Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thankfulness 2020

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and this may be the first year in recent history that we will all be thankful for the same thing: THE END OF 2020!

Along with that, we are all likely to be thankful for some other similar things, such as family, friends, church, any time you didn’t have to remind someone on Zoom that they were muted, employment, any time the kids aren’t home in the next year, first responders, good health, etc.

Nothing against all those very important things, but I think it’s a shame that we don’t have time to name everything we’re really thankful for before the turkey dries out and the gravy develops an impenetrable skin.

So, here’s my small list of some of the smaller things, in no particular order:

Cheese

Parking karma

Civil discussions on the internet (just kidding, never seen one)

Days-of-the-week pill containers

The beach

The lake

The pool

Swimming

Running

Sitting

Any time they get my order right

Ziploc bags

Phone flashlights

Opposable thumbs

Rolling luggage

Shopping carts that drive straight

Toothpaste

Rock and roll

Soap

Deodorant

Paying for things with my phone

Bacon

Disney+

Fireworks

In-n-Out Burger

Boats

Heated seats/steering wheels

Good running shoes

Labrador retrievers

Refrigeration

Car backup cameras

The “search a song” listening feature on Google

Dave Barry

Extra space in the neighbor’s garbage can

Pork ribs

Passionfruit La Croix

Schools

Libraries

School libraries

Cake

Pie

Venmo

Coffee

Garbage disposals

Spellcheck

Tape, in all its forms, but most specifically duct

Elevators

Ice cubes

Toilet paper

The plastic things on the ends of shoelaces

Compound interest

Indoor plumbing

Yeti tumblers

Bluetooth

Zippers

Discount printer ink that actually works

Garbagemen

Fortune cookies

Microwave popcorn

The five-second rule

Hot showers

Pepperoni

Tacos

Slow-closing toilet seats

Nachos

Bill Murray

Caller ID

Books

Amazon Prime

WiFi

Fingernails

And every day it’s not windy


It’s the big things in life, but it’s also the little things in life.

Have a great Thanksgiving,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ask Smidge - The Turkey Edition

Most of the free world, and I use that term ironically, is under tighter COVID restrictions this month, causing a mild state of panic in some American households. With many families not able to gather the generations together, people whom, in years past, have happily sat on the couch watching the Thanksgiving Day football games while their mothers and fathers prepared the feast, are now being forced into the kitchen to handle the turkey.

It’s a scary situation. Believe me, we understand. Many of you know nothing about cooking anything other than Pop-Tarts and Cheerios, so naturally you have turned to the only truly trusted source for all things culinary – the Ask Smidge advice column.

Our asksmidge@gmail.com inbox has been inundated with poultry-related questions. You ask, we answer! (As always in a fact-based, scientific, and completely non-made-up-on-the-spot manner.)

 

Smidge,

I know absolutely nothing about cooking a turkey. What temperature do I use and how long should I cook it?

Novice in Norfolk


Dear Novice,

There is nothing to it. First you have to weigh the bird. Do this while it is still alive, so you can just walk it onto your bathroom scale. Once you remove the feathers and the feet, you’ll cook the bird on high for 90 minutes per pound. Carve and enjoy.

 

 

Smidge,

This is my first time doing anything at all with a turkey. We bought a frozen one at the store this week. Do I need to thaw it before cooking?

Frozen in Fort Worth


Dear Frozen,

Thawing is a personal choice. A thawed bird will be slightly juicier, but a frozen turkey will have a crispier skin. If you put it in the oven frozen, simply add five minutes per pound to your cook time.

 

 

Smidge,

I have never purchased or cooked the turkey before, and I don’t know what size to get. Do they even come in different sizes? We have three teenage boys and my sister has two teenage girls and a grown son. Please help.

Shopping in Santa Barbara


Dear Shopping,

Yes, turkeys do come in various sizes. Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Midsize, Full Size SUV, Convertible, Luxury, and Luxury Elite Platinum. You want to plan for about ten pounds of bird for every high schooler, so look for one at your store in the 70-80 pound range to be safe.

 

 

Smidge,

I’ve helped with the turkey before, but I’ve never been in charge of the stuffing, and I’m lost. Where do I start?

Breadless in Bangor


Dear Breadless,

Stuffing could not be simpler, because the turkey does all the work. Stuffing is nothing more than full-size dinner rolls that cooked down inside the bird. As the turkey cooks, the rolls break apart naturally and form into the smaller stuffing pieces that you know and love. Just buy a couple extra packages of dinner rolls and cram as many of them as you can into that bad boy before you pop it in the oven. The turkey does the rest!

 

 

Smidge,

I’m in charge of everything this year, and I don’t know anything about how to make gravy. Do you even make it, or do you buy it? Help!

Dry Dinner in Denver


Dear Dry Dinner,

As with stuffing, gravy is a breeze because the bird does all the work. Gravy is not sold in stores, because it is a natural byproduct of the turkey cooking process. All turkeys are fed a rich diet of corn starch, flour, and butter from a young age, so as they cook, the carcass secretes the ready-to-eat gravy. Yum! That’s why you always cook a turkey in one of those big pans. Makes sense, right? Enjoy!

 

 

Smidge,

I’m cooking the bird for the first time this year, so I’m thinking about switching it up and deep frying it in oil. What do you think?

Oiled in Omaha


Dear Oiled,

Deep frying a turkey can be a great option, depending on where you live. You’re in Nebraska, where it’s likely to be cold this Thanksgiving, so I’d say go for it. If you were in a warmer climate, I would probably advise against it. That’s because there is a 100% chance that you will set your house on fire when attempting a turkey deep fry. You folks in the frigid Midwest will enjoy the extra warmth, while the raging grease fire would just be an inconvenient distraction for people in Florida and California, really adding no benefit to the day.

 

 

Well, there you have it, America. You’re all set to cook the perfect turkey and have an enjoyable day with whomever can make it to your house this year.

Have a tasty Thanksgiving!

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day

I am proud to say I have quite a few veterans in my family tree, including my own father, his father, and my wife’s grandfather. The old war story that always makes me smile, however, is one from my mom’s side of the tree.

