Every Day It’s Getting A Little Easier To Admit Life Is Getting Much Harder
By Brian Polk
Art by Mark Mothersbaugh
Published Issue 121, January 2024
Can Everyone In My Past Forget About All The Times I Acted Awkward? The Reason I Ask Is Because I’m Tired Of Thinking About It
When I’m lying in bed at night, a mere seconds away from nodding off to sleep, I tend to think about all the times I did incredibly stupid shit in front of others. This has a two-pronged effect: (1) it makes me hate the fact that I’m not a smooth person. And (2) it keeps me awake. And frankly, I’ve grown weary of this nightly occurrence and I don’t want to do it anymore. So I’m offering a deal to all the people in my life: I will forget about all the times you acted like a bumbling fool in front of me if you forget all the times I behaved like a yammering jackass in front of you. That way, we could disremember our collective inelegance and finally get a good night’s sleep, for chrissake.
Now We’re Cooking With Gasoline
Recently, I discovered the phrase, “now we’re cooking with gas,” was coined by the natural gas industry to promote the increased consumption of that particular non-renewable resource. I always thought the phrase meant, “… cooking with gasoline,” which would be a hell of a way to cook, am I right? But now that I know I’m shilling for powerful titans of business when I use this expression, I will henceforth be saying, “Now we’re cooking with gasoline,” because the natural gas industry doesn’t need any more spokespeople. (Note: I will promptly stop using this turn of phrase if the petrol industry picks up on it. And if the saying does get popular, they probably will, since marketers tend to ruin everything. To quote the late Bill Hicks, “Quit putting a god damn dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet.” … But I digress.)
Sometimes When I’m Number Twoing In A Quiet Place And There Are People I Don’t Know Very Well On The Other Side Of The Bathroom Door, I Will Clear My Throat And Cough A Bunch So No One Can Hear The Sounds Of My Cacophonous Digestive System
The only downside to this is when I open the bathroom door and have to explain both the smell and the fact that I don’t have Covid. (“It was the guy before me,” usually explains away the odor; whereas, “I’m not sick, it’s just that my throat has just been so dry in this winter weather,” takes care of the cough. I suppose I will have to come up with a different excuse during the humid summer months, but I have some time to plan before that happens.)
After All These Years, I Am Still Not A Literal Mother Fucker
As an insult, “mother fucker” was never meant to be taken literally. It was just a mean thing to call someone. While I have been referred to as a mother fucker on a few occasions, as a statement of pure accuracy, I’ve never actually had sexual relations with a woman who has birthed children. I have been intimate with people who went on to have children, but I don’t think the term applies retroactively. (I suppose you could call me a “pre-mother fucker,” but if you start throwing around this insult, you’re going to have some explaining to do.) The funny thing is, all of my friends who have had children are most definitely fucking mothers, so they are true examples of this expression. But none of them are figurative mother fuckers (they’re actually quite nice). I suppose that’s the nature of swear words — they’re hyperbolic in nature. For example, I’ve never met an actual “ass clown,” “shit head,” or “fuck face” — though I have referred to people as such. Also, all the literal “bitches” I’ve met have been quite lovely — though I was bitten by one once, but that’s just because she was being a good girl and protecting her owner.
Speaking Of Canines, My Dog Is Really Taking Advantage Of The Fact That I Have An Aversion To Killing Animals
From daily feedings that must be served promptly on schedule to walks he shamelessly demands, my dog is quite bold with his awareness that I won’t murder him. (He is both a literal and figurative son of a bitch.) And now in his old age — he’s 15 — he doesn’t even discriminate where he pees anymore. This latest development has really tested my patience. I even explained to him that if he pees in the house one more time, I would dump him on the side of the road. The next day, he called my bluff when he began micturating in the living room while never breaking eye contact with me. It’s like he was saying, “How do you like me now, you animal-loving nerd?” He certainly has my number.
I’m Going To Start An Orange Juice Company And Make A Product Called, “Oops All Pulp”
It will contain absolutely no juice, and consumers will have to eat it with a spoon. After I quickly go out of business, I will still be proud of myself for accomplishing one of my life goals. And when people say, “That was a pretty stupid life goal,” I will say, “Well now, that’s not a very nice thing to say, is it?” And then I will accomplish another life goal — trying to get more people to be less dickish and judgemental.
Brian Polk is a Denver-based writer, publisher of The Yellow Rake, and drummer for Joy Subtraction and Simulators. He’s the author of Placement of Character and Turning Failure into Ideology. He likes writing, muck raking, yellow journalism, zines not blogs, cheap booze and punk rock.
Mark Mothersbaugh is one of this era’s most unique and prolific conceptual artists and composers. Deeply aware of the ability of precise, multi-faceted artistic expression to deliver vital social commentary, he has perpetually challenged and redefined musical and visual boundaries. Mothersbaugh co-founded the influential rock group DEVO and parlayed his avant-garde musical background into a leading role in scoring for filmed and animated entertainment, interactive media, and commercials. Mark has scored 150 films, television shows, video games, and hundreds of commercials through his multimedia company, Mutato Muzika. He has had 165 visual and audio art shows, including his retrospective traveling museum exhibition Myopia. He has received a doctorate in Humane Letters at Kent State University, his alma mater. See more of his work on Instagram and his site.
Check out Brian’s December issue install, A Window Into A Semi-eventful Life In Seven Easy Steps, and Mark’s teaser for his new book, APOTROPAIC BEATNIK GRAFFITI, or head to our Explore section to see more of their work.