Tag Archives: indignity

Shitkicker

Gratitude and the Art of Diffidence Presents…Shitkicker: A tragedy.

Anon, but the ID photocopied on the back-cover reveals first and last name
No contact details
I got my copy at Sticky for $3

Shit: The zinemaker’s job. I love zines about the workplace, because a) I live vicariously through other people’s lives;
b) all kinds of confidentiality agreements are breached in writing about one’s job and
c) workplaces are endlessly fascinating. The personalities. The work culture. The power dynamics. The duties. The bullshit. And also? The fact that purely by holding down a crappy job, you’re invested in it. You bring commitment to shit. There’s an element of your person that you give to the job and your obligation to make sense of a world within set hours with a lanyard round your neck.

Aesthetic: Classic geeky wonky zine feel. A mix of handwriting, badly drawn comic illustrations, excellently bad stock photos of medical practitioners perfectly and non originally defaced, wonkiness, and text that is a font size or two too large for the page size. But at the same time it’s this nievete that makes the zine kinda cute and awkward. So it’s a geeky kind of aesthetic, which for zines? is awesome.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T: Give it to him. The zinemaker is an orderly at a hospital – a casual one moving from one section to another wherever he’s needed. He’s endlessly bossed around to clean up gastro, fill blanket warmers, transport patients and sort out needles in order of length. Nobody looks him in the eye when they speak to him. Apparently his name is not in big enough capitals on his ID because staff have no idea what the fuck his name is, and he seems to be vicariously known as Ben (His actual name is Vincent). When he’s not suffering this kind of indignity, his overly youthful 21 year old appearance means he’s equally at risk of being teased about whether he’s old enough to operate bed movers. The problem is, however, self deprecating humour and being a prat are not mutually exclusive either.

Six parts, two distinct moods: The zine is in six sections but more like in two progressive parts: It starts off very teen angst but becomes more tempered as it continues. When I started this zine, I couldn’t help but think that sure, the guy had a shitkicker job, but that’s what he’s paid for…he kinda sounded like a bit of a dick. (Actually, on re-reading, he still does).

HOWEVER, the time I got to the final pages, the spirit of the zine has done a complete 360. It’s a welcome turn, but slightly disconcerting. Like listening to someone in the differing degrees of being drunk, from obnoxious right through to likeable.

Resolution: Like a good episode of Dr Phil or insert talkshow here, we pull back from despair and grief and the zinemaker has a blinding flash of insight while sulking in a philosophy class which he feels compelled to share. Thank god, this zine could have gone in some horrible potential serial shooter direction otherwise.

Spoiler alert: The zinemaker discovers perspective. And it’s a cool perspective that I really liked.  He probably will never experience the wonderful universal philosophical principles he wants to adopt reflected back at him in the workplace, but it’s good to believe stuff.

Bonus section: The orderly hall of fame. Includes portrayals by Jerry Lewis, Dr Who characters and a guy from Scrubs. I highly enjoyed. There should be more in pop culture, really.

-E.P.