Brad Dolliver, my mom’s Uncle Brad, was a WWII and Korean War veteran. He was the Captain of a B-24 Liberator in WWII, a bomber named the “What’s Cookin’ Doc?,” complete with Bugs Bunny painted on the nose.

He received his plane and his crew here in the U.S., and they had to fly from his home state of Colorado to Kansas for training, and then make the long trip overseas. On the day they were leaving, he called his wife, who worked at the courthouse, and told her to come out onto the front steps on Main Street at noon.

She assumed he was going to drive up with flowers or a box of candy, so you can imagine her surprise when Uncle Brad’s shiny silver B-24 roared over the center of town, less than 500 feet above Main Street. He was so low she said she could clearly see the face of his tail gunner, smiling and waving from his little bubble window in the back of the plane.

When Uncle Brad got to the end of the street, he pulled back on all the throttles momentarily, then slammed them all forward to the stops, backfiring all four engines on his way out of town. An exhaustive “I Love You” courtesy of Pratt & Whitney, and a crazy-dangerous stunt.

He and his crew continued their low-altitude midwestern barn burning run all the way across two states. He was flying so low over some farms that his tail gunner radioed up to the cockpit to announce that the prop wash from the engines was picking chickens up off the ground and flipping them around in the air behind the plane.

Captain Dolliver only decided to put a little more sky between his plane and the ground when the tail gunner radioed back over Kansas to let them know they’d just sent a farmer diving for his life into the dirt off a moving tractor.

(That incident could very well have been the first chance meeting between the families, since my dad’s side were Kansas farmers, but, alas, we’ll never know.)

Brad said, when interviewed later in life about the flight, quite simply, that none of them knew if they were ever coming back, so they were having as much fun as they could along the way.

As it turns out, thankfully, his whole crew did make it back. Captain Dolliver and his nine men flew thirty missions over Europe, only sustaining one single crew injury, when flak shrapnel hit one of his gunners on their final mission over Germany. That was an amazing feat, since their campaign tour included being shot down on Christmas Day, 1944!

They were hit hard by anti-aircraft fire that knocked out three of his four engines, and he knew they couldn’t make it back to their airfield in England. He was losing altitude fast and heading for the Allied lines in France when he told the crew to bail out. There was heavy ground fog, and he had his eye on a large clearing, but had no way of knowing if it was a field or a lake.

His crew unanimously disobeyed his order and they all stayed with him in the crippled plane. As he recalled, he made the smoothest landing of his entire career that day, thankfully, in what turned out to be a plowed field. He and his crew hitched a ride with a French farmer in a pickup truck, and Uncle Brad assumed they were being taken to the nearest Allied forces.

Fortunately, the navigator didn’t stop doing his job after he got out of the plane. He was paying attention, and informed Captain Dolliver that they were being driven in the wrong direction, toward the Germans. The way Uncle Brad told the next part of the story speaks volumes about his generation and their matter-of-fact style. As he put it, “Somehow my .45 ended up in that Frenchman’s ear, and we got that truck turned around the right way.”

Got to love it.

Uncle Brad and his crew were some of the lucky ones that returned home from the wars they fought. On this special day set aside to remember and thank our veterans, let us not forget those who gave their lives for our liberty, and the liberty of other nations.

As a husband and a father, I can imagine no sacrifice more grave or selfless than the one the soldier makes when he or she leaves their family behind to fight on foreign soil on our behalf.  The physical, mental and emotional toll must be staggering, but we are reminded of the caliber of people who stand at our defense when we hear them say, as Brad Dolliver said, “We were just doing our jobs.”

The humility and grace of our nation’s finest always strikes and inspires me, and I am always at a loss for words of gratitude when I get a chance to thank them. It’s always just a simple “thank you,” because anything else I would or could try to express would fall well short of the reverence deserved.

For all the thanks and praise our returning heroes rightly receive, sadly it is the men and women that we will never get a chance to thank who deserve our utmost appreciation. They gave their lives for us, and that is a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid.

So, from this freedom-loving American to all you VFW’s out there, all I can say is, “Thanks for your service,” because I will never be able to adequately convey what you truly mean to me.

God bless you all.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Exam Questions

Few things are more impressive in their function than the combination of medicine and technology. In most cases, it’s impressively good, like laser eye surgery, MRI’s, and cyborgs.

In some cases, it’s impressively bad, like when our three sons became “medically independent” at the age of twelve under the idiotic HIPAA rules and now they all have their own user names and passwords to access their secret medical records that I am not supposed to know anything about and I’m not supposed to have access to their accounts except for the fact that if you let a twelve-year-old set up their own medical user name and password, no one, including the twelve-year-old, will ever know what they are, and also I am not allowed to know anything about their medical records or activities right up until it comes time to pay for them and then all of a sudden I am allowed to be involved and no one can seem to see why that is the dumbest thing in the world.

But I digress.

One of the lesser but nonetheless impressively good features of modern technology and medicine is the ability to log into your medical account and see all your files and notes that they take during your doctor’s visits.

I had a yearly physical appointment the other day, and just for kicks I read the notes afterward. While the technology is cool, I do have a few questions about the notes themselves that have me wondering just how precise this whole “physical exam” system is.

For starters, my body mass index was listed as 29.27, which really meant nothing to me until I read further and saw that I was in the 25-30 = Overweight category. I would generally agree that I’m overweight, especially after my impressive Halloween candy intake this year, but a closer look at the numbers had me questioning the data.

Noting that I was on the high end of Overweight, I found a BMI chart that told me I was only two pounds (or six Snickers, in Halloween math) away from being Obese. It’s not just that “obese” for me is unrealistic, but that the chart wants me to lose 40 pounds just to get out of Overweight and into Optimal. And I can lose as much as 80 pounds and still be in the Optimal category.

Now, you may not know me personally, but let me assure you, if I lost 80 pounds, I would look like I was just freed from a two-year stint in a POW camp. I’m not putting a lot of weight in the BMI chart. (See what I did there?)

Under GENERAL in the notes, I was listed as “well developed, well nourished, in no distress, and alert.” I will take all of that as a compliment.

