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Funbag

Help! I Love To Shit In The Nude!

A fully functioning solid gold toilet, made by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, is going into public use at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on September 15, 2016. - A guard will be stationed outside the bathroom to protect the work, entitled 'America', which recalls Marcel Duchamp's famous work, 'Fountain'. (Photo by William EDWARDS / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)
William Edwards/AFP via Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about caper jars, speed limits, bug-spray truthering, and more.

Before we get into this week’s bag o’ fun, let’s all give a round of applause to the incredible Kathryn Xu, who commanded last week’s proceedings with freakish levels of both knowledge and charm. People like Kathryn are the reason why I have hope for future generations. That hope will prove misplaced when these youths take all of my money and fritter it away on avocado toast. We must destroy them all.

Your letters:

Mark:

You ever take your pants and underwear off to shit? You can spread your legs so much farther apart and really coat the bowl. Bonus points if you take your shirt off too. Naked shits rule.

I’ve hopped onto the can buck naked before showering (and sometimes, if I’ve timed things badly, mid-shower). I have never enjoyed shitting naked. I’m too vulnerable. Too exposed. If a gunman breaks into the bathroom while I’m shitting naked, it’d be both deadly AND horribly awkward. No thank you. I can manspread just fine with my pants still around my ankles. I don’t need to take it any further.

Dan:

Is there one moment in our planet’s future that you wish you could witness but won’t be able to because you’ll be dead? Experience the greatest technological advancement humans achieve? Find out whether we successfully colonized Mars?

Definitely not the apocalypse. I’ve through enough lousy history that I have no interest in fast-forwarding to an even worse stretch of it. For this exercise, am I given a list of things that definitely DO occur in the future that I’m allowed to choose from? Or am I just guessing what happens, hopping in the time machine, and hoping I guessed right? Because if it’s the latter, I’m gonna be extremely pissed if I’m like, “Take me to the age of flying cars,” and then the portal spits me out in the Year 3000 and flying cars are just Teslexuses that hover six inches above ground for 50 miles before breaking down. I’d demand a refund.

I guess I’d like to know if we make it. I know mankind was never destined to last forever, but obviously it’s difficult now to believe that we haven’t accelerated our demise or, at the gentlest, made our future existence much more unpleasant to endure. As one scientist told author Peter Brannen, “What I think is more likely is that quality of life is going to go down the tubes for most humans, not that the species itself it at risk.” When people online right now act as if mass extinction is right around the corner—something you and I might live through, even!—they’re being overly dramatic in ways that previous generations have always been about the state of civilization around them. Current generations have good reason to be dramatic, but assuming the end times are right around the corner A) underestimates mankind’s ability to adapt and survive to an increasingly inhospitable planet, B) acts as a form of tacit surrender to that exact fate, and C) is, frankly, a fucking downer.

So I’d travel to the year 4000 not to see if mankind is still there, because it likely will be, but if it’s still prospering. Take the most macro view of humanity and its evolution that you can. It is fucking EXTRAORDINARY. Not only was there life on this planet, but there was one species among all that life that grew so fearsomely intelligent that it was able to build a world on top of that world, and became so enamored of its creation that it risked killing itself to keep it intact. Anthropologically speaking, that’s an incredible story. Real Casino energy to it. There may be nothing else in the universe like us, and may never have been. If we found remnants of another world with such a history, we’d be fucking floored. There’s a chance no other species ever has been as powerful and resourceful in equal measure.

That means that if we have it within us to destroy this planet, it’s also possible that, even knowing our current trajectory, we also have it within us to pull something out of our collective ass and keep on thriving. So I’d like to go a few thousand years into the future to potentially be floored by my own kind. If I end up heartbroken by what I see, well no one can say I wasn’t told.

Scott:

Why do containers of capers only come in two sizes: a huge wide-mouth jar that would take 5 years to consume (if that!) and tiny cylinder with a mouth so small it’s near impossible to extract its contents without spilling them all over the place?

Oh, do you not have a caper spoon? ‘Tis a pity. My wife has a bunch of tiny-ass spoons that she was gifted as a newborn, and now our kids use those little spoons for everything they eat, which I suppose is wise for moderation, but holy shit are those spoons tough to fish out of the dishwasher basket. Those spoons would make good caper jar spoons. Please buy them from me. As these spoons are indirect Drew collector’s items, opening bids start at $50,000.

I myself don’t like capers. They’re a perfect food to dislike. They’re relatively uncommon, and they’re a cinch to remove. All I gotta do is tip my bagel 10 degrees in any direction and HEY PRESTO! Free pile of capers for all the children at the table. Every food I hate—and I swear there aren’t many—should be as easy to remove as these brine pebbles.

