Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Need a Christmas present that doesn’t suck? Defector gift subscriptions are now LIVE. And buy your loved ones Drew’s novel, Point B, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about BIG CORN, Jesus, Hail Mary alternatives, wiping, and more.
Greetings this week from my new PC. The last PC I owned was one I built with my brother-in-law, from parts I bought from Newegg/TigerDirect. (He’s the one who knew which parts to buy and how to put everything together; really I just did as instructed.) That homemade PC lasted 10 years. Ten fucking years, man. I’ll never have a computer last that long ever again, especially since I’ve replaced the old one with a Dell. This new one will start bleeding coolant within a week. But until then, it’s running fast and quiet. First thing I did on it was re-install Word 2007, because I am older than the cosmos.
So, now that I’m freshly powered with 16 gigabits of manly, powerful RAM, let’s get to your letters:
Who is the best quarterback at quarterback yelling?
It’s either Cam (“READYYYYYY…”) or Aaron Rodgers, and I tilt toward Cam only because I’m transparently biased against the Packers to a frankly irritating degree. It stopped being cute ages ago, if it ever was to begin with.
But I digress. Those men excel at barking out orders in a cool, commanding, Dr. Claw voice. And in my lifetime, I have never met another guy who does NOT enjoy throwing down a gravelly QB cadence when given the chance. That was pretty much the only reason I wanted to play quarterback when I was a kid. I wanted to bark out random numbers and colors real loud and then scream HUT HUT HIKE so deeply that everyone around me spontaneously grew a beard. Then I was told that I was too fat and weak to play quarterback. Not fair. I would have thrown down a mean hard count.
Even today, I still enjoy doing it. If I’m playing catch with my sons, or if I’m helping out with the youngest one’s touch football team, I gotta put some English on that HIKE. I don’t know why that is. The QB’s cadence is loud because the rest of the offense needs to hear it, of course. But also, it’s fun to be loud and demand everyone else listen to your bullshit, and no guy wants his voice cracking at the line of scrimmage when he’s doing his best Patton routine. So you get low to make sure everyone can hear you AND that they also know you mean serious business. KILL KILL KILL! KILL KILL KILL! Best audible in the world? Fuck and yes, it is.
I’ve said “hike” plainly, like when my kids run routes for kicks at the beach and shit. It’s not the same. I feel like a fraud. I gotta sound like I just smoked a dozen whiskey-soaked Marlboros and slept with Joe Namath’s mistress to get the full effect. Otherwise, there’s no point.
I wish there were other vocations where you could do QB speak and have it be accepted. Like, I should be able to hop on the Zoom with the rest of the Defector staff and cry out BLOG 667! BLOG 667! ON 12/2! READY GO! But I can’t do that. Everyone would call HR on me (yes we have HR people).
If you could only have one or the other for the rest of your life, including everything containing and made of it, which one would you choose? Corn or wheat? Obviously, you’d have to exclude corn syrup, as it is just a substitute for more expensive cane sugar. An important detail I learned during this argument was that gluten-free is not synonymous with wheat-free.
You can’t exclude corn syrup from this argument. That would make the call too easy, given that corn syrup is in fucking everything. This is not by accident. The executives and lobbyists for BIG CORN designed it so that corn—which is so plentiful around the US as to be a weed—became a mandatory ingredient in processed foods, chicken feed, plastics, fuel, and kindergarten art projects. Yes, there are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I’ll tell you about right now! We have so much goddamn corn lying around that they had to invent more uses for it so that the government could keep funneling your tax money to all of our most notorious corn barons. It’s sickening.
Then again, corn IS tasty. I’d tell you that it’s a relatively flavorless grain, but that would just be horseshit snobbery. I’m an American, so I’ll eat any corn-tainted product with paste-brained lust: soda, nachos, popcorn, pecan pie goop, tamales, corn dogs, bourbon, and chicken with cashews from the Chinese takeout joint (lotta corn starch in that). I’d have a hard time giving any of those things up forever.
Then again, I’ve been sober for two years this week, so giving up bourbon wasn’t the extinction event of my life I originally thought it would be. Also, I require bread. And cookies. And pasta. And donuts. And wheat thins. And PIZZA. My god, what if no pizza? I’ve learned to live without a lot of things, but I draw the fucking line at pizza, amigo. The wheat stays. For the good of society, all the corn gets dumped into a cadmium-polluted lake.
My wife and I discussed the possibility of trying for a second kid now that we hopefully won’t need to flee the country. Was the second kid easier for you? I’ve heard a lot of mixed experiences from different people and I’m the first in my friend circle to have kids. I’ll be 38 at the youngest before said kid would be born at this point, if that’s a factor. My first kid is 18 months old right now.
