August 2011. Hoffman Estates, Illinois. I’m waiting for my annual checkup at the glaucoma doctor’s office, reading a back issue of Chicago magazine. The small waiting room is about three-quarters full. As usual, I’m the youngest patient in there, by a couple of decades.

An old man enters, signs in, and sits down next to me. He says, to nobody in particular, “She sure likes to pack ’em in.” He pauses for a beat. “Well, I guess if you don’t like it, you can get a different doctor.” Another beat. “If you can find one.”

I think to myself, he’s a whiner, but I’ve got to appreciate a whiner who can cover all the bases like that, single-handed.

Stronger Than Dirt Pete Moss is one of the many aliases used by a Tom Long of Chicago, Illinois (not to be confused with other Tom Longs of Chicago or elsewhere). Tom was active in xerox zine culture from the late ’80s through the early ’00s under the Colicky Baby Records and Tapes imprint, and several examples of Tom’s mail art periodicals are filed deeply and safely away at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections Department in Iowa City and the Museum of Modern Art Library in New York City. Every so often he posts things at http://colicky.blogspot.com.

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