When I was 16, my two best friends and I put out a zine called Douche. Back then, in the mid-90s, this was our blogspot, our way of uniquely expressing our opinions, ideas and feelings, and getting mail. Oh man, we loved getting mail.
There was no theme or format or focus. I mean, look at this inside page.
If our goal was to create the most frustrating thing to read in the universe, job well done! Typed up nuggets of anger, love, fear or outrage printed off and scotchtaped to pages, then copied at my patient father’s office after hours, where we’d make him tend to the printing while we wasted that compressed air in a bottle stuff shooting each other.
The next step was dropping it off at any place that would let us leave it by their front door. Back then any music store would have about 30 zines lined up by the door like forgotten shoes, placed so that you’d have to crouch down and scuttle along while picking up the ones that looked like they were made by cute boys.
And then we’d wait. Looking back, this was all just an elaborate ruse to GET SOMETHING IN THE MAIL. That was just the best. Starting when I was eight with a shitty German pen pal I wrote to out of the back of an Archie comic, getting something in the mail has long been the highlight of any day.
My house was the mailing address and we had a pact that we would only open mail when all three of us were together. Since I lived in a different town, this quickly grew extremely frustrating and patience testing. Especially when we were all finally piled into my hatchback, sweaty and excited, only to realize that it was yet again a letter from MaryAnne, our biggest fan who sent us envelopes full of feathers, sparkles and shitty poems.
Lame mail aside, it was still the most fun I had at that age. (Insert a split screen with me typing furiously drinking a homemade Orange Julius and Nuv smoking, fucking and fighting.) Having a focused way of guiding my writing, so tender and silly back then, was a lifesaver and an early start to this word-strewn path I’m attempting to gallop down now.
(We made it through four issues. Here’s the cover of the only one I still have. I’m Shed, because I used to lose a lot of hair. Amazing, I know. The name Douche, as best as I can remember, was chosen because it was one of those female devices we thought most hilarious and foreign.)