“You’re a whiner, Lynn.”


One good thing about having my blog comments function broken is that I can be as big a baby as I want, and no one can write in to tell me I’m a whiner. That is, no one can write in except one resourceful reader who passed along an e-mail response via your favorite internet humourist, Jay Pinkerton, who dutifully forwarded it. I reproduce it here to simultaneously give him his requested forum for his feedback and spare myself from bothering to write any original content.

From: [name expunged] <[e-mail expunged]@gmail.com>

Date: Aug 2, 2007 1:52 AM

Subject: Can you forward this to Peter Lynn for his MVC blog since his commenting system hates all life?

To: jaypinkerton@[e-mail expunged].com

Dear Jay,

I occasionally comment as “hilly” on Peter’s blog Man vs. Clown. I’m the one who doesn’t agree with you regarding Penny Arcade’s Tycho and his writing style. [Note: The mild disagreement referred to is here–Ed.] However, your valuable insight and recent changes in his prose have started to win me over. Perhaps you now no longer hate me so much.

Anyway, Peter’s comment system is horrible and I can never seem to post anything. I also can’t seem to find a direct email link for him (I’m really tired), and so I thought you might do me the kindness of forwarding this email to him with the following material in quotations regarding the “Gates of Hell” entry [Note: Here’s the link to that–Ed.] so that he may in turn post it to Man vs. Clown for the world to see. Failing that, he can read it, say, “Eh, whatever,” delete it, and get on with his life:

“You’re a whiner, Lynn.

As of this moment, I’m stuck in backwoods Tennessee trying to do an electronic document pull for my law firm, running around to diary farms located in places where “nowhere” is something YOU ASPIRE TO. Our van has been attacked — no, really attacked! — by angry dogs, I’m being asked to forensically pry documents off of a 20-year-old IBM P/S 1 running some weird-ass program over DOS, I have no cell phone connection, the clients use crappy AOL mail over dial-ups, everything smells like cowflop and old cheese, I’m not going to see my girlfriend for a week, we ran out of boxes, we have to stay an extra day, I want to pass out from heat exhaustion half the time. My best friend and most valuable tool is my pocket knife — I’m not even kidding.

I think the only reason I’m still alive and employed is that I’ve mentally and emotionally decided that I’m actually dead and this is my time in (literal) Purgatory. I may as well laugh and enjoy the FUBAR chaos of the whole enterprise.”

Thank you, Mr. Pinkerton. I’m just in need of someone to whom I can pour out my soul, and Peter doesn’t seem as busy as you right now.


Thanks, Hilly. I may not be in Podunk, Tennessee, but I do know from heat exhaustion. Things up here in Toronto are hardly all igloos and polar bears at the moment. Thanks to the angry sun beating down all day on the poorly insulated roof of the shack I live in and the intense heat radiated from my jalopy of a computer, the temperature inside my hovel gets up to around 35°C around this time of year. Coming home last night, I opened the door and almost fainted. I couldn’t strip off my clothes fast enough en route to a cold shower once the door was closed behind me. I nearly shouted, “Get the hell off me!” at my sweat-drenched shirt. To make things even more intolerable, I was cooking up some hot dogs later (further evidence of a life that hasn’t worked out the way it should have) and splashed boiling water on myself. Then, I scraped up my leg tripping over my old drawing board, which I keep around these days mainly for the purpose of saying, “Well, back to the old drawing board.” Apart from all that, I can’t complain, though.

But what about you? Anyone out there doing worse than me, or Hilly, or poor dear Candace, who finally escaped the gates of hell and decided to relax with a much-needed massage, only to find out she’d accidentally wandered into a Nepalese rub-and-tug when she was propositioned by her masseuse and had to listen to a nearby male client getting jerked off on the other side of the thin curtain that separated them? Feel free to e-mail me and entertain me with tales of your agony.

Or (and you never heard me suggest this) e-mail Jay and annoy him by making him work as my private secretary, if you like. Things are going too well for him these days, frankly. Why not spoil it just a little bit?

