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Help! My Daughter Wants To Be A Murderer For Halloween!

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 31: Children gather during the annual Children's Village Halloween Parade October 31, 2002 in New York City. The city will celebrate its annual Halloween parade for adults on Sixth Avenue this evening. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s new novel while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about Ryan Fitzpatrick, masked shitting, chili, trivia night ringers, and more.

Your letters:

Pablo:

My eight-year-old daughter has a white board by her e-learning setup, and writes random things on there she wants to remember or think about. We’re getting into Halloween range and I guess she wanted to start thinking about what to dress up as. Why, I don’t know. We ain’t trick or treating. So among her choices are Hamilton, a puppy, a vampire, and… a murderer. I asked why and she said because she wanted to have a knife, wear a serial killer mask, and be covered in blood. So my question to you is – should I move out now? I’m scared.

Don’t move out. They still sell Jason masks at Spirit Halloween, man. Going as a murderer for Halloween is normal. [Dr. Evil voice] Quite standard, really. My son wants to go as the Grim Reaper this year. He even bought a poster of the Grim Reaper to get psyched about it, then got scared of the poster and asked us to hide it (it’s in my wife’s desk). Kids are naturally interested in all that macabre shit, especially right around Halloween—serial killers, maniacs, and other bloodthirsty killers. I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. When I was in middle school and had seen Eddie Murphy Raw WAY too many times, I decided to go trick-or-treating as a, “stockbroker who has to pay alimony.” I wore a tie and blazer and carried around a plastic axe smeared with fake blood. My mom told me, after the fact, “Your costume really bothered me,” so I never went as that again. Your kid can be a murderer for Halloween. But if that murderer is an MRA or a member of the KKK or Adam Lanza, THAT’S when you should get worried.

I was going through some potentially safe ways to hand out candy to kids in the hood during the pandemic and I saw an article about building your own candy chute using PVC pipe. You rest the chute against the side of your house, then send the candy down to the front door whenever someone comes knocking. I was like NOW THAT SOUNDS FUN AND CREATIVE! I was ready to make a whole project out of it. Turns out PVC pipe is $10 a foot. Fuck. That. We’re leaving the candy out on a blanket in the yard. If some asshole kid hogs it, so be it.

As for our own kids, they’re not trick-or-treating this year. It’s just not worth it and the kids, all over age eight, have no problem staying in and getting high on our own supply of Kit Kats. Last week, my wife bought a variety pack of candy and put it in the snack drawer. Everything but the Almond Joys is already gone. We’re gonna need more candy.

Laurel:

I got an eye exam the other day, and the woman who helped me pick out lenses had on a fresh set of acrylic nails, full makeup, false lashes, and curled hair–like, curled with a curling iron. In the Before Times, this would have been unremarkable; I myself have been known to put in that kind of effort. But given the fact that we as a species are quickly sinking into the bowels of Hell, it fucking blew my mind. In comparison, I decided weeks ago that even yoga pants are too restrictive, and I’ve taken to wearing all jammy pants, all the time. Who is more sad, here: her for continuing the ruse that maintaining her appearance matters at all when everything is crumbling, or me for just giving in to entropy?

We all cope in different ways so I have no problem with your optometrist lady getting all fancy. First of all, she’s working in retail, which means she, along with all her colleagues, probably has to look presentable for customers. Secondly, just because you CAN look like shit doesn’t mean you necessarily want to. I’ve started working out like, well, let’s say four levels below crazy in quarantine. I shower every day. I get dressed in the morning, although not impressively. And, against all reason, I’ve become a Shaves Every Day guy, which I NEVER was back in The Before. Before, I just let my shit get mangy until I broke out in hives. Now I keep my face on point. I look better than I have in a while, and I feel great even though no American has ANY reason to feel great right now.

