🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Stupid IT Rules 🖥️
The Bend 🚑
Is The War Over? ✌️
Tonight, there will be a lottery drawing in which someone could win $1.2 billion. That someone won’t be me, as I didn’t buy a ticket, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about what I would and wouldn’t do with that money.
I’ve heard all the horror stories about lottery winners, people who say that winning the lottery ruined their lives, and I’m sure that’s true. I’m also sure many of them said, “Well that won’t happen to me,” but I’m saying straight-up … “That wouldn’t happen to me.”
I’d love to say having that much money wouldn’t change me, but let’s be realistic. I rented a badass Toyota Supra for one weekend and felt like I was walking a little taller and feeling a little cooler. So yeah, money changes people, and it’d change me.
One area I know it would change is with my job. I love what I’m doing and enjoy the people I work with. The only person more frightened than I at the thought of me being home full-time is Wifey Poo. But then there are things like the story that follows that lets me know all it would take is one of these for me to be out of the working world forever:
I am really, really good at email marketing. I know how to write snappy and readable email newsletters. I am also really, really good at internal communication. I operate under the theory that the more truth people know about what’s going on in management, the less likely the rumor mill will create an alternate truth. So I share things in fun and interesting ways with my colleagues.
I want these emails to be visually appealing. If you’ve ever tried to create a visually appealing email in Gmail or Outlook or anything like that, you know that, while it may technically be possible, it’s arduous. I don’t have that kind of time.
We use an email service for marketing called Constant Contact. It’s a low-end solution that does the job, similar to MailChimp. It’s fine for what it is and it lets me do my thing. But there’s one problem: Because of our stupid firewalls, I can’t send an email from Constant Contact to anyone with our company email address. It’s not that it goes to the junk folder. It just … disappears.
I am well versed in technological security. I understand the damage that can befall a business because of hackers and other ne’er-do-wells. There’s an extra fiery place in that theoretical hell some believe in for these assclowns. But surely there has to be a way for me to send well-designed emails to colleagues, right?
I’ve tried working with our information technology folks, who are well intentioned and don’t really care about my desire for the analytics Constant Contact can give me on who’s reading what in the emails I send to my peeps here. They just want to keep the aforementioned assclowns out of our systems. I get that.
As it stands now, I have to send the email to my Gmail account, then forward it to my work email, then strip out all the crap that gets attached to forwarded emails and forward it to my guys. In the process, a lot of the cool-looking stuff is lost, and all the learning opportunities from the data disappear.
This is acceptable to IT. To me, it’s an example of why, if $1.2 billion suddenly landed in my bank account, I’d be walking out of here and strutting toward my new Ferrari to go spend this beautiful day somewhere less annoying.
There’s a section of Interstate 70 that I travel to and from work known infamously as The Bend. Seen from above without any cars on it, it’s nothing that one would think should cause any problems. Headed westbound, the interstate curves gently to the right, then back to the left.
Back in the day, The Bend was just another part of the road that — again, headed westbound — led you away from the city of St. Louis into the country. When I first came home with Future Wifey Poo back in 1993, there wasn’t much around The Bend. Now, it’s the booming suburban hotspot of Wentzville.
Based on the chaos that ensues there at least once a day, The Bend plays out more like the first corner on a Formula 1 race if every driver were hopped up on meth and held the belief that getting through first meant the difference between life and death.
The day of the week doesn’t matter. You’re as likely to face a delay on a Sunday afternoon as you are a Friday rush hour.
The time of day doesn’t matter. There have been massive pileups at every hours on the dial.
Weather conditions don’t matter. Sunny days feature backups as significant as during snowstorms.
So bad is The Bend that the state of Missourah has a plan to move an entire section of the highway south to straighten it out. The work was supposed to have started already … but government. I’m hoping to see the project completed before I die, but I am not holding my breath.
While we wait for the work, however, we now have some new signage! There are flashing, coordinated arrows to let idiots know that the road, indeed, curves. And if you’re going over a certain speed, a “Slow down” sign illuminates.
I’m sure that’ll make things better.
If you’ve ever been taught about Muricah’s Civil War (or, if you were educated in the South, the War of Northern Aggression), you probably learned that the war ended with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Like much of the Muricahn history the gubment teaches you, that’s complete bullshit.
Appomattox was merely the surrender of one part of the Confederate Army and its most famous general. Fighting continued formally for another 16 months, and even then there still were skirmishes after that.
So how do you know when a war is over?
I say that because I’ve been thinking that the war I’ve been fighting for my entire life, in some regards, and certainly for the past three decades, just might be over. Over the course of the past 14 months or so, I’ve done the work to address the roots of my brain health issues. With the help of some alternative treatment options and an amazing counselor, I find myself today, for the first time in …. ever … being able to say, “Ya know what? I think I won this war.”
When you’ve been fighting for so long, how do you know the war is over? I’ve had victories in battles against this crap before, victories that felt damn good and improved my overall quality of life. But another round of artillery always came crashing down and exploded whatever progress I thought I’d made. Now, I’m saying, “But this is different!” while being completely cognizant of the fact that I’ve probably said that before.
So what do I say? “But this is different different?” or “I mean it this time!” I would forgive anyone who’s been with me on this journey who raises a skeptical eyebrow at that.
Yet here I am … finally feeling like I am ready to tell my full story because the book is done. The last chapter has been written. I won. After three decades — three fucking decades — I’ve won.
I can’t begin to describe the emotions inside when I realize I’m able to say that. Sometimes, fighting becomes such a way of life that the absence of the need for it is so completely foreign as to be unrecognizable. What do I do now that I don’t have to put the energy to doing that? Energy, by the way, I didn’t even know I was expending.
I am so hesitant to say this because I know how quickly things can change. But the thought that I have actually done it, that I’ve actually come back from where I once was and am now … good (?) … is just amazing.
Welcome to Issue No. 12 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. It’s easy to appreciate the big things. That I have two sons here on Earth who are…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Gin Blossoms on Friday!
- I want to see what this post-war life is like.
- Planning to meet up with a good friend in December.
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🧩 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 🧩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