He has little reason to care. He’s married now, with a son. He may not be quite what he once aimed for — as he put it, an artist with a CEO’s salary — but he’s got much of what he needs. He strips companies of their old or surplus technology and resells it; that funds his real work with SRL. In August he put a show on eBay: for $149,000.00 (plus proper permitting and a viable site with adequate electrical power), Survival Research Labs will bring its mechanized mayhem to your city. Thanks in part to some positive media coverage, he’s had over 7,000 views, but no one’s yet taken him up on the offer. “I just thought it would be fun. It was something I’d always wanted to do. Good for laugh. That’s why I usually do things. That’s my main motivation — I might get a laugh out of it somewhere down the line.”
Down the line. Some time in the future, where Mark Pauline has always focused. “I’m 58 and I have no regrets. Yet. I figured that my chances of having regrets are diminished because I’ve made it this far. The percentages look good.” He doesn’t look back much. “At this point I don’t really spend much time thinking about the past,” he says, “I haven’t gotten to that point. Not to say that I won’t someday.” And he’s got time, a long-lived family. “I might be doing this for another 40-50 years. It’s reasonable to assume that,” he says.
And what would make all those long days and nights worth it? What has he been trying to do with this long project he’s made of his life?
“I do this stuff cause I like to do it,” he says, “not because I think I’m going to make any money at it. I’ve been doing it for 30-some years and I still haven’t made any money at it. So that’s good. That means I’ve succeeded. That measure of success has been achieved.”