🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Bees Suck 🐝
Bees As Fish🐟
Cup O’ Pee🥤
I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all.
My hatred of bees is sourced back to the same place many people’s hatred of bees begins. Most of us have an experience in which we were minding our own damn business and a bee in a particularly bad mood decided to stick its pointy little ass right into our flesh.
In my case, my worst two bee-stinging experiences are as follows:
The Minnesota Mauling
The rest of the family, which was just the C3 and not the C4 at this point, was away and I was cleaning out under the second-story deck of our new Minnesota home. The previous owner had left a lot of crap underneath there, as previous owners are wont to do.
As I lifted two very long boards to start hauling them to the trash, a swarm — yes, swarm — of bees came zooming out from underneath them, evidently unhappy that I’d lifted the roof off their home.
In retrospect, I get that. I mean, I’d be pretty pissed off if I was chillin’ at home on the couch and someone just ripped the top off my home off. I just don’t know that I’d fly out and attack something that is several hundred thousand times the size of me.
These bees did.
Before I managed to retreat into the house, I’d been stung at least five times, which doesn’t sound too bad and, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t. But my God did it hurt. So much that, as I sat down at the kitchen table to apply ice to my rapidly swelling wrist, which had taken the brunt of the bee-butt attack, I called Wifey Poo to say, “Um, hey… should I die from this, like, it’s been really good being married to you and I just didn’t want you to come back home in three days and find my decaying carcass on the ground and wonder ‘Why is his wrist so swollen?’”
Alas, I was fine. But I did get a big-ass can of bee killer before I went back under the deck again.
And then there’s …
The Horseback Heart Attack
Here’s something I didn’t know until it happened: Horses hate bees too. It is nice that we and the equine world share something in common like that. But where all of this stuff intersects? Boy howdy, hold on tight.
The C3 were at a ranch in North Carolina with Mother and Father for an expanded family vacation. The days consisted of trail rides and general ranch shenanigans. There was this one particular point on this one particular trail on this one particular day that we were doing what we did while riding at that ranch, which was essentially proceeding down a narrow path with our horse’s head inappropriately close to the back end of the horse in front of it, when things got jiggy.
Suddenly, about three horses in front of me, I saw the beast rear up on its hind legs like the Lone Ranger’s Silver (and there’s the most dated reference of this blog ever).
Again suddenly, that horse took off, as did the one behind it, and the one behind that one.
Which meant I was next in line, sitting on the back of this thing with whom I thought I’d formed an understanding in our first few days on its back: I don’t eat too much for breakfast; you don’t try to throw me off.
That was all well and good until it became apparent that all the commotion was because a horse had stepped on a bees nest. Now, again, if something stepped on my house, I’d be pissed too. But man, these things don’t have any sense of proportionate response. They’re more like, “You throw a rock into our country? We unleash our whole nuclear arsenal at you, starting with your schools and orphanages.” (I see you smiling, Putin.)
What we walked into that day was a storm of pissed-off stingy things. And as soon as my horse felt the butt-end of a bee (which, I might add, was nearly simultaneous to my wrist — what is it with the freaking wrist?!?! — feeling the butt-end of a bee), that horse took off.
I can’t emphasize more strongly the instantaneous change in speed. We were loping down a path as leisurely as leisure can be, and then this horse was a freaking Tesla (which hadn’t been invented yet, so kudos to the horse). We were going 60 miles an hour in a millisecond on what I must stress was a very narrow path.
I am by no means an experienced horseman, but I was experienced enough to know that I was not in control at that moment. Oh, yes, I tried to do the whole “pull back on the reins” thing. But just as humans in stressful situations get a surge of adrenaline and are able to life cars — big cars — off of people, this horse had superhuman (superequine) strength. I could have pulled back hard enough to mash that bit through the thing’s teeth. It wasn’t stopping until it wanted to.
Finally, what felt like an hour later but probably was 20 seconds, we stopped. My wrist was swelling. I’d taken a tree branch of some sort to the head, knocking my off cowboy hat (shut up) somewhere back down the path, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to go back and retrieve it.
I say all of this to lead into our second item of the day …
Bees are apparently fish. Well, at least, legally they are fish, but only in California.
Confused? Let me help.
In a decision that should have come from Florida, a California court ruled last week that bees were fish. Well, it ruled that bees were fish again. A previous court had said that they were fish, but then another court said, “Um… y’all? What are you smoking?” So it’s the third court that last week said, “Courts! Stop fighting! Bees are fish! Now go outside and play! Mommy needs to get her drink on!”
Going back to the first paragraph of this whole thing, bees are Important For Our Survival. And so bee-lovers (idiots) want to protect them. But the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) didn’t allow for bugs (which, I remind you, is what bees are) to be classified as endangered.
This is 1,000% in keeping with the fact that the level of our concern for an animal’s survival is directly proportionate to our desire to cuddle with it, and there aren’t too many people who want to snuggle with a cockroach. (But show us one of these fuckers? …)
So, for reasons I cannot possibly fathom, the bee-lovers and their legislative friends decided that, rather than change the CESA to allow for at least the buzzy, honey-vomiting kind of bug to be protected, they would look at what the CESA already allowed for and reclassify bees as that.
The people at my soon-to-be former job have heard me say one two-word phrase repeatedly: “Words matter.” And in this case, we’re looking at the words in Section 45 of the CESA, which defines fish as many things but doesn’t explicitly state that they have to live in water.
Which is why, my friends, four species of endangered bees are now considered fish.
I peed in a cup yesterday. I do not say this with pride. It’s not as if my urine is something people pine for and pay big bucks for on ebay and that, to meet the demand, I must produce it in sealable cups.
Rather, I had to take a drug test to ensure I was employable at my new job. Now, forget the fact that some of the most amazingly creative minds have been high as fuck when they’ve done their best creative work, I generally understand you don’t want to accidently employ an active meth-head or coke fiend.
Armed with my piece of paper that required me to pee in a cup at a certain location between certain hours in a certain day range, I took my water bottle to provide me inspiration and material, headed to Labcorp, signed in, and then waited for a woman, who probably was about 10 years older than me, to call me back.
Folks, this woman was good. She had the urine-giving process buttoned up with military precision.
There are about 20 steps involved with providing urine for a drug screening, which is about 18 more than I’m used to when I provide urine as a means of waste-elimination at home. One of those additional steps is to make sure the person about to pee in the cup is the person who should be peeing in the cup.
It’s a wise move. Were I an active meth-head in search of a job, I sure as hell would try to find a non-meth-head to go to the drug screening place and pee in the cup for me. Try to do that at this Labcorp and you’d fail.
While wearing a mask (doing my part, yo), I handed over my driver’s license and looked at the nice woman to show her, yup, indeed, that’s me.
“Awwwww honey!” she said. “I don’t even have to ask you to take off that mask so I can get a better look at you. Those eyes! Whoever gets to look into those beauties full time is a lucky person.”
- I appreciate her gender inclusivity when thinking about who might be the full-time looker into my baby greens (or blues, depending on what I’m wearing).
- Those baby greens/blues stand out nicely when the rest of my face turns bright red from embarrassment.
- Hear that, Wifey Poo? You’re lucky.
- BONUS ITEM: My soon-to-be employer will know if I’m a meth-head in 48 to 72 hours.
In Other Writing …
Hi. My name is John, and I’m a COVID Longhauler. When the coronavirus epidemic shut down the country in March 2020, Kent Taylor refused to accept his base salary as chief executive officer of Texas Roadhouse restaurants and instead poured that money back into his frontline restaurant workers to help them stay financially afloat. A…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Active chicken duty begins in less than 36 hours.
- I want to see if I did better on my drug test than I did on my 11th-grade math tests.
- I’m heading out to the lake today to fish for bees.
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In a few hours, this revolution around the sun will be complete and a new one will begin. Unless something unexpected happens, I will have made it out alive. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But when I look back at the year that was, I feel I’m justified in counting it as a victory that I’m alive and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creepy Mail 📪License Plate Strategy 🚗Donald Dick, Err, Duck 🦆 Wifey Poo received a piece of mail recently from a company that looks to buy your car. It was astoundingly bad marketing. The first sentence read, “According to our records, it looks as if you’re driving a VEHICLE.” First of all,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Sad Dad Club 💔A Toast 🥃🥃Done Writing? 🖊️ It took me less than 24 hours as a part of the Dad Whose Child Died Club to learn that membership came with a myriad of uncomfortable situations. It was the day after Jacob (AKA Boy The Eldest) was born and died,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Plague Life 😷The Real Plan 😭A Hilarious Obituary 🤣☠️ Does it ever randomly smack you in the face that we’re living through a historic freaking pandemic? Are you ever going about what you might fool yourself into believing is your Before Times life and then suddenly something jolts you out of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kix 👶Greg 🐟The First iPhone 📱 Life has a way of kicking you in the balls when you least expect it. Wifey Poo and I were cleaning up our lower level today and trying to get all of our crap that was put against the wall in the back by the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Christmas Video 🎥Fighting The Big Boss 🥊Roland The Farter 🍑💨 I spent much of the day making a video for my job with The Allen Brake Team. I shot the footage a few weeks ago, and today was the day to identify the clips to actually use, assemble them, find the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩No-Phone Sunday 🚫📱Creepy Moles 🐀Doc Talk 📽️ Today was sort of a practice day for something I put on my “Hundred Things” list for 2022. It was a Digital Detox Sunday, which is No. 63 on the list. To me, this meant that I wouldn’t have any sort of device in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Trombones are Loud 🎺Birds Aren’t Real 🐦Death to Gymnastic Judges 🤸 Top 5 things that happened at In-Law Family Christmas, held at our humble country home, today. The realization that the mass of youngins has gotten so large now that our little babies have grown up to various new stages that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hey There, Dorothy 🌪️Christmas Hurts 🎄Bye-Bye, Checks and Balances ✔️⚖️ If you’re ever in need of some entertainment, might I suggest being in a church with a bunch of homeschool parents when tornado sirens go off? That’s where I found myself tonight, accompanied by Boy The Younger at a spring track…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Crash 🚗Video Day 🎞️Five No. 2s!? 💩 The Core 4 is headed out on a winter vacation to Memphis and New Orleans soon. The plan was to rent a vehicle through Turo.com, which is kinda like an Airbnb for cars. I had a quality vehicle picked out and reserved, one…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shirt Stain 👔Score One for the Unabomber💣Oh Canada 🌈🍁 I arrived at work this morning, put my stuff down on my desk and hit the men’s room because evidently a 42-minute drive is too long for a man of 47 years to comfortably hold his bladder. I did what I do,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball God(ess) ⚾Alice in Chains 🎸What About the Golfers!? 🏌🏽♂️ To say that baseball was my life when I was a kid is an understatement. I watched it as much as the scant channels we had at home would allow — the Yankees were on Channel 11 WPIX and the (ugh)…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Detached 💭Intentions for a New Year 📆Red is Deadly 😷 Today sucked. The problem is, I don’t really know what the hell happened. I woke up just after 6, later than I have been recently, and I felt so significantly off that I truly don’t remember much of the first 45…Keep reading
Circles are interesting things. They have no beginning and no end. They just keep going around and around and around. And yet we set Jan. 1 as the day to mark the start of our journey around the sun, a journey we measure so incredibly poorly that we have to add an entire extra day…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Violence ⛸️Movie Night! 📽️Most Popular Dog Names 🐶 Today was date day for Wifey Poo and I. We’ve been trying to do a date a week since, oh, back in 2018. That was interrupted for awhile by a certain African host child this year, but we’re back at it. Today…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top Songs of 2021 🎶Where’s the Snow? ❄️Thunder Struck ⛈️🏀 Because I didn’t already feel incredibly old and out of touch, I looked at the list of top 100 songs from 2021. It wasn’t until song No. 65 that I even thought I knew one of the songs, “Go Your Own…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Redemption 😊Spice-Lovin’ Tree Shrew 🌶️Mark The Freaking Elf 🧝 I spent the morning in a hotel conference room down in STL learning from a man named Jeff Glover about 21 ways to get 21 listing of homes to sell. Glover is a big fish in the real estate industry. He runs…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Maria and The Chickens 🐔Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪Bloody Gift 🩸🎁 I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my work…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Paul 🧙♂️Slowest Speeder Ever 🐢Another School Shooting 🏫🔫 I found myself tonight in a dark jail cell surrounded by four zombies, some kind of wizard, and my son. This is not what I expected for my Tuesday evening. After a months-long absence, I returned tonight to the Dungeons & Dragons game…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Canadian Oil 🍁Freaking Covid 😷Namaste, Yo 🧘🏿 Monday started out with the news that the Bosslady has Covid. This whole “living through The Great Plague” thing somehow has been incorporated into our lives to the point where we don’t really even realize that thousands of people are dying from it daily.