Salacious Details, Blather, and Other Mundane Chatter
By Brian Polk
Art by Eric Joyner
Published Issue 104, August 2022
I Have One Major Regret About The Wish I Made To Go Back In Time
The genie that granted me the wish was probably aware of my folly when I told him I would like to go back to the year 2001, but he didn’t correct me or offer any sort of guidance. In retrospect, I should have said, “I want to go back to 2001 and be 21 again.” Instead, he sent me back to the year I became old enough to drink as a 42-year-old. Sure, all the classic bars were there — like the original 404, Gabor’s, and the 15th Street Tavern — but when I went out, I got tired and had to go home at like 10:30. Likewise, all my old friends were there, but they mistook me for my uncle and made fun of me for going home early. Plus George W. was in office, and although Trump made him seem like Ted Kennedy in comparison, that administration was still no walk in the park. To top it all off, my insomnia that I developed in my mid-30s was still with me, and my knee hurt the entire time. So yeah, if you come across a genie while tripping acid in the museum bathroom, make sure you carefully choose your words while making that wish.
One Of These Days I Want To Be So Shocked That I Spit Liquid Out Of My Mouth
I have been dumbfounded before, but never when I’m drinking something. Conversely, I have been ingesting liquids, but never while hearing anything that would cause me to suddenly launch the contents of my mouth all over the room. Now, there have been times when I did hear something outrageous while drinking, but I was able to temper my response enough to swallow before I reacted. But before I die, I really want the stars to align and just as I take a huge gulp of liquid, someone says something so bewildering that I have no choice but to spit it out and then say, “WHAT?”
How To Extend A 30 Second Conversation To A Full Seven Minutes In Spite Of An Indifferent Audience: Tips From A Very Lonely Customer That I Just Helped
Step One: Finding a customer service worker who’s not busy at the moment.
Step Two: Initiate a conversation related to the specific industry they are in.
Step Three: Pivot the topic of conversation from shop talk to the most mundane details of your boring life.
Step Four: Don’t skimp on the finer points, e.g. be sure to mention how you felt about each development in your tedious story, how your children could have helped if they didn’t live two time zones away, and how all this was so much easier in the ‘80s.
Step Five: Repeat every single thing you said in Step Four two or three more times.
Step Six: Forget what you were talking about.
Step Seven: Repeat Step Five.
Step Eight: Ignore the line forming behind you and the anxious body language of the employee you’ve cornered.
Step Nine: Reluctantly leave after a full seven minutes of your monologue despite not making any kind of point or coming to anything resembling a conclusion.
Step Ten: Find another victim and repeat until you’re hoarse or it’s time to take your pills.
I Don’t Want To Keep Getting Old But I Also Don’t Want To Die Any Time Soon
And I have no idea what to do about that.
Come To Think Of It, I Haven’t Had A Tic Tac In A Long, Long Time
The other day an acquaintance of mine was talking about TikTok and I thought they said, “Tic Tac.” And so I was a bit disappointed when I realized they weren’t talking about Tic Tacs, because that meant I wasn’t about to be offered one. I’m sure this acquaintance of mine went on to describe something they saw on the popular social media platform, but my heart simply wasn’t in the conversation. I was thinking about Tic Tacs — specifically the orange ones. I used to eat the whole pack the second I opened it, even though my mom explained that I should eat them more slowly, as though they were mints. I, however, simply did not have the self-control to pace myself back then. And now that I think about it, I haven’t consumed a single one of the candy/mints in a couple of decades, and that is simply too long. So next time you see me, if you happen to have Tic Tacs, please offer me one. In return, I promise to pay attention if you start talking about TikTok.
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.