Fingernails. Blackboard (or chalkboard, they were black in my grade and high school).

That’s how much I cringe when I see or hear the phrase “out-of-the-box thinking,” tge first thing I thought of when I saw today’s prompt.

And so we begin the 2nd consecutive (yay, me) Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda G. Hill’s prompt:

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “out of the box.” Write about the first thing that comes to mind when you think “out of the box.” Enjoy!

It is one of the douchiest, most useless business-speak phrases of them all — Let’s think outside of the box.

Oh, you mean let’s actually, oh, I dunno, think?

Could just be me, but I’ve always thought that thinking is inherently “out of the box.” Because. THINKING is inherently a creative act.

The phrase brings back painful memories of reading thousands of generally useless and poorly written press releases during my editing career.

Which, crikey, I am not in the mood to go down the -ize word rabbit hole. I think I wrote/bitched about that in a post before. If I remember, I’ll link to it here. And it’s crept on it’s slithering little tippy toes out into the regular world. Take use. There. Is. No. Fucking. Reason. To. Use. The. Word. “Utilize.” In. It’s. Place.

I cringe every time I hear an NFL commentator utilize the word to describe how a player is being deployed in a game, “They really need to utilize Kamara more in the screen game, Joe.”

One, no shit, Troy — even the average Saints fan, still drunk the morning after a hurricane party, could relay that nugget while using the word use. Two, it’s USE your once extremely insightful, now afraid to have any opinion contrary to the official NFL line (he was the worst of the on-air ESPN talent when that kid from Buffalo went into cardiac arrest on MNF). Who knew Booger would be able to clearly say and translate what many of the players on the field were feeling. Ryan Clark later on that night explaining the mentality of NFL players delivered incredible insight into what it takes to play the game at that level.

And thank whatever deity/spirit/fate/luck/random chance that it looks like he’s going to recover with his mind intact.

The idiocy of people thinking using big words shows deep thinking will piss me off until they shove me in the oven so my ashes can go in the lard tin. OK, well, hopefully two or three days before I get shoved in the oven because that would really suck.

Speak. Clearly. People.


So instead, and since Jackson is sitting next to (the poor little bastard really is missing his buddy MacCleod, who died suddenly just over two weeks ago from a urinary blockage), it’s hard to get any of my three cats out of a box.

Like all cats, they love boxes. I read somewhere that they prefer a warmer house (mine isn’t, hovering around 70 year-round) and cardboard boxes are warm.

I’m sure that’s part of it, but they’ll also happily sit/sprawl on random pieces of cardboard on the floor, no box required.

I also have a tendency, shared by other cat owners, of keeping my boxes kicking around my living room for longer than I should — 2 weeks isn’t uncommon. A month, well, I live alone, they seem happy, so that random box or three isn’t really hurting anyone.

Jackson likes to sit on top of boxes and crawl inside, especially when they’re on their side. Sasha’s philosophy is “if I fits, I sits.” Louie . . . who knows what goes on in that sweet, but vacuous brain of his. His prefered haunts are under my dresser, in my bedroom window, or my bed during the day (and, for that matter, at night — he’s resumed sleeping in the spot he liked when George and I were together: top-left corner of the bed, sometimes on one of the four pillows.)

I have to wash my sheets frequently. After about four days they start to get furry.

I have a good dozen big boxes in my basement and have pretensions (delusions?) of turning a few of them into a super-duper cat fortress with boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes.

Of course, it’s been . . . shit, let’s just say “awhile” that they’ve been down there. One day.

Back to Mac for a moment, poor little guy. I keep thinking if I had taken him in the day before, he’d have been OK. Louie had gone through a few days of not eating very much about 6 or 7 months ago. One evening I had decided to take him in the next day and he resumed eating. So when Mac didn’t eat much one day, didn’t think anything of it. The next day he was a little bit lethargic, but moved around, was happy being petted, etc. Was concerned, but not too worried. Then, boom, next day, absolutely lethargic. Called the vet, took him in, and then ended up calling the girls to come tell him goodbye.

It’s been . . . wow, just over 2 weeks (crazy two weeks, a new-ish relationship ended, trying to sort through my editing transition with DIR, the newsletter i’ve written for the last 2 and a half years; and unexpectedly may do a bit longer than I originally intended, and the normal navel-gazing for planning that many of us do at the end/beginning of a new year) since he’s been gone. Miss that little fucker.

He was never going to have a regular long life of a cat because he had a heart condition, but I did expect another 3 or 4 years (he was 6ish). He had about a 10 second time limit on being picked up. Was an occassional lap-adjacent kitting (at some point in the last year, he got it into his head that sitting next to me once or twice aweek to watch TV was a thing to do.

But, he was always just kinda around. And he liked to be petted and swirl around your feet. And anytime I took out a backscratcher, he seemed to magically appear from thin air to be scratched.

It has hit Jackson pretty hard too. He’s always been a little big dog-like, but he’s on his way to Chicory, I’m going to hang with you, pet me motherfucker territory.

Ug. OK, time to wrap I think. I want to walk down the street to Pickett Brewing. Lord help me, but two new breweries just opened up an easy 10 minute walk from my house — Wico is the other (I can see the building from my bedroom window) and then later this summer Checkerspot is moving to my side of Russell street, about a quarter of a mile closer to me than where they are now.

Plus side, I work off at least one beer on the walk there and back.

FYI, if you like beer and visit Baltimore, Checkerspot’s beers are almost all at least good and a few of them are excellent. Plus, they sell fantastic beef jerkey and their fresh cooked pretzels with both a beer cheese and a whole grain mustard dipping sauce . . . OMFG.

Alexa played me Hot Country Hits Today, or whatever. Country radio is having another run of a lot of shit pushed by whatever payola is these days, so I tuned out most of it. However, I do like these two. Thomas Rhett has grown on me the last few years and Son of Sinner sounds like something Willie or Waylon would’ve recorded during their Outlaw years.

That’s not to say there isn’t great country out there — though the fact that Morgan Wade isn’t a superstar is a fucking crime (my fav below). Stapleton, ZBB, Little Big Down, Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Bingham, Marcus King Band (though he rides the line between blues/rock and country) are all making kick-ass music.

1 comment

  1. Sorry about Mac, Bryant. I feel your pain with that loss and I feel you pain as I remember being in meetings when “let’s think out of the box” was tossed out. Good to see you back in the SoCS game.


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