Graphic: Jim Cooke (GMG), Photo: Getty
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? [Email the Funbag](mailto:funbag.deadspin@gmail.com).   

Today, we’re talking about birth plans, diarrhea, weird doctors, and more.

Your letters:

Thomas:

While I love a circus catch as much as the next guy and I appreciate the skill of the guys catching these impossible balls, I can’t help but wonder how tacky those receiving gloves actually are. I wonder how it deviates significantly from the “stick-um” days. Why not make the football a little bit tackier and outlaw the gloves?

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I dunno, are you excited by incompletions? You just watched a Super Bowl where the defining play was an incompletion. Did that give you a football chubber? No? Then let them wear the flypaper gloves. Plenty of people have already pointed out that football was VERY much tackier back in the old days:

The sport wasn’t exactly the paragon of integrity back then. Everyone snorted speed and was covered in Krazy Glue. So let the new guys have their gloves. I understand that when you watch the Odell catch, you want it to be real. You don’t want that memory sullied by the discovery that Odell used performance-enhancing gloves to make it. Oh well if I had those gloves then I could make that catch! Regardless of natural ability, athletes from every sport are constantly looking for new advantages in training, equipment, apparel, and chemicals. I say let them. They’re still much better at what they do than you and I could ever dream to be, and it’s more fun to watch athletes succeed than it is to fail.

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Unless they’re golfers. I say make golfers play the whole course using only barbecue skewers as clubs. And put the pin on top of Everest.

Aaron:

So I’m sitting at Dominos waiting to feed my face. On a slideshow, I’ve learned they have locations in all 50 states. Also, there are apparently dairy farms in all 50 states? Maybe I shouldn’t be citing Dominos as my source, but there has to be a dozen states where it’s just outright cruel to raise cows... right?

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Not as cruel as it is to serve people Domino’s. HEY NOW. Anyway, I’m no agriculturalist, but you’re assuming that these dairy farms are all located outside, with lush pastures where cows can roam freely before bequeathing their sweet milk upon us. You would be wrong. Plenty of dairy farms are indoors. Chances are, the milk you drink at the supermarket came from a cow that was born and raised in an airless factory and never saw the light of day, forced to shuttle back and forth between milking machines and bulls bred to impregnate them over and over and over again. Is this cruel? Almost certainly. But I don’t think the pencil pushers at BIG DAIRY worry too much about it. They’ll keep building cow factories until we all die from cow fart pollution soon. Payback’s a bitch!

But let’s be fanciful and ask if every state has at least one little tiny swath of land where cows would be able to graze and live free-range style. If you’ve read this site in the past, you know that I am strict adherent to hideous geographical stereotypes. Arizona is a pit of fire. Alaska is Hoth. The entirety of Florida is actually located inside the digestive tract of a giant alligator. And so on and so on. You’re not gonna believe this, but those stereotypes aren’t rooted in accuracy. Every state has nice parts to it. Even New Jersey! And cows are a hardier lot than tipping enthusiasts might claim. They can hang out in the desert. They can thrive in Alaska. There’s even an organic dairy farm located right near the tippy top of Maine. Will you enjoy any of the dairy byproducts from cows such as these? You will not. That shit gets snapped up by obscenely rich Hamptonites who fear vaccinating children and like to swig raw milk by the gallon. You, on the other hand, will be eating a Domino’s pizza made in part from cows that spent their entire lives in the bovine equivalent of Riker’s Island. MMMMM YUMMAY!

Brandon:

My wife and I are expecting our first in less than two weeks. One of the wonderful recommendations she came across was that we should have a “birth plan” at the ready to immediately hand to the trained medical professionals in our delivery room in case they forget how to catch an infant rocketing out of my wife’s nether regions as if this hasn’t been happening for a few thousand years. My question is this - are birth plans just some new age bullshit fad, or did you (or your wife) write one up when you had your kids just to make sure the nurses knew your wife preferred grape Popsicle over orange (I shit you not, this was one suggestion we saw)?

Vikings suck, go Broncos.

I don’t think we had a formal birth plan. A hospital has its own birth plan, you know. That plan involves you doing what they tell you to do, and it seemed to work well for us. Before we had our first kid, I was just like you in that I read What To Expect When You’re Expecting and went to Lamaze class and even attended a breastfeeding class with my wife, in which we had to watch video footage of colostrum being squeezed out of a human nipple. Delicious.

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I didn’t use ANY of the tips I got in those classes. At the hospital, I quickly went from adviser (“Remember what the class said, dearie: Breathe!”) to ineffective manservant (“More ice chips, honey? You got it.”), and so will you.

But go ahead and make a birth plan. I checked out a few sample birth plans and they read more like a stack of unrealistic wishes that patients have for the birthing experience.

