Graphic: Jim Cooke (G/O Media), 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 ex-girlfriends, pens, secession, King Kong at the plate, and more.

Your letters:

Joe:

When did “LETTT’SSSS GOOOOOOO!!!!” become the only thing athletes say when they do good?!? Did Mickey Mantle scream that when he homered?? “Let’s Go”….I’ve noticed that almost every single athlete says it after doing a good sports thing! Where did it come from?!?!? And, where the fuck are we going????

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I hate it. It’s played out to death, and not even among athletes. People on Twitter cry out LETTT’SSSS GOOOOOOO now when, like, Iman Shumpert has been traded. It’s meaningless. Let’s not go. No one else is as fired up for the introduction of the Salted Caramel McRib as you are, fella.

As for athletes doing it, they’re just too stupid and dull to think of anything else interesting to cry out. It’s 2019 and every athlete’s nickname is either their initials or a variant of the ancient “A-Rod” initial/first syllable construct. Thinking of an actual nickname gets you fined. And so players belt out LET’S GOOOOOOO when they’ve already went. It’s a poor substitute for FUCK YEAH, which is what every athlete is pre-programmed to say when they get a first down. Mother Nature gave us that phrase for a reason. Everyone should use FUCK YEAH and not LET’SSSSS GOOOOOO. In the case of the latter, don’t act like the rest of us are automatically going along with whatever bullshit is getting your nipples pointy. Please phase that catchphrase out for something else … like WHOOPEE! We all love screaming out WHOOPEE, do we not?

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Teddy:

Which fictional monster/movie villain would win the home run derby? I bet King Kong would mash. I’d also want to open it to villains beyond the Monster Universe, if only to see a dejected post-cosmic genocide Thanos square off against Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker.

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I think King Kong would strike out in every at-bat. The bat’s the size of a sewing needle to him. The ball is barely visible at his size. How’s he supposed to hit it? Being a giant ape isn’t easy, man. I think he’d blindly swipe at the ball, get annoyed, and then eat the pitcher. Then he’d climb the foul pole and start boxing helicopters.

To be a good hitter, you need to be big (but not too big), strong, well-coordinated, have sharp eyesight, and be way too into shitty country music. Superman qualifies on all those counts, but he’s not a villain. At least, not to you. To Batfleck, he’s a MENACE. So I’mma go ahead and pick Thanos. Or even Loki, who ends up being more of an antihero than an outright villain but I don’t have time to get bogged down in fanboy bar arguments.

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Loki is technically a Frost Giant (Wiki says he has “Frost Giant metabolism”!), but he’s relatively normal in size. He’s strong, fast, ageless, impervious to fastballs to the dome, and he can do magic. Like he could make the pitcher THINK he’s standing close to the plate when he’s really standing only SOMEWHAT close to the plate. Presto! Then Trevor Bauer goes the Full Trevor Bauer and tries to back him off with an inside heater, only to unwittingly throw my man a bigass meatball. And then Loki would win the Derby and sign with the Red Sox. That’s the world we live in now.

I’d also nominate Jean Grey, another tragic anti-hero. Jean has telekinesis, right? She can just make the ball go wherever she wants. She can probably also make the umps think they just witnessed a home run, when really she’s about to shove them all off a dam. TRICKY. That’s a bit of a copout candidate, because Jean Grey wouldn’t even have to bother actually hitting a ball. But that’s the point of having superpowers, isn’t it? Superpowers are just fancy shortcuts. I myself want telekinesis so that the dishwasher empties itself. What a thrill!

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I’m stuck in the MCU here like a fucking sheep, so let me just also add a Terminator to this list. A Terminator could analyze the pitch in real-time with its red Terminator vision, instantly calculate the bat speed and swing arc needed, and then execute that swing perfectly. Then it would murder everyone. That’s just the kind of star power that Rob Manfred is desperately horny for. Oh, and DARTH VADER. Darth Vader would Force Hit the shit out of the ball. I’m putting him at cleanup.

Worst home run derby villain would be the Penguin. The Penguin can’t do anything.

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Ryan:

You walk into your house from back from food shopping, and your wife and kids are not to be seen. What you do see is all of your ex-girlfriends, drinking tea with stern looks on their faces. What do you do?

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Well I only have one legit ex-girlfriend, given that I was never an accomplished ladies’ man in my time. So if I came home and only she was there, it would be very awkward. There wouldn’t be a SECOND ex-girlfriend there to distract the first one by screaming at me about how I cheated on her with the entire Cal-State Fullerton girls’ softball team or anything like that. It would just be me and that lone ex, all alone. WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY FAMILY, LADY?!

If you’re including every girl I’ve ever slept with or hooked up with, well that’s still a fairly intimate (and by that I mean small, not sexy) soiree. I guess I would offer everyone beers, bust out some chips and salsa, and try to make it into a party. I just survived my 25th high school reunion, so I see no reason why I couldn’t transform this deeply uncomfortable moment into the kind of dutiful cocktail hour you’re eager to flee.

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I met my wife when we were both living in New York, and one time we walked by a woman who lived in a building across the street and whom I’d dated a few times before I’d met my wife at all. As we passed, I said to the woman, “Hey Jessica,” (name changed for everyone’s sake), without breaking stride, and my wife made fun of me forever after that for being so clumsy. She’d slump her shoulders and mutter “Hey Jessica” in a Stupid Drew voice, and I would have no comeback. I wasn’t gonna be like HEY YOU KNOW I COULD GET BACK TOGETHER WITH HER IF I WANTED TO, MISSY. All I could do was guzzle wine and change the subject. “So… how ‘bout that crazy mayor of ours?!”

Dominic:

Recently I have noticed a lot of people responding to text messages using the “Thumbs Up” emoji. Every time I receive this as a response to a text message it makes me furious. I mean it’s not like we would walk around in society responding to someone’s question or comment by giving them the thumbs up. In fact if this happened I would probably never speak to that person again. How has this become an acceptable way to respond to another human’s communication? Is this just a cop out for not having to tirelessly compose a real response via text? Am I alone in my hatred of this contrived communication method? If I see another one of these Thumbs up Emoji’s I am responding with the middle finger emoji!

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Calm down. Calm down. It’s just a thumb. And yes, you got that emoji because typing out “ok” would have required… well, it wouldn’t gave required any extra button pushing since you gotta bring up the emoji keyboard to then press on the thumbs up icon. But just because it would be a weird way to affirm something in real life (unless you use the Borat voice or make a Borat face while giving someone the thumbs up) doesn’t mean it’s unacceptable to use in the digital realm. You’ve been on the internet for a while now. People don’t the act same way here as they do out there. They don’t even WANT to. That’s the cheese. You can be whoever you want to be online, and most people choose to be an asshole. I know I do.

But the thumbs up emoji isn’t necessarily part of cultivating a separate online alter ego. It’s just a cursory way to both confirm that you’ll meet your friend at Corner Bakery at 6 p.m. AND end the text exchange. I wish that weren’t necessary, but some people have diarrhea of the thumbs where they’ll just text you a zillion fucking times unless you give them some sort of acknowledgement that you’ve gotten all their texts about Mikey being a prick, and unless that acknowledgement gives them nothing else to react off of. All they can do is send their own thumbs up back to you. And then you can finally go back to living. Fun world!

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BJ:

So I’m anti-FaceTime in public places. Today while at the gym there’s an early twenties guy on FaceTime in the fucking locker room. Is this sane person behavior? Should I have said something? Then on the drive home there’s a lady driving 10 mph under the speed limit, I pass her since it’s a four-lane road and she is holding her phone up off to the side and she’s on FaceTime too! I’m 34 and can’t tell if I’m just turning into the “get off my lawn” type of person. Please tell me I’m being rational.

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No no, I’m with you, man. I was at the gym last week and a motherfucker was on a FaceTime call with a KID while he was standing at the sink. There was no way to get to the shower without passing by his fucking camera. This is a crime, man. All I wanted to do was wash up and get home. Now you’re making me an unwitting pederast. YOU SACK OF SHIT! I had my towel around my waist but I still felt used.

And you know what? I didn’t say anything to the guy. I should have been like DO YOU MIND??? but I settled for dirty looks instead, which he almost certainly ignored because he was the kind of oblivious shithead that thinks FaceTiming with a kid in a locker room is no big deal. We need signs, man. I need a sign to say what I’m too chickenshit to say out loud. It should say No Fucking Facetiming With Naked People Around. Then I can accost violators of that rule by pointing at the sign. “You see the sign, you fuck?!” Same shit that people do on Amtrak if you eat chips too loud in the Quiet Car. It won’t stop people from doing what they do, but at least I’d feel secure knowing some faceless institution supported me in rooting out these shitbags. FaceTime on your own time!

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HALFTIME!

Anthony:

You are challenged to consume as many calories as possible in an hour. (Let’s say the 2020 election hangs in the balance, ‘cause why not?) You can choose any combination of food and drink, and there are no long-term health ramifications. The only rule is that you must remain conscious without vomiting for an additional hour after finishing. What’s your gameplan?

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Nuts? Nuts. Nuts are calorie-dense and I could eat 78 million blister peanuts in the span of an hour. Wash them all down with Mountain Dew and BOOSH! Your next President is Marianne Williamson, the way I always wanted. President Williamson’s first order of business will be to make the ENTIRE country nut-free, because nuts contains allergens and are bad luck for Capricorns. I’d be getting in under the wire with my little binge.

