🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Dude Perfect ⚽
Bye Bye Facebook? 👋
My mother-in-law (AKA The Judester) is nearly 81 years old and has knee problems that keep her from getting around too well these days. Watching her stand up from a chair is to feel pain yourself.
Yet when I walked into the Ameristar casino in St. Charles this morning with her, it was as if 20 years had been shaved off those knees.
In the midst of the pandemic in January 2021, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit my father-in-law (AKA FIL) in the hospital on the night before he died of COVID-related complications. He was in what would turn out to be his final hours, and it was obvious. Before leaving, I told him that it was OK to let go, that I would help take care of Mom.
And so I took The Judester to one of her favorite places today. This isn’t to suggest she has a gambling problem or that I’m some super son-in-law. She doesn’t and I’m not. She takes what she can afford to lose — and, most of the time, she does.
It was so funny watching her quicker pace walking in — certainly quicker than it was when we walked out a few hours and a hundred or so dollars later. But it wasn’t just her walk. She was glowing. She was totally in her element, taking me from this favorite slot machine to that favorite slot machine. She has all these little rituals that are supposed to bring her luck but that my own bad juju certainly jammed up.
I had fun.
Most people hate traveling with The Judester. For them, she is the world’s worst passenger. She is incredibly anxious and lets out frightened gasps enough to make them jump should a tractor trailer be anywhere in sight. But for me, it’s like we’re driving down an empty highway. I once picked her and FIL up from the airport when we lived in Minnesota in the midst of a major blizzard, even by Minnesota standards. That I got to the airport at all was a combination of miracle and my acumen with snow driving. I passed at least three dozen cars in the median on the way up. Yet on the drive back, she was as relaxed as if we were on the People Mover at Disney World. I’m not sure why she’s cool when I’m driving, but it certainly makes things easier.
Hanging out with The Judester was a welcomed distraction from the general sadness I’m feeling in the wake of my grandmother’s death. The Judester and I talked about Grandma, about end-of-life issues in general, about her own thoughts on being 81 and certainly in the fourth quarter of her own game here. When we got back to her apartment in Old Folks Village, I helped bring some stuff up for her and then hung a few pictures she’d been wanting on the walls.
Maybe hanging out with an old lady as spirited as Grandma was is just the thing I needed today.
Following the morning fun with The Judester, it was time for Boy The Younger’s birthday present. Like many kids his age, BTY is a fan of goofy Youtubers. Don’t ask me to explain why this generation is enthralled with watching other people play the video games they play themselves or adults still very much hanging onto their youth. Then again, my generation had its own share of weird entertainment, like collecting pieces of cardboard with baseball players’ faces on the front and stats on the back — and then “flipping” those cards to essentially steal them from their friends.
Dude Perfect is a sports and comedy group headquartered in Frisco, Texas. It’s a collection of five guys who have made millions by living their best life. The quintet were college roommates at Texas A&M … and just never stopped. They do a variety of trick shots, stunts and odd gameshows that almost always end with one or more of them loudly screaming.
I know this because, back when I was WFH frequently, I could always tell when BTY was done with his homeschool lessons for the day. From the other room would come these yells as if a guy was going into labor. No. It was just a Dude Perfect guy sinking a basketball shot from the top of a skyscraper or something.
BTY loves this stuff and, as became apparent throughout the night last night, speaks the Dude Perfect language. So did about 10,000 others in attendance at the Enterprise Center. And I have to admit, it was fun. All the contests are good natured and family friendly, and much of it was downright impressive. I don’t think I could throw a football from the upper level of the arena into an inflatable kids pool on the stage if you gave me a thousand tries.
I’m not sure I’m necessarily a fan myself yet, but there’s a chance I’ll check out more of their videos on Youtube. Maybe you’ll even get me screaming “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” along with them.
On the drive home from Dude Perfect, BTY was in his own world in the backseat with his headphones on listening to music, and Wifey Poo was proposing the unthinkable for this age: Deactivating her Facebook.
After checking the rearview mirror to ensure Marky Z’s henchmen weren’t closing in to run us off the road, I engaged in the conversation.
Wifey Poo hates drama, and she’s not a big fan of the news. She’s very much a here-and-now person who is perfectly content with the slice of the world that surrounds her. She doesn’t watch, read or have much interest in national or international news, and she is not a big fan of people sharing their opinions about it (which kinda makes me wonder why she likes me). She’s over the people who are only tangentially in her life because of this thing called social media and who are one-trick ponies — whatever side of the aisle from which they are sharing their political or social opinions.
She’s considering two alternatives: Unfollowing all of those who infiltrate her life with the stuff she doesn’t want to see or simply deactivating her account.
Which got me thinking about doing the same thing. What really made me mad at myself was that, when I considered the possibility, I was aware that there would be a period of time dealing with something akin to withdrawal.
Dude. What the actual fuck? That’s not good. And I imagine many others, were they to be honest with themselves, would say they, too, would have to deal with some type of Facebook detox.
