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Funbag

We Don’t Need Concert Encores Anymore

LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 05: Fans react as Papa Roach performs at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino August 5, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The rock group is touring in support of the platinum-selling album "Getting Away With Murder." (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/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 bunk beds, dad shortcuts, toilet prudes, phones at the urinal, and more.

Your letters:

Jess:

I’ve recently begun making a cautious return to seeing live music again, and I’ve come to realize something I guess I never cared enough to think about before: the encore is ridiculous. At this point, maybe we should just collectively admit that and do away with it. I’m not saying doing an encore was never a cool idea. I like to imagine a simpler time when it was an actual, authentic gesture only granted to crowds who cheered hard enough. Just end the show and then fuck off. The people who leave prior to the encore will find a new excuse to leave early. There’s always an excuse.

My daughter has started going to a lot of concerts lately and I told her, “Hey man, when the concert is over, it’s not over. They’re gonna walk off the stage, then come back a minute later to play your favorite song. That’s called the encore. That’s how it works. Don’t leave until the house lights go up.” So she goes to her first show and comes back and tells me that Clairo did NOT do an encore, and I was like well what the fuck, Clairo? You call yourself a professional?!

I’m so inured to cursory encores that I’m thrown anytime there isn’t one. Jess here is right in that the tradition has outlived its usefulness. If artists still only did encores sparingly—and only for crowds holding their lighters high enough—they might be fun again. But yeah, now it’s basically a glorified piss break. And the worst part is, I don’t how many encores there’ll be. Sometimes there’s a SECOND encore. I’ve even been to shows that have had three of these things. At that point, I was worried the concert would never end, and that we would all die waiting for Poison to come back a 98,782nd time. Clairo had it right.

Max:

I recently travelled to Melbourne with five friends for a long weekend to watch a bunch of rugby and AFL. We stayed in a hostel in the middle of the city, in a room with four bunk beds (eight beds in total). I snagged one early, taking the bottom bunk close to an outlet so I could charge my phone overnight, but I switched it up the next night and slept up top. I’ve lived my entire life to this point with no real preference one way or the other, but which is better?

The top bunk is better when you’re age 10 and below, because that bed is still a novelty when you’re that young. You get to climb a ladder. You get to feel like you’re 10 feet tall, looking down on all the peasants and stuffed animals on the ground below. You get to be above, both in terms of space and status, the pipsqueak sleeping below. You get to inadvertently roll off the bunk while you’re asleep and concuss every part of your body. It’s a blast.

After that, the novelty wears off and the top bunk is useless. It’s not fun to sleep in the bottom bunk and have your view of the ceiling obscured by another person masturbating four feet above you, with the bed frame squeaking like a shitty version of The Tell-Tale Heart. But it’s still better to be close to the ground. That way, you can reach all of your shit, you can get up to piss in the middle of the night without having it be an unwanted adventure, and you won’t hit your head on the ceiling. Also, you don’t have to climb. I can’t climb anything at my age. That’s asking for back surgery. No thank you. And if you’ve ever had kids and had to MAKE a top bunk, you know they’re pure evil. The day we took apart our sons’ bunk beds, I felt freer than I had in years.

Go ahead and extend the novelty phase by a decade if you have a loft bed. When I went to boarding school and college, some kids had lofted beds with either a desk underneath, or a couch area cordoned off with a tapestry they bought at a local record store. A little love alcove. I thought it was the coolest shit ever, and still kinda do. But otherwise, I prefer to be a nocturnal landlubber.

Jeff:

To this day, my dad will avoid as many main roads as he possibly can, zig zagging through neighborhoods and backstreets in order to avoid long lights and unnecessary suburban traffic. I’m not even sure how much time he actually saves by taking these roundabout routes. Yet, I find myself doing the same thing lately with my own driving. I suppose there’s an odd sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing the streets better than your average schmuck driving through your town. Do you have shortcuts you use when driving? If so, why do you think we like using them so much if they really don’t save that much time? Either way, I think it’s one of the ultimate dad moves.

I live in the D.C. area, a place where taking any shortcut will, traffic-wise, fuck you over even worse than if you had just stayed in Beltway traffic. Everyone else already had the same idea as you to go on Chain Bridge Road. You’re fucked. And that phenomenon holds true for much of the Eastern Seaboard. I know because I’ll check the GPS for alternate routes and none of them will be more efficient than just staying on a highway or a main road. Kind of a letdown, frankly.

That’s why there’s only one real dad move in 2022 for automotive navigation, and that is turning off the GPS. I got eyes too, GPS. DON’T YOU TELL ME HOW TO DRIVE. You would think modern technology would prevent me from flexing my “I know where I’m going!” gene, but it has not.