Brendan:

When you’re driving, do you slow down/speed up when you see the speed limit sign? 

This is one of those instances where I’ll tell you HELL NO I DON’T SLOW DOWN FOR SIGNS BECAUSE I HAVE LITTLE SOMETHIN’ CALLED FREE WILL, without realizing that I unconsciously do exactly that. Taking Sociology 101 in college taught me that we’re all just sheep who’ve tricked ourselves into believing otherwise. I wish I’d taken a cooking class instead.

That unconscious instinct is much more likely to kick in for me along a residential street, where the speed limit is 25 or 35 or some other low speed I’m biologically averse to going. On a highway, I never register a speed limit sign unless it’s one of those 45 MPH signs they post before a worksite that no one obeys. Also, I now a drive a car that posts the speed limit on the dashboard display, which is far more useful than it is coppish. Sometimes the display fucks up and says the speed limit is 100 in a school zone, and that’s when I know that it’s time to turn on the jets.

By the way, I still absolutely slow down anytime I see a cop car, even if it’s coming from the other direction. Then that cop car turns out to be some mall parking lot security truck and I flip it the bird.

Andrew:

Do you agree with me that no mosquito repellants actually work? The only possible exception to this are the ones that have enough Deet in them to turn you into one big tumor.

Oh wow, my first encounter with a bug-spray truther. Incredible. White people who are sunscreen truthers register quite high on the Kyrie Truthering Scale. A truly nonsensical lot. But I’ll give it to Andrew here: I’d rather truther bug spray than sunscreen, because I hate putting on the former even more than I hate putting on the latter. I press the button on any can of OFF! and you better believe I’m tasting that OFF! five seconds later. The worst. Bug-spray wipes are the superior option, but I’m still gonna have to wash that shit off prior to bedtime. The fact that bug spray is so annoying is, in my opinion, the reason why it almost certainly works. Especially anything with DEET, as Andrew noted. That’ll kill an invading army, that shit.

I have some ancillary truthering to add here, which is that I believe some people attract more skeeters than others. If I go outside with my wife, she’ll get bitten 50 times before I get bitten once. That’s when I pull out the dad charm and tell her, “They like you more because you’re so sweet!” but of course I quietly relish having her there acting as a human citronella candle. The perfect distraction.

Chaz:

I could blame this on now being closer to 40 than ever, but why do concerts need to be so loud? Why do we need to damage our hearing to see musicians we like in person? Is this because human beings suck and do not know how to not talk during a concert and thus the music needs to be loud enough to drown out even a room filled with Drew’s? My early middle age ears demand answers. 

My deafness makes loud, cacophonous places difficult to bear. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting any concert I attend to be louder than a rocket launch. I need to music to kill me. I don’t want to see Mastodon play at bookstore volume. When I saw them live last winter, Opeth was the opening band. Perfectly nice band playing their songs at a perfectly loud volume. Then Mastodon took the stage and plugged in, and just from the warmup chords you could tell that they were gonna play much louder. Not just louder, but deeper. I couldn’t wait. When an artist turns the amps past 11, it triggers something more primal. The music attacks you. It literally shakes your body. It possesses you, in both body and soul. Everything else in the world falls away, because the riffs are so all-encompassing. Once Mastodon launched into “Pain With An Anchor” at 100,000 decibels, I was all theirs. That’s the experience I’m paying for. Choke me with the rock.

Some bands can legit go too far with the volume (My Bloody Valentine was famous for this, as was Bob Mould), which is why you should always keep earplugs on you at any show. At concerts now, I wear one in my good ear and let my cochlear implant handle the rest. My audiologist told me that the implant can basically handle any volume of sound. Thus, my robot ear is invincible. It’s a fun power to have.

Chris:

While reading Diana Moskovitz’s story about local news (I’m a current journalism student, so hooray to me for putting myself on the path to being yelled at in perpetuity), I couldn’t help but think about newspaper naming conventions and my listicle-addled brain couldn’t help but ask, which is best? I don’t know if the better criteria is more prestigious-sounding name or which is associated with better papers, but is it better to be a Times? A Journal? Herald? A… Sun? Perhaps a Post or Tribune? Or maybe even a Free Press?

A Blade. The Toledo Blade is the top newspaper in Ohio, and here is the story behind its name:

It was named for the famous steel-bladed sword industry of Toledo, Spain.