Again, I have no real incentive for this upkeep. I’ve been married for 18 years and my wife knows what I look like. I can’t go out to parties or to big events or anything like that. I could let my appearance go to absolute shit if I wanted to, like a teenager whose girlfriend broke up with him. You and I have every excuse to slack. But if anything, I’ve been compelled to do the precise opposite. I’m old enough to know that if I look like shit, I’ll FEEL like shit. Everyone does. If I can keep my tiny little world at home feel fresh and well-maintained, it helps my outlook for the rest of this diseased world. It’s not denial. I know full well how bad it is out there. I have little to no control over that, but I DO have control over whether or not I wear underwear consistently. And I do. Feels pleasant.

Our kids are also putting in an effort. Quarantine has done nothing to stifle the 14-year-old’s addiction to Poshmark. The eight-year-old got new kicks and wants to bolt outside just so he can be seen in them. And the 11-year-old submits to still-routine haircuts from my wife without complaint. We’ve tried to carry on, as a family, in many of the ways we did prior to the virus hitting. There’s so much we can’t fucking do right now. I dunno when I’ll ever get to go to the goddamn movies again. So anything we still CAN do that makes life feel whole again, we’ll do. Makes everything feel better. More hopeful.

But if you wanna ease up and take a bath in Frosted Flakes from now until a vaccine, I ain’t gonna judge you.

Keith:

If the Dolphins somehow win the Super Bowl this year with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting QB (2020 is a strange year, why not?!?!), is there any chance that Fitzpatrick would be considered for the NFL Hall of Fame? He already has more career passing yards and completions than Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Kurt Warner. Or will he be always be punished for playing for bad, smaller market teams?

Ryan Fitzpatrick should always be punished for being Ryan Fitzpatrick. His passing yard totals are the result of longevity and nothing more. He’s never won jack shit. His career passer rating is tied with the immortal Brian Hoyer. For 16 years, Fitzpatrick has been one of the best backup QBs in the sport, and he may go down as the best perma-backup ever, as far as I know. But he’s still a backup. Even, as Miami just made clear, when he’s a starter.

I don’t think Fitzpatrick’s rep has suffered much, if at all, from him being a useful role player on otherwise shitty teams. You’ve heard the Harvard line 40 million times, with and without irony. Teammates like Fitzpatrick, and every announcer busted a nut when they saw Fitzpatrick cheering for Tua on Sunday. SUCH A CLASS ACT. So if Fitzpatrick somehow carried the Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory this year, he would absolutely get on the Hall-of-Fame shortlist despite his passel of shortcomings. Pretty much every QB who wins a Super Bowl gets to be a nominee.

Also, the HOF is still insanely chummy, and any questionable legend who does TV after retiring and/or willingly hangs out at the Capital Grille with Mike Wilbon gets way more consideration than Art Monk ever did. Armed with a ring, Fitz could schmooze his way in if he felt like it. [Wilbon voice] But he’s just so gosh darn MODEST I can’t ever see him debasing himself in such a manner.

Dimitri:

If you were a professional athlete in one of the four major sports, what would you consider to be the worst team to play for based on the location of the team (ignoring ownership, salary, competitiveness of team, etc.)

I’d go with the following:
Hockey – Winnipeg Jets
NBA – Oklahoma City Thunder
NFL – Green Bay Packers
MLB – Cincinnati Reds

Are we factoring in COVID here? I’m gonna ignore COVID, so that every city within consideration sucks on its ORIGINAL terms, and not just because it’s now a fortress of death. Lemme fire off my choices below:

NHL: OK yeah, living in Winnipeg would be pretty fucking awful. Edmonton is also up there but, since I consider Alberta to be Northern Montana, I feel like I could make it work somehow. My second choice is Phoenix.

NBA: Orlando. Close race between Orlando and Indy, but I heard downtown Indianapolis is actually all right. Meanwhile, I KNOW Orlando sucks. The weather doesn’t come close to making up for it. Orlando is a rest stop that spun out of control.

