I consider myself a Slugfish fan. While not running out tomorrow to purchase a “Morbidly Oblivious” T-shirt (copyright 1992, Hermione Slugfish), I’ve always enjoyed her books.
Why has no one– before now– blogged about this woman? One reason may be that she is difficult to reach. It is always hard to get ahold of people who live in California. Eight months ago I left a message with her answering service expressing my intentions to write a blog post about her. This morning, she finally emailed this back:
MISSION STATEMENT OF HERMIONE SLUGFISH, AUTHOR
“Sweet is not the first word that comes to mind to describe The World. Yet The World is kind. We grow through suffering. The World obliges. True, there are some whom The World Does Not Love. “Give them Wine Women Song Money Fame Happiness Screw Them,” says The World. But for the lucky– The World pushes– not too hard– JUST HARD!!! The World is testing. The World doesn’t wish to kill us or make us lose our minds. Only sometimes The World doesn’t know its own strength.”
Best known for Slugfish Survives! (her bout with hallucinations) and A Slugfish Cookbook (poetry, Hermione doesn’t cook), she has written a total of 42 books. I’ve chosen to include quotes from four plus two shirts. Slugfish-philes may wonder why I leave out her most popular work, A Slugfish Christmas. While not terrible, I found the anecdotes related here to be uncharacteristically sentimental and therefore, for me, not essential Slugfish.
1). I used to be fond of saying “Seeing is Believing”. But my hallucinations– ever wary of empirical conclusions– only hooted and smirked and thought me a fool.
—Slugfish Survives! (memoir, 2000)
2). “Maybe your cat is mentally ill,” he said.
–Slugfish Succatash (short stories, 2014)
(Ed. Note: Hermione has never actually owned a cat but sometimes thinks she does.)
3). Maybe I only imagine that I am writing this book and if you see it maybe the person standing next to you does not and then everything you’ve ever said comes under Scrutiny and Doubt and you’ll go to the doctors and they’ll be nice but they probably won’t believe you either.
–Sad Slugfish (essays, 2002)
4). “I believe that you believe” is not believing.
–Slugfish Survives! (ibid.)
5). 1 husband, 2 horrible children, a television set. Stir carefully.
–A Slugfish Cookbook (prose poems, 1998)
6). Probably not a good idea to read Lessing’s The Golden Notebook right now.
–Sad Slugfish (ibid.)
7). “Better Luck Next Lifetime”
–T-shirt (copyright 1992, Hermione Slugfish)
(Ed. Note: This, of course, is even better with its ironic iron-on heart, sold separately for $6.95. These T-shirts are sold at select stores around the country and will be offered– until December 25th– at the steal price of $12.50, down from $12.95!)
I’ll end with a long-ish quote from 8). Slugfish Serenade (song lyrics, 2010). Even for Slugfish aficionados this book can be puzzling and frustrating– an acquired taste perhaps– but it’s one of my favorites.
“An eye for an eye, a trombone for a tooth, a Captain Bligh for a Captain Bligh, a Plain Truth for a plain truth, a Lie for a Perceived lie, a Chartreuse for a Chartreuse, an old college try for an old college try, a goof for a Goof, a Ming vase for a Ming vase, a kibitz for a caboose, a mayhem for a mayhem, a valid excuse for a valid excuse, an abattoir for an abattoir, a Soap for a Soup, a Kiss-Your-Ass-Good-bye for a Kiss-Your-Ass-Good-bye, a pus for a Puke, an egg for an egg, a glue for a glue, an elegy for an elegy, a shriek for a Shrew, a mind for a Mind, an Ah-CHOOOOOOOOOO for an ah-choo, a god bless you for a God bless you, a fuck you for a fuck you, a far cry for a Far Cry, an uncouth for an uncouth, a Spry for a Spry, a youth for a youth, the Eucharist is just the Eucharist, a G.I. is just a G.I., an eye for an eye is just an eye for an eye, a trombone is just a tooth.”
Well, there you have it. Not an exhaustive overview but, I believe, a good solid introduction to the Slugfish ouevre. She can be a little dark but that’s right on the money for this time of year, don’t you think?
Thank you for reading. Happy Holidays!
Unrelated Addendum: The classic comedy team of Nichols and May is very much missed.