With the second kid, you (kinda) know what you’re doing now that you’ve already had the first. You’re not gonna be surprised when the new one blows spit-up all over you on your seventh burp attempt of the hour. You’ve been to that rodeo before. Have a third kid like me and you’ll just shrug when it tries to kiss a running hand mixer.
So the second kid, in a vacuum, is easier. But of course, you’re not taking care of it on its own. If your first kid was dead, taking care of numero dos would be a cinch. Unfortunately for you, your first kid has NOT died. It’s currently alive and quite pissed that you’re even entertaining the option of producing another child that will play with its toys, eat its food, and hog all of the sippy cups. And you will NOT have experience on your side when all of that becomes a reality. This’ll be your first time managing two selfish little demons at once, and it’s a COMPLETE pain in the ass. When my wife and I had the second, we were like OH BOY NOW THE OTHER ONE HAS ANOTHER KID TO PLAY WITH!, failing to remember that newborns don’t even know how to fucking SEE, much less interact with other members of society. It’s a stressful transition for all parties involved. My kids are all over eight years old now and it’s STILL stressful.
I’ve actually had this same argument with my own co-workers. Dave and Albert said having two kids was easier than one. LIES. ALL LIES. Two kids is infinitely more difficult, even knowing what you know going in. I’ve said this before, but having two kids means you have to deal with the new kid and, in addition, the often volatile relationship between the new kid and the old one. So really, it’s like having three kids. And I have three kids, which means I spiritually have 27 of them.
Do I regret having this many kids? If I could go back, would I have my testicles removed and hung up like mistletoe to prevent these monsters from infiltrating my otherwise peaceful existence? No. You learn all kinds of new shit every day when you have kids, and while some of that shit is horrible, all of it is worthwhile. Also, it makes for a good excuse to drink and/or do heavy drugs. For the surprises alone, kids are always worth the trouble.
Unless you asked me to have a fourth. That’s never ever happening. Not even if I get divorced.
My friends and I have debated this (well, more like they ridicule me): On a Hail Mary, when all your wideouts and the defensive backs are gathered in (or near) the end zone, dump it off to a RB. The RB then “bobbles” it while running downfield, never officially completing the process of the catch. Once he gets near the endzone or the DB’s start getting close, he simply bats the ball to an open receiver. WHO SAYS NO TO THIS IDEA?
You have a few flaws in your play design. First of all, you’re assuming that the back could convincingly juggle a ball for 50 yards without anything going awry. You’re also assuming no defender would attempt to tackle him en route. You’re also assuming no defender would attempt to bat the ball away before the back reaches the end zone. You’re not making as many faulty assumptions about your play-call as, say Adam Gase makes about his own. But I think you’re better off just throwing a regular-ass Hail Mary or calling a hook-and-lateral. The latter is really the only decent Hail Mary alternative, and a more effective one than asking Frank Gore to pretend bobble through an asteroid belt of defenders.
I’m a huge fan of Nolan Ryan. Ten years ago my wife bought me a 1980 Astros jersey of his. You know the one: with the various orange stripes. As I am a fan of Nolan but not of the Astros, am I an asshole if I wear that in public? Am I potentially showing support for the vile Astros of 2017-2018?
No. I think the RYAN on the back absolves you of that. It’s not the same as wearing a Jeter jersey. If I see someone wearing one of those, I know that the guy is definitely A) a Yankees fan, and B) an obnoxious asshole. But Nolan Ryan played for four different teams in a career that lasted from 1966 to 1993. He’s a universal baseball icon, which means his shit is always in fashion. It’d be like if you wore an ALCINDOR Bucks jersey. People get the gist pretty quick. And if they don’t, you can always slap a Post-it on the back of your Ryan jersey that says FOR THE RECORD I ONLY LIKE NOLAN RYAN AND THE ASTROS CAN EAT A DICK. That would make everything clear.
How do you deal with the fact that inevitably all your most revered sports heroes will be known to your children only as unbearable TV personalities?
Gabe, I’m glad you asked this question because I’ve had to sit through two weeks in a row of Jonathan Vilma doing color commentary. Jonathan Vilma was a GOD on the field. He was a badass motherfucker at The U, and then got drafted by the Jets and somehow still managed to have a great career, even winning a Super Bowl with the Saints later on. I don’t even give a shit that he was part of Bountygate. I really liked him as a player.
But as a color guy, Vilma is unlistenable. You know how a lot of color guys will, in real time, talk themselves into a shitty call actually being the right one? Vilma just goes right to the end part of that process. He’ll blindly agree with anything that happens out there. He’ll never believe a challenged call should be overturned when the evidence is right there in front of his fucking eyes. It’s ruined my entire opinion of Vilma. I’m ashamed I ever thought highly of the man. We cancel people for racism and crime all the time. But we need to start canceling more people for just sucking. It’s vital for our children’s future.
