🧩 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 🧩24 Hour Video 😡Rubik’s Kid 🧊Dilbert Doofus 🤪 There are two things I cannot stand in the working world — and in life, in general. The first is people whose lack of preparedness turns ordinary stuff into emergencies. The second is when people criticize the result of something they previous approved.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mormon Billionaires 💰Bigger Packages 🍌Birds Really Aren’t Real 🐦 Can we just get on with blowing the tits off the world with nuclear weapons or something and end this stupid thing we call the human race? Yeah, I know that’s a little dramatic, but when I take a look at the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Muricah The Evil 🦅You Buy You 💰Big-Ass Van 🚚 I find it rather humorous that Muricah warned China not to send arms to one side of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine … and that we issued this warning with a straight face. I’m quite sure most Muricahns believe their country…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Salve 🩹Car Wash 🚗💧Light Removal 🎄 I try not to venture too often into a Wal-Mart, especially on the weekend. I cling to slim hope for this nation as it is, and I find Wal-Mart trips do not help my grip. Alas, this weekend, Boy The Younger was under the weather…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CC, BCC, FU 📧Basketball Poll 🏀Andy Rooney 🎙️ This week has largely been a Shit Week marred by Shit People. What are Shit People? They aren’t exactly easy to define, but one hallmark of a Shit Person is his rampant use of the CC function at work to passive-aggressively play power…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chill Day 🛋️Busy Weekend ⚾Halftime 🏈 I’m not working today. Not only am I not working at my day job, I’m not doing any work for my side gig today. I’m not planning on doing much of anything, actually. And I don’t feel guilty about that. This weekend was insanely busy.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Pharma Sucks 💊Work Rules 🧑💼Big Weekend 🏈 Spend any time in front of the television and you’ll see ads touting the latest drugs that you shouldn’t take if you’re allergic to and that you most definitely need to ask your doctor about. Now comes a study showing that the people…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top 5 🎈Symphony 🎻Living Eulogies 💗 Top 5 things overheard in Missourah last week as a purported Chinese spy balloon made its way over the state en route to its rendezvous with an F22’s missile: Despite my high-brow upbringing in Suburbia, New York, I’m not what anyone would call A Symphony…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Space Walk 🧑🚀Bye-Bye Brady 🏈Failure Rate 🐿️ When Boy The Elder was just Boy and devoid of a younger brother, we had a nickname for him: Pokey Joe. BTE didn’t do anything fast, but more than anything, what he did incredibly slow was get out of a car. That would suck…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Raccoons 🦝February 💘Man Nips 🕺 Today I bring you the story of a raccoon who got his balls stuck to railroad tracks. But the reason you think I’m bringing you this story is not the reason I’m bringing you this story. You think I’m bringing the story of the raccoon Neil…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tyre Nichols 😔Tattoo Day ✒️Nephew Hoops🏀 I was a white kid in suburbia, New York, in 1988 when the gangsta rap group N.W.A. came out with its album Straight Outta Compton, featuring the song Fuck Tha Police. It was scandalous, at the time, to suggest that the police would be anything…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Concert 🎵Sick Wife🤒People Suck 🖕 Within the 24 hours in the run-up to Snowpocalypse 2023, the estimates on the Weather Channel app for our snowfall total ranged from 1 to 10 inches. That’s like going to the doctor and being told you have anything from a splinter to terminal cancer.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mission: Failed 👎Ho 🤣Handy Family 👍 It has to suck to work at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Why? It took exactly 75 minutes for all of 2023 to be a failure. Let me explain. Those of you unfortunate enough to have been involved in any sort of corporate planning process…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Houston 🖊️Sad clown 🤡Taco Seasoning 🌮 Houston, Missourah, is not unlike a lot of other rural Missourah towns through which I’ve driven and bears a resemblance to the Small Town USA in which Boy The Elder did a lot of his early growing up and to which Boy The Younger came…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Definitions 📖Missing Bourbon 🥃Mysterious Knocks 😵 I generally abhor any writing that starts with, “Webster’s dictionary defines …” Webster’s dictionary defines “ceiling” as a noun meaning “the overhead inside lining of a room.” The implication is that it’s a limitation, a max, a point of demarcation between what’s out there and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Annoyance 😠Disappointment 😞 When Boy The Elder was Boy The Only in our home, he watched one of the Air Bud movies featuring a basketball-playing dog. Or maybe it was football. Or soccer. By the time that series was over, that dog had played them all. Anyway, whichever Air Bud…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thor’s Blurry Hammer 🍆Pigeon Delivery 🕊️Idiot List 🤪 Thor is really, really good with his hammer. And by that, I mean that Thor the walrus in Scarborough, England, is really good at masturbating and ruining New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard about this story, stop reading stupid news like politics…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bruising Basketball 🏀Poke ☝️Six?!? 🔫 I grew up in the NBA era of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons while loving a New York Knicks team that was, to put it mildly, quite physical. Guys like Steph Curry and LeBron James can makes basketball seem like artistry these days, but give me…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What There is Like! ⛅’Modern Policing’ 🚨Xylophone Time! 