I don’t even like it when the GPS is on and I’m a passenger in the car. I don’t want my phone time rudely interrupted by the GPS constantly nagging my wife to keep left at the fork. Sometimes I turn off the GPS mid-route when I’m at the wheel. I’m like, I got this now. Your services are no longer needed, dickhead. Then I get lost and have to go crawling back to the nav system, which is an even worse feeling than passing a bike, coming immediately to a stoplight, and then having that stupid bike pass me. A true loser moment.

But sometimes, I MAKE it to the destination without any further assistance, and that’s a deeply satisfying dad moment. Makes me feel like Columbus. All I need is my wits and my trusty sextant. I’ll get us there. Mark my words.

(Hot?) Carl:

Have you ever taken a dump on an airplane? To me, it would be too claustrophobic.

Sure have! I’ve said this here before, but I have no hang-ups when it comes to where I take a dump. Could be an airplane. Could be The Worst Toilet In Scotland. I don’t give a shit. Or, more accurately, I have MANY shits to give these cursed toilets. These are not fun shits, for the record. Shitting on an airplane is a deeply aggravating experience. There’s turbulence. The toilet paper is made of ghosts. There’s no room for me to manspread. The sink has all the water pressure of an old man drooling. And the toilet flush has such powerful suction that it could potentially rip my dick off. All of that is suboptimal. But I’d still rather shit than not.

I look down on toilet prudes. People who are picky about toilets somehow ignore what they are about to do TO that toilet. You, the reluctant germaclaustrophobe, aren’t gonna make that toilet any CLEANER when you shit into it. The bathroom isn’t gonna smell like freshly baked cookies when you’re done. You’re as filthy as the person in the next stall over. Don’t act like you’re above defecation somehow. Just shit and then go wash your hands. Or do you only shit on virgin toilets with a 500-thread count seat cover laid across it? Act like you’ve been there before, people.

Aaron:

Which would be worse to find out about someone you’ve considered marrying: their dad being Sugar Ray Leonard or their dad being Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath?

Both of those sound cool, actually. If Sugar Ray Leonard is my FIL, that means I’m rich. If my FIL is Mark McGrath, that means he and I can hang out on the reg and talk about the time when he unexpectedly dominated Rock N’ Roll Jeopardy on VH1 (hosted by Jeff Probst!). I assume the money is gone, but the coolness of Mark McGrath? Eternal.

I like both those guys. I’d like to be snobby about Sugar Ray, but you’re talking to a guy who still listens to Skid Row as a matter of routine. I’ve never HATED a Sugar Ray song. I’ve never bought any of their albums, and Mark McGrath can’t sing, but I’ve still always found Sugar Ray to be a strangely agreeable band. It would be very awkward though for McGrath to sing “Every Morning” during the first dance between his daughter and myself. Time and a place, etc.

Sarah:

Folks are often surprised to learn my favorite dessert is Dippin’ Dots. For me, they’re ice cream with texture, which is incredibly delightful and unique. With the right marketing and some better flavors, I feel like they could still take off. Am I alone?

Not if my 10-year-old has anything to say about it. As for me, if I want ice cream with texture, I just buy ice cream that has chunks of stuff in it; oreos and what have you. I’ll always take chunky ice cream over smooth. It’s no contest. Also, the dad in me still recoils with sticker shock anytime he sees the price of Dippin’ Dots at any area amusement park. You want seven bucks for a cup of that shit? You can fuck right off, Dippin’ Dots Man. Bet you go home to a 10,000-square foot mansion every night to count all the money you looted off of hard-working Six Flags patrons! Outrageous.

For Sarah’s sake, I should note that I have eaten Dippin’ Dots. My official review for them is … not bad!

Ian:

Would you rather spend 3% of the rest of your life in prison, or never be allowed to use a private motor vehicle again? Rules: You WILL survive your sentence. When you are released you will not have a hard time getting a job, but you also aren’t allowed to write a book or profit off this in any way. You just experience prison. Otherwise you can’t use a private car, truck, SUV, van, or motorcycle. You can take the bus or train. You’re allowed to fly, but when you reach your destination you can’t take a taxi. Has to be public transit forever.

Fuck. That’s hard. Let’s say I live another 30 years (God is already cackling). That means I gotta spend nine-tenths of a year in prison. That’s a LOT of prison. I’ve lived a hilariously sheltered life, but even I know you never want to spend a day in prison, much less nearly a year. Even if they sent me to the Martha Stewart prison, with free-range chickens and what have you, it would still be unpleasant.

With that in mind, I would pick the No Prison option, and then I would leave America because the public transit here blows and always will. I’d move to Denmark, ride my bike and take the Flügentrassa everywhere, and then I would become the most insufferable anti-car guy you’ve ever met. I’d accost strangers and be like, “I ditched my car long ago and have never been happier!” and then they’d throw a bucket of pickled herring at me. It’d be great. Can’t wait. Definitely beats going to Leavenworth.