I happen to believe we’re in the midst of what one day will be written about as a revolution, and I think the tone of that story has yet to be determined. Social media, as I’ve written about extensively, isn’t an evil in and of itself (though the companies running them are pretty damn close). Rather, it’s how people are using it and how unregulated it is that is allowing humans to do things they know are bad for them as individuals and bad for us as a collective — whether that’s Americans or humans.
I know people who have taken the nuclear option and left all social media. I know a few people who never became a part of it at all. They manage to live perfectly happy lives. They don’t feel disconnected. They don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. They are, dare I say, happy?
So this morning I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone. It’s a step, but it feels very much like an alcoholic throwing his bottles of booze away at home while knowing the bar opens at noon. I know that, with the start of Johnny Boy Marketing and my hope to turn it into my full-time gig one day, social media could help me realize my dreams.
Yet I’m thinking I’m pretty sure I can get there without it.
In Other Writing
It’s easy to say Facebook — sorry, Meta — is evil. They do such a good job of proving the point for us. They routinely violate their own privacy policies, they know what they do is bad for people and bad for society, and they lie when subpoenaed to testify before Congress because they know…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Restorative yoga this morning.
- Wifey Poo and I are going on a couples retreat at the end of the month.
- More gambling with The Judester is in my future.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Woo-Woo vs. The Beast 🛻Dart Throwers 🎯My Job 📋 I am not used to driving a tank. My normal vehicle is Woo-Woo, AKA The Shitty Little Car, AKA a Nissan Versa. It’s practical. It gets great gas mileage. I hate it. Woo-Woo normally accelerates as quickly as a child asked to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Unwitting Guinea Pigs 🐹False Bragging 🦹♂️Put Me In, Coach 🚀 My regular readers (hey, you three!) know that I have a hatred for social media’s influence on society with an intensity rivaled only by the heat of a thousand suns. The latest bit of “Are you fucking kidding me?” comes from…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 7 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. No. 5: I reached out to a friend I have not been shy about sharing that I’ve…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩More Stupid Human Stuff 📱KC Trip ⚾Miserable Missourah 😠 Quick: Take a look around you. If you’re in a room with five other people, one of them thinks you’re financially struggling if you don’t have the latest iPhone. That’s according to a new survey following the release of the iPhone 14.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Loser Species 👶Email Win 📧Dad Pride 👨👦👦 I’m pretty sure I’m not normal. Normal people respond to that statement with, “Oh, John, nobody’s normal,” which is just a sign for us non-normies that the person we’re talking to is normal. Yesterday, I was waiting for Wifey Poo to pick me up…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Concert Thoughts 🧠Marriage 💍Drunk Idiots 🧉 There’s this scene in the 2004 movie Garden State in which Sam (Natalie Portman) looks at Andrew (Zach Braff) and notices … … And yeah, that resonated with me then and resonates with me now. Ever since then, being “in it” has become a thing…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Beautiful Skies ⛅Two Terms For 2022 ✌️ Back in our early days at Pound Ridge Elementary School, Sarah was the fastest girl runner in the class, which bought her some serious playground cred. There were only a few of us boys who could hang with Sarah in the 50-meter dash…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ear Flushing👂Grunge God🎶Tech Guy📺 If you have to have a doctor tell you a body part or yours is small, I suppose one of the least offensive would be the ear canal. That’s what a doctor told me this morning, after I finally broke down and actually went to said doctor’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Toys in the Hall🪅Idiot Governors🗳️Flopping FedEx✈️ Last night in my hotel in Springfield, Missourah, I set out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies before going to bed. It’s not that I don’t know how to read a calendar or have any particular belief in a fat man in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Which One?🗺️Leave Introverts Alone🤫Oxford Commas🤪 I’m on the road for work this week, in Springfield. Ahhh, but Springfield what? There currently are 35 populated places in the United States named Springfield, spread out over 25 states, including five in Wisconsin. In addition, there are 35 Springfield Townships, and Ohio owns 11…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Surrounded 😷Wood Splitter 🌲Morons 🤪 I’ve had COVID. Twice. The first time fucked up my life for a year. I’m still not back to the me I was before it came into my home, and I’m pretty sure that now, nearly two years later, that’s not going to change. The second…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sunday audible🤒Fantasy Failure 🏈Anal Chess♟️ Sunday was supposed to be a romantic day spent in a canoe with Wifey Poo, the two of us paddling leisurely down the Meramec River. Mother Nature was not in the mood to play wingman and decided to pick the one day in the midst of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Finish Line Scene 🏃♂️Baseball’s Better ⚾M-I-Z! Z-O-UC-H! 