🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Woo-Woo vs. The Beast 🛻
Dart Throwers 🎯
My Job 📋
I am not used to driving a tank. My normal vehicle is Woo-Woo, AKA The Shitty Little Car, AKA a Nissan Versa. It’s practical. It gets great gas mileage. I hate it.
Woo-Woo normally accelerates as quickly as a child asked to do his chores. This is offset by the every-once-in-awhile burst of speed it decides to give when you absolutely floor the accelerator. The fact that both happen randomly has led to some near-death experiences when I tried to pull into quickly approaching traffic expecting the latter while receiving the former.
I’m in beautiful and wonderful St. Joseph, Missourah, today, which, for the unfamiliar, is just north of Kansas City on the heavily defended western state border with archenemy Kansas. To get here, my company allows a rental car, which is kind and considerate and much easier than mileage reimbursement. It also affords me the opportunity to drive something other than Woo-Woo, which is always welcomed.
After doing all the preliminary stuff, the rental company counter guy took me out to inspect my vehicle. “These are the only two we have left,” he said, motioning to two monster pickup trucks, one black, one white. Now here’s an interesting thing: There was a Black gentleman waiting behind me in line. I’m assuming he was renting a vehicle as well. Was I steered to the white Dodge Ram monster pickup because of my race?
This thing is a beast. Not only does it require a trampoline and a stepladder to get into, it won’t do anything less than 65 mph. I merely looked at the gas pedal and was going 70. So far so good on the “avoid unpleasant encounters with law enforcement” front, though. It also has all the fancy bells and whistles a car like Woo-Woo looks at and calls “Boujie.”
Heated seats. Heated steering wheel. Backup camera. Apple CarPlay integration. Consistent acceleration. An armrest for the driver and the passenger. Ya know … rich guy stuff.
It’s also very wide. Two Woo-Woos can fit side-by-side in each lane of traffic. About three-quarters of this thing fits in a lane. I’m pretty sure I’ve shoved at least three vehicles into the median while not breaking any traffic laws.
Parking Woo-Woo is like parking a go-kart. Parking my rental tank is like pooping in an airplane bathroom. You can do it, but it’s going to be a tight fit and not very rewarding.
I return the beast tomorrow and will hop immediately back into Woo-Woo for the trip to the office. The transition, I’m sure, will not be easy.
There was a time when arrival in a hotel room meant the end of my going out for the day. There was a comfortable bed with 55,000 pillows, unfamiliar TV channel lineups to explore and free soap. Who needs to leave that kind of fun?
Well, to put it simply, me, these days. One can only sit in a hotel room so long before going insane.
I hauled my crap up to my room, set up Angelina (my CPAP machine that keeps me from regularly dying in the night), unpacked the clothes that needed unpacking to avoid wrinkles and a sad attempt at ironing, and went in search of a sports bar at which to eat and watch, well, sports. The place I found had good-enough food, but it was playing annoying new-school country music, and I was just about done with “loud” for the day. So I went back to the hotel, grabbed my book and a cigar and started wandering.
I ended up at a nearby hotel’s outside porch, where there were a few comfortable chairs and an ashtray. I lit up, opened my book and was enjoying some new Stephen King when some folks came outside. It was an eclectic bunch, and they were well into feeling good as they sat nearby and the sun worked toward finishing its decent into the horizon.
We fell into conversation, largely because one commented on how cold it was and how I was sitting there in jeans and a T-shirt. They were up here from Orlando and Dayton, Fla.,, had left early to avoid the hurricane and arrive here in time for a weekend darts tournament. I guess that’s a thing … traveling long distances to throw tiny spears.
While we were talking, they received phone calls from people back home, a friend in Ft. Myers whose home was gone, a relative in Orlando who said the wind was really whipping.
They bought me a drink, which was kind of them, and then headed off to find a sports bar where there was a dart board. I recommended the place I’d eaten dinner and warned them about the country music. “That’s OK,” one of the group said. “When we’re playing darts, we don’t really hear the music.”
Ya learn something every day.
My job here in St. Joseph is to rep my company at an open house. The event is held at a wholesaler of HVAC supplies, which my company makes. I’m to set up a table with the assortment of stuff I am riding around with in my rental tank and be friendly and knowledgeable when HVAC contractors come in, more for the free food being offered than for anything I might be able to share with them, I’m sure.
In my backseat right now, I have coil cleaners, pipe leak sealant, our bitchin’ brand of can’t-tear-’em shop towels and a thing actually called a Cannon. I’m pretty sure the combination would explode into a massive fireball should I get into an accident on the drive home.
Hopefully that won’t happen.
The drive home last night was a bit rough, which wasn’t entirely surprising. I’ve been around a lot of people the past few days, hadn’t slept past 4:30 a.m. for four or five days, and, in general, this has been one of those “Big Feels” times that seem to happen to me. There are these…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Gotta stay alive to get the rental tank back to its home.
- These HVAC chemicals aren’t going to present themselves.
- Maybe I’ll stay in KC for the weekend and go see my new friends throw darts.
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🧩 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 🧩Ankle Shot 🦶🏻Teamwork 🤝🏽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…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
🧩 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