HALFTIME!

Brian:

Also, please settle a bet between me and my idiot brother: Rush or Beastie Boys?

Again, fuck. That is not a choice I ever thought I’d have to make. This is the kind of question that would mortify a Funbag guest host. A real “Are these the kind of questions Drew always gets?” question. But I’m at the wheel today, and I DO always get this kind of question, so you’re gonna get a 100 percent earnest, New England liberal college graduate answer out of me, which is (ugh) Rush.

I don’t like that answer and neither do you. Maybe tomorrow I’ll remember that my brief Rush phase only included that band’s greatest hits, and not any of their album cuts where Geddy Lee chirps on for 12 minutes about 22nd century androids suffering from suburban angst. Maybe I’ll switch my answer to Beastie Boys before remembering how DEEPLY annoying a lot of their fanboys were back in the day (hell is being trapped on the school bus with fourth graders rapping “Paul Revere” to one another, poorly), and how the group tried to spin License To Ill as a spoof album when they absolutely meant every goddamn word of it. Beastie Boys were the pioneers of Joke Mode, which has raged out of control ever since. I put it all on them. Also, not all of their songs are primo shit.

Then again, “Sabotage” is the greatest video ever made, and Rush is music for real losers. You see why I’m torn. I won’t be considering this dilemma ever again.

Nick:

How much money would it take for you to have an oven mitt permanently installed on one of your hands? It can be your off-hand, but it wouldn’t be weatherproof so it’d get soggy when you showered, for example. I don’t think a million bucks would do it, but I wouldn’t rule it out if someone dumped the cash on my kitchen table.

Hang on. Lemme type my answer out using my right hand only to get a better idea of hiow much the obem mitt left hand would suck. OK yeah it BLOWS. Man that caos olock key is so far awaty now. I have to astop.

That was horrible. Never again. Also I do all my phone shit with my left hand despite being right-handed, so you’d have to pay me a BILLION dollars to cover it forever with a stupid over mitt. And even after you’d pay me the money, I’d still complain. Forever. I’d go to pick up a $5,000 glass of endangered spring water, knock it over with my mitt hand, and then rage out at my butler about it. Not worth it.

Stu:

Even as a former drinker, you must know that lacking scotch whisky (note the proper spelling) in your liquor cabinet makes one, no, makes YOU an unsophisticated rube. Sorry but the truth hurts. Scotch is the king of all whiskys. It has a history; it has an unmatched provenance. It has a variety of flavor profiles despite being clearly a scotch. To even smell the beguiling aroma of a well-peated Islay whisky is to open ever so slightly the door to eternity. Admit it, you erred. You, sir, are wrong. Wrong. Wrong. What say you?

Fuck off. That’s what I say.

Also, don’t fucking “sorry” me. “Sorry but” is the lowest form of take.

Donald:

I am greatly disturbed by the increasing number of men I am noticing using their phones while taking a piss at a urinal in a public bathroom. Phone in one hand and (presumably) dick in the other. 

I wish I could share your exasperation, but phones have been a fixture on Urinal Row for like a decade now. There’s no going back. I also look at my phone at the urinal, unless someone is right next to me, in which case I put it away. But if I have the bathroom to myself, and I’m pissing or shitting? Oh, that’s go time.

I have milked a shit in order to hang out with my phone on the toilet a little longer. I do it all the time! Sometimes my wife is like, “What are you doing in there?” like I’m looking at bestiality porn or cooking meth in the sink. Turns out I’m just really into this Scrabble game I’m playing against the bot and too comfortable to get up. I don’t feel great admitting this.

Kevin:

I am starting a new job next week. One of the perks (?) is that I will be sometimes working from home. I have nearly completed the first iteration of my very own home office. I am emailing today to ask you – a person who is likely around as tech savvy as me, and who has experienced remote work – should I trust my home WiFi, or should I try to wire my house with cat5 (or cat5e? or cat6?) cables and have a secure and fast wired home network?

I do NOT know what those cables are or what they do, but such ignorance has never stopped me from going Dad Mode and answering a question anyway. I have worked from home for over a decade now, and I only got reliable home wifi in 2020. Before that, it was spotty as shit. I blamed my provider. I blamed my modem. I blamed my children’s school-issued Chromebooks for crapping out in the middle of e-school Zoom calls unexpectedly. I even blamed the WALLS of my home, because my office has a brick wall on one side of it that, according my extensive research, can block wifi signals. Problem is that my office was the only place that had a direct connection to the fiberoptic cables running into the house, so I thought long and hard about drilling a hole in that wall to free up the signal.

