New News Gets Old Real Quick
By Brian Polk
Published Issue 107, November 2022
Do You Think O’Doul’s Will Ever Release A Cocaine-free Powder?
I think it would be a delightful addition to its line of alcohol-free beer. And while they’re at it, they could probably make speed-free meth, CBD (which is basically THC-free pot), decaf coffee, nicotine-free cigarettes (cloves, in other words), and shiitake mushrooms (which do not contain psilocybin). The whole line of products could be called the “free-of” line, which would help everyone who developed a taste for the fun things in life, but had to quit for a variety of reasons. They could also venture into the meat-free meat market as well. You know, now that I think about it, does anyone want to start a new company? We could easily do all this ourselves. (I’ll just be the “idea guy” though, because I totally don’t want to work anymore.)
I’m Pretty Sure The Text I Received From Sean At 6 a.m. Was In Retaliation For The Text I Sent Him Last Night At 11 p.m.
In an effort to tell me to fuck off without telling me to fuck off, my friend Sean sent me an early morning text in response to the one I sent him very late last night. My offending digital communication made Sean’s phone vibrate at 11 p.m. MST. He lives in the Midwest (CST) and has a family and a decent day job. The content of the aforementioned transmission was of the drunken variety boasting the charm and likeability of a new band I’ve been listening to. (“You should check out the new Dissidente album. It’s the record everyone wanted punk rock to make during the Trump years.”) Now, he never said whether or not this woke him up — in fact, it probably didn’t. But he was no doubt aware that a dangerous precedent of late night, potentially sleep interrupting texting was about to be set and he wanted to stop it in its tracks. In other words, he was conscious that it could have distirbed his slumber. And so he fired off a text when he awoke at 7 a.m. CST that very well could have disturbed my slumber. The message, while not explicitly stated, was loud and clear: “You want to wake me up, fucker? Then be prepared to be woken up.” (The actual message read, “Cool, I’ll check [that band] out.”) But I get it. Sean, if you’re reading this now, just know that I will no longer be sending late night texts, so I won’t expect any early morning ones. A handshake-less deal has been struck and I’m sure our friendship will be better because of it.
At Work They Increased The Length Of Our Daily Cry Breaks To Try To Improve Morale
So far it has definitely worked. After sobbing uncontrollably, I feel much better about how my life decisions and plain old bad luck conspired to force me to work a job I really do not like for almost 50 hours a week while the remaining embers of my youth flicker slowly and fade into the dark, cold night. And after using a good quarter of a Kleenex box, I do get a little spring in my step, which allows me to continue to, in the words of Bill Hicks, “Get up at dawn and go to a job I hate that does not inspire me creatively whatsoever, for the rest of my fucking life.” So yeah, it’s been a real game-changer.
I Can Picture Myself one day Living in a Tiny Home — As Long As I Can Bring My 5-piece Drum Set, Half-stack Guitar Amp, And 5,000 Records (And A Bunch Of Other Stuff Probably)
Oftentimes I find myself imagining what it would be like to downsize my life and live in one of those tiny houses. I dream of purging my house of possessions that I haven’t used in decades, getting rid of my queen-size bed, learning to enjoy the moment, and living with less. But then I think about how I would miss my records and stereo. There’s a lot of badass music (that you still can’t get on Spotify) and sentimentality wrapped up in that collection. And what, am I somehow supposed to live without my drums? And my guitar? Plus, where is my band supposed to practice? And what if there’s another lockdown? Am I just going to go nuts because I’m living in a 200-square-foot box with no access to my instruments and records? You know what? Fuck that! I can’t believe I even let that thought into my head. I’m not sure what I get out of picturing myself as someone else, but I should probably stop doing it.
Did You Ever Have A Manager At Work Who Had No Friends Or Family Who Kept Scheduling Mandatory, Unpaid Social Meetups?
Kind of Pathetic-ville, wouldn’t you say? And a cheap way to force people to be your friend. If you ever find yourself doing this, please stop. That is all.
Would You Like To Borrow This Book I Love So You Can Put It On Your Nightstand, Never Read It, And Then Never Give It Back?
Here’s that book I’m always talking about, Pineapple Grenade by Tim Dorsey. By placing it in your care, I imagine you will voraciously absorb every word, meet up with me at a bar or coffee shop once you finish it, and then we’ll have an hours-long conversation where we express to each other how amazing it is. But if we’re not bullshitting ourselves here, we both know that in reality you will put it on your nightstand where all of your other unread books sit. After a couple of months, you will forget it’s there. After a few more months, you will forget I gave it to you. Then a year or two later, the book will end up in a pile of donations that you’ll take to Goodwill — at which point, neither of us will ever see it again. Despite knowing this, I still want to give it to you for some reason. And sure, I’ll take that Joni Mitchell record you’re always trying to get me to listen to, even though it will just get absorbed into my collection and you will have to repurchase a copy for yourself several months from now. Oh, and there’s no way in hell I’ll even listen to it. So, do we have ourselves a deal?
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.
Check out Brian’s October Birdy install, Life Just Keeps On Going, Doesn’t It? head to our Explore section to see more of his work.