However, under HEAD, they wrote, “skull is normal in size and shape.” Nothing could be further from the truth. My head is abnormally large and dented and scarred from years of poor timing and/or decision making. I think my doctor may have just been trying to be nice, but facts are key here.

EYES: “normal in appearance.” I would agree with that, but would also like to add “kind, bright, and wise.”

EARS: “external ear normal.” Again, they are rather large and I think she was just being nice. Same situation with my nose.

LUNGS: “normal chest excursion.” I have no idea if that was a typo, but if not, then I don’t know anything about how my lungs work.

HEART: “regular rate and rhythm.” Maybe here in this office, but you should feel it when I try to take my 29.27 BMI's on a run!

Under MUSCULOSKELETAL and EXTREMITIES, I am proud to report that I have a normal spine ROM, no cyanosis, no clubbing, and no edema, assuming all of that is good, since I have no idea what any of it means.

MOTOR FUNCTION has me a little confused. They noted “grossly normal strength.” On the one hand, “grossly” would suggest that I am super buff. On the other hand, “normal” is not a word associated with an excess of anything. I am either offended by this, or pleased with my workout efforts. I’m not sure which.

As confusing and questionable as all that was, the note that really had me wondering was under CORTICAL FUNCTION. My doctor listed me as having “normal intellectual function, normal memory, and good judgement.”

C’mon! These are the notes on me, right? It’s as if they got my file mixed up with someone who can keep a thought in their head for more than ten seconds, can remember what they had for breakfast, and doesn’t have an impressively long list of bad decisions that haunt them to this very day.

Technology is great and all, but having notes available online is only helpful if the notes are true. Trying to be nice about it isn’t helping anyone.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go eat a salad.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

There's a Trick to Wearing a Mask

This is it, school-aged children of America. This is your time to shine! Halloween is upon us, but this year at school is like none other.

Every Halloween of your life has been the same thing at school. “Please wear your costumes to show your school spirit, but remember the safety rules – no masks allowed.”

Well, my young friends, this year is different. Due to all of our adult COVID concerns, you are being required to wear masks at school! If a surgical mask over your nose and mouth is good, then why wouldn’t a hairy rubber full-head werewolf mask be even better? The answer is simple. It is better, and no adult working at your school can argue that logic.

In years past, you have had fun activities filled with delicious candy at your school’s Halloween celebrations. The only thing you’ll get this year is an extra squirt of hand sanitizer. Does that seem fair? No, it does not, but you don’t know what to do about it.

That’s because you have grown up with the tame, watered down, Disney version of Halloween, so chances are, you never really even understood why you say “Trick or Treat” to get candy. You need to understand that Halloween wasn’t always a national month of cute costume-themed parties. Halloween used to be a night to be dreaded by upstanding, tax-paying adults.

The phrase “Trick or Treat” is actually a question, and it’s a time-honored threat that your forefathers and foremothers leveled at helpless homeowners. It means, quite simply, “Do you want to give us candy or do you want our masked, anonymous mob to trash your house?”

It’s time to get back to our roots, kids! The reason the school never wanted you to wear masks is the same reason that when the spinster tried to give out twist-tied baggies of granola as “healthy treats,”  your ancestors were able to egg her house and soap her front windows with impunity. Masks hide your identity.

It is time for the natural, historical consequence of people not providing you with your well-deserved candy. It’s time to don that storm trooper helmet and head to school. If they don’t have a treat for you, well, then it’s time for a trick, isn’t it?

Are you going to go to your own classes? Of course not. Find a friend of similar height and make the switch. Always wanted to throw that plastic cup of watery canned corn that came with your school lunch back toward the kitchen from whence it came? Warm up that arm! Not allowed to play full-contact dodge ball at recess? Well, click the safety off that red bouncy ball and light that annoying kid from third period up. Always wanted to release 5,000 crickets into the front office? Just walk on in and dump the box.

Whatever you want to do! Use your imagination.

“But, they’ll catch me. They’ll just walk right up and take off my mask,” you might say, shaking in your hairy rubber werewolf feet.

Of course they won’t, if you learn one simple sentence. Repeat after me.

“Excuse me, responsible adult in charge of my safety, kindly maintain a six-foot distance from me to prevent the spread of any infectious disease that I could inadvertently bring home to my lawyer parents.”

The world is your oyster this year.

Will it be a Trick or a Treat?

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Dangerous and Disingenuous DMV

Yesterday I took my first steps into the valley of the shadow of death. Yes, that’s right. I logged into the DMV website to set up a driver’s permit test for Son Number One. Please pray for our family.

I would love to be optimistic about what’s about to happen, but let’s be serious. This is 2020. The year of the train wreck. And never mind the calendar, DNA simply is not on our side at the DMV. I was a horrible driver as a teenager. I couldn’t stop wrecking cars, and my wife was no better. There are auto salvage yards across California named after our family, and not because we own them.

The only good news here is that as far as our kids go, I think Son Number One is probably our best bet to be the safest driver. He’ll probably only wreck a couple of our cars while he’s in high school. The other two are going to be far worse.

Son Number Three is really the one we all need to worry about. Fair warning to all drivers and pedestrians of Northern California – you have three more years to get your affairs in order.

Because it’s 2020, the DMV isn’t making any new appointments, so Number One and I get to go take a number with the unwashed masses. Six feet apart wasn’t far enough at the DMV before COVID. But possibly worse than actually going there to wait in line could be the experience of navigating the website to figure out what we had to do in the first place. I would blame COVID for that, but we all know better.

It only took me a couple hours to finally have a vague idea about what forms we needed to fill out and which documents we needed to bring to prove that our son who lives in California with us at our house is related to parents that live in the same house and can vouch for the fact that he lives in the house that is located in California, provided we bring documentation proving that the house is in fact in California, the fact that we own it, the fact that we also live there, and the fact that he is, in fact, a human who was born. And also passports.

About an hour and a half into my online adventure, lost somewhere in the circular rat maze of non-informative information pages, I came across something that shocked me to the core. The dangers of COVID are far worse and more widespread than we ever could have imagined.