Now THAT is how you name a newspaper. I like Posts and I like Dispatches as much as the next consumer, but there’s no reason that The New York Times can’t be The New York Halberd. That’s a newspaper I would trust implicitly. I’d be like, “Listen man, The Halberd talked to some Trump fans down in Roanoke and it was genuinely nice to hear both sides of the issue!”  If the name of your newspaper also sounds like the name of a serial killer from 1972, I’m all in.

When I was in fourth grade, I went to school in Orono, Minnesota. I was always scheming up ways to become popular, none of which worked, and one of my biggest ideas was to start a newspaper for my grade called The Honest Spartan (Spartan was our school mascot). I would talk shit about teachers in it. I would gossip about my classmates. I would note who was “going” with who, and whether or not they should be. I drew up a broadsheet on poster board with the name The Honest Spartan splayed across the top, and then … did nothing else. Instead I transferred to another school a year later, grew up, became an actual journalist, started this website with my friends, and use it to say mean shit about NFL teams. So I did what I originally set out to do, only this website has a cooler name. The Honest Spartan. Christ, that’s some dork shit.

HALFTIME!

Jeremiah:

This is a total cliché, but being a parent takes a lot of work. This last weekend, there ended up being a situation where my brother was working overnight and his wife was out of town on a family trip. He asked me to watch his kids (F3 and M1, in reddit terms) Saturday morning while he worked/slept. They ended up being as well behaved as you could hope for. But I still had my own crisis trying to change a diaper and then hearing the other child screaming from the floor below, “I need help!” She was fine, but I have a lot of respect for parents that deal with this 24/7 vs. the five hours I had to do it.

Yup, it’s a royal pain in the ass. The good news is that if you do it 24/7 versus just the five-hour shift that Jeremiah did, you’ll be better prepared to deal with multiple child crises happening all at once. You’ll have your soul grinded down to a nub in the process, but still! VICTORY IS YOURS.

I’ve been parenting for 16 years now, and I still shut down mentally whenever two of our kids, or all three, come to me at the same time and urgently demand I fix a problem they’re having; usually a problem involving one of the other children. My kids don’t wait in line for customer assistance. They want a live rep (me) RIGHT NOW, usually just as dinner is being served. That’s when I shout at them I JUST SAT DOWN, but they could give a shit about that. In fact, they now routinely go “I just sat down!” as a gag whenever I ask them to do something. Insidious.  I’m sorry what was the question again?

Fred:

I’m a Chargers fan in the military and have been fortunate enough to be stationed in San Diego, Denver, and Houston. So I’ve had ample opportunities to see them play live. By my count, the Chargers are 0-9 when it comes to games where I’m in attendance, and some of those losses have been emotional kicks in the nuts. I was at the Nate Kaeding Playoff game against the Jets, I was at the Ray Rice 4th-and-29 game, and I saw four straight L’s when I lived in Denver (they won there the year after I moved away). I thought for sure last season would break my streak of losses by virtue of playing the Texans, but nope, I had to watch Davis fucking Mills kick us in the teeth for three hours. At what point do I stop thinking I’m just overinflating my own importance to these games, and embrace the possibility that I may legit be an albatross for the team?

Don’t go down that second road, because it’s horseshit. The idea that you, Fred, are responsible for the Chargers’ fuck-ups when they’re the Chargers, is misguided. I get superstitious like any other fan. I switch jerseys if my team lost a game in the one I was wearing the week before. I even believe that certain Yahtzee numbers are cursed and others blessed. It’s fun to humor these ideas, to think you are the butterfly that causes a tornado to spring up three weeks after it’s flapped its wings. It gives you the idea that if you change your habits, you can control your fate. That’s appealing. It’s also patently absurd, and only more absurd if you convince yourself that it’s actually true. I know my superstitions are pointless and that my team will fuck up anyway; I’m just more into the ritual of the jersey changes and what not. That’s a healthy balance. But don’t go believing in curses, or being arrogant enough to think that YOU are the curse. You’re not. You’re just some schmuck.

However, if you want to believe ANOTHER person is the Johnny Mush of your team, that’s all good. I support you shitting all over your friend Jim for cursing the Chargers because he bet $20 on them five years ago and lost.

Jack:

Am I normal or the exception in that whenever I get ice cream, I always get the same flavor: chocolate chip (or stracciatella in gelato-ese)?

You’re normal. My daughter works at an ice cream shop, and customers there often order the same flavor (Oreo). My older son himself rarely ventures away from ordering Oreo or mint chocolate chip. And, as you might have guessed, basic flavors like vanilla and chocolate dominate the sales data. People like the ice cream flavors they’ve eaten before. My only beef with Jack here is that he orders plain chocolate chip when mint choco chip is right there. Nobody eats regular chocolate chip ice cream.

