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Funbag

Would You Eat Your Chocolate Hand?

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 Batman, again… voting on the weather, bedding, Jesus, and more.

Your letters:

Brian:

You wake up tomorrow with a chocolate hand. Your hand operates EXACTLY like a regular hand, but it’s chocolate. You can wash your chocolate hand, jerk off with your chocolate hand, type with your chocolate hand. It’s exactly the same as a flesh hand. But, if you eat your chocolate hand, it won’t grow back, which in this asinine scenario, you somehow know. You’d be left without a hand. How long before you eat your chocolate hand? I think I would not make it through a single rush hour. 

You won’t believe me but I would pass your little Marshmallow Test. I wouldn’t eat my chocohand. I can still eat other chocolate, right? Then why eat my hand? Also, against all odds, I have become VERY good at quitting things in my 40s. I gave up alcohol almost four years ago and I know I’ll never drink again. I gave up biting my nails and have the same confidence. I got over my loss of smell and don’t think twice about it anymore. I’m not always good in the willpower department, but once I get rolling on abstinence, there comes a point where certainty kicks in for me. Given that I need my hands to work, to eat, to hug my family, to use my phone, and all those other good things, I know I’d resist the temptation to eat my left hand. It’s too vital, and I’m too wily to give into temptation. I’m not ALL sitcom dad, you know. I do have a brain in my head.

But will it melt? Would it break upon the slightest contact? Then my certainty would waver.

Shane:

In The Batman, Bruce Wayne has to figure out a puzzle. Instead of using a whiteboard (he’s a billionaire) or a blank wall in his mansion (once again, he’s a billionaire), he spray paints his floor to “connect the dots.” Unless he has a ladder or staircase nearby, this doesn’t make sense in order to view the big picture. I get that this was done to get a cool top down visual for the movie, but it made no sense why Bruce would do this, and that’s when I turned off the movie for good. Any “fuck this this, I’m out” bits for you regarding media?

Nothing Bruce Wayne does makes sense. He’s a fucking freak. That’s the point of the Batman character. Bruce Wayne isn’t a freak like actual billionaires are, and perhaps it would make for a better movie if he were (DISCLOSURE: I liked The Batman, even though I and the rest of the free world believed it was a good 40 minutes too long). But he’s a traumatized man who has dedicated his entire adult life to entertaining his most grandiose delusions, and he’s got the time and resources to do it. Hence, the spray-painted floor. He thinks he’s different from the rest of mankind, even though he’s confronted time and again with evidence that he isn’t.

In that movie’s best scene (Shane turned it off before getting there), Paul Dano in essence says to Pattzman, You’re the luckiest goddamn orphan in the world, because everyone feels bad for you while not giving half a fuck about the rest of us. There’s a now whole genre of fanboy movies that invert the formula by daring to be critical of the hero’s motivations, so much so that it IS the formula now. But The Batman handles it about as well as you can ask for. I wish they let poor Bruce Wayne fuck, gamble, and do other billionaire playboy shit. But alas, brooding sad guy is what you get every time now. I was willing to tolerate all that, mostly because the car-chase sequence is top shelf.

As for myself, I’ve walked out of exactly one movie in my life, and that was Big Daddy starring Adam Sandler. And I was 23 when I saw that piece of shit. I should have eaten up every hackneyed joke and bullshit cliché in it. Not so. Once it pivoted to a courtroom dramedy, I was gone. I also bailed on The Americans for a stretch when they refused to kill off Pastor Tim, then came back in time to watch that series wrap up cleanly. Other shows have not gotten a reprieve from me, like Better Call Saul. I heard they finally get to the crime shit on BCS, but do you ever have to spend a LOT of time inside a New Mexico law office before they get there. And, of course, I never watch NFL pregame shows anymore. And I only watch one postgame show, and that’s NFL GameDay highlights, and I don’t watch that because I have a mancrush on Chris Rose.

I also ditched AMC’s The Killing after one season, as did everyone else. When you don’t give the audience the goods, you deserve to pay for it.

Andrew:

What if we could vote on the weather?? On Sundays, every adult on Earth fills out a ballot for the next week’s weather in their designated Weather Zone, then they’re tallied up and averaged out by Mother Earth’s secretary. Would this save California from eternal drought, or would it just be 75 and sunny every day and everywhere until we all died of starvation? 

You’ve seen how people vote. We’d be FUCKED. I spent the bulk of my adulthood watching shitty election returns and reading the jacket copy for What’s The Matter With Kansas? and doing all sorts of other Concerned Liberal things. But I’m old enough now to know that people will gleefully vote against their own best interests—both short- and long-term—for a sailor’s knot of reasons including socialization, religion, racism, contrarianism, selective memory, sexism, idiocy, misinformation, and name recognition. I could look even deeper into all of that, but honestly, there’s no fucking point. I can only control what other people do so much.

This is why, if we put weather to a vote, somehow there’d be a hurricane every six days. I trust Mother Nature more than I do the rest of you pricks.

Matt:

I realize this isn’t a topical sports take, I just email you whenever I get ideas or questions. Anyway, how awesome would it be if the NCAA basketball tourney expanded to 128 teams? You could have an entire first week of first round games (16 games per day X 4 days) and then from the second round on, the scheduling would essentially mimic what we’re already doing (16 games X 2 days, then 8 games X 2 days, etc). In general I’m against diluting the sports product but in this case, I think this would actually enhance sports. Two of the very best days of the sports year are the opening round of the tourney when there are literally multiple games from noon until after midnight and the prospect of crazy upsets (St. Peter’s beating Kentucky for example). This would simply add a few more days of sports bliss to the calendar. What do you think?

I’ve always hated the idea of tourney expansion and, to this day, resent the existence of the First Four games even though they’ve been around for years now. But Matt makes a good point. Early tourney games are always more fun than subsequent rounds (with exceptions like the UNC/Duke national semifinal last month), so why not add more of them? The best argument against this is that it would ruin the regular season, but I gave up on watching regular season college basketball when I was, like, 22. I don’t REALLY give a shit if some asshole team had a great regular season only to get bounced in the susquefinal round. Tough titty, Michigan State. Have your shit together next time.

Keep in mind that, if/when they actually do expand the tourney to 128 teams, I’ll absolutely write a post excoriating the decision, right before the first gonzo weekend happens and I forget everything I said in that post.

Dan:

My girlfriend and I have been together for something like eight years now. As long as we’ve been together, she’s been against having a top sheet in the bed. To me, I see having the top sheet between my sweaty body and the comforter as a necessity, but I can’t really articulate why. I’m temperamental about sleep-time temperature, and you’d think adding an additional layer would add heat, but I don’t think that’s the case. Can you help me communicate why having the top sheet should be required? I should add that we’re not psychos and of course use a fitted sheet.

You came to the wrong place amigo, because I’ve been anti–top sheet my entire life. I fucking hate the top sheet. This has been an argument that the Defector staff, along with the greater internet, has had many, many times over the past few years. So I won’t get all huffy one way or another. All I’ll say is that I’m a restless sleeper, which means that having more that one layer of bed linens is just asking for me to wake up with at least one of those layers balled up and resting comfortably inside my ass crack. I converted to comforters in college (no duvet cover until my I met my wife and she told me I was disgusting for this; true love ensued) and will never go back. Ever. And the sheet/blanket/bedspread arrangement? Get right the fuck out with that. This isn’t a Civil War-era bed and breakfast.

While we’re on the subject, lemme just make a side complaint. To this day, I still stay in hotels that don’t use a fitted sheet. They’ll use a plain sheet instead, tucking it under the mattress so tightly it’s like they’re trying to hide a cadaver. Then what happens when I get into the bed? I pull the sheets away to get some breathing room, the bottom sheet instantly comes untucked, and then I wake up on a bare mattress pad. Bullshit. Total cheapass bullshit. I don’t care if you’re a hotel or my grandpappy, if you try to pass off a regular sheet as a fitted sheet, we’ll have words.

Steve:

I truly hate The Eagles (the band, not the team – but I’m not crazy about them). I have a serious animosity towards them and flat out refuse to ever listen to any of their music. I have actually left places or stepped outside when their songs have played. So my question to you, if you were to try and focus all of your anger towards one singular entity, what would it be?

I already do, and it’s Democratic Party leadership. No one on earth works harder to explain why doing nothing is the right course of action. And I’m a dad, mind you. Making excuses is my lifeblood. I have NOTHING on the Jen Psakis of the world. They’re masters of the form. Not only will they exhaust all of their time, energy, and resources to defend their cowardice, but then they’ll call YOU the asshole for daring to suggest that things can be done. Because governing is hard, you see. You little people simply don’t get it. Stop asking for the world and get over yourselves. I hope they choke on my shit. Does that answer your question?

Matt:

At what age do you think most people realize or discover that Christ was not Jesus’s surname?

It’s not? Well, shit. I guess his real last name was Of Nazareth, then. We should bring back last names like that. Instead of figuring out who gets whose last name after marrying, or what last name a kid should have, we just go back to old times and name people shit like Dan Of Philadelphia instead. Much simpler. Fewer arguments. Plus I’ll know who to avoid by their name alone.

Earl:

I noticed someone eating potato chips in the stands at a game and I cannot help but think what a complete waste of money and effort. You’re surrounded by oodles of different food options and the one thing you pick is a small bag of chips? I can sit at home and eat the same thing.

You’d be shocked at how often I, a person who eats pretty much everything, have been reduced to ordering a sad bag of chips for an entire meal. This is a more common problem for the vegetarians of the world, but I’ve also gone to games, airports, and other venues expecting a wide variety of food offerings only to be greeted with two concession stands that sell only chips, popcorn, and mule jerky. Just a devastating moment. And some places only serve plain chips as a side instead of fries, which is criminal. I bet they don’t even use fitted sheets in the break room!

HALFTIME!

John:

When you’re eating crab, do you ever wonder if that crab had ever feasted on a drowned human?

No but that wouldn’t stop me from getting after it. If a crab wants to eat my dead body after the Scungilli crime family has dumped it into the river, he can have at it. I won’t complain. That’s just nature taking its course. YOU will be eaten by other organisms when you die: bugs, worms, bacteria, etc. None of that is horrifying. It’s just the Earth reclaiming you. I came to terms with that prospect long ago and I welcome it. Also, the animals deserve some payback.

By the way, I’ve lived in Maryland for nearly two decades now, longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life, and I have cultivated exactly zero loyalty to this state EXCEPT for the crab thing. Whenever I see “Maryland crab cakes” on a menu and we’re not in Maryland? I burn that menu in front of the maitre d’. You guys have SOME balls trying to pass that sawdust off as proper crab.

Chris:

What is your hand washing regimen, especially in winter? You can’t be washing every time, or your hands would be chapped as all get out. I’m of the ilk that if you are not a) making dinner immediately after or b) not planning to touch something that would be ‘gross’ like a newborn baby or a sensitive area (either yours or someone else’s), you are probably not washing every time.

This is where I confess that I stopped doing the 20 while washing my hands over a year ago. I was good little boy for most of the pandemic, washing for the full 20 every time I so much as touched a light switch, singing the chorus to “Miss Jackson” to myself to tick off the seconds. No longer. I’m right back to where I was before the pandemic. I wash after I get home from being out, after taking a dump (but not always after a piss at home, depending upon how lazy I feel), after I eat, and if my hands feel grubby in general. And even then, I’m not all that diligent about it. Sometimes I squirt the soap into my hand and then rinse it off without even bothering to lather. That still counts as a full wash for me. Truly a wonder how I managed to get COVID a month and a half ago.

Josh:

Why are all prescription drug commercials so deeply weird? And why are they all so deeply weird in the same ways? Do the people that create these really think other human beings act that way? Have they ever interacted with another person? Have they ever seen another person?

As always, the answer is because they work. Whether or not a Humira ad follows Dogme 95 rules and accurately depicts real life has no bearing on whether or not it motivates customers to buy it. So long as the ad tells people what the med does (“oh shit it stops Crohn’s disease from fucking with me! I need that!”) and also covers all mandatory legal copy, it’s done its job.

One of the reasons I got into advertising at the beginning of my career, aside from the fact that I needed a job, was because I loved funny ads like the old Staples spots and thought that every ad agency and every company agreed that the more people liked your ad, the better that ad was. This is wrong. Marketers have a shitload of research—all of which comes in PowerPoint deck form and all of which I had to read—showing that ads influence customers in 500 different ways. Annoying ads work because they stick in your craw, while funny ads sometimes fail because you liked the ad but weren’t interested in buying the product as a result of the little chuckle it gave you. I wish that weren’t the case, but HEAD ON! APPLY DIRECTLY TO FOREHEAD! HEAD ON! APPLY DIRECTLY TO FOREHEAD!

Mike:

Does the Magary family camp? Not backpack, but car camp? I want the Drew tips and tricks. I’d offer mine, but no one would give a shit because I don’t write the Funbag. 

I have never camped with my kids. Not even out in the backyard (what if we get robbed?). My wife abhors the idea, and I myself am not exactly motivated to change her mind. I’m too old and love sleeping in my bed too much. I am not the hardy sort. If there’s ever a nuclear apocalypse, I’d instantly be the weak link among the survivors. My cachet as a famous blogger would be rendered instantly worthless. Everyone would hate me.