Update: I get letters! Or at least one, anyway. I’ll post it and any others below the fold. I didn’t actually warn I’d be posting letters beforehand, I suppose, but I guess I implied it. And I implied right!

This letter comes to me from Ken, aka Goken, whom I know well as a longtime reader and the Jay Pinkerton forum‘s resident theologician. Were he Catholic, any suffering would go on the permanent record for when they decided if he ought to be beatified or not, but since he isn’t (as far as I recall), it’s all for nothing. What a burn. As I recall, he’s actually a pretty huge guy, so I can see how any given room might feel a little snug with him taking up so much space. It’s not his fault though. He didn’t ask to be a giant living in a puny human world.

I comment as Ken, of jp.com Goken proxy-fame, and since you asked for complaints, here’s mine:

I’m working as an intern at a church this summer. Next year is my last year of college, so this is one of my final requirements as a Pastoral Ministry major. I’m doing a tad of job shadowing as well as your typical intern office work plus running the Youth Ministry while I’m here and helping with the worship team. The Pastor is a very good friend of mine and has been a personal mentor of mine for a long time. That’s not really the complaint, but it does explain why I’m working 45-55 hours a week for 100 dollars each week.

Even that wouldn’t be so bad, but my living situation. Like I said, the Pastor here is an old friend, but he’s since long moved from the town I live in. When discussing where I would live while serving at this church, I suggested I could work part time at the church and get another part time job to pay for a small apartment. He said he could find me somewhere I could live so I could spend all my time in the ministry, which I was glad for. Until I actually moved into the house. It’s his in-laws house.

It started with little things, like getting yelled at for using their computer (simultaneously rescinding their offer of “feel free to use the computer”) and complaints about me using the washing machine when they wanted to (granted, they had told me I could use the washing machine whenever I needed to before…). But those were little inconveniences. It’s gotten to the point of them accusing me of lying about leaving a Pizza Hut box out (I’ve not ordered from a Pizza Hut in this city in my life, which is why I could tell them with certainty it wasn’t mine) to them literally banning me from sitting on some of the couches (“I don’t like you sitting there”) and being yelled at for being in the same room as any of them (“You’re always here!!”). I’m not exactly sure what they had in mind when they told their son-in-law (my Pastor) that they would be glad to host me this summer, but apparently it didn’t consist of so much as me breathing the same air as them. I don’t think they were expecting another human being to be living in the same space as them. I’ve survived the last 8 1/2 weeks and at this point I’m just hiding in my bed (and spending as much time at church as possible) to get through the next 1 1/2 weeks.

So my complaint is that I live in a house full of strangers who hate me, in a city with hardly any friends (Did I mention there’s no one my age at our small church) , that I can’t complain about to the only person I really know around here (since they’re his in-laws), and am getting paid far too little to do anything about the situation. It’s rough not having anywhere to be yourself. That is my whine!

Grace and peace


Speaking of the Jay Pinkerton forum, Jay’s wife Karla rules it with an iron fist. Or a drunken fist. Or something. I got an e-mail from her a while ago with the subject line “Brother, you just brought down the hurricane…” I assumed that people had actually taken me up on my facetious suggestion to send me messages via Jay, and now he was getting spammed and ready to kill me. But it turns out that Jay and Karla have other things to worry about.

Dear lord, Pete,

I can’t even imagine the number of tales of human suffering you’re in for now. For the record, I think Candace still wins overall. I was going to make fun of the one dude for going to a “Diary Farm,” though, had he described being stranded in a field of bad, 13 year-old girl poetry (the “bad” in that sentence is redundant), I would have had much more pity. However, poor Goken made me feel sad for other people, so I felt pointing out some other poor sap’s typo would have been unnecessarily mean. Sort of. Anyway, you might at least be able to get a book out of all the tragedy I presume will be heading your way: “Peter Lynn: Here’s a bunch of shit people have bitched to me about.” or “Peter Picked a Peck of Phucked Up Lives.”

You can probably streamline the title a bit.

Naturally you will now get MY bitching (you poor bastard, you brought this upon yourself): After much gnashing of teeth and trepidation, Jay and I rented an apartment in Seattle, sight unseen. We have a date where all cable, phone, and electric will be cut off in our New York apartment – one week from tomorrow. We allegedly have a moving company that is being paid what I can only imagine are copious mounds of rich goblin gold to pack all our shit up and move it across the country.

What we don’t have is a goddamn moving date, because the goddamn moving company is fucking retarded, inbred, or just WILLFULLY fucking with my life.

Monday I called the company that would be moving us to see if we could set a firm date “I know y’all are coming to check the place out, but we still have to buy airline tickets, and arrange to ship the dog. If we wait too long, we’re kinda gonna be fucked.” “Sorry, we can only do that after we “assess” the apartment.” “Oh…O-Okay? I guess?”

Yesterday, after a one week wait, some guy finally came over to see what (rather paltry) belongings we’d be shipping to Seattle.

“Hurray! So when can we schedule the move? We have between the 10th and the 12th to get all our crap out of here! Also, how long will it take for us to actually GET our stuff to Seattle?”

“When’d you want to move again?”

“The 10th or 11th would be ideal.”

“Of what month?”

“Uh…THIS MONTH??? Jesus. August? You were supposed to know this.”

“Oh, I won’t be able to tell you that!”

“Of course not! It’s only your fucking job, right?”

“Well, I mean, we have charts and tables and stuff, but we have to submit those to the main office for them to schedule. Somebody should probably call you tomorrow. Oh, and completely confidentially, you’ll have no belongings for anywhere from at least 7-14 days, though it might be for up to a month.”

Today I spent all day trying to get a hold of the relocation company…when I finally did (at the end of business for Eastern Time Zones), I found that the fucking guy never sent in the assessment. Not all day yesterday, not all day today. So now I’m trying to get 3 different people in three different time zones to track this guy down and get everything figured out by tomorrow, because by Monday it’ll be too late to get any sort of airfare under a $1000 apiece for us (IF we can get flights scheduled at all), not to mention the dog shipping charges (poor lil’ Orwell). And there’s also the sheer chaos of trying to move cross-continent in FOUR fucking days. Oh, and our landlord STILL hasn’t responded to any of our messages informing him we’re leaving this month, so I’m pretty sure we’re not getting any sort of security deposit back.

Jay’s had some frustrating work stuff too, so we’re both pretty much pissed as all hell, feeling helpless, and just waiting on other people who aren’t doing their jobs so we can get on with our lives.

But at the end of the day, I have to admit: I’m bitching my damn fool head off because there are people who are being paid by someone other than us to pack up all our belongings from our crappy, tiny, one bedroom apartment in Astoria, and move them all the way across the country. It’s all being moved (hopefully, eventually) to a fairly sweet ass apartment in Seattle, and I’m upset because they aren’t doing it fast enough, and we might have to pay extra for airfare, when for the first time, Jay and I can actually AFFORD airfare after being dirt-fucking-poor our entire lives. This should be good times, looking at even better times to come, but we’re both stressed as fucking hell and feeling a good deal sorry for ourselves.

But Candace is stuck with yak butter and a single village toilet. Ken’s trying to love Jesus while living with people who seem to be plotting to kill him. And Jay’s and my only problem is that people WE don’t have to pay are inconveniencing us.

I guess sometimes we all need to learn to shut the fuck up.

Anyway, my hat is off to all the people who have to put up with shit that is far more dire than mine. It might not make me feel better about the crap I’m dealing with, but it might at least make me think twice about running my mouth about it. And that’s win-win for everyone.

Cheers (and also, have I mentioned Peter Lynn will be inundated with whiny-pants emails? ‘Cause, seriously, have fun with that).


As it turns out, Candace doesn’t win. I’d noticed a couple of times when checking my blog stats that someone on an American military base in Iraq was reading my blog. Now, while I don’t usually get too heavily into politics here, it may not shock you that I think the Iraq war is a little messed up. After all, I’m a Canadian. But being against the chickenhearted crooks and liars who steered the US into that conflict doesn’t mean I don’t support the poor bastards actually serving over there, and it gave me a strange, warm feeling way down in the cockles to think I might actually be helping to make conditions just a little more tolerable for at least one of them. Here’s that poor bastard now. Good luck, pal. Come home soon and enjoy your god-given freedom as an American to sleep buck-ass naked and wander wherever you want to take a piss in the middle of the night.

Hey Peter,

I’m not really a LONG time reader, I actually just discovered your site not too long ago. I can say that since I started reading MVC, I can not stop. I’ve been through a lot of your archive and I love your writing and I’ve introduced a number of people to it…

Anyway, now that I’ve done the mandatory ego inflation, here’s my whine:

I’m in Iraq , and that alone is enough to receive feelings of pity. My usual work day is about 530 a.m. until 10 or 11 pm, seven days a week, for 15 months straight. My job consists of roughly 13 hours of wearing 60lbs (27 kilos) of gear in 120 degree (49 Celsius) heat. Usually it feels as though I’m roasting in an oven, seeing as there is THANKFULLY almost no humidity. The very little breeze we get is not cooling, as it is simple blowing super hot air at us, not to mention the horrible odor.

I could go on all day about the physical conditions (2 man room the size of a closet, my roommate sticks all the time, internet that we pay $65 a month for that’s connected at 11Mbs, etc) but my REAL complaint is the mild retardation of the rules. The people that make the rules are so far out of contact with what it’s like to be in the middle of everything that its enough to make you physically ill. To give you a SMALL idea of what I mean take this example:

My room is literally 15ft MAX from the shower trailer. The higher ups have made the rule that you can not wear civilian clothes outside of your room and must be in full uniform if you are outside. So what this means to us is… if it’s 2am and I’ve got to take a leak, I have to get out of bed and change from my perfectly reasonable basketball shorts and tee shirts into uniform, just to walk 15ft and drain the lizard. So, not only am I thousands of miles from my family, against my will, fighting a war I don’t believe in, facing death on a daily basis and not allowed to have alcohol, porn or any other sort of fun… but I cant go to the bathroom wearing my shorts without the fear of getting in trouble… ridiculous I say…

That’s my whine, thanks for listening.

SGT Mark A. Sheets

Of course, you don’t have to be in the military to feel ennui and loneliness. You could just work in IT, as Hilly already indicated and as Alex here confirms.

Hey Pete,

I’m a big fan of your blog, and have been for a while. Well, I think it’s been a while. I’m really not sure. My life has become an event-less purgatory. I’m really only writing this so I’ll have something to do for an hour.

You see, I’m a 3rd year student at UMBC in Maryland. To pay the bills I work tech support 40-50 hours a week at the campus library. That may sound easy, but let me tell you, it is. Really easy. I’m usually pretty busy during the semester, with lots of students running around fucking stuff up for me, but during the summer, this place is a ghost town. That leaves me with about 80 librarians who, not surprisingly, all have degrees in Library Science.

What all of this means is that I am paid to help people who have mostly spent their lives actively avoiding technology, choosing instead to educate themselves in the complicated world of books. My day is usually spent explaining that Word is installed, you just deleted your desktop icon, Firefox opened 20 times because you clicked it 20 times, and it’s running really slow because you keep clicking it. Though I do usually encounter one or two real problems every day, most of the time they’re just retard runs.

Immediately after work I walk a few hundred yards over to my summer Russian course, which I attend with half a dozen other people, and I stare blankly for four hours, occasionally answering some meaningless thing in Russian. This would be the most exciting thing I do all day, except maybe for buying groceries.