NFL: It’s easy for me to say Green Bay, but Jacksonville is sitting RIGHT THERE. If you told me I had to move to Jacksonville, I would cry.

MLB: Tampa. I feel nothing for the Rays, nor for Tampa proper.

You really have to hand it to America. We’ve ruined enough places to make weather overrated. And I HATE being cold now. My body gets cold like it’s nothing. But I’d rather die of hypothermia than be stuck living among all the snowbirds and retired pro wrestlers in Tampa. Fuck that.

Beau:

Why hasn’t Matt Damon ever written a second movie?  He won the Academy Award and just stopped writing?  It makes no sense to me.  You don’t win the Masters and just ‘retire’ from golf. You’re going to say he’s busy with acting and such but I think this ‘proves’ that William Goldman actually wrote Good Will Hunting

He has written a second movie. According to iMDB, Damon wrote Gerry alongside co-star Casey Affleck, Promised Land alongside Jim Halpert, AND he and Affleck reunited to write the screenplay for 2021’s The Last Duel, based on a book I cannot recommend highly enough. So Damon still writes, and that’s just the shit he’s been credited with writing. Damon’s a big swinging dick now who helps produce a lot of the movies he stars in, which means he’s made more than a few screenplay tweaks, the same way Edward Norton does every time he drops by any set, even if it’s not actually a movie Norton’s been hired to work on.

Does this mean I believe that Damon and Affleck actually wrote all of Good Will Hunting? No. It’s more fun to believe that they got credit for the screenplay so that Harvey Weinstein had an underdog story to sell to the Academy. Let’s keep truthering Damon’s Oscar so he gets mad.

By coincidence, my wife put Good Will Hunting on the other night and tried to get the kids to watch it. They bailed within an instant. It’s still a good movie, as far as I’m concerned. I always liked it, even with all my usual complaints about Boston invading every goddamn facet of American culture. But that movie looks INSANELY dated in 2020. Put it on for any kid and they may as well be watching Birth of a Nation. I myself was thrown by how old Good Will Hunting looked. I don’t consider anything made past high school “old,” in my mind, even though I graduated in 1994. Then I saw Good Will Hunting on TNT and it was like staring at archival footage of the AFL. In my brain, I was like, “But it’s not that old!” Guess what? It is. It’s VERY old. Start talking Good Will Hunting to people now and their boomerdar WILL go off. Whenever The Ringer starts a new podcast devoted to nothing but Good Will Hunting, the audience for that podcast will be older than SNL’s.

HALFTIME!

Tim:

I rolled onto my arm the other night and woke up who knows how long later. My arm was so asleep I couldn’t find it. I didn’t realize it was under me because I was twisted in blankets and extra pillows (I was in a hotel room) and it took me what felt like 5 full minutes of panic to find it. When I did, it was so asleep I almost couldn’t believe it was my arm. Anyway, what is the worst result of a limb falling asleep that you have heard or can think of?

My foot fell asleep when I was 18 and it turned out I needed back surgery. Does that count? Probably not. I bet someone got up once when their foot was asleep, tripped, and then fell face-first into a barrel of thumbtacks. But I cannot prove this. Would be funny, though. Bet it happens a lot.

Bampf:

I am a teacher at a small school doing in-person instruction. So far we have managed to not kill anyone. Bully! We all dutifully wear our masks unless eating or gulping down much needed coffee. It’s annoying but you get used to it and forget you’re wearing one in like half a day (fuck those anti-maskers forever). So my question: do you doff the mask whilst pooping at work? It feels like a sacred ritual free of serious rona threat. So far I am a non-mask pooper. Am I a bad person?

You are not a bad person, but you are very much an underinformed one. You gotta wear a mask in a public bathroom, and a small school bathroom counts as a public bathroom. That means keeping the mask on even when you’re dropping anchor. ESPECIALLY when you’re dropping anchor. I’ve gotten a zillion Funbag emails over the years from readers worried about inhaling human shit, and I’ve always considered their worries overblown. But here, at long last, we all NOW have a reason to fear aerosoled shit particles. Take heed.

