Skip to Content
A man sitting on a beach at the Jersey Shore in 2020. He's got a lot of space, which is how you know the photo was from 2020.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

I have recorded most episodes of this podcast in my home, muttering or hooting into a microphone mounted on my standing desk, under an increasingly ominous crack in the paint on the ceiling above. I've done some episodes elsewhere—motel rooms in Maine, at a desk under the eaves of my in-laws' place where I was, last time, surrounded by a jarring and inexplicable number of dead bees. Later this summer, I will record another one there. But mostly this is a home thing, and I have been doing it in this way for long enough that there is a whole agglomeration of routine and comfort attached to it. This will happen with just about anything if you do it over and over again, but it has certainly happened for me, with this thing. So it was with some relief that, for the first time in three weeks, I found myself standing back under the cracking paint, staring at a rather jarringly tan version of Drew in a Zoom window. As the man says, we're back:

Coming back from a vacation only to find yourself trying to do work—to care about anything, really—in the heat and ambient insignificance of August is a jarring thing. To do it while Drew honks at you through his microphone is honestly also kind of jarring, but as he and I were both fighting the same battle against the effects of dissipating vacation vibes and the whole August thing the two of us got on the same page pretty quickly. What that looks like, in this episode, is a little bit of talk about our time spent away from work, and then an attempt to get up to speed with all the things we didn't get to talk about during our three weeks away from this routine.

One of those things was the rather shockingly good New York Mets, a baseball team about which I feel characteristically calm and normal. You can tell how calm I am about them from the way I talk about them, at length, and also my repeated qualifications that there is no such thing as a jinx and that not even I and the considerable force of my anxiety can stop Jacob deGrom from doing what he does. Another of those was the Minnesota Vikings, the dearly beloved and extremely frustrating team that Drew recently wrote about in an especially heartfelt installment of Why Your Team Sucks, and about which he permitted himself a few minutes of emotion-dumping here. A third was the ongoing crypto-judicial festival of cynicism surrounding Deshaun Watson and the NFL's disciplinary process, all of which has managed to set a new standard of Not What You Want. We talk about the Padres a little bit, too.

All of which sounds like a fairly normal episode, but it had been long enough since Drew and I talked, and longer still since we'd done a two-handed episode like this, that things are constantly being pulled (gently, affectionately) off course by our excitement at getting to do this. This is before the Funbag gave me the opportunity to talk about how very nasty and unfair Le Chiffre is to poor James Bond's testicles in Casino Royale, and gave Drew the opportunity to provide A Dad's Perspective on the proper air-conditioning temperature for a vacation home. We discussed a concept that I called The Wife's Ale, which I will not discuss further here; we agreed to greenlight an effectively endless series of Ishtar reboots and re-imaginings. We did all this not just despite but because these ideas are bad. This, more than anything, is what it means for us to "be back."

If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “DISTRACT.” Thank you as always for your support.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter