🧩 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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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sleepwalking 🧨DnD Gang 🎲Gas Idiots 🛢️ If there were a day-by-day measure of the collective output of workers in these here United States of Amuricah (and for all I know, there is), I would venture to guess that July 5 ain’t our most productive day. I base this on my observations…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid Parade 🧨Math Matters ➗What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Not being a hugely patriotic person at this point in my life, I made no plans to go to any Fourth of July parade this year. It seems mighty foolish to be celebrating freedoms that are eroding right before our eyes, though I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone Time, Girl Time 👩👧Picture Hanger🔨What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Wifey Poo and I found ourselves in an interesting position at home today for a little bit: Alone. Boy The Elder took off for Six Flags with his buds, and Boy The Younger left with a friend and his family (Chicken Owner,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oil Change 👨🔧Goose Lover🛦Church & State⛪ Based on my history, the last place anyone should ever look for me is underneath a car. Yet that’s where I found myself late this morning, side-by-side with Boy The Elder as he showed me exactly how stupid I’ve been all my life. I’m not…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Media Bias 📰Rudy’s Sandals 🩴Lack of Faith ⚖️ I’ve watched with interest the blowback against newspaper tyrant Gannett following its reminder to its journalists in the wake of the Supreme Court’s undoing of Roe v. Wade that they are not to take sides on social media. “You cannot use social media…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hitler Talk ⚖️Chicken Postscript 🐣Green Seats ⚾ I wonder when the average German in the 1930s/1940s said something akin to “Oh shit.” There has to be a point when the rational, sane sauerkraut-lover realized that perhaps his or her vote for a certain mustachioed politician was a really bad idea. For…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Take Me Away🛀Period Tracker🩸Choose Wisely💒 Arriving for the first day at a new job is kind of like showing up in a new town after throwing away your old identity. It’s a blank slate, and you can be anyone you’d like to be. Want to go by a different name? Go…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨👦👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hear…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And has…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Friends😔What To Do?🙋Creepy Dolls 🎎 Yesterday was a rough day. It’s one thing to be a person with essentially no friends. It’s another thing altogether to not be friends with yourself. That’s where I was yesterday — all up in my head and imagining the worst was about to happen in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One Long Sentence 🖊️Birthday Boy🎂Wine & Chocolate 🍷🍫 I remember being a kid and wanting to be an adult. I wanted to drive and have a girlfriend and be able to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, not what someone else said I should do. And now, here…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beat…Keep reading