🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Ankle Shot 🦶🏻
Talkspace Stupidity 🤪
Over the years, I’ve played catch with Boy The Younger dozens and dozens of times. From those early days of him aimlessly flinging an oversized soft thing a few feet forward, to now when he’s zipping a real baseball the regulation distance from a pitching mound, I’ve watched him evolve as an athlete.
Last night after dinner, we went out to the backyard so he could practice his pitching. The boy has developed a wicked changeup that dies just about the time it reaches the plate. But that wasn’t his first pitch to me last night. No, it was his fastball.
The pitch wasn’t a strike, though it was good enough to perhaps have induced a swing had a batter been present. What it did was dive down and away from a righthander, and as I rocked over to grab it, the ball scooted under my glove.
Ideally, the worst that would have happened is that I had a long walk to retrieve the ball from the woods and time to think how I need to get better at catching. But no. There was no walk or time. There was simply the sound of the ball smacking into my right ankle.
It hurt. A lot. It also left seam marks from the baseball on my leg. But no worries… they’re hardly visible on the wicked bruise that is emerging.
I had an interesting work experience this morning. We have a new product coming out soon, and my job is to make a video to promote it. We received the product from the manufacturer yesterday, and I needed to photograph it for the video, website and other assorted uses.
We have this thing in our photo studio called a lightbox, which does an apt job of describing what it is. It’s a box, stark white inside, flooded with lights. I have never before shot products for publication, nor shot anything in a lightbox. I’m sure I could figure it out. Just about anything is figure-outable, especially these days with YouTube. Yet as I prepared to go feel my way through this experience, a colleague said, “Hey, why don’t you have them do it?”
“Them” is our graphic design team. I’m not used to having a graphic design team. I’m not used to having a team, period. I’ve been a one-man show for so many years that I’ve done virtually everything. That’s made me something of a jack of a all trades, but it’s made me completely too self-reliant, I realized today. I do a lot of things well, but there are others who do some things better.
So I turned the task over to a member of that team, and the photographs were better than I could have taken. They also were done in five minutes. It would have taken me much longer to teach myself how to do it, take the photos, process the photos and prepare them for use.
It’s good to have a team.
The older I get, the less tolerance I have for the businesses and people who make things unnecessarily more difficult. I think this increased angst for the roadblocks of the world comes because I’ve realized just how many exist in even an ordinary day. To have others out there whose laziness or inefficiency makes for roadblocks that are totally avoidable is driving me more and more bonkers with each passing day.
Case in point: My new benefits kicked in Monday thanks to my new job. That’s wonderful, because the benefits are good. What’s not wonderful is having to change my medical insurance information with those I have previously had appointments with, especially with those with whom I have appointments this week.
This would include Arti The WonderTherapist, whom I’ve been seeing via Talkspace for about a year.
You’d think there would be an easy-to-find place where I could simply punch in my new insurance information and voila! I’d be done. Right?
For two days, I unsuccessfully tried to find a way to do what needed to be done.
“Well why didn’t you just call them?”
Because they don’t have an actual customer service number.
“Surely they have LiveChat on their website then.”
Surely you’d be wrong. They say they have a LiveChat feature. They are lying. They have a LiveChat feature that is never staffed and leads to an email form, which kicks back a response that says they have heavier than normal volume and will reply within a week. They lie about that, too. They always say they have heavier than normal volume because I’ve had to email them about various issues on three separate occasions over the past year, and they’ve never gotten back to me within a week. They’ve also never resolved any of those three issues to any degree of satisfaction.
Eventually, I found a way to attempt to put in my new insurance information. Yet instead of allowing me to simply make the insurance change, it kicked me back to the beginning of the whole process, wherein I had to input information about what I was seeking treatment for and what type of therapist I’d like to be matched with. I didn’t want to be matched with a type of therapist. I wanted to continue with Arti The WonderTherapist.
Yet there was nothing I could do but put my information in and hope for the best.
When I clicked “submit,” I received an email that told me they would send me my match “shortly.” Later that night, I saw my match. It wasn’t Arti The WonderTherapist. It was Some Guy Named Mike. I don’t want to talk with Some Guy Named Mike. I want to continue talking to Arti The WonderTherapist.
So I went to the site and declined the match. The site spit me back three other possible therapists, none named Arti The WonderTherapist. I declined to be match with any of them.
The site spit me out three more therapists, none named Arti The WonderTherapist.
After doing this six times, I was told I’d be connected with a matching specialist. Oh, the joy.
I calmly explained what I’d been efforting to do over the past two days and how I simply wanted to continue therapy with Arti The WonderTherapist. I gave her his complete name and all pertinent information.
She then told me that Arti The WonderTherapist wasn’t on her list.
These are the moments when I start to want to commit violent acts against anyone associated with the business that is making life more difficult than it needs to be.
“How can you not have Arti The WonderTherapist on your list?” I asked. “I have been seeing him for a year. In fact, I have an appointment scheduled with him for Friday. I know he’s on a list somewhere. All I wanted to do was switch insurance carriers. Match me back with Arti The WonderTherapist. Please and thank you.”
Without so much as an apology … with no further words from her at all … she did what I asked within the next 5 seconds. Seems like Arti The WonderTherapist was on the list after all.
And here’s the thing: I’m in a pretty damn good place, mentally. It’s been a lot of hard work facing the demons I never faced before, but I’ve done it and been immensely helped in the process by Arti The WonderTherapist. Yet thousands of others who seek mental health treatment aren’t in a good place at all. They are in a bad place. A dark place. A place in which merely getting out of bed in the morning is challenging.
