And Now Another Half Hearted Attempt To Figure This Place Out by Brian Polk

Deserted Sheep Head by Ray Young Chu – Best of Birdy, Front Cover of Issue 018

Just Like The Rest Of Us, I Forget All My Good Ideas
By Brian Polk
Art by Ray Young Chu
Published Issue 126, June 2024

I Bet When Mr. T Is Feeling Depressed, He Self-pities The Fool

Based on the public persona of Mr. T, I can’t imagine the dude gets depressed all that often. He has the respect of almost all his peers, loads of money, and an impressive resume of acting credits in his long and accomplished career. But once in a while, the vicissitudes of life get everyone feeling a bit depressed. Sadly, I bet this is when the man in the gold chains stops pitying the external fools in his life and starts to self-pity the one fool who should know better — himself. 

How Can This Whole Work Meeting Be About An Acronym I’ve Never Heard Of?

Everyone in this meeting is using the acronym BOLD like it’s something I should already know. But I swear this is the first time in my human existence I’ve ever heard it in this context. “Being BOLD isn’t just showing up to work, doing your assigned duties and going home,” the presenter of the meeting just said. “It’s being BOLD enough to go the extra mile. To not say, ‘That isn’t in my job description.’ Instead, it’s saying, ‘Sure, I can do that. I can be BOLD! What else can I do?’” Holy shit, I can’t even begin to tell you how extraordinarily difficult it is for me not to roll my eyes so far into my skull that doctors have to surgically retrieve them through the back of my neck. Since this is a “rah rah,” “let’s be happy that workplaces everywhere are adopting bullshit corporate slogans that the working people have to learn,” I’m sure it means something like Being Obedient Like Doormats. Or maybe, Bootlickers Obtain Longevity and Dollars. Whatever it is, I can guarantee you this: once this meeting ends, I will not be able to summon the necessary intellectual curiosity to figure out what BOLD means to these fucking people. 

Have You Ever Met Someone Who Was Offended By Swear Words?

When you find yourself in a friend bubble where everyone swears all the time, you tend to forget that certain people could be offended by common vernacular. But then one day you’re at a restaurant, and you say something like, “Some fuckwad stole my credit card number and charged like $400 at fucking Target and then they bought a $6 cup of shitty coffee at fucking Starbucks and didn’t even leave a goddamn tip — which is the most offensive part of all this bullshit. I mean, if you’re going to steal fucking credit card information, at least have the decency to leave a goddamn tip!” And then the table next to you is all angry and bent out of shape, and they can’t stop making angry eyes at you. And at first you think, Maybe they’re so against tipping that they still wouldn’t leave a dollar or two even with a stolen credit card number. And now they’re mad that I called them out. But then your friend who used to be an evangelical says, “I think they’re mad at your swearing.” And you say, “Oh yeah, I fucking forgot people still get all bent out of shape about that shit.” And it makes them even more mad. So yeah, has that ever happened to you? 

That’s It, I’m Done With Life, Get Me Off This Ride
Actually, Let’s See Where This Disaster Of An Existence Is Headed

Much like everyone in life who is capable of facing reality, I vacillate wildly between these two extremes. On one hand, I’ve seen most of the things I ever wanted to see and experienced most of the things I wanted to experience. So when I read about rising sea levels, war, famine, etc., I think to myself, You know what? Screw this. I had a good enough life. I want nothing more to do with it. But on the other hand, the part of my being that functions on a higher level counters this fatalism by saying something like, Stop self-pitying the fool. Let’s stick around this shit show to see what else could possibly go wrong. And then we’ll get drunk and laugh at the absurdity. And now that I think about it, this is probably why I like to drink so much. 

As A Drummer, I Have Accepted The Fact That Everyone In My Life Wishes I Would Shut The Fuck Up

I have always been a loud person. In just about every single house or apartment I’ve ever lived, I have rightfully earned several noise complaints. Although some of these infractions were the result of alcohol, laughter and late nights, most of them were because I played the drums. My neighbors weren’t impressed by the fact that I practiced all the time and desperately wished I would simply shut the fuck up. To make matters worse, I also can’t just turn off the part of my head where my drumming skills live. As such, I randomly tap on counters, arm rests, chairs, and my own legs to keep the beat going. I assure everyone I know that it’s involuntary, but that doesn’t change the fact that they all wish I just shut the fuck up for once in my goddamned life. “BUT I HAVE TO PRACTICE ALL THE TIME!” I tell them. They usually shake their heads and say something all smart like, “No, you don’t.” So then I agree with them and stop tapping on shit for a full three-and-a-half minutes before forgetting about our arrangement and commencing my practice. A lot of folks take a negative view of the fact that I can’t turn off being a drummer, but I couldn’t imagine not thinking about beats all the time. Of course, explaining this to people just gives them another reason to wish I would shut the fuck up — which, you know, I totally understand. 

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.

Ray Young Chu’s background starts with his grandfather being taken away by North Korean soldiers for being a preacher when his dad was six. They never saw him since. This back history has contributed to Ray’s continuous search for meaning and purpose behind his subject matter and art.

Check out Brian’s May issue install, Just Like The Rest Of Us, I Forget All My Good Idea, and Ray Young Chu’s last piece, Cereal Killa With Cataracts, or head to our Explore section to see more of their work.