🧩 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 the occasions that I do, I sometimes wonder if I truly am nuts. I’ll leave that possibility open.
I don’t think anyone should go willy-nilly talking about such experiences with just anyone, any more than I think it’s a good thing for people to go on and on and on about their own religious or spiritual beliefs. Frankly, depending on your perspective, evangelism can easily be rephrased as cultural insensitivity, and from any perspective it has led to a helluva lot of deaths and some spectacularly awful cultural annihilation.
Yet from time to time, people seem truly interested in hearing about my experience and what I believe to be Truth. While I certainly leave open the possibility that I am a billion percent wrong, I share with them a thing I wrote about the experience, and if they’re still interested, I’ll go into some more depth.
Recently, I had a chance to share with someone what being where I call There was like. From my experience, the imagery surrounding what’s more conventionally called heaven isn’t what’s waiting for us. I’m not sure where I got the imagery I associate with heaven. I think it’s a combination of Loony Toons and Christianity.
There’s no escalator. No pearly gates. No clouds. No St. Peter. No waiting embodied relatives.
Truthfully, there was very, very little that was visual. The only thing I remember “seeing” was the vast, expansive universe and some rectangles through which what I took to be souls were entering. And I knew one of those rectangles was for me and those like me, whatever that might mean.
Since I’ve returned from There, I’ve taken it that the existence of other rectangles and that I knew there was one for me compared to other rectangles means there are multiple belief systems that result in some sort of really freaking amazing afterlife. Again, as with all of this stuff, I leave open the possibility that I’m wrong and that all those religions that suggest they have the exclusive code to the lock on the doors of heaven are right when they condemn me to an eternal hell. It’s not the most loving thing in the world to come from a fellow human, but I accept their opinion as a possibility.
So how do I describe what I call There? It’s not anything visual. It’s not just falling at the feet of God and singing classic hymns forever and ever and ever. No version of heaven would have my singing voice.
What I experienced was a feeling, a feeling for which there are no words in any language. Time and again, I have tried to come close to that feeling, and though I consider myself something of a wordsmith and certainly a descriptive person, I don’t know that I’ve ever really even been on the target, let alone in the bullseye.
Here’s the closest thing I’ve got:
Whether we know it or not, all of us are uptight about the responsibilities we have in this world. Some of those things are really easy to see and are directly about us as individuals. Bills, parental responsibilities, work, marriage, health concerns or even the simple fact that we haven’t slept well in the past few days. If you were to list everything for which you were responsible, you might have a lengthy list. If you were to see that list from the eyes of what, for convenience’s sake, we’ll call God, it’d be a lot longer. A lot longer.
Then there are those things that we’d only know make us uptight were they to disappear. For example, you might not realize the war in Ukraine has you a bit on edge about the possibility of nuclear annihilation. You might not think you fear terrorism. But if there were suddenly a complete and total world peace? Maybe you’d realize that, at some sort of energetic level, that stuff was part of the human condition that worried you to a degree. I know one thing I didn’t realize weighs on me until I was There and it was gone was my continued love, care, concern and responsibilities for Boy The Elder, who, at 20, is on the road to being tremendously successful and doesn’t appear to require much from dear old dad. This isn’t to say that being There meant I didn’t love my son. It just wasn’t my responsibility anymore.
So I describe There as the feeling of a complete absence of any concerns over any responsibilities you might have. There is this total sense of being done. It’s like training for a marathon, and suddenly, you’ve run your race and there are absolutely no other races to run again ever. You’ll never have to pound the pavement again. You’ll never have to even lace up your sneakers. You can just be. It is pure, unabashed contentment. You want for nothing. You worry about nothing. You’re literally all good.
When I’ve told this to people, the Type A’s say something like “But won’t that be boring?” I have some Type A in me, too, so I get it. The thought of not having anything to do can be paralyzing and spark fear. But There, there’s no fear. The “nothing” that there is to do is a glorious, amazing, complete nothingness. It’s not being bored. It’s not being still and, thus, alone with your thoughts. There are no thoughts to be afraid of. It is simply and wonderfully a complete and total contentment I have never experienced outside of my few trips to what I call There.
There’s a downside to all this. Well, multiple downsides, actually.