Because I’ve had to deal with supposedly legendary athletes turning into rock-stupid booth parrots since I was a kid. I didn’t know Frank Gifford actually played football until I was in, like, high school. And Giff was just one of many athletes I knew as shitty TV guys first because I wasn’t around for their playing/coaching careers: Giff, Craig James, Tom Jackson, O.J. Simpson (who was, in accordance with his infamy, actually charming on TV), Tim McCarver, etc. The assembly line has been churning these disgraces out since before my time and it’ll do so long after. The reason Tony Romo and Aqib Talib both stand out as color men is because they went right to the booth and didn’t give the networks time to train them to be replaceable, anodyne fuckheads. Everyone else has to learn at the feet of Joe Theismann for five years first or something. Even Randy Moss blows on TV, and that’s Randy fucking Moss! It ain’t right.
I’m not going to sit here and act like I’ve read the Bible – I haven’t. But my understanding is that this Jesus character died so that the rest of humanity would be forgiven of sins and I guess get into heaven. So my question is, why do people think of Jesus as a huge martyr and super cool guy? Wouldn’t most people in the same position do the same thing? I mean, if you tell me that my death would lead to a slim democratic senate majority for eternity, I’d still probably take that deal.
OK, I haven’t read the Bible either, so you and I are both on shaky ground here. But I think the obvious difference with Jesus is he was NOT most people. He was the literal son of God. Whether you actually believe that or not is beside the point. The point of the story is that Jesus had every opportunity to look around at mankind and go FUCK THIS SHIT, as any sensible deity would have done. He also could have defied his old man when he got the order to die for the sake of our miserable species. Instead, he accepted his fate and tried his best to make humans better by teaching them about love and grace. Mankind, true to form, killed him for it. And he still forgave humans anyway. Not everyone could do that.
So it’s not about sacrificing yourself for what you already know to be a good cause. It’s not the same as going TAKE ME when a gunman is about to murder your wife. It’s about sacrificing yourself—again, when you don’t even have to—when you’re NOT sure it’ll work. When all you is the hope that your example will echo throughout history (which, in the case of Jesus, it very much did), and the FAITH that your old man knew what he was doing when he asked you to endure all this horrible shit. By giving himself up, Jesus conferred his own faith in God and in love onto mankind. Now, mankind took that faith and made a real shit salad out of it. But the story itself is valuable and makes it evident that Jesus wasn’t just hopping up on the cross to make sure the Steelers don’t go undefeated. Although I would have revered him for that.
Is American sports fandom broken due to its size and scope? Across sports and levels, I’m a fan of no fewer than seven different teams across football (NFL and college), basketball (college), baseball (MLB), soccer (Premier League), and hockey (NHL); then there are things like the NBA or MLS that I watch leisurely, but simply don’t have a rooting interest. As a result I don’t pay that much attention to any one particular team, and there is always at least one team in the bunch that is terrible and diminishing returns from an entertainment perspective. Conversely, in most places throughout the world, there is ‘the team’ and nothing more due whatever sport is dominant in that region (usually soccer). Some places like England might pay token attention to rugby or cricket or whatever, but the proportion of English sports fans who pull for one Championship club and nothing more is far higher than the number of American sports fans who only root for one sports team. Isn’t that just the better way to engage in fandom? Your attention isn’t divided, so you can understand the team/sport on a deeper level, and then during the off-season you can actually do other things with your life besides rooting for another team in a different sport.
That’s a good theory, but I’ve observed way too many Bama fans out in the wild to ever buy into it. I myself am essentially a one-team man. I used to root for the Vikings, Twins, T-Wolves, North Stars, and Michigan football. Four of those rooting interests dissolved over time, and one of the teams I just mentioned doesn’t even exist anymore (Michigan football). So now I’m left with just my shitty NFL team and little else. I don’t think I’m alone in surveying the multiple options across the American sports landscape and stupidly putting all of my eggs into one basket. It’s easier, plus it increases the stakes anytime you see that one team play.
Somewhere in my archive are takes about how the advent of fantasy sports and Red Zone and myriad national game telecasts have combined to slowly destroy the traditional model of sports fandom. But I just watched Nebraska fans bully their league commissioner into letting their team go 1-4, and I’ve seen fans voluntarily attend sporting events across the country even after they were TOLD it was potentially lethal. Those fans aren’t there just because they bet a three-team parlay. They’re there because they give as much of a shit as Arsenal fans do, if not more so.