I visited my parents this summer and getting myself and my sons in and out of the rest stop bathroom unscathed was easily the most harrowing part of our passage northeast. If you need a mask break at school, go outside for a second. Maybe smoke a Parliament. Take it off mid-shit and you’re having a mask break at the exact wrong time. I apologize for this. I wish we could ALL shit in peace. Unmasked. And naked.

Josh:

You wrote about Russell Wilson in a recent Funbag and it got me wondering – How is such a weird personality actually a good leader? He’s fake during interviews at a level that has to be obvious to everyone in the league. A bunch of his former teammates hated him. How is he a leader?

Because he’s a fucking incredible football player. If you were a football player, would YOU want Russell Wilson on your team? Or would you be like, “Well that guy’s Insta is so fucking lame I just can’t”? Come on now. You’re not a moron. Not only would you play with Russ, you’d do whatever the fuck he told you to do, because he knows what he’s doing out there.

Sports have a way of redeeming otherwise repellent personalities. I’m not talking about criminals, although plenty of athletes are. I’m just saying that, when I was a kid, my image of another kid changed the second I found out he was an insane athlete. I was like, “Oh man, that Eric guy is a dipshit. I’d never hang out with him.” Then Eric threw a football 500 yards and I said, “Oh holy shit that guy is cool.” If you can do cool shit, you become cool. What irritating superficial traits you have disappear quickly. That’s how it works. Dwight Howard just won an NBA title despite being a complete fucking tool. I rag on Dwight all the time. Meanwhile, if you stationed me five feet away from Dwight Howard while he unleashed a tomahawk dunk, I would be in AWE. I’d be like, “Hey Dwight, we should maybe grab a Pepsi sometime.” I’d turn into a slobbering idiot.

And yeah, I know the rest of the Seahawks hated Russell Wilson and thought he was a teacher’s pet. They still won with him. It’s not like Earl Thomas was clamoring for Austin Davis to take Russ’s spot back in the day. If you can play, you get to lead. No one said you had to LIKE someone to willingly take direction from them. I work for TOM LEY. I know this feeling intimately.

Will:

Since the cold, quarantined winter is now on the horizon, what is your favorite kind of chili? I prefer a white chicken chili with plenty of sour cream, although I have my detractors.

My favorite chili is basic chili. Whatever meat is in there, I don’t care. So long as the chili is dark red and super fatty, I’m good to go. I’ll eat alternative chilis, like your white one. But I don’t go out of my way to make them or eat them. I’m too in love with plain old chili chili to stray.

By the way, it’s football season and I haven’t made chili yet. This is a horrible oversight and I already feel like I’m missing out. This weekend I’m gonna smoke a whole side of beef and let chili take its course from there.

Justin:

Did swapping out Brady for Cam make the Pats palatable or even semi-likable to the rest of the NFL world?

Let’s say MORE palatable, but not palatable outright. They’re still the Patriots, and their fans remain human toilets. But yeah, of course adding a genial superstar like Cam makes that team more tolerable than they were with Football Gwyneth at the helm. I’m glad they lost to Seattle at the gun, but I didn’t punch through the ceiling the way I used to whenever the Brady Pats got a rare taste of curb. They’re a more normal football team without Brady now. They’re also worse, which is a nice change of pace.

By contrast, I fucking hate the Bucs now.

Daniel:

I’ve got a buddy who was on Jeopardy a couple years ago. Not just some schmuck who shook hands with Trebek and lost. This guy won. A lot. Enough to get invited back to the Tournament of Champions. He still goes around to random bar trivia nights and either A: completely dominates and wins the $10 in bar bucks, or B: loses and gets really pissed about missing out on free wings. He’s texted to complain about missing out on a free drink because some poor jamoke who was running the bar trivia in Shitsville didn’t tabulate the scores correctly. Meanwhile more people have walked on the moon than have won more Jeopardy than he has. Is my friend in the wrong? Is this like Patrick Mahomes entering into the local Punt/Pass/Kick competition?

