Skip to contents
Funbag

You Will Never Go To Space

A Long March 5 rocket carrying China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe launches from the Wenchang Space Center on China's southern Hainan Island on November 24, 2020, on a mission to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades. - (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
STR/AFP via Getty Images

Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s novel, Point B, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about midlife crises, handwriting, playing card suits, boner strength, and more.


Before we get into this week’s Funbag, give a round of applause to Clover Hope for stepping in and hosting last week, won’t you? That was fun. Alas, you’re back and stuck with ME again. Not an ideal situation for you, dear reader. But take my hand and we’ll ride out my bullshit as best we can. Together.

Your letters:

Christian:

Now that regular citizens can sign up for journeys into space, what percentage of the Defector subscriber base do you think will wind up in zero gravity at some point in their lives? Will this really be a thing in the near future, or just a rich person’s circle-jerk?

None of us are going to space in our lives. They just announced the manifest for the first private SpaceX mission, which includes four civilians. One of them, of course, is some asshole billionaire who funded the whole thing. Another one won a big drawing. Another one was on the shortlist to be a professional astronaut, which is like how everyone on The Voice already has a dormant recording contract before they even make the show. And the last one was asked personally by the billionaire to come along. So unless you’re already qualified, or you’re lucky in the way a Powerball winner is lucky, or you’re a billionaire, or a billionaire thinks you’d make a noble addition to the crew, you’re SOL. This is for the best, because all of those passengers are probably gonna die on the maiden voyage when Elon Musk tries to time the rocket launch to exactly 4:20 p.m. in the middle of a fucking hurricane.

I’d like to go to space. I really would. If you told me I could go to space safely and for free, I’d fucking SPRINT to the launching pad. I wanna be up there in the void, see Earth from a god’s eye vantage point, watch the rest of the cosmos swirling around, and then return back to Earth an alien. I want all of that. I want the bigness of existence to smash me in the head. I wanna go to the place that I read and dream about almost as often as I read and dream about the terrestrial. I wanna EXPLORE. That’s what people were born to do. It’s what you’re biologically equipped for.  Also, I’m used to being stuck in a confined space for extended stretches now, so I can deal with the claustrophobia of a Virgin Galactic DC-4. So long as they have decent WiFi, I’m good.

Alas, no such experience awaits me or you. It ain’t right. I demand a rich person strap me to a rocket and blast me into the sun. I’ve EARNED that right.

Ian:

Suppose Marty McFly takes his mother up on her offer in 1955. Does he disappear in the act or immediately after?

Because it’s a perfect movie, Back to the Future addresses this question in the most economical way possible. Remember, Mrs. McFly DOES kiss her son when he travels back to 1955. But the second it happens, she gets totally weirded out and recoils from him, because she instinctively feels like kissing Calvin Klein is wrong. That moment cuts off any avenue for the plot to detour into Marty fucking his mother outright. A shame.

But let’s say Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale sucked at their jobs and left that hole in the storyline unpatched. I’ll tell you what happens if Marty bangs his old lady. He doesn’t disappear. He doesn’t erase himself from history. Mrs. McFly still goes on to marry George and they still have a family, Marty included. Then, when Marty goes through puberty, Mrs. McFly realizes that he’s the guy she nailed three decades prior, and then she becomes a HUGE cocaine addict to avoid dealing with the truth. Then the family falls apart and Marty becomes a homeless vagrant who is stabbed to death by Patrick Bateman. Fin.

Devin:

What proportion of the people that are against making DC or Puerto Rico a state are against it because they like 50 as a nice round number? Obviously many are against it because they don’t want to give Dems an edge in the senate, but I think if there were currently 49 states, DC would have more public support to push the overall number to an aesthetically-pleasing 50. Are we subconsciously controlled by Big Numerology?

Oh yeah, that plays a role in how people think about it, even if it’s a small one. It’s mostly a cover for the somehow dumber motive Devin just mentioned up above, but I like round numbers as much as everyone else does. I hate the 17-game NFL season. I want an even amount of Oreos in every package. And the idea of having 51 or even 52 states makes my OCD itch.

But well … it’s never a good thing when the world accommodates a white guy’s need for perfect symmetry now, is it? Giving D.C. statehood is obviously the right thing to do (the Puerto Rico statehood debate is far more complicated, particularly among Puerto Ricans). And pickup truck owners have already ruined the 50-star flag anyway. So here are some easy ways to fix the flag after admitting D.C. and/or Puerto Rico:

  1. Just add the extra stars. FUN FACT: The stars-and-stripes flag has gone through 27 different iterations as the number of states have grown throughout the nation’s history. Look at the 43-star one. It’s DEEPLY unsatisfying. I wanna burn it strictly for tidiness’s sake. But you only need to look at the 45-star variant to see an easy way to lay out an odd number of states in a pleasing manner.
  2. Add a 14th stripe. I don’t even remember what the stripes represent, so just add a white one to the bottom for D.C.’s sake. Only D.C. will notice.
  3. Leave it. Just do the Big Ten thing where you pretend numbers aren’t real.
  4. Change the flag entirely. No stripes. No stars. Just a tasteful silhouette of Drexl from True Romance.