Also, we’re Americans. Gluttony is in our blood. While other, weaker countries may only be able to handle one team, our citizens will never hesitate to practice sports polygamy with frightening zeal. When I cheered for Michigan football back in the day, I was just as insufferable as I am on every Vikings gameday in 2020. I had room on my plate. It can be done. Take it from the chosen one himself:
Our friends from Vermont all fold their TP after the first pass, creating this nasty poopy TP foldover sandwich that they then use for pass #2. I’m all for reduce reuse recycle, but not when it comes to cleaning up poop. Is wiping your butt taught differently based on where you grow up?
I’ve done that when low on toilet paper, but I haven’t been low on toilet paper since bachelorhood. Even during the Great Pandemic TP Shortage of ’20, we had enough on hand. I’ve wiped in a lot of horrifying other ways, though. I’ve wiped with paper towels, and with napkins, and with a rock when I went camping. One time I also blew my nose into a wad of TP, folded it up, and then wiped my ass with it. You’re probably horrified by that, but that’s of no concern to me. It’s shit. It’s already inherently nasty. There’s no ELEGANT way to remove it from your spent asshole. As long as I don’t get any on my fingers, every wiping method is fair game. The Vermont Special is NOT one such method. You’re flying too close to the (brown) sun when you do that.
I’m in my 30s and was asking my mom’s advice on how to deal with the person I’m in the process of selling my house to, and she suggested I be the bigger person. After reflection I decided fuck that, other people being the bigger person is probably what has gotten assholes like Trump ahead in life. Is it time for us all to stop being the bigger person or should I just listen to my mom?
I’m not sure because I don’t know what your exact beef is with your prospective buyer. In general, I’d pull the Michelle Obama and tell you to be the bigger person, because being the bigger person is rewarding in its own right. Like, none of the assholes currently polluting the system strike me as HAPPY people, you know? Their lives are garbage and everyone hates them. It’s not worth “winning” in life if all your fuckery gets you ahead and but still leaves you miserable and unsatisfied. You have to learn to take your losses and derive joy from shit other than endless power struggles.
That said, don’t be a fucking doormat. Michelle Obama’s husband was a doormat for a lot of his presidency. He shouldn’t have taken the high road. He should have acknowledged that he was dealing with shitty people and treated them like the scum that they were and still are to this day. That’s when taking the high road is just a cheap excuse for surrendering on important matters. So if your buyer is suing you for some made-up reason, or trying to go back on their initial offer on the house, you’re right to say FUCK THAT. Go and beat him to death with a fucking bat. That’s what Jesus would have said to do.
So my wife is pregnant with our first. One of the lesser concerns but still omnipresent is how do I shape my progeny’s musical tastes? I know most likely it will be a fool’s errand and whatever the kids are listening to in 2034 will sound to me what Limp Bizkit sounded like to my parents – and sounds like to me know. That being said, I’d still like to give him some base in terms of essential listening.
You can play regular music for young kids. This was a mistake we made with our first kid, where we assumed that kids could ONLY listen to kiddie music—Laurie Berkner, Justin Roberts, The Wiggles, etc.—and nothing else. Then our daughter got into straight-up pop and we never bothered with any of that Barney music again. I don’t even care about explicit material anymore. I used to be like, “Now girl, please only listen to the radio edit of ‘Starships’!” I stopped doing that a long, long time ago. If these kids wanna listen to “WAP,” I don’t give a shit. They hear daddy say FUCK every six seconds when he’s podcasting in the office. No sense in hiding them from the bluer sides of our fair language.
I haven’t tried forcing my musical taste on my kids. I have two reasons for this. One, I have no faith it’ll work. Two, I’ve already had people shit on my favorite bands and I don’t care to have my own kids do it, too. Sometimes the kids like bands my wife and I like, The Struts being the foremost example. But they’ve mainly cultivated tastes of their own in the ensuing years. I’ve discovered a lot of songs thanks to them. Like “Stunnin’” by Curtis Waters! I never heard that before the eight-year-old played it for me. And who can argue with the lyrics?
Hey, good pussy sound like pasta
I got young dick, call the pastor
She give good brain, she a master
Little Einstein, bitch, I’ma blast off
The boy knows true poetry when he hears it.
Email of the week!
Throughout the last year my wife had radiotherapy and chemotherapy for her cancer treatment (wait come back!). She’s fine now, which reinforces my annoyingly relentless optimism and faith in humanity.
Anyway for a year she had a colostomy bag, and we dealt with it. Fairly early on in the arrangement, we had some friends with young kids who came over. After one couple left with a two-year-old left, I went to the toilet, and went off on a rant about how unacceptable it is for parents to think it’s ok to leave a bag of human shit in the toilet bin like it’s nothing.
Yesterday my wife admitted it was hers. Really funny. I send this not to mock my wife, but to encourage everyone to embrace how shit life is at the moment, and always try to see the positives.
When life gives you shit…