A Little From Column One, A Little From Column Two by Brian Polk | Art by Jason White

Art by Jason White

A Little From Column One, A Little From Column Two

By Brian Polk
Art by Jason White
Published Issue 110, February 2023

The Amount Of Blind Hatred I Feel Towards People Who Don’t Shovel Their Sidewalks Should Probably Be Reserved For Neo-nazis Or Something

People who don’t shovel the snow off their sidewalks in the winter really anger me. As a pedestrian, I’m often incredulous that anyone could be so callous. I mean, what, do they not care about my safety? Do they want the elderly and folks with disabilities to slip and injure themselves? HAVE THEY NO DECENCY! I MEAN, WE LIVE IN A SOCIETY, GOD DAMNIT! DO THEY THINK THEY CAN JUST COAST ALONG AND JUST NOT CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES? IT TAKES SIX MINUTES TO SHOVEL A SIDEWALK! SIX MINUTES! HOW DAMMED PRECIOUS IS THEIR TIME ANYWAY!?! At this point in my inner-monologue, I like to take a couple of deep breaths and remind myself that the non-shovellers are probably not on par with nazis. And that maybe I should reserve my scorn for the more obvious culprits in our society. Good point, brain, I think to myself. There are more serious offenders out there. Bigger targets, so to speak … But still, I mean come on. SIX FUCKING MINUTES!

Most Of The Narcissists I’ve Met Are Totally Undeserving Of Their Own Massive Egos

This is probably going to sound mean, but nearly all the conceited people I’ve encountered in life didn’t do much to earn their excessively generous self-assessments. I could understand if they donated a kidney, prevented an orphanage from burning down, or even got the high score on Pac-Man or something. But none of them had much of anything in the way of accomplishments. For example, I remember this guy I worked with who was always telling everyone he was the hardest worker at every job he ever had. (He would also give me a hard time because I lived in Denver, and not Highlands Ranch where he resided. He so eloquently referred to my living situation as “ghetto.”) Eventually, he got fired for taking too many breaks and straight up disappearing for hours at a time. When they mailed him his last paycheck, my boss made a comment about how he lived in his mom’s basement. I told my boss, “And he gives me shit for living in my own apartment in Denver?” He laughed and said, “There’s always a guy like him at every job.” So true. And as much as I pity people like this, I have to begrudgingly respect them. Most of us suffer from a lack of self-esteem, while they’re walking around like they own the place. No one alive could convince these people they’re not God’s gift to the world. I try to think about that whenever I start getting down on myself. It really does help. 

Having Insomnia Is Like Being High On The Shittiest Drug Ever Made

It kind of feels like that time in high school when one of my friends bought some cheap brick weed that tasted like motor oil and just gave us all really bad headaches. But insomnia is even shittier than that! (Like way worse.) Think about how you’d feel if you were hungover after a three-day Jägermeister binge, drank a vat of used McDonald’s fryer oil, and then drank five cups of coffee because you still have to function at your job even though you didn’t sleep. It’s like that. All the time. (And that’s why I don’t see eye to eye with the “Every day is a gift” crowd.)

I’ve Listened To That Record More Than I’ve Had Sex

The other day someone asked me how many times I’ve listened to Operation Ivy’s Energy. At first I was flummoxed, because how could I possibly come up with a number? Then I said I’ve heard it more times than I’ve had sex, and that’s as close as I could possibly get to actual, relatable data. I figure I bought that record when I was 15, long before I engaged in coitus. Between the ages of 15 and 17, I’m sure I put it on at least five times a week. That’s quite a large number I built up by the time I found an amorous relationship. And while I don’t have concrete numbers, I’m willing to wager that it took awhile for my romantic exploits to even match the number of my past Energy listens. And of course, the record has been in a pretty regular rotation ever since, which means that number didn’t stop growing after the sweet lovemaking commenced. So even if my numbers don’t fully check out, they come close. And really, I was just going for perspective on this one, so my explanation is beside the point. But you know, as a contributor, I have to write something in this magazine. 

Did You Know The British National Anthem Is Not “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am?”

Apparently it’s “God Save The Queen,” and not the Sex Pistols version. I discovered all of this when I had a conversation with one of my few English friends. “So you’re telling me that ‘Henery the Eighth’ is not the British equivalent to ‘The Star Spangled Banner’?” I asked. He shook his head and told me, “No, that’s actually very offensive.” When I asked him what the U.K. national anthem was, he told me, “‘God Save the Queen.’” I informed him I knew every word of that song, but when we started singing it together, two very different versions came out. Turns out, the Sex Pistols didn’t write the official one. Who knew?

In All Seriousness, I Did Know The British National Anthem Isn’t “I’m Henery The Eighth, I Am” 

So the answer to the last question in the paragraph is, “Me. I knew that.” Sometimes I like to provide some comedic relief, since I am so naturally funny. The conversation depicted in the last entry did in fact happen. But I was joking then as well. When I’m around, you simply never know what hilarity awaits. (Also, very often people will describe my “hilarity” as “not even close to funny.” So yeah, not everyone gets me.) 

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.

Jason White is an artist living in the suburbs of Chicago. His favorite mediums are oil on canvas and pencil & ink drawings. When he was a kid he cried on the Bozo Show. His work varies from silly to serious and sometimes both. Check out more of his work on Instagram.

Check out Brian’s January Birdy install, Informally Informed, So To Speak, with art by Jason, or head to our Explore section to see more of their work.

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