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Disconnected 🔌Worst Mom Ever 🦘Death to Autoplay 💀 Internet outage, Day 2. I’m sending this message via carrier pigeon. Or maybe it’s just some bird I caught with my greasy-fast speed. Things are looking bleak. We’ve been without internet service for more than 24 hours now. The weather outside is cold,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Family Rituals 👨👩👦👦The Grinch Rocks ❤️Churros and Poke Bowls 🤤 It’s interesting to think about how family rituals actually become family rituals. There are some that are very intentional. You had something done for you as a child, so you do the same thing for your kid. Others just sort of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stable Family 👪Armed America 🔫🦅Good or Nickelback? 🎶 Thanksgiving was a quiet affair for the Core Four — my nickname for the entity that is Wifey Poo, Boys The Elder and Younger, and me. We had no family visit, and none of us left the house until BTE traveled to his…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Coffee With Wifey ☕👱♀️Armadillo Lepers 😳Choice Cigar 🚬 To say Wifey Poo and I have been through some shit is an understatement. When we said “I do” back in March of 1997 as freaking twenty-two-year-olds (!!!!), neither of us had a clue how challenging the “or for worse” part of a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Self-Teaching 👨🏫Beer Flood 🍺🌊Space Mission 🚀 When I left the newspaper industry in 2009, I knew how to write, take decent photos, design pages and copy edit. I landed a job in which the mandate was, “Go make our communications program better,” something I’d assured those who interviewed me I knew…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beard Trim 🧔🏽Grunge Shopping 🛒Funny Animals 🐒 When you find yourself with a straight razor poised a millimeter from your neck, you realize this is probably what was going on when the Almighty said “Be still and know that I am God.” I found myself in this situation this morning, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo’s Laughter 🤣Expensive Turkey 🦃🍗My Boys 👨👦 Walking back to my car last night from The Funny Bone comedy club in St. Charles, I got to thinking. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me (not many people, as I’ve recently discussed) and no one who reads…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drinking on the Job 🍷The Land of the Giants 🏀Joseph McCarthy Returns 🏴 It the past week, my job has taken me from a chocolate factory to a wine bar — all in the name of business, of course. Last week, Big Bosslady and I visited Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Itchy Foot 🦶Pay Cuts ❌💰The Best Pen Ever 🖊️ Wifey Poo woke up around 4 a.m. itching, itching, itching her recently repaired foot. Underneath the Ace bandage and the gauze and the padding to keep it safe, she’s got a rash of some sort, and the foot is swollen. Doc says…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Warm November 🌡️The Jaguar People 🐆Squid Game 🦑 I’ll take a 70 degree day in the middle of November, thank you very much. I spent part of my workday on my back deck doing the things I do for my real estate team — social media ads, flyers to promote open…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Year of Hell 😷Where’s Ben? 💔Profiting From Pollution 🏭 Happy Covidaversary to me. On this day one year ago, I had a Q-tip shoved up my nose to confirm what I already knew. Wifey Poo’s sister had been diagnosed with it. Wifey Poo’s mother had been diagnosed with it. Wifey…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oh Deer 🦌The Thought Gap 🧠Unplugged 🔌 I was sitting in my as-yet-to-be-named home office this morning when this big boy ☝️☝️☝️ walked out of the woods into my yard. It’s the opening day of deer season in Missourah, a day of significance for many local inhabitants on par with their…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Picnic in November 🥶Happy Wife 👩Pour-Over Coffee ☕ Scheduling a picnic outside in Missouri in November seemed to me to be a very gutsy call. That’s until I stopped to realize who was scheduling it — Boy The Younger’s cross country team. These folks run everywhere, and, thus, I assume are…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hoops at Twain’s House 🏀Lunch With The Big Bosslady 🥪Breaking Up Is Efficient 💔 After a long week of work, I traveled north this evening with Boy The Younger for his second hoops game of the season. I missed the first because of an early start time, but this one was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gross Photos 📷Sand? Sand!? ⏳Sleeping With Cheese 🛏️🧀 I had major ankle surgery back in 2008 to essentially reconstruct my left foot, which had a nasty propensity to roll over without the rest of my leg accompanying it on the journey. After a four-hour operation and two weeks, I went back…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they live…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV that…Keep reading