PIZZA AND PROMISES

Can We Schedule That Salad For November 8th?

Hold on, let me ask my calendar

Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence
3 min readNov 3, 2023

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A screenshot of an iOS Shortcuts workflow titled ‘Medical’. At the top, there’s a comment box which reads: ‘This shortcut is provided as part of Take Control of Shortcuts by Rosemary Orchard (link to the website) Modified by Tony Lawrence’. Below the comment, there’s an action titled ‘Find All Calendar Events’ with filters set to: Start Date is in the next 2 years, and excluding Birthdays and US Holidays calendars. The events are set to be sorted by their start date in ascending order.
Screenshot by author

This silly little thing is my most used IOS Shortcut. It’s about as simple as it can get, yet it is extremely helpful.

All it does is find upcoming Calendar Entries. When I run it. it prints out something like this on my screen.

A screenshot of a list titled ‘Medical | Shortcuts’ showing various medical appointments. The list includes multiple entries for ‘Whitman PT for Linda Lawrence’ scheduled on various dates and times, both on Mondays and Fridays. There’s also an appointment with ‘Sara Desrosiers foot doctor for Linda’ on a Tuesday, and another with ‘Ramon Arturo Franco, MD for Linda Lawrence’ on a Wednesday, with an address provided. Additionally, there’s an ‘Endoscopy for Tony Brigham Health Harbor’
Screenshot by author

My wife and I use this so frequently because we are old enough to have frequent medical appointments and because my wife has multiple medical problems that require even more appointments. When a doctor’s office offers one of us December 16th, we use this to see if the date is available.

When is that appointment that will bring us close to the promised ice-cold Greek salad? When? When?

Couldn’t I just look on my Calendar? Sure, I could ask Siri if I have any appointments on December 16th. I could even ask if I have anything between two dates because we don’t like to make appointments too near other visits. We are old, these things are tiring.

Anyway, this is quicker. I can say “Medical” rather than asking the Calendar for dates. We are old, we are impatient. Also, Siri sometimes does stupid things if you don’t ask just right. Siri isn’t old, but she is befuddled easily.

It’s also good when we sort of remember that a doctor visit is coming up but can’t remember when. Today my wife had a sudden Greek Salad Attack while we were driving home. I suggested we get that fixed quickly by visiting our favorite pizza and Greek salad restaurant sometime this week because we’d be tantalizingly close to it on her next medical visit. Ahh, but when? A Greek Salad Attack can be subdued by a promise, but the promise must have a definite date. When is that appointment that will bring us close to the promised ice-cold Greek salad? When? When?

The Medical Shortcut calmed her rising excitement.

At home, I regularly print out several copies and distribute them around the house. That seems silly when a current accounting is just a click or a Siri command away, but you know how it is: if you are having a Greek Salad Attack, you might drop your phone or iPad in your haste to find out when you can go. Picking up a piece of paper is easier, and paper doesn’t break if you drop it.

And if you then step on it and try to pick it up while your salad distressed foot is still on it and it tears, well, I can print another. And Greek salad can be scheduled.

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Anthony (Tony/Pcunix) Lawrence

Retired Unix Consultant. I write tech and humor mostly but sometimes other things. see my Lists if your interests are specific.