🎵 When you decide to talk about a time in which you truly believe you more-or-less died and saw what comes after this life, you have to be comfortable with the fact that people might think you’re nuts. Hell, talking about it on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grace Ashford! 📰Idaholy Shit! 🥔Story of the Year! 🍆 The three most influential people in my life as a journalist are, sadly, all part of the Great Newsroom in the Sky now. Professors Michael Perkins and Bob Woodward (AKA Bob Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward) helped educate me at Drake University, and Lisa Warren was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poor Puppy 🐶Romeo and Juliet 🤴👸Meta Mistake 🙊 Disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., today as Republican Congressman-elect George Santos (if that’s his real name) brought a 6-month-old puppy to the house floor and screamed “Hey, look at me!” before slitting its throat and lapping up its squirting blood like a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Pretty Good Rant 😠Tesla Plunge 🚗Missed Lasts 😥 Those of you who regularly read my drivel (I see you, DirtySciFiBuddah) might have become aware of the fact over the past year or so that I am not a huge fan of our world’s modern institutions. All of them might, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Incomplete 🕮Frustration 😠Bowl Bust 🏈 To say that I know how to write is like saying I know how to breathe. No one considers that they know how to breathe. They just … breathe. No one is particularly good at breathing or bad at breathing. Again, they just … breathe. I’ve…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 15 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 email@example.com. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩2023 📅Helping 🧠The Universe 🔭 I’m not much for long-term plans and goals. This isn’t to suggest I don’t think they’re important. I just think that spending a lot of time on them is futile. What’s the saying? Man plans, God laughs. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve learned through experience that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chain Links 🔗”Work” 🧑💼Popular Toys 🧸 After my first son died in December 2000, I spent a lot of time wondering why. Why me? Why Wifey Poo? Why Jacob? Why this level of suffering in a world supposedly created and run by an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God? So I did what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chiefs! 🏈Indy Tickets 🏎️Bank Visit 💰 When I bought the tickets to the Christmas Eve contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks as a gift for Boys The Elder & Younger, it was sometime in September and temps hovered around 90 degrees. The thought that the game might…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Timelines 👶Extinctions 🌋Sin City 👌 As I fall deeper down the rabbit hole learning more about theories on space and time, the concept of alternative timelines comes up again and again and again. Whether it’s the stuff of science fiction or one day will be proven to be the stuff of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Cousin’ Laughs🎤Improv!?!? 🎭Drake Hoops 🏀 Back when I was a boy, I had a favorite Cousin-Who-Wasn’t-A-Cousin. His name was Joey DeVito, and he was in no way a blood relation to me, though I called his father Uncle Frankie and his mother Aunt Celia. I’m pretty sure this is an East…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glazed 🍩Bingo! 🖥️Disappearing Christians ⛪ I didn’t intend to bring doughnuts for my co-workers yesterday morning. It just sorta happened. How it happened and how it played out is a window into my weird mind. First, an explanation: I have a card purchased from Boy The Younger that entitles me to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩STL’s Homeless 😥Snake Hoo-Hoos 🐍That Was Epoch 👴 I found James huddled underneath a blanket as he sat, knees to his chest, head bowed, just outside the doorway of a CVS in the Delmar Loop section of St. Louis. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a fun place filled…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Knicks Memory 🏀JBM LLC 🧑🏼💼Brain Drain 🧠 My most memorable interaction with Paul Silas occurred when I was a 17-year-old kid with big dreams of being a sports reporter. I’d talked with Paul before — his wife and Mother Dearest were active in the local Make A Wish Foundation chapter and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Piped-In Music 🎵Astronomy 🔭Fusion ☢️ Here’s the thing about Christmas: I want to love it, and in many ways, I do. I love giving gifts and, to be honest, I love getting gifts. There’s something so cool about the magical times when someone knows you well enough to get you that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Familial Reflections 👪Career Rebuild 🛠️Andrea 📱 It’s hard to think of my Aunt Pauline as old, hard to imagine how it is that she’s just about to leave her 80s and, thus, it’s hard to understand how she could be in such poor health right now. Aunt Pauline is Father Dearest’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Walking Dead 🧟Nose B Gone 👃Turkey Trouble 🦃 I spent Tuesday night watching the final episodes of The Walking Dead. I have always been the type who can get so lost in a good story that I have really strong emotions (shocker, I know) when it ends. It happens with…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Who’s Family? 👪Music Speaks 🎵Wedding Websites 👨❤️👨 I was raised as an East Coast Italian, despite being a mixed bag of ethnicities born in Denver, Colorado. That meant that there was this huge importance placed on family that’s not necessarily shared with the same ferocity by others. Yet as I grew…Keep reading