Due to COVID-related scheduling issues, the following temporary changes are in place:

• License holders 69 and younger (Beginning March 1, 2020): Most drivers now qualify for online renewal

• License holders over the age of 70 (March-December 2020 expirations): Automatic extension valid for one year from original expiration date.

Holy crap, people! The ninety-five-year-old man who went blind at the beginning of the year and is still driving because none of his kids want to be the one that told him to stop gets to keep his license for another year! That guy, hurtling blind down your neighborhood street in his ancient Cadillac is dangerous. He’s nearly as dangerous behind the wheel as a teenage boy!

That’s really the thing I don’t understand in all this. Why are they even letting him get his permit if they’re still worrying about COVID? That seems like disingenuous concern. I mean, they are even letting them go back to school part time now.

There is no question in my mind that letting high schoolers drive themselves to school is far more dangerous than COVID ever could be for them.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

COVID-19 Shutdown Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 145

Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 145

We are a new color! Besides being green with envy at the other states where kids get to receive an education, us Californians are operating on a critical COVID color convention code criteria, or CCCCCCC, as it’s known locally.

Each color represents a new phase where kids still don’t get to go to regular school for any sort of organized learning, but the color changes, which is fun. The phases are a step-by-step “reopening” plan. We are currently on day 215 of reopening from our 14-day shutdown to “flatten the curve.” I wish I were making that up.

So, each color represents a new reopening phase, and each phase is defined in weekly briefings from Sacramento. Unfortunately, the weekly briefings are made up on the spot by a politician who is actively huffing metallic spray paint from one of his Ralph Lauren dress socks, and the characteristics of each phase, as well as the color spectrum, change as required based on what is happening with COVID in eastern Europe. Each California county has been assigned a fun Slavic country to get our new case rate numbers from.

I believe Placer County was a very dark purple for the past few weeks and we are now deep magenta. Shout out to Latvia! Thanks, fellas. These are exciting times.

Unfortunately for students and their parents alike, we need to get all the way to “golf pants lime green" before the kids can go to school five days a week. And even then, they are required to continuously squirt hand sanitizer out in a six-foot radius in all directions when on campus, as is Latvian tradition.

I'm not sure what the state has planned for an educational catch-up after we get to the final "fully back to normal" color of UPS brown, but I'm hoping it's something good. We just finished the first quarter of this school year with a tenth grader who never finished his freshman year, a ninth grader who never finished middle school, and a seventh grader who can't figure out how to make it to a daily Zoom check-in meeting that happens at the same damn time every damn day.

Pray for our next transition to the burnt cyan phase as soon as possible. These kids are getting dumber by the minute.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

HIPAA Critical, Part IV

It has already happened twice at our house, and it still caught me off guard this week. No, not one of our teenagers saying, “I’m full.” Don’t be silly. That never happens. I’m talking about medical independence day.

Yes, that time-honored tradition of becoming completely in charge of all your own medical decisions with no input whatsoever from your parents at the ripe old age of twelve. You guessed it – I got blindsided by HIPAA, yet again.

You’d think I’d learn, but I suffer from a lifelong problem with being logical. Unlike the drooling, booger-eating bureaucrats who authored the HIPAA bill (most likely with crayons), I have met an actual twelve-year-old. As such, it just wouldn’t ever occur to me to put them in charge of what they should have for breakfast, let alone their medical decisions.

Waiter – “Good morning, what can I get you?”

Standard twelve-year-old – “Yes, good morning, I will have a fudge brownie, an empty glass, and a large bottle of syrup, please. And I do not believe I will be getting a tetanus shot this year. Or any other year. Thanks.”

So, there I was Monday morning, making a non-brownie and syrup breakfast for the boys, when my cell phone buzzed a calendar reminder. I glanced over to notice that I had ten minutes before Son Number Three’s doctor’s appointment was scheduled to start. His doctor is twenty minutes away from our house.

Holy crap! GET IN THE CAR!!!

I called the doctor’s office and had a stressful conversation with the appointment desk. They were really cool about it. The only reason the conversation was stressful was because I was having it while going 125 mph and sliding a Suburban sideways through intersections.

After I hung up and narrowly avoided an oncoming cement truck, I started to wonder, how did this happen? Why did I completely forget about this appointment? I obviously had it on my calendar, but why wasn’t I thinking about it. Why didn’t I wake up that morning with getting to the doctor on my mind?

Then I realized the answer. Usually when we have an appointment, I get about six emails and two or three text reminders ahead of time. “You have an upcoming appointment. Please let us know if you’re still able to make it.” “We’re looking forward to seeing you! Please fill out the pre-appointment health survey.” “Please let us know if you’ll need special assistance at your appointment, or an interpreter.” Yadda yadda.

I didn’t get a single communication before this appointment. I put it on my calendar six months ago and never heard from them again.

Well, we slid into the parking lot and ran to the waiting room, stopping only briefly for a nice lady at the front door to shoot our foreheads with the “you obviously don’t have COVID” laser. They saw him right away and I finally relaxed on the little spouse/parent chair in the corner of the exam room.

I apologized to the nurse for being late, thanked her for getting us right in, and then remarked how I had just realized I never received any emails or texts ahead of the visit.

She said simply, “Well, that’s because he turned twelve.”

OH, MY GOODNESS! Of course!! HIPAA!

Why was I even stressing? It wasn’t me that forgot the appointment after all. It was him! My irresponsible, medically-independent twelve-year-old son forgot all about his own appointment. C’mon, bro! Get it together. Why am I here at all, anyway? How come you didn’t set an alarm and jump on your bike at 5:30 A.M. to get yourself over here for your 7:00 appointment? For Pete’s sake, man.

When we were all done the nurse told me we could stop by the front desk on the way out and he could get his new twelve-year-old account all set up.

Hmm…

We set up the other two boys’ “private medical accounts” online, but I think I’ll skip it for Son Number Three.

They have no email address for him, and no phone number. So, whatever internet black hole they sent all the appointment reminders to, I want them to send the bills to the same damn place.

Let’s see how long they want to abide by the HIPAA rules then.