Relaxation and breathing techniques for as long as possible; then gas and air, pethidine and an epidural in that order, if needed.

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“If needed.” LOL okay. I think my wife was asking for painkillers by the time we hit the reception desk. You can plan all you like, but NOTHING will prepare you, logistically or emotionally, for standing in that delivery room, blood everywhere, and watching a baby eject out of another person’s body. On some level, I think it’s fine to take all those classes and read all those books even if they end up being of little practical use. You know your life is about to change, so you’re psychologically preparing for it by boning up on needless homework. That way, the fact that you and your wife will soon be in sole charge of another human’s life won’t come as a shock to you.

Everything else will, though. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Yes, it’s all as arduous and as exhausting as other parents incessantly claim. But the surprises are part of what make the experience worth it. I had no ideas my kids would look or act the way they do, or say the ludicrous shit they say, or leave what they leave under the couch cushions. I have found year-old Teddy Grahams under there, still intact! Such little miracles. I’m glad no one gave me a crystal ball to show me EXACTLY what this would be like. It would ruin the fun, and also I would have gotten my tubes tied in 1999.

Just don’t think you know what’s really coming.

Brian:

Does anyone actually care about those JD Power awards? I don’t think there’s a car in the country that DOESN’T have one.

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Probably not, but that’s all by design because JD Power charges exorbitant fees for automakers to access to their supposedly unimpeachable survey data. Thus, the more bullshit awards they give out, the more profit they stand to reap from sales. Those awards are the birth plans of car buying. And I haven’t even gotten into “independent” awards and contests that are set up BY manufacturers just so their shit can win something.

Never trust awards. Take it from a former ad guy. Those awards are bunk designed to sell you bad products. More important, they’re meaningless laurels that execs and marketers can use to burnish their resumes, amass power, and justify lucrative bonuses. It’s one big gigantic racket that has virtually nothing to do with you, the consumer.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t fall for it. I have been tortured by the existence of fucking Chevy Guy for two years now. Chevy Guy is a fraud and a liar and a scourge upon my television set, but that doesn’t mean he’s an ineffective pitch man. If a company keeps humping the same shitty pitch over and over again, it’s usually because it works. There actually ARE real people out there going, “Oh wow, the Chevy Cringle won JD Power’s ‘Fewest Rental Car Odor Complaints’ Award two years running? Chevy has GOT IT GOING ON.”

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This is especially true if you are actively looking to buy a car. I didn’t care about ANY car ad particulars until my old car died and I had to go find a new one. You better believe I took crash safety ratings as gospel when that happened. “Ooooh, $2,000 customer cash back? Why I’d be a fool to NOT buy the Ford Fork!” Buying a car is such a laborious, expensive, inconvenient process that you end up hording whatever information you can find to help get the process over with and delude yourself into thinking you bought the right car.

Nate:

Would you rather have diarrhea or constipation? I think most would say constipation, since diarrhea is far less convenient, but there’s something I find deeply unsettling about holding shmoo inside for days at a time.

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Did somebody say Shmoo?

You’d hate to have THAT trapped inside you! Anyway, the answer is constipation. I know Elvis died of constipation, and I know how unpleasant it is to sit on a toilet trying to push out a brick with no birth plan. But still, you’ve probably had a fit of terrible diarrhea before, yeah? It’s the worst. You spend all day on the toilet and your poor asshole gets torched to a crisp. As much as I enjoy a good poop story or scrolling through Twitter whole on the can, I’d rather spend more time not shitting than shitting.

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Anon:

I work with a guy who, every time we go out to lunch in a group with more than four people, has the habit of rushing to get to the table first so he can seat smack dab in the middle of the table. I asked and he said he did it on purpose because he hates sitting in the corners (I pointed it is how most people feel, he remained unfazed). Is this guy an absolutely selfish asshole or am I in the wrong here?

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He might have some sort of complex or social anxiety about it, so I would just leave it be and seethe about it to absolute strangers online instead, as you are now. I think it’s only inconsiderate on his part if he anchors himself in the center of a banquette because he simply MUST be in the center of the action, and people have to climb over him like a fucking obstacle just to reach the other side. That’s a dick move. Otherwise, I would just chalk it up to Corey being Corey and then I would never eat out with him again.

I actually don’t mind sitting at the ends of a table if I’m in a big group. It’s easier to get away if you’re stranded there. Yes, you risk being trapped sitting across from someone who sucks, but if you’re in the middle you risk being trapped across from and next to a BUNCH people who suck. It’s not always worth being in the middle of that action. I gotta juggle eight different inane conversations instead of just focusing on my tacos? No, thank you. Perhaps I’ve been a dad for too long. My wildest dreams usually involve eating a hamburger alone.

