Thinking Thoughtful Thoughtlessness (Or Whatever) by Brian Polk | Art by Jason White

Art by Jason White
Art by Jason White

New News Gets Old Real Quick

By Brian Polk
Art by Jason White
Published Issue 108, December 2022

“Happy To See Me” Is Kind Of A Weird Euphemism For “Boner”

“Is that a candy bar in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?” A popular joke from childhood, this phrase was indeed meant to be a tongue-in-cheek way to refer to a throbber. But I do very much lament the fact that the euphemism never caught on in everyday life. For example, sometimes when you and your partner are getting hot and bothered, you could slip the phrase into dirty talk. “Oh my god, babe, check out how happy I am to see you right now!” Or on the reverse side, if you’re trying to get hot and bothered, but the plumbing isn’t working, and your partner says something like, “What’s wrong?” You could reply, “Well, I guess I’m just not very happy to see you,” and you could point to your flaccidness with a frown. It could also work well on road trips when the vibration of the car makes a “happy to see you” just kind of materialize out of nothing. So when the other person in the car says something like, “Could you get out and pump some gas?” You could reply, “I’m sorry, but I can’t stand up right now. The constant reverberation of the car has caused me to be really happy to see you for some reason.” Then your friend would just give a solitary nod in understanding and pump the gas himself. Also, if you were nervous to bring up the “Can I get some Viagra?” convo with your doctor, you could simply say to him with a wink, “I haven’t been happy to see anyone in months, if you know what I mean …” And come to think of it, the original joke, “Is that a candy bar in your pocket …” I bet at least once, the answer to that question was, “That’s no candy bar. I am just really happy to see you.” And then a very awkward situation ensued. 

I’m Pretty Sure My Romantic Partner Is Having An Emotional Affair With Her Therapist

The other day someone told me about the existence of “emotional affairs” — a concept that applies to a situation in which a spouse is having a non-sexual, intimate experience with someone they are not romantically committed to. Immediately upon learning this term, I realized my romantic partner has been engaged in one of these emotional affairs with her therapist for years! Every Tuesday afternoon she meets this man at a predetermined location and the two of them chat together, laugh together, even cry together. Sometimes when she’s feeling bad about life, she’ll even text him! At first, I assumed this arrangement was a typical patient/doctor relationship, but then I heard about this cheating-without-cheating concept and I made the determination that I was being victimized by an unholy alliance. Thank God for knowledge! Now I’m really starting to mistrust her relationship with her parents, siblings and gynecologist. So if my worst irrational fears are correct, I may in fact be dating a serial emotional cheater. (Also, I may have serious control issues.)

I Took A Long, Blurry Look At Glasses I Had Just Dropped In The Dive Bar Toilet

It was then that I had no choice but to reevaluate everything that had led up to that moment. And I realized I had a lot of unscrutinized regrets I should probably work on. But since I had an open tab at the bar, I pushed that to the back of my mind and got myself another drink. Reflecting on all of this now, I can’t help but wonder how many times I’ve done that. And just how big is the back of my mind? And how much longer can I keep pushing things there? And Jesus, who needs another drink?

Does Anyone Else Feel A Small Sense Of Triumph Whenever Their Recycling Bin Gets Picked Up?

It’s kind of embarrassing that I even admit this, but every time I see an empty recycling bin, a strong sense of accomplishment overcomes me. It doesn’t last very long — maybe half a minute or so. Still, once every two weeks, I feel this sensation without fail. I know they say it’s the small things that count, but this is still pretty pathetic. I suppose I’ll add it to the pile of adult indignities that just seem to keep building up the longer I’m around on this planet. 

What Would You Do If Your Grandma Casually Wished You A Happy Second-to-last Birthday?

I’ve put a lot of thought into this. If it ever happened to me, I think I would be a little freaked out. I would probably say something like, “What do you know that I don’t?” And then she would probably open up some weird book of spells and point to the one she just cast on me. And I would say, “Grandma, you’re a witch?” And she wouldn’t respond, so I would say, “How long have you been a witch?” Also, “Why are you cursing me?” And she would just stare at me and shake her head. Then when I got to the afterlife less than one year later, she would just tell me it was all a funny gag, and we’d share a post-obit laugh. (On a completely different-but-related note, did anyone else’s mushrooms just kick in?)

Sports Nerds Are By Far The Biggest Nerds

You know how fans of sports hold themselves in high esteem? They think nothing of sparking up conversations about the game to whomever is around them — droning on and on about meaningless statistics that have no bearing in the real world. Yet, these very same aficionados will refer to anyone who doesn’t like football as a “dork” or “nerd.” It’s ironic really, since they’re not above cosplaying as their favorite players (either by donning jerseys or painting their faces and/or bodies), playing make-believe games like fantasy football, and getting their fellow sport-nerd buddies to come over and yell at the TV every Sunday. But by far the biggest sport-nerd crime against coolness (or at least sincerity) is referring to the team for which they cheer with the pronoun “we.” Imagine if I, as a music fan, used this pronoun to refer to bands I like. “I went to see Turnstile last night. We fucking killed it. I can’t believe we played so many of our favorite songs.” Even the most diehard sport-nerd would correct me with a scoff. “Psst,” they would scoff. “You’re not even in the band!” Then I, applying my best sport-nerd logic, would say, “Aren’t us fans a part of the band?” Of course the answer to that question is, no, music fans are not in the fucking band, just like sport-nerds are not on the team. All of this is to say, when the season finale of sports happens this upcoming February and non-sport-nerds refer to football as “sportsball,” maybe lean into an uncharacteristic sense of self-awareness and silently allow yourself to admit, “You know, I am a huge fucking dork, aren’t I?” 

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 November Birdy install, New News Gets Old Real Quick, and Jason’s companion art to Nate Balding’s Werewolf Radar: A Hazy Geamhradh, head to our Explore section to see more of his work.