Dennis:

Can you imagine a sports media culture that doesn’t subsist on argument? I don’t mean this in a “Won’t someone think of the children?” kind of way. The children will be fine. But surely there’s some other approach to this whole endeavor, right?

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There already is! You’re on this site, aren’t you? There’s no arguing here.

[remembers Marchman’s cereal rankings]

Okay, maybe there’s some arguing here. For real though, there is argument-free sports programming, like Outside The Lines and what not. But that’s not necessarily what people want to watch all the time. First Take and its peers do big ratings for a reason, you know. People like that shit. They like having the company. Also, debate programming is regenerative. You can milk a whole news cycle out of Skippy Bayless calling LeBron a me-first player and then LeBron reacting to it on Instagram and then Bayless reacting to that reaction. And the network didn’t even have to spend money or time sending someone out to find an ACTUAL sports news story to discuss. The system works!

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I’m like you in that I scoff at panel shows and their ilk, but I’m a hypocrite because anytime I come across a more sober form of sports media, like an episode of NFL Matchup, I audibly groan and change the channel instantly. That shit is dry as a bone. Bereft of actual sports to watch, I irrationally want the off-field programming to match the emotionality of what’s happening on the field. I require fireworks and popcorn, and networks and brands are all too happy to litter their studio shows with both of those things. Folks, Trent Dilfer is ready to COME AT YOU with some CONTROVERSIAL thoughts about Lamar Jackson! Sponsored by Jack Link’s beef jerky! Stay tuned!

Brandon:

There are so many damn pens out in the world. I have more pens in my desk drawer that I’ll ever need in my lifetime. If they stop producing pens today, and everybody was conscious about their pen use, (i.e. not misplacing them, throwing them away, using them until they run out) if how long until every pen runs dry and they need to produce more? 40 years? 50 years? 100?!?

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I’m on record as saying that we have manufactured enough shit and that we don’t really NEED to make any more of it… except pens. Pens are a different matter. I have 500 pens in my desk drawer and they’re all dead soldiers. Maybe you have better luck, but I’ve been cursed by some kind of ink gypsy that has doomed all of my pens to run dry just as I’m about to sign my own prison release form. It’s the worst. AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON BANK PENS, FOLKS.

So if they stopped making pens and we had to make do with our current supply of 983 trillion of them, I’d say they’d all collectively last about eight days. Then I’d have to call in the suits at Bic to turn those machines back on.

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There is a whole internet economy is keeping old material goods in healthy circulation. EBay and Craigslist and Poshmark were born out of this. I’d like to think that the existence of these global yard sale outlets would help reduce production a little bit, so that we don’t keep filling the oceans with Hello Kitty safety pins. But corporations are just cranking out MORE new crap to sell anyway, and to provide fresh supplies to the companies selling old crap. Almost like mankind is willfully blind to the damage it’s wreaking upon itself and the Earth it calls home! Who’d have guessed?!

Jason:

Do the Trump kids have Stockholm Syndrome? It’s the only reason I can think of that they all constantly seek The Orange Man’s approval even though he probably wishes four of the five were dead.

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They don’t have Stockholm Syndrome. They just don’t wanna get cut off from Daddy’s money (or, to be more accurate, whoever’s money Daddy siphoned off for himself somehow), nor from his circle of influence. They all have lifestyle requirements that they don’t want disturbed in any way. Living rich is all they give a shit about. Also, you’re assuming that anyone in Trump’s inner circle has a sense of shame. They do not. The apple doesn’t fall far, etc. Ivanka alone has coasted on media people treating her like an unwilling accomplice to all this. That’s all wishful thinking. They’re all shit, and so is she.

Also, that’s their dad. I’m sure it’s not the most loving, easy relationship: to be the progeny of a man whose brain is made of pus and whose heart is made of torn-up circus raffle tickets. But your parents are still your parents, and sometimes that means you still instinctively love them even when they don’t deserve it. That’s a deeply complicated problem for a lot of people out there who grew up under adverse circumstances. Entire novels have been based on that inner conflict. But in the case of the Trump kids, they’re just too stupid and greedy and vain to ever defy their old man. I’d tell you it’ll cost them one day, but there’s no sign of that ever happening.

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Tito:

Who secedes first? California, Florida, or some other state?

Neither of those two. I know Calexit is still a fever dream lingering out there, but it’s essentially dead on arrival. And Florida is too crazy and disorganized to mount an effective secession effort.

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Now South Carolina? Whole other story. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union in the Civil War, and they keep trying to secede NOW, in a re-enactment gone way too far. They’ve got a huge secession fetish, those people. I’ve been to South Carolina and I can tell you that I would not exactly be heartbroken to lose them as countrymen.

I know you think that a state like Cali might one day secede based on moral principle or whatever, but the first state to reboot secession will just be some wingnut joint like South Cackalacky doing it out of directionless, idiotic spite. Or Utah. Utah wants to formally become Deseret one day and never have the rest of us poke fun of its baby names. Well, sorry to inform you Aunistee but I’mma still get my licks in even if you flee.

