The Loner's Home Companion
Philip Michaels

Ever had lots of spare time, a .357 Magnum burning a hole in your pocket, and an unhealthy obsession with Heather Locklear or Adrian Zmed? If you have (and who hasn't?), this guide is for you.

Somewhere out there in any city -- it could be Boise, Duluth or even West Covina -- there's some sullen human being sitting in front of the television set in a pair of boxer shorts and a pizza- stained T-shirt. In one hand he's holding a can of Budweiser; in the other he's holding a remote control. Sheriff Lobo is flickering on the TV set, but he doesn't pay attention. He's only thinking about the world of hurt he's going to do when he finally gets around to locating a clean pair of socks.

This man is a moody loner. He has little ambition and even less reason to live. The odds are high that sometime within the next week, he's going to snap and start firing a scattergun into the produce section of a local supermarket. But you have no reason to pity or despise this particular moody loner because chances are you're one too.

Do you feel tired, depressed or irritable? Do you find yourself driven to the brink of sanity by the trivial things in life? Have you developed a taste for killing? Are you a recently laid-off postal worker? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then congratulations -- you are now an official moody loner. If you answered no, then don't worry -- you'll get yours soon enough. The moody loners will see to that.

Moody Loners Throughout History... From Cain to Nixon

Since the dawn of time, moody loners have had a lasting influence on society and culture, as they sulk about, ducking down poorly-lit alleyways and filling journal after journal with wretched poetry. Anyone can be a moody loner! Housewives, fathers, certified public accountants, teamsters, sniveling graduate students and even major presidential candidates have all, at one time or another, boasted more moody loners among their ranks than you could shake a loaded handgun at. All you need to be a moody loner is a pessimistic outlook, a tenuous grasp upon reality and an alarming tendency to open fire upon innocent bystanders. It really is just that simple!

But being a moody loner isn't just about assassinating government officials, stalking famous Hollywood starlets and terrorizing small children for their lunch money. It's oh so much more... moody loners are valued members of the community. Moody loners can contribute to many neighborhood projects like block parties, neighborhood watch programs and frightening away undesirables with large-caliber weapons. You don't have to be imbalanced to be a moody loner, but it sure does help.

Famous Moody Loners

Vincent Van Gogh
TV's Barbara Billingsley
Spiro Agnew
Beloved ventriloquist Señor Wences
Attorney General Janet Reno
Andrea Dworkin
Bob Costas
Illusionist Doug Henning
Abe Vigoda
DeForest Kelley
Catherine "Daisy Duke" Bach
Most of the original members of KISS
Art Garfunkel
Susan Faludi

Am I a Moody Loner? A Simple Test...

 1. I am moody.

 2. I am a loner.
Answer Key: If you answered yes to both of these questions, congratulations! You're a card-carrying moody loner! If you answered yes to only one of the questions, you're probably just a member of the Libertarian Party, which is close enough as far as we're concerned. If you answered no, don't despair. You'll come to your senses one day.

But Am I Really a Moody Loner? A Slightly More Difficult Test

 1. Complete the following sentence: A bird in the hand...
   a) is good eatin'
   b) can get really messy
   c) is worth a bullet in the brain

2. You decide to leave a dead animal on the doorstep of that 
   special someone you've been stalking. Do you leave:
   a) a guppy
   b) an orange and white tabby cat
   c) a rhinoceros

3. You've just snapped and gone on a vicious, murdering rampage. 
   Where would be the best location to go on your killing spree?
   a) a fraternity rush event
   b) a public eatery somewhere in the United States
   c) the United States

4. What is your favorite leisure activity?
   a) sobbing
   b) killing
   c) sobbing after killing
Scoring: For each (a) answer, give yourself 10 points and subtract 4 from the total. For each (b) answer, give yourself 3 points and divide by the square root of 564. For each (c) answer, subtract 10 points, multiply by the average circumference of the human skull and add your zip code to the total.

If you scored no points: You are a perfectly normal human being with absolutely nothing to worry about, unless, of course, you're lying about your score in order to impress us, in which case you're one sick puppy.

If you scored anything else: There's no denying it. You're one severely messed-up individual. Manic-depressives probably shun your company because they think you're "too unstable." Read on.

Tips For Beginning Moody Loners

Novice moody loners are always at a loss when they begin their careers as troubled loners living on the fringes of a cold and unfeeling society. Should I be a vigilante or a crazed citizen driven over the edge? Should I write my poems in blank verse or in iambic pentameter? And what about selling the rights to my life story to some exploitative TV show? Good questions. And no matter how daunting it all may seem at first, just remember: You're a moody loner. Things are supposed to daunt you.