And if anyone out there is working to repeal these idiotic regulations, you can add “causes reckless driving” to the long list of things that are hazardous about letting a twelve-year-old be medically independent.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

National Son's Day

Apparently, Monday was National Son’s Day. I didn’t know this, because I had never heard of National Son’s Day until yesterday. National Daughter’s Day was on the 25th, and I only heard about that one for the first time this year, too.

(Side note: The fact that National “Son Day” is not on a Sunday proves that our leaders are barely functional morons.)

Why have I never heard of these national days? I have a theory. They sound very much made up, like Lifetouch’s recent “National School Picture Day.” Give me a break! What are these daughter and son days for? Mother’s Day and Father’s Day make sense. What am I supposed to be thanking my kids for? Thanks for being here? Wasn’t your choice. Thanks for taking all my money? Nope.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I love our three sons to pieces, but that doesn’t mean I think we should have a special day to celebrate their existence. We already have three of those. They’re called birthdays.

Since I don’t have daughters, I really have no way of knowing, but I assume they might take these things with a little more weight than the sons out there. I didn’t know about National Son’s Day, and as such, I didn’t post anything about how much I loved my sons that day. You know what the great thing about sons is? They don’t care!

If National Daughter’s Day needs to remain a thing because of all the emotions and whatnot, I understand. But I’m here today to let everyone know we don’t need this National Son’s Day thing. If we insist on keeping it, I would like to suggest that we at least practice a little truth in advertising and rename it.

Here are some possible alternative names, just off the top of my head:


National Please Stop Eating Everything Day

National Please Stop Clogging the Toilet Day

National For Goodness Sake Put Some Deodorant On Day

National Can You Please Quit Wrecking the Car Day

National Stop Beating Up Your Brother Day

National This is the Fifth Time I’ve Asked You to Take Out the Trash Day

National What Are You Planning to Do With That Lighter Fluid Day

National Please Take a Shower This Week Day

National Put Down the Phone and Read a Damn Book Day

National How Have You Lived This Long Making Decisions Like That Day

National This is Why I Have Gray Hairs Day

National Please Stop Wearing the Same Underwear Four Days in a Row Day

National How Did You Already Grow Out of Those Shoes Day

National Can You Please Dial the Sound Down Six Notches Day

National Please Slow Down in the House Day

National Take it Easy, This Room is Not Bulletproof Day

National Your Brother is Not a Punching Bag Day

National Seriously, How Are You Not Full Yet Day

National What’s That Smell Day

National Just Go into Your Room and Clean Anything Day

and

National Where Did All My Money Go Day


Those all seem a little closer to the truth.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Hybrid Education

The sun is up and the house is quiet. The only thing I can hear is the dog breathing. This can only mean one thing… That’s right, I moved away from my family and took the dog!

Just kidding. It means THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL!!!

Sorta. We are back to school part-time, two to three days a week. It’s not the normal full-time schedule I was hoping for, but I’ll take anything I can get. I haven’t had peace and quiet during school hours since March, which was fifty-six months ago.

On the days they are home, the boys are doing “asynchronous learning,” which is a fancy word for ten minutes of homework, one five-minute Zoom attendance check in, and seven hours of Minecraft.

It’s what the school is calling a “hybrid” schedule, and it should be interesting. In order to be able to teach the same amount of material on campus in half the time, classes are being combined to form a “hybrid education.”

For example, PE has been combined with Math. Students are asked to run at a full sprint around the track for forty-five minutes. At the end of the session, they formulate ratios between how many students threw up and how many students actually passed out. Later in the semester they correlate the data between the classes that take place before lunch and after lunch and look for trends.

Language Arts (English, for those of you over the age of thirty) has been combined with all the elective languages (Spanish, French, Profane, etc.) to form one universal language class. That’s right! We’re bringing back the one true world language, Esperanto! The people that were promoting it to me in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s will be thrilled. Assuming they are still alive. If not, they probably won’t be that thrilled at all.

Woodshop has been combined with Home Ec, which should be exciting. Students will learn how to build a kitchen table, at which they can sit and enjoy their culinary creations. Halfway through the table building unit, however, all the lumber will be destroyed in a massive grease fire during the hybrid turkey deep frying unit.

Theater has been combined with Chemistry and is actually being taught by the campus landscape crews to free up some teaching staff. This should really produce some explosive live performances this year, especially if they explore all the different reactions of fertilizer and lawnmower gasoline.

The extra teachers will be helping with a three-way hybridization of Computer Science, Sex Ed., and Aquatics. I can’t for the life of me see that going well, but I am just trusting that they have a plan.

And lastly, History has been combined with Creative Writing. But that’s nothing new.

Happy return to school, everybody!

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Why, Mexico, Why?

I’ve got a problem with you, Mexico. On the one hand, you are an excellent neighbor. A quick scan of Wikipedia shows me that we purchase over eighty percent of your exports, which include “manufactured goods, electronics, vehicles and auto parts, oil and oil products, silver, plastics, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton, and silver.”

That’s all good stuff! And I notice silver is listed twice on there. Thanks for that!

I’d also like to personally thank you for salsa, tortilla chips, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, some outstanding college spring break trips, tacos, chimichangas, carne asada, Cinco de Mayo, tostadas, tamales, Modelo beer, Carlos Santana, fajitas, guacamole, those little street tacos, and those masked luchadores wrestler guys that inspired the movie Nacho Libre. Oh, and also nachos!

There is one export that has me scratching my head, though. This leads us to my problem with you. I am, of course, talking about the Chihuahua.

This little dog is ridiculous, and it’s all your fault. You can’t deny it. Not only is the breed’s country of origin officially listed as Mexico, but you named it after one of your states!

Why?? Why would you want to take credit for this thing? What was the motivation behind breeding a bizarre little dog the size of a guinea pig with the personality of a weaponized pit bull?

It conveys nothing good about the state of Chihuahua, or the country of Mexico as a whole.

How did those initial conversations go, back in Old Mexico?


“Hey, Juan, check out these little perros we ended up with. Our smaller-than-average normal dog got out a few months ago and went looking for amor. She apparently hooked up with a large rodent of some kind?”

