🧩 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 🧩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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cash 4 IRS 💰Cash 4 Workers 💸Sound of Silence 🤫 Be extra careful on your taxes this year. The IRS is expected to receive nearly $80 billion when The Inflation Reduction Act eventually becomes law, and its plan is to hire 87,000 full-time workers. More than half of the $80 billion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Spoon Nose 🥄👃🏻Dump Truck 🚚Twitter Traitor 🐦 Every night, I strap a mask attached to a long hose to my face so I don’t die. Not satisfied with looking kinda like an idiot, I then wrap a flexible Velco-enabled strap around my chin and fasten it on top of my bald…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thanks, Yankees ⚾Kitchen Moment 👩🍳McDonald’s Glasses 🥛 Wifey Poo and I were recent college graduates and months away from becoming Married Folk when our relationship nearly faced its greatest test. The New York Yankees were rolling toward their first World Series appearance since I played with Matchbox Cars, and the St.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mammoth Dilemma🦣Zombie Pigs🧟🐖Stadium Pals⚾ Finding the fossilized remains of a Wooly Mammoth in New Mexico isn’t exactly news. It seems the furry elephants loved to hang out in the land so frequently visited by aliens. What is news is the condition of the fossils from the latest find. Some of the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creative Desert 🎨So Long, Supra 🏎️Taco Truck 🌮 I have absolutely nothing today. On most days — even the really, really bad days — I can push out something creatively worthwhile. A blog post. A flyer. A video. Not today. Today I have jack shit. This is professionally problematic, considering my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hungry=Stupid 😋Strategic Planning 📅Bed Sizes 🛏️ Hunger is a strong motivator. This, most of us know. Yet I witnessed this truth at a whole new level this weekend. Wifey Poo and I traveled up to Hannibal, Missourah, for a few days. Hannibal, for you uncultured folks, is the hometown of Mark…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Change 🌀Me, Different 😷Bad Baseball ⚾ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Most everything in humanity is governed by two intertwined forces. Supply and demand. Scarcity. Whether its the economy or human emotions, everything about us is geared toward responding to these two things. For example, when there…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double Standards 🦅Birthday Deals 🎁Video Guy 📹 The United States has a problem with hypocrisy. Don’t worry, though; it’s nothing new. It just happens to be glaringly apparent right now. Our revered Founding Fathers got things off on a really bad foot when they penned the lofty statement that all men…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Revolution 🌍Rain 🌧️Refund 💰 By this time tomorrow, I will have completed 48 trips around the sun. Or is it 47 and I’ll be starting my 48th? Whatever. I’ll be 48 years old tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m feeling kinda blah about it. Looking back, this past revolution was busy…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bitchy Mother Nature 🌧️⚡Tech Woes 🖥️Maturation 👦 Overnight storms made for a restless night, as waves of rain and thunder rolled through our section of Missourah. Flash flood warnings pinged my phone sometime in the middle of the night, and by the time I left for my drive to work, eastbound…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rollercoasters 🎢Sad Puppy 🐶News Roundup 🤖 It’s possible to think a lot of thoughts while plummeting 90 feet at a 90-degree angle while staring up at the sun. This I learned yesterday while at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missourah, with the Core Four, Div, Wifey Poo’s baby sister and baby…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Date Day 🤟🏽Prison Justice 👊Universe Questions 🚀 Wifey Poo and I ended up having more than 12 hours to ourselves yesterday here in the Midwest Redneck Mecca of Branson, Missourah. Boys The Elder and Younger, along with BTE’s lovely girlfriend of nearly three years, and Wifey Poo’s baby sister and family…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩WFH WTF? 🧑💼Rebel Ball ⚾Psych Myth 🧠 As a writer/columnist/blogger/thought-spewer, I always enjoy when I get something out there before anyone else. I dug that when I was a newspaper journalist, and I dig it now. That’s why I’m happy to be hearing national publications and sites like Business Insider starting…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fahrenheit 🌡️Blindingly White ⬜Alone Time 👴 Muricah is very much a reactionary nation. Much of what we do and who we are is because we were pissed off about the way someone else did things. Monarchy? We’ll have a democracy, thank you very much. The metric system? We’ll measure stuff our…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tryouts ⚾BBQ Sauce🍖TMNT🐢 There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted. Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball. Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Growth 💗Dreams 💤Redecorating 🛋️ There are moments in a dad’s life in which he can see the growth of his sons quite clearly. Sometimes that growth is physical. One day, Boy The Elder was a short, stocky little boy and then, boom, he came home from his high school job at…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Burn Pit🔥Alaska Ass🍑Nose Hair🐽 Having a plan is a far different thing from having a plan work out. I’m really good at the former, yet the latter seems to be extremely elusive. Yesterday, my plan was to take the huge pile of chopped-down cedar-tree limbs that have been in my backyard…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jewel💎First Kiss💋Slow Ahead🐢 Wifey Poo and I are headed out into the sweltering hell that is Missourah this evening to see the woman who, should she knock on my door and say “let’s go,” I am fully empowered to join in the next part of life’s journey. I jest. Sort of.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Parenthood 🚓Alexa 📋Quick-Hitters 👋 Just about every statistic imaginable tells us we shouldn’t have kids — at least, not if we’re concerned about our own happiness, mental health, marriage, career, finances, time or ability to buy a really boss car instead of a freaking minivan. Yet here we are, still a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Lawrence Pfaff Sr. Sucks 🚓Engagement Talk 🌯Quick-Hitters 👋 From what I know of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. of Belmont, NY, he was kind of a douche. The 81-year-old man died on June 27. I never met him. Never even heard of him. Until I read his obit. And about that obit?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Travelling Companion🚓Free Beans 🌯Unfollowed 👋 Brandy Bottone is either stupid or brilliant. Whichever it is, she’s also right. The Texas woman was traveling in the HOV lane — which, for the country folk out there, stands for High Occupancy Vehicle and is reserved for cars with two or more people to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Slots 🎰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…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reflections on Grandma 👵Kids & Death 👨👦👦Don’t Say It 🤫 My grandma died yesterday, four days shy of her 96th birthday. As it goes with people at that age, it wasn’t a surprise. She had been fading for more than a year and, though she still was breathing, that version of…Keep reading
🧩 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