Beauty Tips For The Loner In All Of Us

Stop sleeping. Toss and turn each night. Walk the streets in the seedy part of town just like Robert De Niro in Martin Scorcese's 1975 motion picture Taxi Driver. This will give you a seedy, unwashed appearance, not to mention a sallow complexion. After a few days without sleep, you'll look as bad as you feel.

Don't comb your hair. As a moody loner, you should be far too troubled with the nefarious plot of society against you to worry about whether your cowlick is matted down. Forget about your hair completely -- this will give you a look similar to that of Jesus Christ or David Crosby, either one really. It's this type of look that moody loners have yearned after for generations.

Brush after every meal. This will help you keep that healthy smile.

For God's sake, stop smiling. You're supposed to be oppressed by the weight of the world's problems. Quit acting like everything is all shiny and happy, when we know very well that any minute now, you could be on the floor in the fetal position weeping profusely.

If you happen to hear any voices in your head, do exactly what they tell you to do, no matter how outrageous or morally repulsive. After all, the voices know best, and it's simply better to give into their unseemly demands right away, rather than allowing these inner demons to peck away at your very existence. Remember -- those voices are a whole lot smarter than you. They've been to college, you know.

Moody Loner Exercises

Keeping a rambling diary. Every moody loner has to keep a dog- eared, incoherent record of their half-baked thoughts and sinister desires. It's mandatory -- otherwise how will big shot Hollywood producers make an exploitative TV show about you? You'll be a laughingstock among your fellow moody loners, and considering that these people never laugh, that's slightly embarrassing.

Try this simple exercise. Write about a painful childhood experience and why the government is to blame for it. Make sure your essay is at least five hundred words, typed and double- spaced. You'll be marked down for spelling errors. Begin.

Sample: It was at camp, and I kept wetting my bunk bed because I was so worried about the government's inadequate health care policy. At night, the other kids would come to bunk and beat me with bars of soap and oranges that they have shoved into their socks. And that only made me wet my bed more. As I recall, one of the kids looked like Nixon, with his beady eyes and evil desires. He kept shouting at me and hitting me and taunting me about forced busing. That was when I swore revenge against him, the Lutheran Church and the aliens that were programming their wicked actions.

Writing deranged fan letters to Hollywood superstars. Every moody loner has to write a ton of obsessive fan mail swearing dog- like devotion to some overrated actor or actress. You have to do it, or else no one will understand why you went on a 12-state killing spree. Some good celebrities to write fan mail to include the silver screen's Jamie Lee Curtis, celebrity impersonator Fred Travelina and entertainment legend Englebert Humperdink.

Weeping. Every moody loner has to fall to his knees sobbing for no good reason whatsoever. It's part of your contract, right after that bit about wearing faded army flak jackets whenever you go out in public. Weeping is pretty easy. All you have to do is think of something sad like a lost puppy dog or the motion picture Ishtar. You'll be drowning in your own tears in no time.

Composing bad poems. Every moody loner has to compose ream after ream of wretched poetry. You have to because... well, because I said so. The poems can be about anything, provided that they are without rhyme, meter or any redeeming literary value.


 I see you there, my love
 Talking to someone else, who is not me.
 I see the both of you laughing, laughing at
 me! Damn your eyes.
 So I shot the two of you in the kneecaps,
 And I ate the last piece of key lime pie,
 the one your mother baked us
 Right before she got the rickets.
 And it made me happy
 So there.

Some Parting Advice

Being a moody loner has its disadvantages. You don't get invited to many parties, people tend to run in fear from you and the only time you ever receive any real attention is during the FBI manhunt after that unfortunate incident at the Galleria over the weekend. But on the positive side, you save a fortune on Christmas cards and after awhile, those voices inside your head can say some real deep things. Lately, the voice I've been hearing -- let's call him Frank -- has been telling me that Billy Ray Cyrus was Satan's valet.

Now normally, I would be skeptical, but Frank's usually right about these things -- at least he was right about Suzanne Somers and her involvement with the global communist conspiracy. So I figure Frank and I go pick up some ammo and maybe a couple of mortars, and we...

Uh, anyhow. You understand what I'm saying.

Philip Michaels ( is a reporter for a national daily newspaper. He ain't no nice guy. He's a frequent contributor to TeeVee, and his other work can be found at The Loser Chronicles.

InterText stories written by Philip Michaels: "Your Guide to High School Hate" (v2n3), "The Loner's Home Companion" (v3n4).

InterText Copyright © 1991-1999 Jason Snell. This story may only be distributed as part of the collected whole of Volume 3, Number 4 of InterText. This story Copyright © 1993 Philip Michaels.