Your friend is more than welcome to be a ringer and barnstorm his way through unsuspecting trivia nights. I respect a good hustle as much as anyone else. What I do NOT respect is your friend himself. He sounds like a complete piece of shit. You wanna use your Jeopardy superpowers to get a free pitcher, that’s cool. But you have no right to piss and moan if you lose. You fucking DESERVE to lose. I hate your friend and I will run him over if I see him. Big-ass crybaby.

Monty:

Worlds collide: does Trump wipe sitting down or standing up?

He doesn’t wipe at all. Too gross and scary for him. Wiping is for losers.

Garrett:

With MLB’s cardboard cutout fans, I haven’t heard anyone suggest what seems to me like an obvious improvement. First, teams should commission a lot more cutouts, enough to fill the outfield bleachers and field-level foul territory. Then, take down all of the protective netting. This would naturally result in homers and foul line drives puncturing and/or decapitating the cardboard fans in hilarious fashion. 

I’d be all for that. Unfortunately (and I mean that word on at least two different levels), they’ve let real fans into Upscale Food Court Stadium in Arlington for the World Series, so the cutouts are gone. But look at the ground-level luxury boxes where the dugouts should be! YOU TALK ABOUT HEAVEN.

Anyway, Garrett’s idea is a fine one. Cutouts should be unprotected fair game at any sporting event where they are used. If you paid for a cutout and it gets punched out with an errant field goal attempt, and you then complain about it, you don’t deserve to live. You and the Jeopardy guy go straight to a war tribunal.

Dave:

If a man from New Jersey was a fan of both former Giants Catcher Kurt Manwaring and the Columbus Blue Jackets – he could be a Jersey man wearing a Manwaring jersey and a blue Blue Jackets jacket.

Whoa. Gonna need some time with that one.

Nick:

The other morning I had to drive to my girlfriend’s family’s place for a visit. I had morning breath as a result of heavy drinking from the previous night (not uncommon for me) and forgot to brush my teeth before I left. Fortunately, I had some gum that stated on the package “60 minutes of fresh breath.” After an hour, I decided to test this “fresh guarantee” with my girlfriend. Sadly, she said my breath still smelled awful. I’m wondering if I have grounds for legal action against the gum makers for this false claim?

You do not. BIG GUM loves to tout the health benefits of gum. It’ll freshen your breath! The extra saliva it gets flowing will help prevent cavities! It tastes like REAL strawbanas! Those are all lies and you should know better at your age, whatever age you may be, to believe any of them. You might be 12 years old and writing into this column, to which I say WELCOME but also STILL TOUGH SHIT FOR YOU, BUB. Gum cures nothing. It’s just gum.

And nothing can erase hangover breath. If you drank a whole bottle of Tiger Eye the night before and then slept inside a toilet tank, you’re not gonna cover up the olfactory evidence with a stick of trident, or a sprig of parsley, or any other stopgap cure. Just accept it and slide comfortably into a life of unapologetic alcoholism. That’s what professionals do.

Email of the week!

Scott:

I was out for a run last night and was hit by a nasty case of runner’s trots. There were no public parks or restrooms anywhere even close to me. But there was a grocery store about 1/2 mile away, and I started panic-running toward it before realizing that I didn’t have a face-mask and they probably wouldn’t let me inside! I was on an empty stretch of road with no traffic, so.. I clutched a chain link fence, braced my feet against it, bowed myself out in a convex arc (to avoid soiling my shorts/shoes) and dropped a deuce. It was both terrifying and exhilarating, but here is my question: Am I obligated to drive back to the scene of the crime with a poop bag and clean up like I would with my dog? 

Was it public land you shat on? Then no. That’s fair game. Was it my deck? Well then you and I should have a talk.