Idle Chatter, Ins And Outs, And Various Other What-have-yous By Brian Polk | Art By Jason White

Idle Chatter, Ins And Outs, And Various Other What-have-yous By Brian Polk_Art By Jason White
Art by Jason White

Idle Chatter, Ins And Outs, And Various Other What-have-yous

By Brian Polk

Art by Jason White
Published Issue 099, March 2022

I’m Not Even Very Mindful About My Lack Of Mindfulness.

I’m so shitty at being mindful that it doesn’t even bother me that I’m not mindful. In fact, I hardly ever think of it. Every now and again, I see an article online about simple steps to improve one’s mental health, and I think, That could be me! Then I totally forget about it. I suppose I could set a reminder for myself, but I’m not very good at remembering to do that either. 

Contrarian Doesn’t Like That.

The contrarian in your life — and let’s face it, we all have one — takes umbrage to what you just said. In fact, he’s pretty sure he’s never heard anyone say something so stupid. “How could you possibly think that?” he wonders. “I mean seriously, if you believe that, there’s no telling what else you could believe.” Even though you hadn’t mentioned the existence of latte art, he still somehow worked it into the discussion. And he thinks that’s stupid too. 

I Think My Roommate Does The Dishes Once A Year So He Can Say, “What Are You Talking About? I Do The Dishes.”

And now that I’m onto him, I’m not sure how I should proceed. Do I resign to do the dishes all the time and deprive him of this bullshit excuse? Or do I let him have his argument, since not doing the dishes once a year is kind of nice? Either way, these are not good options. And I’m not sure how my retort of, “Yes, you do the dishes once a year, but I do them every day,” doesn’t automatically mean I win the argument.

Do You Think Middle Managers Everywhere Take A Class Called, “How To Blame Your Underlings For The Current Lack Of Customers In The Building?”

I’m pretty sure this course is a requirement. And every single one of them passed with flying colors. 

On A Windy Afternoon If You’ve Ever Thought To Yourself, One Of These Days, I’m Going To Buy A Kite, You Are Not Alone.

As soon as some things settle down, schedule-wise, I’m definitely going on down to the kite store to pick up a cool one. And then I’ll go to the park, struggle to get it off the ground, and then when I do, I will lose interest in about five minutes. Can’t wait!

“Don’t They Know How Little I Care!”

Someone at my work said this the other day, and I was mad that I didn’t come up with it first. I think she was referring to coworkers, but it applies to customers as well. 

Idle Chatter, Ins And Outs, And Various Other What-have-yous By Brian Polk_Art By Jason White
Art by Jason White
My Partner Calls Me A Nerd For Playing Crossword Puzzles All The Time.

But that’s just because I call her a nerd for playing video games. I guess we’re even — though my nerdery is a bit more intellectual, so I consider it better somehow. (And now that I’ve typed that out, I’m realizing how much of a snob I can be sometimes.) 

I Recently Read A Buzzfeed Article About “Things People Over 40 Do For No Reason.”

At first I was relieved, because they were all things that people over the age of 60 do for no reason, and therefore I was not old, because I did not do these things. And then I realized that people in their 20s — who wrote the article — must not be able to tell the difference between 62 and 42-year-olds. And then I was sad again. 

Out There Somewhere There’s An Uncool Mormon Teen Who’s Always The Jump-humper And Never The Soaker.

This is probably only funny to a small portion of the people who read this. To everyone else, have fun googling these terms and then shaking your head in pity. 

I Work With Someone Who Has A Strong Preference For Blue Pens Over Black Pens And I’m Still Baffled By This.

I expressed my incredulity to another coworker, who informed me that she had the very same preference. After conducting an informal poll, I soon discovered that most people prefer one color ink over the other. And now I don’t know what to think about anything anymore. 

We Need To Be Open To The Concept Of “Fresh Ends.”

Everyone always talks about a “fresh start,” and I understand it in theory. But I have a lot of problems I sure could use “fresh ends” for. In fact, I just got an idea for a song called “Fresh Ends” about this very topic. (This material in this magazine is protected by copyright, so don’t go trying to pull a fast one here. Also, I’ll let you know when my new single drops.)

So After Writing That Last Tidbit, I Googled The Term “Fresh Ends” To See If Someone Had Already Used The Idea, And It Turns Out I’m Not As Original As I Thought.

In fact, there’s a septic tank company called “Freshends,” and that’s pretty funny. (I shan’t be writing that song now.)


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 February Birdy install, Fiction, Tidbits and What-Have-Yous by Brian Polk with art by Jason, or head to our Explore section to see more work from these talented creatives.

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