I’ve been trying to piece together my childhood weekends. Of course, when very young, it was up early on Saturdays for cartoons like The Little’s and Smurfs and so on, which gradually morphed into the unlimited crappy sci-fi that was endlessly run on the UHF channels – Space: 1999, the Logan’s Run and Planet of the Apes TV spin-off series. There was also a fallback with some Blondie movie or Bob Hope or similar black & white, light-hearted nostalgia nonsense.

Usually I’d be able to TV myself until about noon. Back then, though, we didn’t have cable, and no Cartoon Network or whatever to draw you in 24/7. Entertainment pretty much ended at noon and, if I didn’t go outside myself, mom would usually sweep in and pick me up by the ear and throw me out. I’d be forced to entertain myself until dusk, when I was due home. That was no problem. We lived in a big house right on the edge of Rock Creek Park. I could go smash up beaver dams and go to the various places where thieves dumped wallets and guns and fuck around while mom sealed herself away and smoked up/drank/popped pills for hours on end. (Incidentally — returning those wallets to the owners turned a tidy profit. I made about $20 a week in reward money during grade school and junior high.)

Saturday nights would eventually bleed into Brit-coms on PBS. Channel 26 was our local station, and you had to stand in funny positions while holding the antenna to get the much more interesting channel 22. I think that was out of Baltimore or Annapolis or something. Channel 22, for a few years, was the only one showing Doctor Who. They were always the only one that showed Blake’s 7 and Robin of Sherwood. Channel 26 is cheap and tawdry – the ever-repeating lineup of Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances. You even had to turn to 22 for Chef!, which didn’t make sense. Surely Chef! was a cheap show. Channel 22 also had better pledge drives – they’d be shorter and more polished instead of Robert Aubrey Davis professing how much he loved Doctor Who, but not pronouncing anything right. 26 also teased us. They treated Doctor Who like a wicked stepchild, airing it late at night through my high school years. So the pledge drive would be at midnight or 1am in the middle of a serial and you could just tell that everyone involved thought that Who was the geekiest thing this side of the kids they used to beat up in Hebrew school.

Sundays also started early, though there was pretty stable TV there. Always with the Tarzan, and Channel 20’s wonderful Kung Fu Theater. Adventure stuff and chop-socky. Sometimes monster movies. It’s weird watching one of the myriad Godzilla sequels while eating breakfast.

All over at noon, once again, and a repeat of Saturday. Go kill beavers and climb trees and wade around in raw sewage for six hours or more.

I really enjoyed those days. Even when I am near a TV on weekend mornings today, it’s total shit. That regularity is gone, the Saturday morning cartoons are weird, and it seems like the only thing that channels can afford to rerun is Chips.

I certainly don’t go out and fuck off in the woods anymore because I’ve developed a dislike for bugs and ticks can kill you. Used to be I’d get ticks all the time, but now they’re carrying a whole host of weird imaginary diseases.

Well, I like to think they’re imaginary. I’ve met two people who got Lyme disease from ticks. So that really freaked me out. It’s like meeting people whose faces did get stuck that way or someone who really did put their eye out.

I have my sci-fi Saturday ritual, mainly centered around Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and Atlantis, with support from my classic Doctor Who DVD collection, which I watch with the production notes option turned on. I’m fascinated at how they ran a TV show from 1963-1989 with an apparent budget of $39 per episode and writers delivering scripts with hours to spare.

For the most part, though, my weekends (when not working myself into an early grave) are spent trying to catch my breath. Start drinking early, don’t put on any clothes, walk around the apartment and enjoy the act of not speaking. I have no phone (at least, not one that’s plugged in), and I’ve started turning off my cell phone after 6pm on weekdays and throughout the weekend. If there’s one invention that’s destroyed Humanity, it’s the telephone. I’d prefer people to send me letters. They’ll probably get a faster response, actually.

That’s a hard thing to balance, though, because I’m the publicity contact for my company (I’m the only employee!). So I’m always on email and, like most publicists, I tell people that email is best. I also check my cell phone for messages every couple hours. I guess that’s become my weekend pattern: Monitor my email and periodically check my cell while drinking heavily and listening to records. I’m the publicist with the mostist! Or most cysts…?

Weird that I’ve so easily started to think of myself as a publicist. It’s the natural progression for a publisher, I think. It’s certainly where the money is in publishing.

From March to November, however, my record playing, nude apartment pacing is curtailed by my weekend job, which I’ve bitched about here on the front page. Money money, sure. But I’ve found that I’m much happier walking around nude and drinking on the balcony at 9am while waving to horrified neighbors. Isn’t that everyone’s goal? If I can move full time into being a publicist, then I can behave that way all day every day. All a publicist does is write an ultra short press release, spam their rolodex, and then have some poor intern nag the fuck out of the core media contacts and any reviewer that shows even mild interest. For that they get $10,000. Minimum. And it’s all “pay me up front, motherfucker” and “understand that I can’t do shit, I’m just going to send an email to 20,000 people.” All with other people’s books. Books that you don’t tear from your flesh to publish.

Of course, having a clear dislike for publicists, I plan to go the extra mile. I’ll actually treat the author and publisher like a human being and not like a tourist from Dead Indian Bend, Nebraska showing interest in a shell game.

I’ll also charge less because, really now, come on.

I’m thinking out loud about my future. I shouldn’t do that. It betrays a sense of hope and ambition that just doesn’t belong here. Don’t get the wrong idea – I still plan to retire to the used Airstream on the West Virginia hillside and raise rattlesnakes to sell at the local gas station. I’m just hoping that, maybe, I can retire and do that now instead of in my 60’s or 70’s.