don’t know what to say.

It’s a matter of ”How can I do that to us,” not staying in touch with my father and keeping him in touch with me his son? How can I say oh fuck it when he’s all I got and he might not be here tomorrow?

One good thing about this temporary location for work is that I can walk there. It takes seven minutes.

On one of the afternoons coming home I saw the same woman walking her dog who I had seen in the morning. We laughed. I’m surprised she remembered me.

Neat neighborly things like that hardly ever happen. How about this for a sign on campus: Smiling is contagious. Take the risk?

That’s it for now Jim,



Friday, May 18

Dear Jim,

Hace buen tiempo as they say in Spanish.

I’m sitting outside at my favorite coffee shop. There’s no wind. It’s not hot. There aren’t too many people.

I just read the New York Times. I enjoyed it. There was a good report about the City of New York’s efforts to find apartments for its’ 60,000 homeless, and the opposition that the city receives. The opposition especially does not want shelters for men in its’ neighborhoods.

I can’t blame them, but most of the homeless are men, at least here in Sacto. What is America going to do? Our city council just approved a 16-20 bed facility for terminally ill homeless people. That is a great idea.

Also in the NYT were letters in response to an article about a college student who committed suicide. Of course the university gets blamed for the death.

People say that professors should say something to a student who has started to behave strangely. But what is a professor supposed to do?

He would say that he isn’t a mental health professional, that he would be stepping out of his domain. He might also say his students’ problems are none of his business. If a courageous and empathetic professor approached a student who seemed to be on the edge, the student might curse him, or sue him for being nosy.

We complain about the invasion of privacy by the government and business, but we want universities to keep tabs on their students’ mental health.

It would scare me as a college student if I knew that the software that reads my papers for class sends a report to the dean when I write: I am lonely.; They should throw the scum in jail.; I get plastered every weekend. It’s a gas.; If somebody breaks into your apartment you should be allowed to kill him.; There’s nothing wrong with spanking your child.

The more we try to monitor people’s mental health, the more mentally unhealthy we become. Who can I trust if any negative, angry, lust-filled, profane statement might be interpreted by the authorities to mean that I need help – forced prescribed drugs or required counselling?

It’s a double whammy for people who are on the edge. You don’t want to tell your family and friends you are suicidal because you don’t want to burden them.

Yet you can’t trust the mental health profession. It keeps an electronic record of all your appointments and what you revealed about yourself. That’s scary because all your information can be sent to insurance companies, hospitals, and police departments with the click of a button.

So We’re here to help, but Our neighbors are watching you. And We report all suspicious persons to the police. And Smile. You’re on camera.

I think I said this before – no wonder people don’t seek help. We are trained to be afraid. If we were not a police state there would be good mental health. There would be more trust – of yourself and of others.

Remember last year when I wrote to you about the new building for the natural foods co-op? I told you it made me feel good because of the natural light, healthy electric light, and a great view of the sky from the outdoor eating area upstairs. What I was saying was that it was good for my mental health. I really needed the shot-in-the-arm.

But now I hate it. Like one of my friends said, “It’s so yuppie.” Now they want to sell hard liquor, just like all the stores they think they are different from.

We keep talking organic in America, but we are so full of fear and alienation and anality that we are light years away from an organic state of mind. However we might get an organic police state.

You will have a view of the mountains and eat organic beans and rice when you are in jail for something you didn’t do. The mountains and organic food will help your healing process.

I feel like I am in jail. Crazy people feel trapped. We are exiled in our own country.

Sorry to bitch Jim.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, May 11

Dear Jim,

It’s very windy. No sitting outside today.

This weather reminds me of the Spring you were training for your bike trip to Seattle. Remember that? You’d go on long bike rides to get in shape. One Monday when you got back after a hot real windy weekend you said, ”When I got back across the Golden Gate Bridge, I knew I was ready.”

Your bike trip to Seattle and your first trip to Europe were your great adventures. Mine were living in Kansas then riding freight trains across the West. Sis II had her six month trip to Mexico and her year’s trip to Spain.

I need another adventure. Actually, I need two. They would get me out of my rut. One is to publish my writing, either by self-publishing a book or putting my work online. The other is to get great in Spanish.

Spanish is beautiful. It is sensuous. It would be great to get my mouth in shape so beautiful sounds roll off the front of my lips.

I would love to be part of something beautiful. Our times are ugly. Our nation is ugly. We have abused English and made it ugly. I want Spanish to free me, to make me laugh. And to feel proud that I have accomplished something great.

