(This piece was originally sent out with The Homesick Minivan newsletter. If you would like to join the mailing list, please email me at justingrimbol@hotmail.com)

I work at this assisted living facility. It’s considered to be a high intensity facility, which means it is basically a nursing home.The residence love puzzles. No matter how mushy their minds have become, they enjoy working puzzles. 

The staff also love puzzles and we usually work on them during our down time, which there isn’t much of. Our manager on the other hand, has lots of down time. She sits in the lounge working on puzzles all day. I walk around with rubber gloves covered in feces and she sits there working on a puzzle. Sometimes I steal pieces from the puzzle she is working on just to fuck with her.

There is this one old guy that is really good at the puzzles. He is very senile but he can usually finish a puzzle a day. I really like this man. His life has become so confusing and awkward but he keeps calm most of the time. Sure, sometimes he gets pissed off and tells the young women I work with that they smell bad. He bit one of us once. But that’s a very human things to do. I don’t judge him over it. Most of the time he acts goofy and peaceful.

I saw him working on a puzzle the other day.

“How’s the puzzle going?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just this big ol thing isn’t it? So much stuff going on down there. Sometimes the things do what they are supposed to. The other… hell, I don’t know whose in charge? Certainly isn’t me.”

I laughed. And he liked that.


As you probably already know, I recently deactivated my Facebook. I hate Facebook. I think it’s bad for us. I don’t like all the bumper sticker morality. And all the relentless positivity. All the showing off. The word ‘blessed’ has become so tacky and vain and irritating.

But mostly I just don’t like being so connected. I love seeing my friends with their new babies. I love hearing about new books and things like that. But in the end, I would rather not know. I want to be able to run into someone I haven’t seen in years, not know who it is for a moment. Say “Is that Smishy Smishenstein?” Then be surprised by how different they look. Maybe Smishy got skinny, or fat. Maybe Smishy stopped dressing sloppily and started wearing polo shirts. Maybe I will look down and see a child. A child that looks just like Smishy and say, “Holy shit, is it?” Smishy might nod.

Facebook ruins all this. With facebook I already know that smishy has become gutted and wears tacky polo shirts. I have already seen too many pictures of little smishy. So all I can do is be polite. All the excitement gets sucked out of the experience. And I don’t want that. I want some of the mystery back.

In the mean times I will keep in touch with people with this newsletter.

Being disconnected already feels weird. I keep wanting to login in and stalk some of you. Is Facebook withdrawal a real thing? 


Justin Grimbol