Dealing with idiotic website technology that makes life unnecessarily difficult and then being confronted with obstinate customer service people who are beholden to some mythical list and not the principle of helping people in need is often a bridge too far for people in that situation to travel.
In other words, get your shit together, Talkspace. The idea behind the service you provide is wonderful. Your execution kind of sucks.
The Top 5 Things You Will Learn If You Read This Entire Blog Jeopardy buzzers suck. To rule the world, you must start in Australia. Emus are the perfect killing machines. When you send out the military to kill birds, always send a cameraman. When nothing else works, build a wall. It’s time for Blog…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Wifey Poo’s birthday is tomorrow!
- I’m actually staying in town this weekend.
- The chickens need to be sat again this weekend!
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🧩 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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone from…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Truth ⚖️The Poor Man’s Chipotle🌮Jokes 🤣 Anyone else get sucked in by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial? I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I did. This is extremely odd because Hollywood culture and all things pop culture in general annoy the crap about of me. There’s just something about…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What A Game ⚾Brain Power 🧠Stupid People 🤣 The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi spent much of the day yesterday inside a luxury suite at Busch Stadium, as the Cardinals took on the New York Mets. The game had a little bit of everything —…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shanghai Surprise 👖Baseball Game ⚾Lawyer Joke😜 On March 27, I ordered some pants. I fully admit I went through Indochino because of its ads on The Tony Kornheiser Show podcast. Marketing works, folks. I’d ordered two custom-made pairs (not pair, Michael) before, and they are great. So I added some khakis…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Marketing Earth Day 🌎Lifeshit 💩Mawwiage 🪢 Happy Earth Day. I love that we celebrate a planet that demonstrates in so many ways how much it doesn’t like us. Today, The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi is doing a highway cleanup project, so I’ll be on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 A Humbling Sport⚾A Kick-Ass Trophy🐴Punk ⛓️ Happy 4/20. This edition of A Puzzle Known As Life is delivered in an edible format, and you’ll feel the effects of all the awesome in about 45 minutes. Enjoy. Boy The Younger had a baseball game last night. It was a cold, windy…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Why We Suck🤡No Finishing Power🔚McReally? 🍔 The world is dumb, and America is the leading idiot. I don’t reach this conclusion with any sort of glee. It’s simply what I see. Societies hold together because of three things. Shared stories Strong institutions Social networks that engender trust. The past 10…Keep reading
Time is a fascinating concept to me. I’ve written about it before, but it just seems so arbitrary sometimes. It amazes me how we can suck at it so badly that we have to add an entire extra day every four years to keep our system going — and no one really bats an eye.…Keep reading
I am not good at fantasy sports. This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have been a religious follower of statistics since I was, like, 5. My father would bring the newspaper home from NYC and I’d pour through the sports section to see who did what in the previous night’s baseball games. I…Keep reading
As I’ve previously detailed elsewhere on my site, I have a bit of a Dark Knight problem. It’s kinda like I have a bit of a Shawshank Redemption problem, a Jewel problem and, currently, an Amy Lee/Evanescence problem. I watch or hear something that speaks to my soul, and it becomes an area of intense…Keep reading
There was a time in my life when I had swagger. I was never the most popular or athletic kid in school, but for a while there, I was a really good baseball player. I could hit. I could field. And, boy, could I pitch. Some of the most “over” kids in high school would…Keep reading
I am my music. I don’t know how much simpler to define me than to say that if you want to know who and where I am at a particular moment, check my “recents” in Amazon Music. Music has always been a big thing with me. I understand it now, but I didn’t understand as…Keep reading
I have a complicated history with alcohol. So stupid and naive was I that I it wasn’t until I was 8 years old that I learned a woman could drink beer. I mean, I actually believed beer was not something women were allowed to drink, or maybe it was that I thought that if they…Keep reading
It seems to me that a lot of things are easier these days. For example, I think it’s much easier to be a police detective now than, say, back in the 1960s-90s, when my uncle/godfather worked in Spanish Harlem. There are databases for everything from fingerprints to photos to DNA, and every block in the…Keep reading
Ahh, January 2022, the month that will be remembered as the one in which, despite being vaxed and boosted, that little bitch Covid came to live with me again and as a month that lasted approximately 758 years. Yet despite its general assholeyness and inexplicable length, I managed to actually cross off very few items…Keep reading
I saw yesterday a post on Facebook in which the poster asked, “Is it just me or does it seem like the days are getting longer? I’m not sure what’s happening, but it sure seems like it.” I paused, thinking that it might be a joke before realizing that, no, this poster, a 40-something professional…Keep reading
ACCOMPLISHED No. 42: Create a college football bowl pool with a traveling trophy Sports bring people together. Of course, they also tear people apart. Look no further than the idiots supporting opposing teams in football stadiums who end up in alcohol-fueled brawls. But forget about that for a second. As I was saying, sports bring…Keep reading
In Progress No. 1: Go on 52 dates with CC Wifey Poo (AKA CC, AKA Carla) and I have known each other roughly 30 years. That’s a long time, folks. That’s the amount of time my parents were together when I was like, “Damn, you guys. That’s a long time to be together.” And now…Keep reading
ACCOMPLISHED No. 64: Get into (and stay) in the 99th percentile on Lumosity Back when Longhaul COVID was effectively killing me and sapping my will to live, I went to a neuropsychiatrist, which is essentially a dude who studies the results of the brain’s functioning. I’ve had at least five concussions in my life, which…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Voices In My Head 🎤‘Puzzle Pieces’ Origin Story 🎬A New Direction 🧭 I spent much of the past year with my writing trying to find a distinct voice. I dabbled in characters and tried to give each his or her own style. There was Q.F. Conseco, the free-spirited former Hippie…Keep reading
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