Then the provider sent a technician to check out my setup. He ran diagnostics and told me that my router—like the loose network of range extenders I had stationed around the house to amplify it—was a piece of shit. I went cheap on routers and paid the price. Don’t make my mistake. If your home wifi is already spotty, and surely you know if it is, then get a kick-ass, integrated mesh system. Once I got one … POOF. I never had an internet problem again. I can’t believe I lived with such limp wifi for so long. LIKE AN ANIMAL. I wanna tell you it’s some horrible sign of the times we live that my mood could be so easily dominated by the strength of my phone signal, but for real. It sucked. I live on my phone and so does everyone else. You may as well make the most of it while you do.

Karen:

Every Windows release used to be an event, generating excitement (XP) or ire (8) in the general populace. But no one’s talking about Windows 11. It’s been half a year. Many people don’t know 11 even exists. I got it this week and, although the taskbar sucks huge buffalo balls, I can tolerate it. But I just know 2007 me would’ve been vehemently OUTRAGED at this shitty taskbar. Is the world just so much worse now that outrage fatigue has set in, or is Windows 11 just fine?

I have Windows 11 and it’s a perfectly cromulent product. Again, you’re talking to a stubborn tech jackass who held onto Windows 7 for YEARS, well after Windows 10 had already been rolled out to the public. Microsoft even offered to upgrade my system to 10 for free and I refused because it frightened me so. Maybe because I remember the Windows Me debacle, or more likely because I am mentally ill.

Either way, I got a new PC that had 10 on it and it worked swimmingly. Then Microsoft offered to upgrade me to 11 and I took the offer right away, eager to not fuck up all over again. The taskbar is as customizable as before (I have Chrome, Word, and Spotify pinned to it, because I use virtually no other apps), and everything else, for the most part, works. True to form, Windows still needs a solid 10 minutes after startup to limber up, and sometimes I get stuck in randomized update hell. But I’m so used to all that shit that it barely registers with me because, as Karen speculated, none of this is novel anymore. We’ve all lived with phones and computers for so long that hardware and software innovations don’t feel exciting, or even existent. This isn’t 2006 and I’m not John Hodgman. If you’re an Apple person you’re an Apple person and if you’re a PC person you’re a PC person, and everything about either existence is now a matter of routine.

What I really wanna know is when one of these companies will put out a car. THEN everyone will shit a brick all over again.

John:

Do you think major-league baseball games would be a lot shorter if they eliminated Velcro from batting gloves?

No. If you have random tics, you will find a way to maintain those random tics. Take it from a guy who stopped biting his nails a year ago and yet still puts his fingers in his mouth every 10 minutes.

Barry:

First of all, your egg priorities are totally fucked up. Just had to say that. 

Fair. At least you didn’t do the whole “sorry but” thing like that other prick.

So, I have these two categories of movies. The first, movies that I love but know if I watch them I will cry. They get me every time for whatever reason. The second, movies that I’ve seen once and I can never watch again because they wrecked me and I never wanna experience it again because they’re just too painful. 

Here’s my list for 1:
Twelve Angry Men
Platoon
Titanic

Here’s my list for 2:
Deer Hunter
Brokeback Mountain
Moonlight

Please no judgment. I’m not gonna explain anything about why they’re on my list. They just are. What are on your lists Drew?

But aren’t those basically the same kind of movie? They’re all sad. You don’t wanna watch a sad movie twice. I get that. You won’t catch me watching, like, The Pianist every time it comes on basic cable. It’s a masterpiece, but you don’t turn it off feeling great about being alive. Roger Ebert once said, “No good movie is depressing. All bad movies are depressing.” Now that’s very catchy and elegant. Very Ebert. It’s also wrong. Try to find a person who’s rewatched Dead Man Walking 50 times that isn’t named Sean Penn. You will fail. We’re not masochists.

Also, my dad once told me he never watched the same movie twice, because it was a waste of time. I thought he was insane. Now I’m the same age that he was when he told me that, and I TOTALLY get it. I spent early parenthood in the weeds, subjected to the same coterie of Disney movies over and over again. It changes a man. Now, even if I love a movie, I never watch it again. And I’ve still never been forced to watch Encanto. I never thought I’d see the day.

Email of the week!

Travis:

I have two boys, aged 10 and 13, who argue and squabble as expected. And often things can get personal. Not long ago, one argument went south and I overheard a quite salty, “You’re just a hypocrite!” Deciding this was an appropriate time to intervene, I interjected, “Who are you calling a Hippogriff?”

My question to you is, how often do you weaponize the persona of a doofus dad in order to de-escalate a brewing situation between your kids? Confusion is a great way of throwing cold water onto hot emotions.

Oh wow, my kids do that to ME. At every dinner. I never thought about turning that shit back on them. You’re a genius, sir.