The first is that, once you’ve felt that feeling, once you’ve been There, it’s really jarring to come back to Here. There are times still, despite the fact that I know now why I’m back Here, the “Here-ness” of Here makes me long with a deep, soul-crushing ache for There. There is so much better than Here in so many deeply meaningful ways. Being Here? Being Here is tough. Here is ugly. Really ugly. And though I understand our mission as to bring some There to Here, well, everything about Here is like the knockoff version of Star Wars figures that came out in the wake of the original trilogy. No, I don’t want to play with Jack Starcrasher or Lord Viper, thank you very much. Give me Luke Freaking Skywalker and Darth Freaking Vader.
The second negative is that, once you share your experience with someone, that someone just might think you’re completely nuts. I accept that. I think it’s possible to think anyone with any sort of faith in anything unseen is nuts. And as I said, I leave open the possibility for the fact that I am, indeed, nuts, myself. That said, I think faith can be a good thing.
I would ask this: Which is more nuts?
- The belief that a God-Man came out of a virgin’s vagina after being created inside her womb in some unexplained way, and that that being was absolutely blameless in anything ever and that, in the mere belief that he was who he said he was and through his death in a particular manner I now have access to Heaven and thus I memorialize him by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, which may or may not turn into his actual flesh and blood upon entering my mouth, depending on my particular slant on belief in him? OR
- That there’s a complete form of contentment available to all and that I’m not sure if being a dick or murderer or Red Sox fan is something that disqualifies you and that the key to all of this Here is to love infinitely?
Please don’t think I’m picking on Christians. I’m not. It’s an example. There’s an example available for any other exclusionary faith. I hold nothing against any of those faiths for having those beliefs as long as the people who practice them are showing and acting with love.
So there it is: What is There like? It’s a feeling. It’s an amazing, indescribable feeling of being done. Of having finished everything on your Here To-Do List and of having been deemed to be a Straight A Student in all of it.
Completion. Contentment. Unabashed joy that you’re done … and that you’ve done well.
That’s what There is like.
Switching gears as hard as a 16-year-old with a stick shift, let’s talk about the Idaho murders, shall we? I read an article last night that talked about how “modern policing” led to suspect Bryan Hamburgler. The article was extremely laudatory of law enforcement for using all sorts of technology to hone in on who they believe to be the murderers of the four students now known with one long name.
If Hamburgler did it, I’m glad they caught him. Of course I am. Duh.
What I’m not glad about is this so-called “modern policing.” Dude. It’s the ability track any human being’s movements anywhere at any time. That’s creepy.
The only way to prevent this from happening in any marginal way — for example, not carrying your cell phone — is seen as a sign of guilt. Even if you leave your phone at home, there’s still a vast network of spytech out there tracking you. Video devices. Audio devices. Your car tattles on you routinely. For Christ’s sake … a surveillance camera on a house 50 feet away from the victims’ house picked up a mere thud and whimper, allegedly from one of those who was killed!
This is not cool! We have become 1984.
Yes, I understand this sounds paranoid. I love the argument of “Well, if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t care.” But I do care. I care because we have no reason to trust law enforcement and government to not be assholes. They have shown time and time again that they are, in fact, assholes. Yet real journalists write articles celebrating modern policing without asking the question of who’s able to access this data for other reasons and what would happen if, say, it was hacked and released for all to see?
I haven’t killed anyone (that you know of yet, hahahahaha), but I still don’t think where I was at 4:21 p.m. on Friday is any of your goddamn business.
On the dashboard of my car is a tiny square, just a little bit bigger than a postage stamp, that is worse than my sister ever was. If I drive too fast, it tattles. If I brake too hard, it tattles. If I accelerate too quickly — though I struggle to think how this would…Keep reading
A thought I had while driving to work: I remember how boss it was as an elementary schooler to, after walking to music class in a silent single-file line (of course), seeing that the xylophones had been put out and were just waiting for us to bang on. There was little better in elementary school life than to discover the xylophone unit had begun.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- It’s good to stay alive to see what humans will next insert up their butts.
- If I live to be 88, I’ll try to insert something even bigger into my own. That’s a promise.