🏈 I have never understood the modern-day purpose of running for the sake of running. Sure, I understand it’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise and it’s a convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, yet the desire to strap on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Book Guy 📚Queen Stuff 👑Bernard Shaw 📺 I’ve decided I want to own a copy of every Stephen King book ever written. That’s about 75 books at the moment. I have a built-in bookcase in my mancave/home office. I don’t think it would hold all 75 in hardcover, but perhaps it…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beginnings 📚School Start 🚌Real Baseball ⚾ I was thinking this morning on my drive to work how we rarely know when the significant times in our lives begin. So frequently, the most important things that happen to us start with nothing noteworthy. Of course, there are exceptions, the “love-at-first-sight” moments or…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fallin’ Thoughts 🤕Shinedown 🎸Sleepy 😴 The brain can be surprisingly efficient when the meatsack it’s attached to is in the middle of falling off a ladder while holding a revved-up chainsaw. This, I learned yesterday morning while attempting to saw a limb off a tree that was getting way too close…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Overview📅Fantasy Football🏈Elite Bonding🤼♂️ Days that start with chainsaws and lighter fluid and end with four hours of really good professional wrestling are bound to be added to the “good” column for review when the scales are weighed at the end of a life. Yesterday was such a day for me. In…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Funeral 😢Glimmers ☁️Meat 🥩 If you’re lucky, you’ve had a second mother. Whether your first mother was or is an amazing person who nurtured you and raised you among calm consistency or if she was lacking in certain maternal fundamentals, having a second mother is a blessing. Today, we were there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩We’re Dumber 👎OnlyFans Thrives 🍑Shinedown 🎵 Official statistics put the COVID death toll in the United States at 1.04 million, with another 713 deaths yesterday. More than 4,000 people are in the ICU right now suffering from what the former Moron-in-Chief called that one person coming from China and a situation…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dethroned Queen 👑Gravy Wrestling 🤼♂️Dog Talk 🐕 Don’t fuck with the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival board. That’s a message Abigail Brocwell is learning the hard way. Brocwell was expected to be inaugurated as the queen of the festival in the northern Ohio town earlier this month, but she was stripped of the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩3, Unassisted ⚾A Sad Day 📅Tracking Your Vagina 🌸 The last time Boy The Younger was on a baseball field, the “coach” of his team removed him from a game in the middle of an inning because I had privately messaged him to not attempt to steal home with my kid…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hydrogen Issue 🚀Karting 🏎️Lake Life 😌 I was all excited to watch the launch of the moon-bound Artemis 1 rocket this morning, only to see the clock stopped at T-minus 40 minutes because of a “hydrogen issue.” Don’t know about you, but I’m thinking having an issue with hydrogen is a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Karen in Control ⌚Karting 🏎️What podcast? 🎧 In the winter of 1993, I went to a comedy club with a friend and, in the spur of the moment, decided to be one of those who came forward to join the fun and be hypnotized. This was decidedly out of character for…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little League Flap ⚾Grandpa Joe 🤦Psychedelics 🍄 Boys are interesting creatures who aren’t easily understood. One of the many, many weird things boys do is mercilessly make fun of their best friends. My closest friends in middle school and early in high school were affectionately nicknamed Goon, Tree Frog, Butt and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Death Cometh Sooner 💀Twitter Security 🔓Game Over 🌑 Average life expectancy in the United States dropped in 2020 by almost two years in 2020, the biggest decline since World War II. Every state and the District of Columbia saw a drop. Guess it was a little bit more than that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Worm brain 🧠Chicken Big Mac 🐔Eye Twitch 👁️ Caenorhabditis elegans is probably too elegant of a name for something that is really just a disgusting little worm about a millimeter long and most easily found in rotting fruit. It is more commonly known as a lab roundworm and was the first…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Agliata Homeschool Academy 🚌Hypnosis 😳Sunburn 🌞🔥 When you tell people you homeschool your children, you typically receive one of three responses: An enthusiastic: “Oh, that’s so cool!”An I’d-rather-be-dipped-in-acid: “Oh wow! I could never do that!” A you’re-one-of-those-weirdos: “Oh… really… homeschooling, huh?” The percentage for each has changed in the wake…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Indycar 🏎️Best Friends 😎Baseball Irony ⚾ There are certain people who look at car racing as an endless series of left turns. These people are idiots on whom nuance is lost. Boy The Elder and I crossed the border yesterday late-morning to head just past the fine city of East St.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Swine Inflation 🐖Swamp Thing 🎥Phone Calls 📱 Life was different when I went to college in Iowa after growing up in suburban New York City. This isn’t to suggest I was a city kid. I wasn’t. The city was a place we went to a few times a year, and where…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Triple-Threat 🖥️🖥️🖥️Tasmanian Tiger 🐅Video Work 📹 Humans were not meant to stare at laptop screens. At least, humans of a certain age were not meant to stare at laptop screens. I say this after successfully lobbying for a second monitor at work, which effectively turned my laptop screen into a third…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Look Before Brewing ☕Hoop Construction 🏀Nuclear War ☢️ If you’d like an indication of how much of a Monday yesterday was for me, know that I ended up with an orange in my coffee. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t a full-blown orange. It was something called a Cutie, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Date 🪦Nature Walk🌳Bulldog Bath 🐶 If you have a date walking around a cemetery, you’re either weird or goth, and neither Wifey Poo nor I were wearing black today, which I guess tells you all you need to know about us. Old cemeteries are something of a fascination for us,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩So Long, Kid 👨👦Steak Celebration🥩Chip & Joanna 🪚 Regular readers of my drivel know that I’m kind of an emotional guy, which is like saying that Jack kind of could have fit on the spacious floating door with Rose in Titanic. So it should come as no surprise when I say…Keep reading