“Wow, those things are weird looking!”

“Yes, they are! Do you think we should try to make more of them?”

“Definitely! Only smaller and with bigger, weirder looking eyes.”

“Yes! Big bulgy eyes that are way too big for its cabeza. How about feet?”

“Tiny, with oversize, clicky toenails.”

“Bueno. Ears?”

“Also far too large for its cabeza, obviously. And pointy, of course.”

“Claro. Ooh, speaking of the head, do you think we should go for ever-so-slightly the wrong size for the body? I was thinking of having it random. You know, either too big or too small, but never the right size.”

“That is a great idea!”

“Gracias. How small should we try to make these perros?”

“I’m thinking we try to get them down to the size of a large rat.”

“Excellent idea. Should they have any redeeming features, dog-wise?”

“No nada! They definitely should NOT get along with other dogs. Or strangers. Or our friends. Or our neighbors. Really, I’m thinking they just shouldn’t get along with anyone or anything.”

“Bueno. Should they be useful at all?”

“Only as noise makers. And on that note, let’s make sure they are really loud. Like, louder than they should physically be able to be, size-wise. But, like, squeaky loud, you know? Not that good deep dog bark. That’s annoying.”

“So, essentially, we’re trying to breed the exact opposite of a Great Dane?”

“Perfecto! Our great state of Chihuahua, Mexico will be known for producing the loudest, meanest, weirdest-looking, most useless dog per pound de todos los perros del mundo!”

“Excelente!”

“Who do you think will want one?”

“Taco Bell, for sure. Probably a lot of other people, too, for some strange reason.”

 

Thanks for that, Mexico. What a treat. You’re still on the plus side of the equation, based on all the good stuff you offer, but those damn little dogs are really hurting your numbers. Those and the drug cartel guys.

But mostly the Chihuahuas.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

National Crappy School Picture Day

It’s almost here!! Tomorrow, September 10th, is the fake national “day” that Lifetouch School Portraits is trying to start! It’s National School Picture Day tomorrow!!

As you can see by the excessive exclamation points, I can hardly contain my excitement.

If you have ever had a child in school, or been given a child’s school picture, you obviously already know that Lifetouch is not good at taking pictures. They built a business around going to schools and then selling parents pictures of their kids, but forgot the all-important step of finding photographers willing and able to take actually good pictures.

Now they are asking us to post our favorite old school pictures to the internet tomorrow with the tags #Lifetouch and #NationalSchoolPictureDay, in a desperate attempt to stay relevant since they can’t be on campus taking pictures of your child with food stuck to their face.

I know, I know. All you parents and grandparents out there are still sad about the fact that you won’t get school pictures this year. You always hope for the rare good ones, but there isn’t even the possibility of getting the inevitable crappy Lifetouch pictures of your little darlings this year. Never fear. We now have a solution that will get you both!

Step One: Dress your child in picture day clothes and put them in front of a finger-painted swirly gray or blue background. Get your cell phone ready and say “poopy butt.” Elementary schoolers will laugh immediately. You may need to say it two or three times for high schoolers, but they all laugh eventually. Snap a few photos while they are laughing and boom, you have an actually good school picture for the year.

Step Two: Post your old crappy Lifetouch school pictures on Facebook.

The best of both worlds!

Now remember, when you post those bad pictures, I don’t want you to use Lifetouch’s suggested tags. The people at Lifetouch do not possess the ability to tell a good picture from a bad one. The humor will be lost on them and they will only be encouraged.

I do, however, really want you to post your bad Lifetouch school pictures to MY Facebook page (Marc Schmatjen), so we can all get a kick out of just how much they suck at taking school pictures. If you want to give them tags, you can use #CrappyLifetouch and #NationalCrappySchoolPictureDay.

You can find me at facebook.com/schmatjen

We can start today. We don’t need to wait until September 10th.

Let the crappiness begin!

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A Third Open Letter to the School District

Dear folks in charge of the decision making down at the School District,

I am writing to urge you to reopen our schools as soon as possible. I mean like tomorrow. We need to avert a monumental tragedy, and opening schools across the nation is the only way to be sure we can avoid it.

Schools need to reopen now in order to save Lifetouch School Portraits from certain doom. I fear they will go out of business otherwise.

We need Lifetouch in our lives! Obviously not for good quality school pictures. They are incapable of that. We need them for the joy they spread through the sheer absurdity of the images of our children that they attempt to pass off as good quality school pictures.

Without the fall and spring comic relief that Lifetouch offers us as parents, raising our children would simply be overwhelming.

This matter is extremely urgent, as Lifetouch is already showing signs of desperation. They are clawing at the walls of their school-less prison, and they need our help. They have already gone as far as attempting to create a new “national day.”

Emails have been blasted to anyone who has ever had even the remotest contact with their little photography hobby shop, announcing the creation of “National School Picture Day” on September 10th.

In addition to some “nominate a great teacher” thing, they are asking us to upload our previous school pictures that they took, so we can all create a national yearbook.

National School Picture Day, established by Lifetouch, is an opportunity to relive our school pictures. It’s a chance to bond over the fads and faces that make school pictures such wonderful artifacts. And, this year, we’re creating the ultimate yearbook.

As an example of how ludicrous they are as a company, and why this type of comedy is so valuable to the mental health and stability of us parents, one must look no further than this email, keeping in mind they sent it to us on purpose.

The email contains three examples of the amazing school portraits they have captured over the years. One shows a boy in giant reading glasses, with awful lighting resulting in his glasses casting shadows on his face, and his head casting a shadow on the time-honored swirly gray school picture background behind him. We can see that he is, at least, smiling, even though his chin is being partially obscured by his enormous shirt collar, which is also casting a shadow.

Another is a photo of a little girl not even looking at the camera. Instead, she is closing her eyes and turning her head. This unfortunate situation is offset, however, by more bad lighting, as per standard.

Think about this. These are the pictures that Lifetouch is purposely showing us in an attempt to keep their business relevant!

“Hey America, check out these crappy pictures we took and charged these families money for! Please engage with us online so we can stay alive and continue to be your go-to crappy school photography company for years to come.”

I mean, that is just gold, people. That is the kind of comic relief that you can’t put a price on. Humor like that can pull you out of even the darkest parenting funk. We need Lifetouch to stay in business, even if the business they are in is entirely undefinable.

We need schools back open so there will be long lines of kids with food stuck to their faces to shuffle into the seats in front of the inadequate and poorly placed lights.

Open up our schools and help keep this national treasure alive and well. It’s not a question of whether we want school pictures. We need our school pictures!!

We need the good ones we take ourselves and send to relatives, and we need the ridiculous ones from Lifetouch to keep us all going as a people, united in humor.

Open schools tomorrow, save Lifetouch, and save our nation.

Yours in educational excellence through continued partnership,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

COVID Positive

Let’s face facts – these are dark times in our nation’s history. My mask is starting to smell funky but I can’t wash it because it’s paper, there’s a national coin shortage of some sort that may or may not be affecting us in some way, and it’s an election year, so ridiculous politicians keep trying to get our attention. Add in the fact that the kids won’t leave the house and insist on staying home all day distance “learning,” and it’s easy to get discouraged.

But, my friends, we must not despair. We must look on the bright side of things. Sure, distance learning is just about the worst thing ever, but let’s try to find the good in it, shall we?

Here are fifteen positive things I can think of about the fact that our kids now go to school in our living rooms:


1) Teachers are probably saving hundreds of dollars on air freshener because the classrooms don’t smell like stinky teenagers anymore.

2) Teachers can now drink during school hours.

3) This is a great time for kids to improve their grades. It’s so much easier for them to cheat on tests now.

4) With the need to use so much technology now to even take role each day, teachers are unknowingly padding their resumes with IT skills. This will come in handy for the eventual career change after the nervous breakdown.

5) Kids’ eye-hand coordination will improve dramatically, since the absence of sports has freed up so much more video game time.

6) It’s never been an easier time to be a PE teacher or a librarian. Apply today.

7) The food service and janitorial folks are getting a much-needed break.

8) On-campus disciplinary actions are down a dramatic 100%. Vice Principals are now freed up to snack and nap.

9) Kids have no pesky opportunities for social-emotional growth, not having to deal with their peers in person, so they can happily stagnate at home in front of the computer in their pajamas. Yay!

10) Instances of lost retainers in lunchroom trash cans also down 100%. Retainers are now conveniently lost at home.

11) No tri-fold poster science projects this year! This completely frees up your night before it was due.

12) Back to school night now has a full bar.

13) Parents, no need to leave work early this year to get to the third-grade performance of Friendly Neighborhood Helpers in the multipurpose room. You can stay at work, in your pajamas, in your makeshift bedroom home office with the door securely locked.

14) Snow days are finally available nationwide, any time the internet goes out.

15) And now that they don’t get together in person, it’s a lot tougher for the high school girls to get pregnant!


See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

COVID-19 Shutdown Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 89

Forced Homeschool Parent Log – Day 89

The Summer of Bummer has officially ended with the lamest “start” of school since the middle ages when the illegitimate sons and daughters of royalty were forced to report to monasteries and nunneries to be hidden away forever.

Our seventh-grader started his exciting middle school run upstairs on a couch he made himself out of three chairs and a futon. Check the Woodshop and Home Ec. boxes simultaneously.

Our incoming freshman began his exciting high school years in our living room, on a regular swiveling office chair. Intro to Business credits!

Our sophomore was already sitting at his computer screen, so he just shrugged and said, “whatever.”

California just couldn’t figure out how to get everyone back to actual school. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the decision-making processes being used, but as a logic and numbers guy I still maintain that it would have been safer for the kids to be required to return to school as long as no one was allowed to drive there.

I can’t thank California enough for all the fun shopping and family IT manager opportunities this has provided me. Laptops, Chromebooks, monitors, Wi-Fi extenders, printer ink and paper, keyboards, mice, desk pads, swivel office chairs, protective floor mats for under the swivel office chairs, white boards and pens, and the list goes on. What ever would I do with my time and money if it wasn’t for school at home? Probably just waste it on stuff like food and retirement savings.

Also, without this opportunity, I never would have known if I could convert a single-family home into a working office. Turns out I can’t. It really ended up being a crappy excuse for an office inside a home that now looks like a crappy office. Sweet!

And the increase in screen time has been just what the doctor ordered for my teenagers! Their gooey developing brains are just soaking in all the goodness, and it shows any time we pry them away from their devices. What caring, cooperative, and patient personalities this is breeding!

And let’s not forget about my delightful screen time increase. What a nifty collection of emails I’ve received in the last few weeks. Just a quick count in my Gmail shows eighty-four emails in the past two weeks, many of them containing links to videos. That’s six a day, including weekends. A big shout out to the superintendent, principals, assistant principals, counselors, teachers, librarians, athletic departments, coaches, food service staff, front office personnel, custodians, yard duties, crossing guards, student body presidents, and activities directors for cranking those out! I’ve never been more informed about the unprecedented-ness of our unique and challenging situation.

Happily, the schools have also provided me with something to fill my downtime between emails and videos. Gone are the days of simply hearing at dinner about how class is going from your child, and talking quarterly with their teacher. We now have so many more options, digitally, to stay engaged in real-time while they are actually learning during each day, just down the hall.

I’ve had the pleasure of creating accounts with a number of different online learning platforms used in a wide variety between the fifteen different classes I am now invited to keep up with, through helpful reminder emails, each day.

It’s a darn good thing that all the California parents like myself were able to quit their jobs and stay home to manage all this learning!

Maybe I’ll enroll in online school while I’m at it. Perhaps some IT and education classes? That would probably help tremendously in my new role as home school office IT manager.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. The Wi-Fi is down. Everyone just got kicked out of class.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Flu Game Shame

I just finished watching “The Last Dance” on Netflix. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s the story of Michael Jordan’s career and the intertwined story of the Chicago Bulls’ twin three-peats. I must say, it doesn’t matter if you’re a sports fan or not – it is riveting television.

Along with Tiger King, it comes with my highest Netflix recommendation.

