Out With The Introspection By Brian Polk

Untitled (2004) by Mark Mothersbaugh from Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia

Out With The Introspection
By Brian Polk
Art By Mark Mothersbaugh
Published Issue 083, March 2021

While my brain may reap the benefits of millions of years of evolution, all too often it’s wasted on the random, weird thoughts that I have throughout the day. (Though I suppose it could be worse. I could waste it on sports, for example.) Lacking anything better to do with my overactive brain, I have learned to lean into this random contemplation. That way, I can give my mind something constructive to focus on, which helps mitigate dwelling on the meaninglessness that’s ultimately behind the nature of existence. I like to document these musings, because there are a lot of hours in the day and this is how I fill them … 

  • I have to be honest, I haven’t had any razzmatazz in my life recently. And the more I dwell on it, the more I realize that’s a problem. So in an effort to open the gates of mirth and really let the razzmatazz flow back in, I’m trying to rack my brain for memories of the last time I had some goddamn fun. But after brainstorming for the better part of several minutes, I can only come up with a few instances of levity in an otherwise pensive, often tedious, sometimes downright depressing existence I’ve been calling a life. And what’s the point of living like that? Well, if I think of a way to make with the fun, I will let you all know.
  • I flossed in bed the other day, and when I went to throw the strand of floss away, I realized that I had lost it somewhere in the sheets. I didn’t tell this to my partner, and I sure hope I find it first.
  • If I were more conspiracy minded, I would be convinced that there’s some kind of contest amongst truck owners where the driver who can log the most miles without once using his turn signal wins some kind of asshole trophy. Why anyone would covet such an award is beyond me, but then again, I don’t understand much about asshole culture. 
  • One day I hope to be a “washed up” library worker. I know that being a washed up musician or actor is a bad thing, but being washed up in your day job just means that you got to retire. And that’s kind of what I’m working towards here. 
  • I always cheerily say, “Not today,” when cashiers ask if I would like one of their rewards cards. Since I solidly empathize with the plight of the cashier, I don’t say what I’m really thinking, which is, “Just let me pay for the fucking celery and get the hell out of here.”
  • I definitely have a fear that one day I will become spiritual and my troubled mind will finally be at peace, because I’m just not the kind of person who has the temperament for being at one with the universe. I’d rather just hang out with my dogs and get a drink at the bar. 
  • My coworker is from the UK and whenever another English person comes into our workplace, I want them to meet and talk about the “old country.” I don’t know why I have this compulsion, but I am rather embarrassed by it. 
  • Literally “kicking ass and taking names” might be a bit awkward. If you kicked someone’s ass, it would be weird to be like, “And now can I have your name?” And if they said yes, how exactly would you “take” said name? Would they sign it in some kind of journal that you kept of all the people’s asses you kicked? Or would you just dictate it into the notes section of your phone? And why would you need that name? Is it so when someone asks what you’ve been up to, you could say, “I’ve kicked the asses of the following people,” and read all those names you’ve taken? Practically speaking, it just doesn’t add up.
  • I’m kind of glad I can’t travel back in time, since my veganism probably wouldn’t go over well in most eras. My facial hair, however, would kill it no matter where I ended up, because as we all know, sideburns are timeless. 
  • Sometimes when I’m tired, I have no patience for optimism. 
  • There’s no “a” in fuck, but there’s a fuckin’ A. (That’s for all my friends who have recently become fathers and are therefore biologically predisposed to finding puns and wordplay funny. For the rest of you, I sincerely apologize.) 

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 a Conceptualist. As an undergraduate art student at Kent State University, Mark began creating work in the late 60’s and has created tens of thousands of works to the current day in various mediums including, rubber stamp designs, mail art, decals, prints, ink illustrations, oil paintings, ceramic sculptures, manipulated photographs, video, film compositions, sonic sculptures, rugs, screen savers and so on.

While touring with his band DEVO, it was not uncommon for Mark to lightly “correct” or add onto the bland paintings and prints that adorned the many hundreds of otherwise unmemorable hotel rooms that he occupied for one night at a time. Using a van, bus, hotel room, airplane, or any space as his workspace, he has created over 40,000 drawings which serve as the genesis of ideas that later emerge in his larger projects.

Mark views much of his work as experiments in “beatnik-stream of consciousness” poetry, which to him, is related to speaking in tongues; the surrendering of the intellect to the primordial, or science vs. faith

An observer among us, Mark writes down things that he overhears throughout the day … people at another table, a voice on the radio, pieces of verbal fabric that drift and weave and create the poetry of life, the flotsam and jetsam that swirl around us and fill our subconscious with scraps of what it is to be, according to Mark, a “thinking ape.”

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