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Luke:

Do you use a washcloth or a poofy/loofah thing in the shower? Either way, how do you wash your ass? Nothing seems sanitary.

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I use a poof. BUT, as a pre-treatment, I wash my hair, gather up a generous amount of shampoo lather in my hand and jam it right up there. It’s like rinsing a dish before you load it in the dishwasher. Then I use the poof to finish my ass off and get it all nice and shiny. And now I must lend a shower poof to you so that you can wash out your eyes after reading about how I keep my starfish clean.

Evan:

At what age will I start to like Triscuits? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel or are Triscuits pulpy cardboard to the human palate for the duration of our lives?

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Hey, I like Triscuits! I’ve always liked Triscuits. No offense to the late Mister Rogers but Triscuits are the true king of crackers. You jackass. Now, Wasa crackers? Those are some old-folks crackers. But Triscuits are ideal for people like me who like a cracker made with 5900mg of sodium and a ground-up fistful of Post Shredded Wheat. If that’s never been your thing, I don’t think aging another 30 years is gonna change your mind. Triscuits are sharp. Much too dangerous for an elderly windpipe. Old people eat cheese on top of pudding instead. Much easier on the system.

Christopher:

How is it that no collegiate Athletic Director has hired some retired Army General to be his team’s football coach? It seems like the most brilliant AD move ever and it happens in business all the time. Imagine the endless pregame show of Dave Wannstedt clones completely unable to criticize your team in even the most insignificant way.

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Obligatory:

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No AD would hire an Army General, with zero coaching experience, to run a football team cold. That team would lose every game and then the AD would be out on his ass. I know this country now sports eternal wood for the troops, but fans aren’t gonna be like COACH THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SERVICE if their team is 0-12 under his sorry-ass watch. Their gratitude, unsurprisingly, only goes so far.

You may as well hire a lifetime coach who just happens to have military experience instead. Bob Knight coached at Army. Coach K played for him there. Did you know that? Come within 5,000 feet of any television showing Dick Vitale and you will be quickly reminded of that fact. Coaches have so thoroughly troop-ified themselves that it’s very easy to hire a capable one and then ACT like you hired a full-bird colonel to whip players into shape. Pretty much any coach is more than happy to indulge in the illusion.

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This is a genuine problem with sports conflating themselves with the Armed Forces. Not only is it arrogant and stupid, but it does an actual disservice to coaches because it suggests that the important facets of their work—planning, managing, strategizing—are superfluous so long as they can channel Patton at a moment’s notice. College ADs are all a bunch of vainglorious schlubs, but even they know it’s a cheap ruse. The safe move is to hire some asshole retread like Will Muschamp and then duck behind a bush when fans CRUSH that guy.

Dipa:

How do you pick pasta shapes? Or is it all just bullshit?

I pick them based on whatever shape/texture I’m yearning for that day. They’re not fungible to me. Sometimes I want the joy of twirling up a wad of spaghetti and stuffing it in my maw. Other times I see pappardelle on a menu and I’m like OOOOOOH PRETTY RIBBONS.

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In general, you should pick pasta shapes based on the sauce. Meat sauce is good with tube pasta or ridge-y pasta, where there are lots of nooks for the meat to hide. For smooth sauces, you can go with longer shapes that naturally get slicked with all the tomato-ey goodness. Or you can be like me and eat Annie’s shells and cheese right out of the pot because you have no better ideas for dinner.

Email of the week!

Jeff:

There were some stray cats living in my mother in law’s backyard and one of them was extra friendly towards my wife and mother in law. We ended up being able to rescue her and I took her with me back home while my wife stayed and took care of my mother in law due to health problems. I should point out that I lived 787 miles away, roughly a 12 hour drive. I get the new kitten in a cage and put her in the car at around six in the morning for our road trip. She won’t stop meowing early in the car ride, and I figured it may be that she doesn’t like Lil’ Wayne. It dawned on me that she has only really heard female voices so I try to think of a female singer that may calm her down. For some reason, my first thought was Katy Perry. I pulled over to the side of the road and downloaded two Katy Perry songs to see if this did the trick. The two songs were “E.T” and “Firework”. E.T. didn’t do the trick, but Firework did. For the next nine hours, the only thing that would stop her from meowing was Firework by Katy Perry. That song is roughly 3 and a half minutes long, so by my math I listened to that song 155 times that day. I eventually got a migraine and turned it off for remaining three hours of that trip. In a weird twist of fate, Katy Perry was the musical guest on SNL the next day, but she didn’t perform Firework. We should have named her Katy, but we didn’t. I still have the cat and love her to death. I would take the five song rotation, because I’ve had it worse.

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Yeah but now that song is in my head, you fucker.