Publishing my writing would free me in a different way. I would be letting go of everything I’ve saved for twenty years trying to figure out what to do with it. I would be releasing a burden and be able to move on to who knows what in my writing and who knows what in my life, especially if I approach publishing in as businesslike a way as is possible for someone who hates money and commerce.

If I become as good in Spanish as Sis II, and make money from it, or if I make a lot of money from my writing, I would be free socially. I would strut. Be gregarious. I would no longer be one of the countless defeated American men. It’s scary how many of us there are.

The other night a female campaign worker for the woman who is running for city council called me. I told her I wasn’t voting for the incumbent. I said it would be nice if she knocked on my door like the incumbent did. Then I asked – what does the candidate think about rent control? The caller didn’t know.

I said that there are a lot of apartments on my street. She could get the vote of all these renters if she came by and said she was for rent control. The caller said that the candidate is running out of her home and has no paid staff. So she won’t be stopping by.

Today in the mail I received her glossy 8 x 11 inch flyer on thick paper. What a disappointment. She’s got the money for fancy campaign stuff, but she doesn’t have the time to knock on people’s doors.

I don’t think she realizes how badly a lot of people want to get rid of the incumbent. She could make the race exciting if she knocked on people’s doors. I might even campaign for her.

God I would laugh if she won. I would feel the victory is mine because I hate the incumbent so much.

I think the reason I just told you about my goals and how they would free me is because I’ve been reading about my personal problems. On Monday I stopped by the new thrift store where the old co-op was. I wanted to get shirts. So I bought two nice ones for $11.00.

After I tried them on I went to the very orderly book section. I wanted to browse the self-help section because there was something stirring inside.

I took five books off the shelf. The two I kept were a book on insomnia from I think the seventies. It really stank. And a book from 1998 about recovering from grief by completing the grieving process rather than trying to get over your grief or trying to put closure on the death or loss.

There were only 30 pages of the insomnia book that I wanted to read. When I was at the cashier I said to the woman about 50 that ”I love to be in this store. It makes me feel good.” She smiled and said ”That’s nice.” I think I amused her, especially wearing my Jungle Jim hat. Then I asked, ”Is there a garbage can outside?” She said yes.

So I went outside. Put my crap down. Took out the stinky old book. Tore out the 30 pages I wanted, then dropped the book in the can.

For two days I read as much of the books as I could. It was scary. The insomnia book told me I’m not sleeping well because I ‘m not living the life I want to live. I am not in control of my life. That is true.

I haven’t felt in control of my life for almost thirty years. That’s a long time to not sleep well. It was good for me to think about what went wrong and why I have not been able to correct it.

The grief book said that one doesn’t only grieve over a death or a divorce. One can grieve for anything – a loss of a job, a loss of health, a loss of happiness.

I had not been thinking in terms of grief, but I have been grieving a lot about you, how the family isn’t close, how much I hate my job and don’t know what to do, how much I hate the times we live in because everybody is afraid. I am so pissed off because I do not know what to do to resolve my pain, my grief.

I think everybody’s life is about grief. You and I have had a lot. Mine is mainly from not fitting in and not having a place in the world.

You’ve had more events that brought you grief: leaving the seminary because you felt you were not cut out to be a priest; attending a high school you hated because of its’ focus on sports and drinking, and because the literature you read there was not as challenging or inspiring as what you read at the seminary; succeeding academically at college but hating the drugs and the hippies; leaving Seattle because of strife at work; working at a well-paid soul killing career in San Francisco; never getting over the woman in your building who broke your heart; aching because there was no mystical Church to return to; buying the house in that shitty neighborhood when you could have bought a house in Mill Valley in the seventies.

You had a more difficult life than I have. You should have told people to fuck off more.

Remember the time we were sitting near the Rhododendron Dell? We were whining. You more than I. You said, ”You’ve handled your hard times socially better than I have. You’ve gotten involved in things.”

That was true, but I think my profanity helps me be less unhappy than you. There’s something gratifying about saying ”They’re a dumb bunch of bastards,” or ”Go fuck yourself asshole. I’ll kick your ass.”

Except for my profanity, I’m not a man of the times. I was saying fuck in every sentence before the rappers said it, the college girls said it, and the shock jocks said it.

I was a pioneer. But like a true pioneer, the people after me made all the money. I wonder if mom and dad would have been proud of me if I had made money from my foul mouth?

It’s good to face my problems. My biggest regret is having broke mom’s and dad’s heart. That means more to me than the times I’ve been fucked.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, May 4

Dear Jim,

It’s a sleepy afternoon in Sacto. I think it’s going to start being warm. It’s about time.

