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A Bloody Footprint By The Toilet

A man skiing fresh powder in Alta, Utah. You might assume from context that the man skiing is Drew Magary, but it is not.
Mike Schirf

There is a very particular and mostly very pleasant energy to a pre-vacation podcast. I wouldn't ordinarily use this word to describe this podcast, or with anything having to do with basically anything I have anything to do with, but the last episode that we record before Christmas or Thanksgiving or our respective weeks off in the summer generally comes out almost cozy. We are both in a different mindset, and looking ahead to some things that we enjoy, and already halfway out of the workplace part of our brains, and it comes through. This week's episode of The Distraction is only half like that.

That half of the energy belongs to Drew; as you read this, the big fella is shooshing and booming and shredding pow at an undisclosed skiing location. His short week and the various work and travel obligations packed into it meant we didn't have a guest for the second week in a row; his incipient vacation brain meant that he was in an expansive and increasingly jolly mood. I, on the other hand, remain very much myself, and undeniably remain right here in my stupid apartment. The result is an episode that is ... honestly just a normal, solid, Funbag-heavy two-hander episode, but one in which one of the hosts is happily clomping around in ski boots and the other is listening to the sound of construction noise rising from the street and wondering if it is not somehow getting closer.

Longtime listeners know what happens when Drew is in an expansive mood, and so will not be surprised to learn that the show opens with an especially vivid low-stakes medical horror story. That dispensed with, we turned our attention to the best or anyway funniest story of this spectacularly dead period in the sports calendar—the uncomfortably diaphanous, disastrously cheap-looking, roundly loathed new uniforms that Nike and Fanatics have spun up for Major League Baseball.

We were not about to pass up the opportunity to kick around Fanatics, a sprawling and increasingly inevitable enterprise that doesn't seem to be good at anything, and which Drew and I both dislike for our own reasons. And we very much did not pass it up, over the course of a fairly wide-ranging competition that featured dueling awful Joe Biden imitations, a discussion of the loser aesthetics and washed-out anhedonia of both contemporary sports uniforms and contemporary capitalism, and the increasingly apparent fraudulence of some load-bearing verities having to do with free-market competition. This wound up covering a lot of ground—so much so that Drew didn't tell his story about the time Fanatics capo Michael Rubin sent a personal delivery and (possibly ghost-written) handwritten note to his home until after the break.

It was, at the very least, enough that we hit our quota of vinegary anti-capitalist whimsy pretty early in the episode. Having re-radicalized ourselves on the dignity of labor and the possibility latent in people realizing that they're being cheated, we turned to the Funbag. It was, unsurprisingly, full of Funbag stuff, which led us to spend most of the back half of the episode talking about podcasting best practices (really, but only sort of seriously), breakfast pizza, breakfast pizza from a gas station, the best way to eat breakfast pizza, and a strange and beguiling question about public sex as a spectator sport throughout history that led us to a baffling and baffled conclusion to the show. It is not quite right to say that the vacation started early—for some of us, it hasn't started at all—but it did seem to start at just the right time.

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