Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021

Sometimes Things Be That Way

There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realize some of this was self-inflected — more than I’d like to admit to, in fact — and some of it is just that the world can be an inhospitable place to people who feel big. It’s easy for me to take days like today and get all existential, A big part of me thinks this is when I see the world — the real Real World — the way it actually is instead of the way I fool myself into believing it just might be. The reality is that my very being is extremely vulnerable to a world that doesn’t seem to be a friendly place, and it makes me wonder why I exist at all.

But hey, how about them Mizzou Tigers, amaright?


The great state of Missourah neglected to send me my annual car registration renewal reminder. Now, truth be told, it probably shouldn’t be the state’s responsibility to remind me when I need to do things, but once you set that system up, I tend to free up the brain space so I can remember more important things — like lines from Breaking Bad.

It came as a surprise to me that my tags expired at the end of July. A repairman changing the oil on my car alerted me to my status as an Illegal, and ever since then I’ve been on the run from the law.

I’ve now made two attempts to rehabilitate my life and reputation by going to the local DMV. The first time, I stood in a line 15 people deep that moved exactly two feet in 20 minutes. I was on a lunch break during a WFH day. I had a Zoom coming up. I did the math. I couldn’t wait.

The second time was this morning. I arrived at the office 10 minutes before it was scheduled to open and was greeted by a sign that said they were closed today for the Labor Day holiday, which, last I checked, is Monday. I get it. Everyone wants a three-day weekend. But dammit, I want my status as a full legal citizen of this ahem great country restored, and because they didn’t send me the reminder with the handy-dandy PIN on it, I can’t do this online.

Stupid DMV.


Remembering Galaga Glory

There was this one day in Columbus, Ohio. My aunt was getting married to a man my grandparents made clear was Not Acceptable, though I thought he was just fine. I remember it being an issue that she was getting married outside and not in a church, which I thought at the time (and still do today) was quite silly because I understood a wedding to be a promise before God and I’d been told that God was everywhere. But in reality, I didn’t care too much who was pissed at whom. I just wanted to play the Galaga arcade game in the hotel lobby.

That day, I was on fire. On one quarter, I blasted my way through screen after screen. And after more than a half-hour, when my last guy was finally blown up, I saw I’d beaten the game’s high score. This is a big freaking deal in the life of a child. I entered my initials with pride. I’d like to think there’s a Galaga game at some hotel I don’t remember in Columbus, Ohio, that still flashes “JMA” on the top line.

Today, Wifey-Poo and I went on a date to a place that has classic arcade games. We played pinball, Tetris, Outrun … and Galaga. The years haven’t been kind to my Galaga skillz. I didn’t even make the top 10.


The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

‘The actual children on board behave better than the grown adults do.’

Mitra Amirzadeh, flight attendent

Adults can be assholes.


Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. That a good whack with a hammer to the back of a well-placed screwdriver can solve many, many things.
  2. That arcades still exist.
  3. A “No Diving” sign over a toilet.

More From ‘A Puzzle Known As Life’

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Tree Haulin’ — Nov. 26, 2021

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Boy The Singer, Nov. 23, 2021

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Big Buck — Nov. 14, 2021

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Sloth Talk — Nov. 8, 2021

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Punk! — Nov. 5, 2021

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FIL’s Day — Sept. 19, 2021

Today was all about my father-in-law, Marvin. FIL died in November following complications from heart surgery and COVID. Wifey Poo and the sisters-in-law organized an ice cream social and issued an open invitation to the family and FIL’s friends. When we set the date for late September, the thought was that we’d be past theContinue reading “FIL’s Day — Sept. 19, 2021”

Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021

I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”

Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021

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