🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Leave Introverts Alone🤫
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 of them. That’s a helluva lot of Springfields, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s not that the two words that make it up are all that exciting individually — spring and field. I mean, sure, spring is a lovely season — one of my four favorites — and fields are nice, but 35 in 25 states? Where were the marketing folks when city names were being created?
Alas, I’m in Springfield, Missourah.
Let’s talk about introverts and extroverts for a few minutes. So many people carry around this misconception that introverts are shy recluses who hate people — and sure, some of them are and do. But the majority of them simply find comfort and energy through solitary or small-group pursuits rather than through lively groups of people.
It doesn’t make them bad. It doesn’t make them weird. It doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them them.
The problem isn’t introverts. The problem is extroverts who think everyone should be like them. An introvert would never presume to tell an extrovert to just chill the fuck out, curl up and read a book while sipping a cup of tea. Yet extroverts constantly have “solutions” for introverts — as if these folks need fixing.
“Well if she would just put herself out there more …”
“If he would just come to more after-hour company events …”
Many (most?) introverts don’t feel like they need fixing. What they need is extroverts to stop thinking their way is right.
I know conventional wisdom is that people’s basic personality traits don’t change over time. If that’s true, I’m the exception to the rule. I have taken the Myers Briggs personality test numerous times over the years and have swung wildly, especially on the introvert/extrovert scale.
One time, I was said to be an extreme extrovert. On that day, it was likely true.
Another time, I was said to be an extreme introvert. On that day, it was likely true.
The most recent time I took the test, I was smack dab in the exact center between the two. Does that mean that instead of recharging through quiet solitude or through gatherings of fun people, I just don’t recharge? Sounds about right sometimes.
I love the extroverts in my life, Wifey Poo chief among them. On the flip side, I want to hug all the introverts in my life and say, “Hey… you do you.”
I say all of this because of where I am this morning — freaking exhausted. The reason I’m in Springfield, Missourah, is to shadow an account manager for our company to learn more about how these fine folks do their thing and how our products look on the shelves at wholesalers. It’s good info. I’m a sponge.
Pete’s a great dude. Incredibly kind. Generous. Talented. Awesome. He looks way too much like my brother-in-law, who’s a douchebag, but that’s not his fault. Pete’s also extremely extroverted. That’s an amazingly positive trait to have as someone whose job it is to talk with other people and sell them our products.
I’m just not used to it.
Wherever I am on the introvert/extrovert scale, I am most definitely not someone who is energized by constant conversation. I value silence. Pauses are amazeballs. Quiet is king. I purposefully take trips to places in which I can hear no manmade sounds, and if you think finding such a place is easy, well, it’s not. There’s something extremely rejuvenating to me about being in a remote field where the only noises are the buzzing of insects, the tweeting of birds and the babbling of a lazy river.
Extroverts don’t understand how introverts can spend a day riding around in a car and visiting wholesalers with a dude as incredibly nice as Pete and end the day exhausted. Introverts, on the other hand, would say “I hear ya, brother” very quietly before returning to their blessed silence.
I have another day with Pete and a half day tomorrow. Then I have a three-and-a-half hour drive back to my Humble Country Home. If you think the radio is going to be on in any way, shape or form, you’re nuts.
Among writers and newspaper journalists, there can be no more impassioned debate than that over the Oxford comma. This tiny speck of punctuation engenders stronger feelings than any other in any language ever.
As a newspaper journalist, I was indoctrinated to believe the Oxford comma is the seed of Satan. If I’m making a shopping list and tell Wifey Poo we need bananas, oranges and apples, there absolutely, positively never should be a comma after “oranges” and before “and.” So strongly held is this belief by anti-Oxford-comma-ites that we are convinced it was the 11th thing on the stone tablet handed down by God to Abraham and that those who don’t recognize that are instruments of the devil himself.
On the flip side are those who just as strongly believe the Oxford comma was delivered straight from heaven to authors on a pillowy cloud and that those who wouldn’t put it between “oranges” and “and” are dumber than brain-damaged monkeys except worse because the poor brain damaged monkeys aren’t willfully being stupid.
If you’re thinking I’m exaggerating the strength of these arguments, gather some writers and journalists in the same room and bring up the topic. It’s fun. Trust me.
I say this because one of my clients in my side business running Johnny Boy Marketing is a prestigious Midwest university. I help a colleague by writing articles for their alumni websites and publications. My colleague informed me yesterday that he’d been meaning to tell me — this university uses the Oxford comma.
First of all, we can now remove the word “prestigious” from before “Midwest university.” Second, we can invalidate all the degrees this university has ever sent out. Third, this university is known for its journalism program!
Punctuation matters. You’ve seen the T-shirts showing its importance in phrases such as “Let’s eat grandma” vs. “Let’s eat, grandma.” But if a major U.S. university wants to be so blatantly wrong in its use of these tiny grammar marks, well, we are, indeed, doomed as a nation.
Hi. My name is John, and I have Longhaul COVID. It’s 4:15 p.m., and I shouldn’t be writing this. I should be resting. My body is screaming at me to rest. But right now? Screw you, body. I’m writing this. One of my Longhaul COVID symptoms is insomnia, so I was awake this morning at…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- One more day to three hours of silence.
- Chiefs football tonight!
- The Oxford Comma Wars.
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🧩 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 🧩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