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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Deadly Hobo Charm

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: February 2012

Is it just me, or has the number of homeless men gallivanting around downtown seemed to rise dramatically lately? It seems like there’s about one hobo per block right now, although I guess it’d be about 1.2 hobos per block if you count the angry dude who drags a filthy blanket and speed walks in laps around downtown. I’m sure you know the individual who I’m referring to, he’s the one who looks like if you stare hard enough his eyes would have those old-school swirls in them, the kind people would get in cartoons when they were being hypnotized. You’ve probably avoided eye contact with him, or if you’re lucky, like me, you’ve been told to “die!” by him. At first I thought I was special, that this strange, individual who maintains the mystery and allure of Pigpen (a’la Peanuts) but all-growed-up was saving his wishes of expiration for my ears only. But then I noticed, with some surprise, that he doles out an enthusiastic “die!” to anyone who crosses his path. At first I thought he must be a paranoid schizophrenic, or could have some form of Tourettes, but now I’m not so sure. I’ve noticed that he’s capable of turning off the deadly charm (see what I did there?) when he’s asking for change or cigarettes. I’m no doctor, although I have been known to wear a white coat and an undeserved sense of self-importance.

In any case, seeing these dudes on every block definitely bums me out (puns!), but what really sucks is when they ask for money. This is mostly due to the fact that I never really carry change, and I don’t smoke, so I have nothing to offer. I’ve noticed that they’re getting more aggressive in their tactics, which recently have included purposely barricading my way when I’m walking my bike on the sidewalk, and walking up from behind me when I’m locking up my bike. Speaking of bums, Hollywood’s own loveable miscreant Nicolas Cage is set to hit the silver screen again soon, and I can’t say I’m too pleased about it. In my opinion he should have stopped after Kick Ass, or maybe even Raising Arizona.

Lastly, this week I’d like to wrap things up with a nod to a fallen nerd. If you’ve ever seen George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead, then you might recognize Bill Hinzman, the very first zombie who shuffled across the screen in the aforementioned flick. He passed away on February 5th at the ripe ol’ zombie age of seventy-five. That’s all for next week. Pick up an issue next week if you’d like to hear about the Hoverboard (of Back To The Future fame) becoming a reality. Finally! 

Arielle Mullen