As for me, I’ll go into any ice cream shop, ooh and ahh at all of the boutique flavors like Saffron Moose Tracks, sample them, and then order chocolate/peanut butter or one of the other four flavors I always get.

Brian:

If someone offered you $10 million, but you had to give up either all writing (small notes like grocery lists and signing your name are still allowed) or watching all sports (ALL! Including golf, NASCAR, chess, etc..), which would it be?

Sports. This puts me in a bind, given that writing about sports is something I do rather often. But I write about other things too, and enjoy doing so. Shitting in the nude, for instance.

There have been times, very rare, when I’ve thought to myself, “Maybe I should quit writing and open up a chili truck,” but then those musings go away. I love writing too much to ever stop. If that means no more NFL for me, well the Vikings weren’t ever gonna win a Super Bowl anyway. Half of all Why Your Team Sucks letters now are “I stopped watching my team and I’ve never been happier!” I believe all of them.

(That said, I love football to death, even with all of its bullshit. In fact, thanks to PFF and Purple Insider, I’ve never been more excited for an NFL season. It really is the best goddamn sport in the universe and I’ll never get sick of it.)

Matt:

I got thinking about how hackneyed and contrived politicians sound when they speak. No one I know outside of politics talks about, “savings at the pump.” It sounds so weird and robotic, like what Kodos and Kang would say, as opposed to a real human being. Why do politicians still speak this way? Do they think it appeals to the general public? Are they so detached that they don’t know how to speak? And does this help account in part for the rise of candidates like Palin and Trump? They’re vapid, moronic, ignorant, and nonsensical *but* at least they speak more like regular human beings than this drivel. And why can’t more effective/competent/ethical politicians learn to sound like authentic people? 

Politicians speak the way they speak because it works. I know Trump sounded different from other politicians. That was part of his core appeal and remains so: the whole Bulworth thing. But in many ways, he says all the shit other politicians say. He lies. He makes grandiose promises he has no hope of keeping. He says America is great. He tells people what they want to hear, same as Joe Biden and everyone else in the business. You might think you’re immune to politicianspeak, but you are not. That’s why every campaign ad today still looks and sounds the same as every campaign ad I saw back in the 1990s. They use a proven formula, whether people like those ads or not.

Also if a politician ever talks normal, they usually end up saying something that has an aide frantically whispering in their ear that voters in Iowa won’t like that.

Keith:

I was recently realized that when I say my phone number out loud, I always say ‘oh’ for zero in the area code spot, but the remaining zero in the last part of my number I say zero. I then listened to the local radio and heard this same thing around 90% of the time. Now I can’t un hear it and it drives me nuts. Is this regional or does this type of thing happen everywhere?

I say “oh” through the entire number unless I’m on the line with a customer service rep or some other asshole who’ll never hear my number correctly. Then I say “zero” to make it as clear as possible. And then they still fuck up my number anyway.

Dory:

This older woman in my apartment building always says “good night” to me at times that I wouldn’t think merit it. I know she probably has good intentions, but every time she says it, I’m compelled to say, “Can it old lady, it’s four in the afternoon”. What’s the earliest time someone can reasonably say, “good night” without seeming like a complete noob?

OK but that old lady is gonna go to bed at six, so it really is nighttime for her. She knows she ain’t seeing you again for the rest of the day, so she may as well tuck you in now before she misses the chance. So leave her be. If a 30-year-old says it to you, that means they think YOU’RE the old lady, and therefore you must beat them to death with a hammer.

Charlie:

Do you think that you or someone you know has a totally unique combo of sports fanhoods? For example, I root for the Giants (grew up in North Jersey), Yankees (grew up in North Jersey), Boston College football (I went there), Villanova basketball (my dad went there), and Chelsea FC (got into them through a college friend). I genuinely believe I might be the only person on the planet Earth with that particular combo.

Not a chance. Some other asshole roots for all of those teams, too. Are the Giants also 0-9 when you see them in person? Because even that wouldn’t be a difference-maker.

Email of the week!

Mike:

I hate summer. Really hate it. I like to run in the morning, and sometimes my core temperature will not drop all day. I sweat like a pig even when I’m resting, and everything around me catches on fire, reminding me that climate change is lurking around the corner to consume everything that we love. There’s too much to do and too much pressure to, “get out there” and enjoy yourself when out there is disgusting and I just fucking hate it. My question is why is Kirk Cousins still on the Vikings roster?

Because this year’s draft class sucked, I guess.