- Wifey Poo and I are going to an improv show tonight, which hopefully won’t involve any butt-insertion of large explosives. But ya never know with improv, do ya?
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Brown Stockings ⚾I’m A Dentist 🦷Quick Hitters 🐅🦎 If all had gone according to plan, I’d be well into retirement and diving into my money Scrooge McDuck-style after a success career pitching for the New York Yankees. Alas, I’m sitting at my desk in Maryland Heights, Missourah, munching on carrot sticks…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Crowned 👑MFA Moment 😥AI Danger 💻 I remember as a kid getting a filling and hearing that it was real silver being put in my mouth. I figured if times ever really got tough, I could just yank out my tooth, melt the filling and buy food. Yes, these were thoughts…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Nose Woes 👃African in School 🚌Trumpster Fire 👮 The human body has a way of keeping us humble, especially as we get older. We lose hair where we want it and grow it in abundance where we don’t, we produce ear wax and eye boogers, and 99% of us should never…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tiger-Iguana 🐅🦎Cornhole Crushing 🌽Poison M&Ms ☠️ The first time I saw a commercial for the Volkswagen Tiguan, I thought it was a parody. As a marketing guy, I couldn’t fathom how an entire department of highly paid professionals could sit down at a table and decide the best name for a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Closing the Door 🚪Car Shopping🚙Fake Kid-Hater 🧒 Over the course of my life, I’ve gotten used to doing the difficult thing. This often hasn’t been by choice, and it’s never been easy. It’s simply what I’ve had to do. Whether it was facing a pregnancy in which we knew our child…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Changes and Similarities ✈️Family Drama Update 🎭Close Encounters 🤼♂️ My Favorite African (MFA) has arrived. His plane landed at Lambert International at around 1:15 yesterday, and about 15 minutes later, a kind TSA person allowed us and the woman who accompanied MFA on the flight to violate all sorts of Homeland…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little D Nears ✈️Familiar Familial Drama 🎭Van O’ Canadians 🍁 My favorite African returns to us tomorrow afternoon. Dieudonne will board a plane from Philly with an escort (not THAT kind … I think, anyway), and land in the STL around 1:15. For the next three or four months, we’ll take…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩TikTok Stupidity 😠Back Woes 😧Improv Friends 🎭 There are increasing number of hours each week in which I have a strong desire to throw every piece of connected technology into the nearest lake and move to wherever I have to go to be as far away from any modern gadget as…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Anniversary Changes 💍Near Death Experience 💀Dreamcatcher Drama 😳 All relationships change over time. Friendships, parent-child, boss-employee, husband-wife … no matter the relationship, the only constant thing is change. My marriage has changed mightily since it began. When Wifey Poo and I said our vows on March 22, 1997, we were –…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Why The Blahs? 😷Anniversary Plans 💍Unpleasant Warnings 🐍 Feeling blah is complicated when you have my medical history. For many people, feeling blah as I’m feeling right now is a clear indication that some sort of illness or infection has invaded the body. But for me — and for many others…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dentist Visit 🦷Basketball Sucks 🏀Found Husband 👨 No one truly likes going to the dentist. I’ve had people push back on me when I’ve said this before, but when I lay out the following scenario, well, it’s pretty much checkmate: “You just had the most well-respected doctor in the world tell…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dumb Gubment 🦅Dawg Party 🐶Flying African ✈️ We as modern Muricans tend to just accept that it’s the gubment’s job to educate our children. Of course, when other countries that aren’t our friends do that, we call it “indoctrination,” but that’s a topic for another day. The topic for today is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Costly Mortality ☠️Crazies, Unite 🤪Defining ‘Appointment’ 🦷 I’m getting ready to die. Sounds ominous, right? Dramatic? Scary? It’s not. Oh yes, in a certain light, it’s depressing as hell. But what it really involved was a meeting with an attorney that Wifey Poo and I had yesterday to figure out exactly…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Books and Stories 📚SVB Lessons 🏦Basketball Party 🏀 Holy crap, you guys! I actually finished something I wrote! In fact, I finished two somethings I wrote! As my regular readers (hey you three!) know, I’ve been stunk in a funk of starting to write books and short stories with gusto and…Keep reading
🧩 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 🧩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 email@example.com. 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