People are way too invested in the American flag. Again, this is a flag that’s changed DOZENS of times over the course of history, and many shitbags still swear by the snake flag anyway. Yet the Charlie Daniels division of the American population acts like the current iteration of the flag is the only one that could ever exist. I say fuck that. We should swap out flags every year AND for all road games. Think of all the merch revenue we could generate.

Michael:

In a Groundhog Day situation, what city or other location would you choose to wake up in, repeating the same day forever?

Some extremely cushy and secluded beach town in Southern California. If I wanna have a beach day like I’m in the tropics, I can do that. If I wanna go skiing, I can get up at the crack of ass and drive to Big Bear. I can even drive to Vegas and lose all my money again, and again, and again. I know I just gave you the same insufferable sales pitch that every Californian makes on behalf of their state, but they make it for a reason. If I’m living the same day over and over, I need a LOT of different options at my disposal when it comes to climate, people, activities, and food. If I pick some idyllic Caribbean paradise like Turks and Caicos, I guarantee you I would go insane by the fourth week.

Normal American life has ruined me for actual relaxation. I need to be productive. I know this is true because I just got back from vacation and did the whole parenting thing where every day of the vacation had to have a PLAN. Today we’re gonna go to town! Tomorrow we’re gonna rent bikes! You kids won’t be just sitting around all week! You’re gonna visit a tobacco farm and LEARN! All of those neuroses are now baked into my system. It’s really fucking annoying. In fact, lemme change my answer to Michael’s question. I’d like to wake up every day alone on the moon. With no spacesuit. Elon can make it happen for me.

Scott:

I have noticed that anything my (much) younger colleagues have to write by hand is essentially indecipherable. Is it possible that in the age of “devices” we could see the emergence of something like “manual illiteracy?”

No. My own handwriting is abysmal and I didn’t grow up in the Internet Age, so I can’t use that as an excuse. Conversely, my children all have better handwriting than me, even though they have laptops at the disposal for any given assignment. They still teach proper handwriting in pre-school and in elementary school, because it’s a vital function that has an effect on everything else you learn afterward. There’s science and whatnot to back that up. I’m not just pulling that out of my asshole, the way I do with every other question here.

I know that the pandemic has forced a lot of virtual schools to abandon physical writing assignments (this is why my youngest kid, now in third grade, hasn’t learned cursive yet). But once we hit The After and everyone is all the way back in school, they’re gonna go back to making schoolchildren trace letters and fill in worksheets and all of that tedious garbage. The only way to properly develop a kid’s intellect is by making them do things they fucking hate. Every parent and government official knows this. Now, lemme take my family on another vacation and force them to write an essay on the train museum I dragged them to.

Lexa:

Do you rank the card suits from best to worst in your head? Mine: 1. Spades 2. Diamonds 3. Hearts 4. Clubs. No one likes clubs.

I have never ranked them in my head, but I can now! Let’s do it.

  1. Hearts
  2. Spades
  3. Clubs
  4. Diamonds

When I was in college, a friend taught me how to play hearts. I don’t know how to play that game anymore. I also never learned spades. I feel AWFUL about it.

Adam:

How is it that no professional athletes have started wearing a mask during games? Back in the day Rip Hamilton just started wearing one of those sweaty clear facemasks and that became his whole image.

Because no one forced them to. Rip Hamilton wore his serial killer mask because he had broken his nose twice before, and he only stuck with the mask after that because it became a good-luck charm for him and the Pistons. You’d think other athletes would take masking up into their own hands, given how picky they are about what they eat/drink/inject. But athletes are stupid, and COVID masks are really fucking hot. So if your league isn’t mandating them on the field or on the court, and the competition is breathing freely, you can see how no player is rushing to mask up. Unless they’re facing the Vancouver Canucks. If I was playing the Canucks, I’d wear an iron lung.

By the way, my sons both have played youth sports during the pandemic and worn masks on the field. You can get away (kinda) with mask-free play when you’re the NFL and you’ve hoarded all the tests and all the remdesivir. Most youth sports leagues don’t have those kind of resources at their disposal, except for like Mike Lupica’s kids’ travel team or whatever.

Ralph:

What is the first unexplained mystery/event (Bigfoot, loch ness monster, etc) you would demand answers/evidence for when you become President? I, for one, would finally like to know which sea monsters we have pictures of.

I’d want Lincoln’s ghost brought before me. I know they keep that ghost hidden in an undisclosed holding facility, but it’s well past time that I got to see Dead Lincoln with my own eyes. I’m sick of OTHER people seeing ghosts and not me. It’s total horseshit.

Also, even though it’s clear now that government officials, including all of our presidents, know all about aliens, they’ve done an absolutely horrible job of SELLING our alien discoveries to the general public. So if Old Man Biden keels over and I somehow end up in the Oval Office, I’m getting all of the relevant UFO intel and dissected alien cadavers, and I’m giving a special address to the nation to say, “Yes yes I know I need to cancel all student debt BUT FIRST ALL OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS NEED TO SEE THIS SHIT AND TALK ABOUT IT.” I would give this address every single night until Americans are talking about aliens to my satisfaction.

HALFTIME!

Howard:

There’s all this talk about how Roger Goodell is the most powerful man in sports. Well, is he powerful enough to have someone killed and make it look like an accident with it never getting back to him?

Yes.

JJ:

Why can’t you just put the pasta in at the beginning and cook it while the water is boiling? Why do I have to bring the water to a boil first? Wouldn’t it save everyone time to just cook it all together? The pasta would still be in warm, near-boiling water, and cook, wouldn’t it? 

Don’t do that. Take it from someone who attempted this as a bachelor: It doesn’t work out the way you think it will. When you boil the water and the pasta together, the outside of the pasta overcooks before the inside cooks at all. The result is a bowl of pasta that tastes likes it’s been marinating in a goldfish bowl, and you probably saved a grand total of five minutes for it. Just wait. Have a glass of wine while you watch the water come to a boil. It’s all good.

Andy:

About eight years ago, I was alone in my apartment taking a big, stinky shit. As I stood up, one of the lenses in my glasses spontaneously popped out of the frames and fell into the toilet, straight into the giant pile of my own shit. This created a crisis for me. I am very blind and, at the time, only had one pair of glasses. I either had to fish the lens out of my own feces or not be able to basically until I could procure new glasses, which could take weeks. I used every cleaner in my house on that lens at least three times but was still terrified I would get pink eye (or worse). I was so ashamed that I didn’t tell anyone that story for weeks. 

You should not be ashamed that you got doodoo on your poor lens. That could have happened to anyone. Also, God is a naughty trickster who enjoys trolling ordinary people in this fashion on a routine basis. It’s how God gets off. But you ventured into the belly of the beast (the beast being your own poop), rescued the lens, and then cleaned it thoroughly. You did what needed to be done, so you should be PROUD of your handiwork rather than guilty over it.

I guarantee you that I endanger my own eyes with stray fecal matter FAR more often than you did that one little time. I’ll scratch my eye after shitting but before washing my hands. I don’t try to do this. It just happens. I do many filthy, awful things without thinking them out beforehand. You, dear Andy, are blessed with a greater situational awareness. Chin up.

Patrick:

I am sitting here in bed suffering the side effects of the second Covid-19 vaccination dose. I expected it and I am fine with one or two days of suffering to be vaccinated. In a fever dream, I thought about what I would be willing to endure to prevent a larger complication in my body. A terrible flu for a month to guarantee never having cancer? My hallucinating brain found that quite reasonable. What are you willing to endure in an attempt to prevent a larger bodily disease/virus/malady?

I would have a terrible flu for a YEAR to avoid all cancer. I know enough about cancer to know I want no part of it, ever. Every snotted-up tissue would be worth not having malignant polyps grow inside my kidneys, my lungs, and my testicles. Gimme ALL the flu. Feed the flu spores directly into my waiting rectum with a spoon. I already know I’ll be getting a bargain.

I had no side effects from my first dose of the vaccine. I felt a little queasy the rest of the day, but that was it. I don’t even think the vaccine was the direct cause of that light nausea. I think I was so insanely fucking psyched for my first dose that my entire system just went apeshit.

I get my second dose two days from now. If it doesn’t leave me shivering under a weighted blanket for 48 hours, I’ll be strangely let down. I’m ready for the vaccine to hurt me.

Ben:

If every man on earth had a stiffy at the same time and the combined power was used to move an object, what is the heaviest said object that could be moved? Pretend you could line up all men in one spot to poke/move one object. Mine individually could move a pebble, let’s say. Forty grams. So would three billion men be able to move 264554715ish pounds or, say, a car? Semi? Double wide? House? Madison Square Garden? A Nimitz Class aircraft carrier? Something heavier?

I’m trying to sort out the logistics of lining up 3,000,000,000 men to poke an aircraft carrier in unison with their boners. The carrier is too small for all of those boners to push it simultaneously, you know? What we would need for your hypothetical is some kind of erection tokamak that harnesses the ENERGY of those boners, without me having to physically coordinate all of them.

But that ruins the fun of your question. If I want the cumulative power of 3,000,000,000 hip thrusts, I can just buy one of those really big Caterpillar excavators or something. My job here though, as I see it, is to assemble a boner collider using the original parts, pun intended. Let’s say all those boners could move a brontosaurus. That’s more fun. Brontosaurus is not gonna be happy with this idea at ALL.

Kathleen:

Is there an established musician or band that you generally dislike but they have ONE song that you really love? These people aren’t one hit wonders, they are popular performers, but they have only done one song that you personally like and the rest of their stuff is Nah for you.

There is! I don’t like Elton John … EXCEPT:

The “OOH HOO! Nobody knows it!” part always makes me happy. Does this song make up for “Benny and the Jets”? No. But I’ll allow Elton John to continue to exist. I get mad when I like a song by an artist I can’t usually stand. I don’t wanna like ANY Smashing Pumpkins song, but then the opening chords of “Cherub Rock” hit and I have to fight myself.

Ryan:

Here I am. Fortysomething. Terrified equally of my impending doom and the sheer nothingness of consequence I’ve left in my wake besides too many recyclables in the wrong trash bin. I’ve made mistakes, sure. But I have a mortgage, a job, etc. Hell I even had enough cash to throw some at a shit sports website (slightly-better-with-Wags addition). But I’m bringing nothing to the table humanitywise. Am I… supposed to be doing something? I feel like someone forgot to tell me what that was. 

It sounds as if you lack purpose. In which case, I’d love to talk to you about accepting Jesus as your lord and savior…

In all seriousness, you’re going through a standard midlife crisis. The fact that we’re still in a pandemic only exacerbates that feeling of rudderlessness. I also feel useless at times. Our own Dan McQuade did volunteer work before and during the pandemic so he could feel like he was adding some good to the world. I have not done likewise, and I feel like a selfish asshole because of it. I am a selfish asshole in many ways. I merrily go about my suburban existence, throwing out trash and burning gas and passively contributing to the end of mankind. But I don’t murder anyone, so I have that on my side. Maybe that’s as much as I can expect for myself.

As for you, it’s OK to not expect so much of yourself. Guys are conditioned to Achieve Greatness, and the need to achieve that greatness becomes more acute when you hit 40 and suddenly you have more life behind you than ahead of you. WHY HAVEN’T YOU WRITTEN KING LEAR YET YOU LAZY SHITHEEL?!

But the cultural prerequisites for greatness far exceed what you, personally, should strive for. You’re not Gandhi and you’re not Steve Jobs, but not everyone has to be. If you’re doing well and you’re doing right by your friends and family, you’re already contributing more to society than a SHITLOAD of other people are. It’s true! You know how many awful people there are out there? Just don’t be one of them and you’re already ahead.

Also, you’re allowed to live well. To drink nice drinks. To eat a fancy meal if you have the scratch. You don’t have to feel guilty or unproductive about those things. It’s okay to have a good day even if the world hasn’t had one. You have daily access to evidence that the world is a miserable place. But you’re allowed to define your own world on your terms, especially if you’re tearing into a ribeye. Focus on just what you really want for yourself, and suddenly your goals become clearer.

This is not always easy. No one told you what you were supposed to do with your life because it’s on you to figure that shit out. But again, the key is to not get too macro about it. Think smaller and then you’ll be happier with whatever modest accomplishments you tally. For example, I learned to make pasta during the pandemic. Felt fucking GREAT. I am Italian now. Everyone says it. They go EY THAT’S-A MONSIGNOR DREWINI! If I die with only that to my name, I can live with it.

Anthony:

Which Drew brother’s NCAA tournament career would you rather have, Bryce or Scott’s?

Scott. Bryce Drew may have a head coaching gig of his own at a small college, but he’s still really just a Guy. I’d rather be the coach who won a title just last night and will coast on that shit for the rest of his life.

Arron:

At the moment I’m currently making bolognese and it struck me as very similar to chili… Ground beef, onions, spices, alcohol, tomatoes, slowly simmering for hours. So my first question is… is bolognese a chili? Followed by if it is chili, does make that lend credibility to skyline chili on spaghetti?

3AM UPDATE: Passed out after drinking too much wine and burnt the shit out of the bolognese. Anyway!

It’s not chili. Don’t make me come after you.

Email of the week!

Alex:

You can fart foul enough to make a grown man puke. I was a cryptographic technician in the Navy back in the eighties. Got sent TAD….temporary 3 month assignment…to a guided missile frigate taking a trip down to Central America for spy shit. We had a single Marine assigned to our team. I worked midnights. I ate nasty greasy leftovers from the midrats (midnight rations) every night. About a month into it, I let’er go in our tiny secure space. Marine buddy RAN out, up the central passageway, out onto the fantail, and to the rail….to lose the entire contents of his stomach. Not only can you make a grown man puke from a fart….you can make goddamn US Marine do it…if you’re truly badass enough.

I stand corrected.