Elections are coming up. I was thinking of going to the debate for my City Council District, but I already told the incumbent I will not vote for him. At least he knocked on my door.

The woman I want to vote for hasn’t knocked on my door yet. If she doesn’t, I will vote for the guy who doesn’t have a chance.

I would like to go to the debates. But they aren’t raucous. The people who attend have to write questions for the candidates on a piece of paper, then hope the old ladies who host the debate are not offended by your question.

So if you write, ”There are an increasing number of the homeless population, what proposals do you have to improve the situation,” the question will probably be presented to the candidates. But if you write, ”Are you going to get the slobs out of the alleys,” your question won’t get asked. Too emotional. Too direct.

That doesn’t mean I don’t squirm or get uncomfortable when I’m at a City Council meeting or something. I do. My discomfort at a lively and angry meeting or march is good for me. I have to ask why I am afraid of the people I don’t like and their opinions.

But these wimpy ass genteel debates don’t challenge my fears. It’s not that the candidates don’t get mad at each other. It’s that there won’t be any passion between the listeners – no fuck yous, no potential fist fights – nothing that challenges me to keep my composure and be an adult. I want to scream, ”How come I don’t get to ask a surprising uncomfortable question? This is too easy on the women and too safe for the candidates!”

Now for the state. Governor Moonbeam is in the last year of his second term. What a great career! Two eight year stints as governor at least twenty years apart, plus mayor of a famous city, and attorney general of the state.

I don’t like him, but I respect him. What skill it takes to wear so many hats.

The leading candidate for governor is Mayor Slimeball from San Francisco. His hair looks like the hair of those guys in the Vitalis commercials when we were young – That greasy kid’s stuff. He makes me ill.

Well Jim, it’s a nice day. I’m going to put my pencil from the art supply store down and enjoy the peace.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, April 27

Dear Jim,

I’m writing to you using one of my new pencils I bought at an art supply store. This one is a 3B. I also bought a 2B.

I got tired of having to sharpen my cheap shit pencils from the discount store all the time. I’d sharpen them and the lead would keep falling out. Then the sharpener would get dull and a piece of lead would break off and stick against the blade so I could not use the sharpener anymore.

Now I’m happy. I’ll use the erasers on the pencils I used to write with, then throw the pencils away. Buying the new ones was a great idea. It’s funny how long it takes to do something I should have done a long time ago.

Today was a great day. It was sunny, cold, and breezy with a few clouds when I got up. It reminded me of the East Bay in Spring or Candlestick in the evening before the fog rolled in.

Then I took a bus to the South Area. It wasn’t as sunny as my neighborhood and there were a lot of high clouds. It reminded me of the Midwest. I kept looking out the window of the bus at the clouds.

When I got to the strip mall I felt as if I was in another world as I took the long walk from the bus stop across the parking lot gawking at the sky. It was so cool and windy I had to put my ski cap on.

All day I had the hee bee gee beez. I wanted to spend a few hours outside sitting, writing to you, and reading, but I would not have been able to write in the wind and I was worried that I would catch a cold.

I took advantage of the cool day to clean the shower and refrigerator. I hadn’t planned to use the computer, but since the weather was so cool, I knew I didn’t have to worry about the computer making the apartment warmer. So I turned it on.

What gave me the hee bee gee beez was that I kept thinking of San Francisco: North Beach on a Summer evening, the tulip gardens at the windmills in Golden Gate Park, being in our cool room downstairs looking out at the trees blowing in the wind.

It’s the magical San Francisco light that shook me up today. I wasn’t physically able to immerse myself in it – to really enjoy myself. I wasn’t socially able to glory in it because I have few friends and am not in a good frame of mind.

It would have been great to stand in the wind talking with someone I like. Even if they were oblivious to the light , I would have been chomping at the bit lusting for more light and magic.

When I wrote to you about the beauty of San Francisco and all the drinking there, I said that San Franciscans drank too much because their marriage and career weren’t close to having the beauty San Francisco has. It’s a double whammy. Their marriage and career didn’t have the magic that San Francisco’s light has.

All those beautiful views. All that magical light. All those broken hearts. Bartender!

What troubled me today was thinking of memories people have of each other on a day with magical light. They recall their spouse or their kid or their grandparent or brother. ”It was a day like today. I was so happy for him.” Then his life went to hell.

I thought of the look on mom’s and dad’s faces when my life fell apart. My magic and beauty were gone and after all they went through with you.

On magical days with beautiful views, it must have killed mom and dad to be with me.

That’s it for now Jim.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko