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What Is The Best Minimum-Wage Job?

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (G/O Media)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Today, we’re talking about napkins, doctors, baseball, stadium food storage methods, and more.

Your letters:

Jeremy:

What is the best minimum wage job? My first job was a movie theater usher, and reading others’ experiences makes me think that might be the jackpot of minimum wage jobs. People kind of give me respect because I was the barrier of entry to their movie, I was never talked down to once the whole summer, and I got to see movies for free. Boring as fuck but better than retail or food service right?

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My first minimum-wage job was answering the phones and washing the dishes at Little Caesars. So yes, despite all the free pizza I could eat at the end of my shift (FUN FACT: the pan pizza dough at Little Caesars was soaked in a tray of grease overnight), your theater job beat mine, especially if you got to see all the new movies whenever the reels came in. One dude I know worked the projector at a theater and got to go to employee screenings for every new movie. In my mind, he was just under Robert Evans in the movie studio hierarchy.

But neither of those jobs represents the best that minimum wage has to offer. Allow me to suggest a few of the more pleasurable excursions in paying your dues. Please note that none of these choices factor in health care, benefits, or being treated with basic human dignity. A lot of my selections are basically novelty summer jobs for kids who go to fucking Duke. the minimum wage is too low and minimum-wage workers often have to labor for the full range of asshole customers and superiors … and often have to risk life and limb while doing so. With that caveat out of the way, here are a few low-paying forays into the workforce that I would recommend, despite having little, if ANY, experience in any of them:

  • Blackjack dealer/roulette wheel spinner. Expensive tables only. I don’t wanna be croupier to the riff-raff. I just wanna turn the roulette wheel elegantly and then watch some haughty banker storm away from the table because it landed on double zeroes.
  • Dog walker. My kid does this. Easiest money she’s ever gonna make. In fact, she’s gonna be spoiled for actual jobs now, all because her first job involved taking a friendly neighborhood dog out for a shit after school. She now has enough money to buy a new iPhone and will not shut up about it. Anyway, among tax-free suburban hustles, dogsitting beats the shit out of babysitting, but perhaps not…
  • …Housesitter. Oh, you need me to stay at your house for free? And not change a diaper? Fuck yeah, I will. What is housesitting but a paid internship for Airbnb?
  • Private limo driver. But only if my client is nice, keeps reasonable hours, and I’m driving somewhere cool, like Montana. If I have to be a professional limo driver here in Maryland, I’d take a dive off of the American Legion Bridge. I was in a Five Below parking lot yesterday and everyone in it was a complete shithead, and I thought to myself, “I don’t wanna live here anymore.” It’s the little things.
  • Dispensary clerk. Every customer is excited!
  • Any job featured on old episodes of Insomniac With Dave Attell.
  • Roller coaster operator. “YOU GUYS READY?!” [Massive screams] Running Apollo’s Chariot makes you the rock star of Busch Gardens.
  • Scooping ice cream. Free ice cream! I’d add driving an ice cream truck to this list but then everyone would think I’m either a diddler or Steve Buscemi in Trees Lounge. Maybe I could work aboard one of those hip ice cream trucks, like Gary’s Creamery or whatever.
  • Lifeguard. They can’t read while they guard, and they can’t listen to music. They have to keep an eye out for drowning children and/or fathers at all times. But they also get to look all hot and young and lean. And they get to wear mirrored shades and look SUPER bitchy when they blow the whistle. I got to party on the Jersey Shore with lifeguards once when I was, like 22. They were way cooler than I’ve ever been or ever will be. Not fair.
  • Woodworking assistant. I hate doing chores around the house but, like Ron Swanson, I derive that primal sense of accomplishment from installing a shelf or even drilling a sconce lamp into place on a wall. You earn your beer when you do that every day. Plus you get to fuck around with power tools. I see no danger in that whatsoever.
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Austin:

What’s funnier to watch, a missed wide open dunk, or an air ball on a wide open shot?

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The dunk. First of all, it’s just more exciting to look at. Second, it’s a rarer occurrence. There are airballs in every NBA game. But a missed dunk is special, especially when it’s Steph Curry getting a mouthful of rim.

