🧩 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 🧩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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hitler Talk ⚖️Chicken Postscript 🐣Green Seats ⚾ I wonder when the average German in the 1930s/1940s said something akin to “Oh shit.” There has to be a point when the rational, sane sauerkraut-lover realized that perhaps his or her vote for a certain mustachioed politician was a really bad idea. For…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Take Me Away🛀Period Tracker🩸Choose Wisely💒 Arriving for the first day at a new job is kind of like showing up in a new town after throwing away your old identity. It’s a blank slate, and you can be anyone you’d like to be. Want to go by a different name? Go…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨👦👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on…Keep reading
🧩 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