I remember the three-peats, but I was unaware of a very important fact that came to my attention in episode nine of the documentary – a fact that brings utter shame on the entire state of Utah.

It happened before the fifth game of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. The game was in Utah and the series was tied 2-2, and in a best-of-seven series, game five is huge.

Game five went down in the history books as “The Flu Game,” because Jordan was sick as a dog the night before, in bed all day before the game getting fluids through an IV, and looked like the walking dead when he went out onto the court.

I remember the flu game, but I did not know the real story. The story that casts a shadow of ignominy (Greek for “you suck”) over the entire beehive state.

Jordan and the Bulls were staying at the Marriott in Park City. It was 10:00 the night before game five. Jordan was in his hotel room hanging out with his bodyguards and his personal trainer. He was hungry and they were trying to find him some food.

The hotel’s room service was already closed, and no restaurants were open except for one pizza place that finally answered the phone. Jordan’s trainer ordered the pizza and a little while later five guys showed up to deliver it, all trying to get a peek inside the room.

The trainer paid for the pizza at the door and brought it into the room, but didn’t have a good feeling about the whole situation. When was the last time five pizza delivery guys brought you your large thin-crust peperoni? That is a full four more pizza guys than the industry standard single pizza guy.

Jordan’s trainer told the room about the group delivery and expressed his concerns, warning against touching the pizza for fear of foul play. It was obvious the pizza guys knew the food was going to the Bulls, and maybe they even knew it was going to Jordan himself. Michael was hungry enough that he said screw it and ate the whole pizza himself.

Four hours later, Jordan was hurling his guts out in the hotel bathroom.

Flu my ass.

But let’s just forget about the pizza for a minute. Here’s the thing, Utah – Jordan scored 38 points that night and even had the clutch three-pointer with 30 seconds left in the game to put it away. He beat you guys with the “flu.” That was impressive enough at the time when we all thought it was the actual flu, and served to show that you guys, as a basketball team, never really had a chance.

Now, not being able to beat the Bulls in the ‘90s is nothing to be ashamed of as a basketball team, but let’s face it – if you can’t even do it when Jordan is near death, that should tell you something.

Now let’s get back to the pizza and the tarnish of shame it brings upon your entire ridiculously straight-bordered state.

First Pizza Scenario: Assuming the pizza was purposely tainted in an attempt to disable one or more of the Bulls players, that means you had residents of Utah who had zero confidence in your ability to win a championship on your own. Nice fan base, losers. Shame on you.

Second Pizza Scenario: Assuming the food poisoning was accidental and the pizza was not purposely tainted, that means you have a state that can’t even make a pizza right. The city of Chicago beats the entire state of Utah in basketball and pizza. Shame on you.

Overriding Utah Food Scenario: You suck at food service in general. You have a state with major hotels that shut down room service before 10:00. Seriously? And your restaurants can’t muster the strength to stay open much past sunset either, huh? What a fun place to visit! Congratulations on being the lamest state anyone has ever heard of. Shame, shame, big, fat food service shame on you. Gordon Ramsay will be flying in soon to yell at you. Try not to faint from all the strong language.

I’m not even mad about the Jordan pizza thing. You got what you deserved with that one. I’m mad that if I visit your pretend state, apparently I won’t be able to get a cheeseburger at 11:00 at night.

Get it together, Utah. That is just sad.

And shameful.

See you soon (not you, Utah),

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Google+ You = Just You - Repost

A while back, I predicted a class action lawsuit would be coming against my former seventeenth-favorite social network, Google+. Sadly, I was right. Someone please tell my wife.

I got the email yesterday informing me of the impending legal action against Google With Cross. I was wrong about one thing, though. The suing class wasn’t as large as I thought it would be. I predicted the predatory lawyers would be able to round up as many as seven hipsters as plaintiffs. I overestimated the massive popularity and user base of Google Addition. They could only find four. This legal action brought to you by Matthew, Zak, Charles, and Eileen. Good luck with your lawsuit, you crazy kids.

Here’s the historical record of my prediction, so we can prove it to my wife. Enjoy!


I received some disturbing news last week. Google emailed me to inform me that my Google+ account would be shut down soon. You can imagine my surprise.

My first thought was, I have a Google+ account?

My second thought was, What the hell is Google+?

I’m totally kidding. I know Google+ was the social media network that Google came up with in an afternoon as a means to compete with Facebook. Sadly, it never really took off, and by “never really,” I mean that only fifty-six people in the entire world ever knew about it, and most of them worked at Google. Maybe they should have advertised it on Facebook?

My guess as to why it never gained any traction is that it had a symbol in the name. It was like The Social Network Formerly Known as Prince. When you don’t actually spell out your company name, you leave it far too open for interpretation.

Is it “Google Plus,” “Google Add,” “Google And,” “Google Positive,” “Google Lazy Person’s Ampersand,” or “Google Insert International Direct Dial Code Here?” No one ever knew for sure.

Here’s part of the nice note I received from Google Celtic Cross:

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations.

Apparently, one of the “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product” is not accidentally leaving a giant security gap for an entire week. That apparently does not “meet consumers' expectations.”

Originally, they had plans to drag out the shutdown of Google Line Doodle until August of 2019, but then they found out that they did an update that had a huge bug in it, leaving everyone’s accounts wide open for an entire week, so they have decided to pull the plug by April.

It’s unclear whether any sensitive data was leaked, but the good news for Google is that virtually everyone with a Google I Have Two Sticks account was a Google employee, and can’t sue them. Any class action lawsuits arising from the breach should only have about seven members, consisting of ultra-hipsters. Google can probably settle out of court with them for a few twelvers of PBR and some free Lyft coupons.

The nice note then had a ton of completely useless information about how I could retrieve all my photos from them. Apparently, they were still fooling themselves into thinking anyone actually used Google Swiss Flag, right up until the end.

The note concluded with this:

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

Yes, you seven dedicated thought leaders meant the world to us!

Also, if any of you talented, passionate community builders out there are hiring, we would love to synergistically leverage our failed Google Skewed X platform skills in your workspace, as early as next Tuesday.

See you soon,

-Smidge

 

Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen

 

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!