🧩 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 🧩Podcast Appearance 🎙️The Birth Control Pill Story 🐶Good Tired 🥱 If you would have asked me a few years ago whether I could ever envision myself on a stage in the back room of a dive bar sharing a story about how my dog ate six months of birth control pills…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pee Mate 🚽Game Maker 🎲Dumb Muricans 🦅 I have been thinking about death a lot lately, not because I’m particularly eager for it to happen or because I’m particularly not eager for it to happen. I guess it’s because I’m a few months shy of my 49th birthday and please-for-the-love-of-God let…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dieudonne 🌍Hoops Win🏀Cornhole Roll ✔️ In 2021, during some of the darkest and most difficult times in our lives as individuals and couple, Wifey Poo and I did a thing. It was a big thing. It was a challenging thing. It was an amazing thing. But to say it was just…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Full Stop’ 🛑Needles 💉Business Lessons 🧑💼 Here’s something I learned about myself today: One way to ensure that I will debate you on a topic until I give my last breath or until you are huddled in a corner in a fetal position is to end the statement of your opinion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mindfulness 🧘Mullet Prez 👩🦳Murder Family 🔪 Our brains are amazing things. So adept are they at routines that they can essentially run on autopilot and let you do the everyday stuff like operating a multi-ton object advancing at 70+ mph among lots of other multi-top objects advancing at 70+ mph without…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bloody Hell 💂Circus Moments 🤡Silence 🤫 OK, people: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. But first, a little digression. What in the bloody hell does that phrase mean? “A bone to pick with you?” That sounds absolutely disgusting. And if you’re wondering why I said “bloody hell,” well, that…Keep reading
🧩 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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