HALFTIME!

AJ:

Does Trump like Weird Al?

Does Trump strike you as the sort of man who enjoys comedy? Satire in particular? “A man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous!” The only time Trump laughs is whenever he remembers that he can bomb people. That’s what’s funny to him. That counts as joy. Actual, lighthearted comedy is for the poor and weak.

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So no, I don’t think Trump enjoys the comedic stylings of Weird Al, especially since Weird Al once spoofed Trump. Trump probably saw that video and immediately dismissed it, the way he strains to do with anything that bothers him. “What is this? Who is this? This is some loser. Does he even get ratings?” Maybe Trump liked watching the “Fat” video for seven seconds before the very notion of fat people made him nauseous. That’s about it.

Jim:

I needed a new dentist due to a move (Chicago to St. Louis area). However, the new dentist that I selected randomly is addressed by everyone on his staff as “Doctor” like it’s his first name (it isn’t, to be clear). It’s just distracting to me: “Ok, you’re numb now so I’ll go get Doctor”, or “Oh, let me go ask Doctor about your x-ray.” Is this an acceptable method of address?

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If he demanded to be called “Doctor” as all times, even out of earshot, then he’s a psychopath and he may be a fugitive war criminal trying to pass himself off as a dentist to help protect a cache of contraband diamonds that he has hidden in a safe deposit box somewhere. That’s the SIMPLEST explanation for all this. That dentistry is some kind of evil death cult.

Or everyone at the office just lapsed into calling him Doctor for some reason. He must hate being called Doc or Doc Boy, and so calling him Doctor is the most convenient verbal shorthand to use so that people know they’re talking about Dr. Rzyzyzyzyewskiburgerzyzzzyn and not Patty the hygienist. I guess that’s only natural.

This is where I confess that sometimes I call my wife Mom when the kids are around. This is not because I have an Oedipal complex or because I’m the Vice President (or am I?). It’s just an easy way for the kids to know who I’m talking about. “Lemme go ask mom,” etc. And now I feel like a freak. Fun times. From now on, I’m calling my wife Doctor.

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Nicholas:

As a senior in high school who is going through a breakup that has dragged through for 5 months for some ungodly reason I cannot explain, Valentine’s Day sucked massive balls! Is it wrong of me to hope that all of those sappy ass couples who bought big ass balloons and boxes of chocolate and flowers all flame out worse than a John Elway draft pick?

Of course not. You’re a teenager. It’s only natural to wish death and destruction upon all the happy couples of the world. If you’re lucky, you end up like me and stay bitter your whole life! AWESOME.

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In all seriousness, I think it’s fine if you’re going through some horrorshow breakup and are depressed to see PDA-addicted homecoming kings and queens prancing around the hall, just disgustingly happy with one another. They have it all and you don’t, and that’s not fun. I hated all those people when I was a teenager, mostly because I never got laid. Not the healthiest mindset to have. It might be worth asking those happy couples for advice on how to survive your breakup quickly and with minimal trauma. Or you could lure them into a trap and dump latex paint on them. I vote paint. PAINT PAINT PAINT!

Mike:

It seems to me that almost 90% of my interactions, and resulting insecurities, with other human beings are based around the idea that we are all supposed to be exactly the same and have the same opinion.

“You don’t like Game of Thrones? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?”

“He’s wearing that? I dislike it because it doesn’t fit into the societal rules for dress that we’ve set up”

I try to combat this by embracing differences and avoiding comparison but it ends up manifesting itself into a dark elitism where I don’t value anyone’s opinion and can’t hang out with most people without considering it to be a tedious grind that isn’t worth my time. How big of an asshole does that make me and is everyone a Nazi?

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Oh is that what you think? WELL YOU’RE WRONG AND YOU CAN GO EAT ASS, BUCKO.

I’m probably the worst person to ask about this, since my job entails going onto the internet and yelling at people for having opinions that I find stupid. But even I know that you need to push aside that creeping elitism. It’ll just make you lonely. The Internet is a disaster area of unwinnable arguments, and its relative infancy means that people are still adjusting to living in a digital world where people feel much freer than they do in real life to air dissenting opinions AND mock the opinions of others. I grew up despising mayo and being polite to mayo bullies about it. That has, uh, changed…

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My beef with mayo bullies is that they demand I like mayonnaise, and I have 42 years of extensive research, aka being alive, to know that will never be the case. Also, the entire Deadspin staff yelled at me the other day because I said I’d never watched an anime flick. I said I hated the anime sequence in Kill Bill 1 and my colleagues reacted like I had just stabbed them in the face. What do they want from me? I didn’t like it. You can’t just yell at me and suddenly I like the fucking thing now. That’s not how it works.

The internet exposes how truly different people can be, and not everyone is willing to accept those differences so easily. Before the internet, you could go your whole life without anyone having the stones to tell you that a hot dog is NOT a sandwich, disrupting your whole worldview. Confronted with such discourse now, it’s easy to fall into your own mental dictatorship where all your views are infallible. That’s what a lot of lazy people have done, our big asshole president included.

This is learning process for everybody, and so far society is failing miserably. I’m probably part of the problem, but I still say you’re better off accepting that other people think weird shit that’s alien to you, and that you’re also better off if you don’t busy yourself trying to convince people your way is the right way just because you think you’re a genius. “Every couple MUST own 36 bath sheets. No excuses.” That brand of imperious online behavior is tiresome and stupid.

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Unless I do it. Mayo bullies can go jump into a volcano.

Corey:

Say you take a great player but for their entire careers all of their team’s games are called by a very bored and unenthusiastic announcer. How much influence would that have on that player’s public perception? Would a guy like LeBron be just as legendary in the public consciousness?

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He would. It’s not like every announcer out there right now is Gus Johnson. Fans can discern greatness even when there isn’t some bouncy asshole in the booth screaming about how you, the viewer, are now bearing witness to it. Jim Nantz covers half the major sporting events every year and none of those events get him more excited than staring at a picture of burnt toast he keeps in his wallet. Not to belabor the subject, but you now live in era where the arguments about a sport are often even louder than the sport itself. So even if the world’s most milquetoast announcer called all of Bron’s games, there would still be plenty of excitable people in the studio ready to talk all about those games. People would grow to hate the indifferent asshole in the booth, just like they hate every other announcer now.

Again, look at golf. Golf commentary is deliberately quiet and dull. Has that muted the legend of Tiger Woods? Of course not. Only Tiger’s dick could accomplish that task.

Matt:

What would happen if it was uncovered, and with objectively undeniable evidence (whatever that is in this day and age), that Brady was juicing the last 4 or 5 years (or more)? Does the population of the pro-Pats/Brady and the hater camps remain unchanged? What’s the effect on his legacy? The Pats dynasty legacy? Is he Barry Bonds, an amazing player that juiced a ton so who knows what his stats would have actually been - and no HOF?

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Nothing would change. Remember, the Patriots beat a Carolina team in the Super Bowl that was juiced out of its fucking skull. No one cared. People who hate Brady already call him a cheater thanks to Ballghazi. If it turned out that he injected bovine spinal fluid directly into his muscles at halftime of every game, it would only kick up more of the same irritating bar arguments about the Pats that have already persisted for years.

This isn’t baseball. Baseball people are constantly searching for other people to blame for murdering their innocence. Football writers may be an insufferable bunch, but they don’t publicly wring their hands about steroids and act like the sport’s unofficial DEA, the way baseball writers do. They also can’t cite recite a character clause verbatim like it’s the Gettysburg Address when they keep a dude out of the Hall of Fame. Just a few years ago, Peter King defended the Hall considering the enshrinement of convicted serial rapist Darren Sharper. You think any of those access merchants would keep Brady out of the Hall? Not a fucking chance.

Deep down, the NFL doesn’t give a rat’s ass about PEDs, and neither do the people covering it. Anything that interrupts the machine is branded an unwelcome distraction, PED hysteria included. If he got caught red-handed, Brady would skate by using his patented non-answers and hostile smile, and everyone who feels strongly about the stupid Patriots one way or another would only become further entrenched. Just another circle jerk of meatheads bragging about living rent-free in your head. Once again, the miracle of being online reveals itself!

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Email of the week!

Nick:

I worked in a D-I school’s athletic department. It was a mid-major school, not big time or anything. My job was primarily game operations so I had to work every basketball game. The school had a promotion where if the team got five dunks in the game, fans got some free food item. This almost never happened, so anytime the team got to three dunks, the students started getting a little crazy.

One game towards the end of the season, the team hit three dunks. Time is ticking down in the second half and a player goes up on a missed shot for a tip-in. No finger on the rim or anything. The PA announcer did not call, “and that fans is the 4th dunk of the game,” because it was not a dunk. We hit the under-4 timeout and one of the assistant athletic directors comes up to the PA announcer and starts yelling at him because he didn’t announce the non-dunk as a dunk. Both guys got in a shouting match over it. The horn blows to come out of the timeout so the PA announcer takes his seat, face red and everything. The game ends and he immediately gets up, goes up to the assistant AD, says, “Fuck you. Find a new PA announcer,” and storms out of the arena. The rest of us look at each other like, “WTF just happened.” We had to hire a new PA guy for the last few games of the season.

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I get sticking to your principles, but give the people a free burrito already.