I have been on exactly one extended camping trip in my lifetime. I was 15 and went camping for a week in Northern Wisconsin as part of a special Voyagers program my summer camp offered. We canoed across lakes, portaged our canoes over land, hung bear bags, slept in tents, all that shit. I definitely complained at length during that trip. I was tired. I was covered in 58,000 skeeter bites. I was sick of eating Kraft mac and cheese out of a tin cup. I didn’t enjoy having to spend 10 hours inside a tent during the day, playing shitty card games because it was raining outside. And I was hungry. One time, during a portage, we were all exhausted and passed by another group grilling steaks that smelled so fucking good we all wanted to die. After that happened, none of us could agree on if they were real people grilling real steaks, or if we had hallucinated the whole thing in a fit of collective delirium.

But I never forgot that trip. I remember it like it was a week ago. That’s why you go camping. Even the worst parts of the trip remain indelible, and I’m at the age now where you have to make a concerted effort to eschew the comforts of home to go out and experience indelible things. So sometimes I want to camp. I read books about castaways and mountaineers and other tough mudders who spent extended time out in the wild and came back with unforgettable tales. Sometimes I want that for myself. Then I remember that I’d have to sleep on the ground, and then I go buy concert tickets instead. There’s more than one way to make a memory.

Philip:

I just got laid off with three months’ pay from the job. I have a month before my wife gives birth. If you were me what would be one thing you’d make sure to do during your “Summer of Drew”?

Three months’ pay sounds like a nice cushion until you start hunting around for a new gig. Once you do, suddenly that severance package—which is definitely a generous one and one that everyone deserves—feels like a bomb about to go off. This is true especially if you have a baby coming, because babies aren’t cheap and because cans of formula are currently going for like $500 on eBay. The pressure comes back really fucking fast once you’ve left a job. That’s what happened when I got laid off (even when I had no kids!), and it’s what happened to everyone else I know who lost their job. Finding a new one can take a year, and often longer.

But that’s a lot of unwanted goth coming your way, and there’s nothing worse than unwanted goth forced upon you. So, Philip, what I would suggest is that you use a portion of those three months, front-loaded, for fucking about. Make that your “vacation” time before you get start job-hunting, which always becomes a full-time job in and of itself. Mark off the next two/three weeks to travel, binge-watch awful shows, party to excess, and indulge every last impulse. That way, you’ll get a miniature Summer of Philip that you can enjoy without angst, because you know you left yourself a decent cushion to get a head start on landing a new job. It’ll chill your brain out. Then you can go to Vegas and blow all your shit at the roulette wheel without any burgeoning guilt.

Lexa:

Is Shohei Ohtani—who hits a lot of home runs, and strikes out a lot—the only type of pitcher/hitter teams would allow? In most cases, his at-bats end with him trotting the bases or walking to the dugout (hits, BBs, and HBPs, where he’d have to run the bases, in his career add up to 29.1% of at bats vs. 41.7% for this season’s top hitter by average). If a pitcher hits for a high average but no power and is a team’s best arm, would they let him hit? How good would he have to be as a hitter for them to do so? .350? .400?

I don’t know what the research says about hit-for-average batters getting hurt more often than sluggers. It would stand to reason that the more baserunning you do, the more likely you are to get hurt. HOWEVER, sluggers get hurt too; from playing out in the field, from wear and tear from the enormous torque they generate on every swing, and from falling over while drunk in spring training. I also know that the Angels just acquiesced to Ohtani by letting him hit anytime he pleases, rather than forcing him to rest from hitting right after one of his starts. This is because the Angels understand, apparently later than the rest of us, that Ohtani is special, and that he knows his own body much better than the average baseball player does. Also, letting him do whatever he wants is fucking awesome, which is why any smart MLB team (there are roughly six of them) would let any other Ohtani of any style do likewise. I’m sick of being trained like a dog to wince anytime a baseball player plays too much baseball. Fuck it all.

Email of the week!

Jim:

Even as a former rock music fan, you must know that lacking Rush (note the proper spelling) in your listening rotation makes one, no, makes YOU an unsophisticated rube. Sorry but the truth hurts. Rush is the king of all rock bands. It has a history; it has an unmatched provenance. It has a variety of awesomeness despite being clearly a Canadian rock band. To even hear the beguiling sound of a live Distant Early Warning intro is to open ever so slightly the door to eternity. Admit it, you erred. You, sir, are wrong. Wrong. Wrong. What say you?

I see what you did there. You got me, Jim. Freeze this moment a little bit longer.