Then, each night I walk the half mile back to my apartment building. Since it’s on campus there’s no one else living there. I’m the only resident. My friends and roommates are all busy in various, uninteresting ways, and last year my whole family moved to Colorado. I’m not joking. They packed up, sold the house, and moved hundreds of miles away. I can’t even remember the last time I talked to any of them. I have an Xbox, and its sole purpose is to distract me from my life that is devoid of all things, good or bad.

I guess I don’t really have a reason to be miserable. I’m not depressed. I’m not anything. I’m one level of interaction away from being a rock. I think my sole concern may be that I could just slip into a vegetative state one day.

Alex Bassett

Bad experiences can at least leave you with good stories, as I mentioned to Candace when she was stuck at the gates of hell. How could that not lead to a good anecdote? Pearl here has obviously moved on to better things and can look back and laugh. Or if not laugh, at least not cry.

Tales from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Please, for the love of GOD, get me out of here.

My whine’s not really current, but it is still one of my favorite stories.

The first year my husband and i were married, we rented a 3 bedroom house. All of the curtains and appliances were original to when the house was built in the ’50s. It had the smell a house does when it has been inhabited by old folk who smoked cigars for the last umpteen years. you could literally see where every picture hung on the walls. You could see the outline of the notepad that hung by the phone in the kitchen. pretty icky. The landlords (who worked with my mom, so we got first dibs on the place and a hook-up on the rent) painted the bathroom and ripped out the nasty carpet. That’s about it. I guess they figured the lighting in the house was bad enough that no one would ever notice that the “white” walls were actually more of a rust color.

We moved in the day after we got married – and then it got fun. We lost electricity – every. single. day. On top of that, every time we did a load of laundry, the fuse in our 50 year-old circuit breaker box would blow, costing us about $4 to replace (until my dad finally replaced the box, free of charge). I won’t elaborate on the raccoon-sized rat that lived in our garage/laundry room, other than the fact that the landlord insisted on using poison to kill it, which took about 2 1/2 weeks and resulted in us trying to follow the horrid stench to find the body.

But back to the bathroom. The walls and ceiling were very hastily painted a high gloss shimmery green, with no regard for the nicotine growth underneath. Every time we took a shower – this is beautiful – the nicotine stains would emerge from behind the paint and run down the walls and drip from the ceiling. It’s kind of hard to feel zestfully clean with a puddle of nictoine pooling under your feet. The bottom half of the walls of the bathroom was tile – that is, until it started to fall off. The landlord’s solution? Use giant carpenter’s nails to hang a piece of tile-like linoleum. then use caulk to cover all the screw-ups (like the giant nail heads and the chunks missing from the window sill). Then, we had plumbing issues. First, the toilet started bubbling. It was amusing at first, because I swear it sounded just like the powerpuff girl theme song. But then, our garbage disposal started to back up. everything that had gone down the disposal came back – and filled up our bathtub. It’s really hard to get zestfully clean if you have to wade through 7 inches of chicken mush. That led to a construction crew in our back yard for a week telling us that we may want to avoid using the potty, unless we don’t mind all of our “very personal matter” ending up in our backyard. Thankfully, I worked about 2 minutes away, so every time we had to tinkle or otherwise, we had to get dressed, get in the car, and drive to Blockbuster. And we drove half an hour every day to my parents’ house to take a shower. Good times. We came to find out that the woman who lived in the house before us had died in the bathroom, so that may explain a lot. When the knob fell off of the door, the landlord came over (they refused to hire people – except for the plumbing of course – and knew nothing about anything when it came to being handy-men) and brought no tools. He used our powerdrill, drilling a series of random holes in the door trying to get the new knob to fit.

Oh, and our front door fell off. that’s right. fell off.

In the end, it was a series of drive by shootings and our redneck neighbor repeatedly threatening to call the cops on us (because he revved his mustang in front of our house. . .yeah . . .that’s the south for you. My husband had a Honda Civic, and then a lowrider truck, so either way we were on the redneck poop list, I suppose) that lead us to finally move into a different neighborhood.

Whew. That was a good venting session. Thank you.

– – – Pearl

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