Thirdly, I myself can’t dunk, and so it amuses me when some dude who can jump out of the fucking arena goes up for the jam and somehow clangs it off the rim and into the stands. They thought it would be SO EASY to hit from point blank range, but no! It’s a form of humiliation that you oddly need great physical skill to be victimized by. Any shithead can airball a three. I do it on weekly basis. I go to a playground, take a few dribbles, get all psyched up to show everyone my long-range prowess, and then I miss and the ball lands on the swirly slide. Then I quit. It is neither thrilling nor funny to watch this happen to, like, Klay Thompson. That does not make me feel his pain. He’s still Klay Thompson and I’m still a washed-up old dickhead. If you’re gonna fail as a pro athlete, please fail spectacularly. Please miss a tomahawk dunk.

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Trey:

Would you prefer to hang out with people you like but all hate you, or you hate but all like you? You can segregate your answer by length of time.

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Oh, the former. The latter is just Thanksgiving HEY-OOOOOOOOOOOOO. But with the former, you’re assuming that I know that all these people I like hate my guts. Not true at all. I’m just stupid enough to believe that people like me, and I’m both stunned and saddened when I discover that’s not the case. Can you believe this person on Twitter told me that I wasn’t any good anymore? THE NOIVE UH DAT GUY!

I was at a Christmas party for this company back when we were Gawker Media and a rapid succession of billionaires, lawyers, horny wrestlers, and replacement level finance bros had yet to conspire to to make all our lives miserable. Anyway, I was with Billy and we were both shitfaced, and Billy was like, “Drew, everyone here thinks you’re kind of an asshole.” I laughed one of those fake laughs where you’re trying to hide your discomfort (see every talk show ever aired). But Billy was putting it to me straight. I always forgot people’s names. I would get huffy in our group chat because someone said something bad about, like, Big League Chew (and I still get pissy about this kinda stuff). I was a thoughtless prick who had a lot of work to do.

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But I still had fun at the party. They served lobster rolls that year. Also, Billy is a shitburger.

Ed:

My wife and I are having a heated debate. I made a simple comment about why she didn’t take the pickles out when she took out the rest of the condiments for dinner. She asked why I called them that and I said because that’s what they are. She said, “If they are called anything they are called a side”. I’m not going to debate my side because I know you got my back, so once you answer me I’ll rub this in her silly, stupid face.

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If you’re putting them on top of your food, like on a burger, they’re a condiment. If you’re housing a pickle spear in between bites of an Italian sub, then that’s a side. Spears: side. Slices: fixin’. That make sense? I’d say you’re both right, but it’s MORE fun to say you’re both wrong instead.

I used to hate dill pickles when I was a kid. I would eat the bread and butter chips right out of the jar when my mom brought them home, but the dill ones horrified me. EXCEPT on a McDonald’s burger. Somehow, I allowed them there. I have no fucking idea why. I guess kudos to McDonald’s for introducing me to the wonders of harmonizing acidity.

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Joel:

What percentage of the populace follows the conventional oven instructions to heat up a frozen meal instead of just nuking it in the microwave for 3 minutes?

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I would guess that more people use the oven than you think, because frozen food clearly tastes better when you heat it the old fashioned way, instead of nuking it into vulcanized rubber. If you’re a parent like me, you lovingly heat up a frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s in the oven and then serve it on a cutting board, like you’re some famous pizzaiolo in Naples laying out pies for the hungry masses. We don’t rush things in the Magary household. We eat TV dinners heated FROM SCRATCH. I also make oatmeal on the stovetop. I’m a craftsman.

Anyway, you need time, motivation, and a working oven to heat a frozen dinner like this, which means the percentages get heavily skewed based on your age and/or your income level. And how drunk you are. I’ve clearly thought too hard about this. Let’s say 75 percent of people nuke the shit.

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Garrett:

When was the last time Donald Trump walked an entire golf course while playing? Further, when was the last time Trump carried his own clubs while walking a golf course?

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Never. He’s never done either of those things. Golf is one of those rare instances where it’s still (somewhat) socially acceptable to walk around with a designated manservant. I assume that’s why Trump got into golf in the first place. I think he was attracted to the idea of having a caddie, forcing the caddie to walk alongside his cart, making fun of the caddie’s looks, and then never tipping him. He’s definitely never walked a course in his life. His fucking knees don’t even bend. Look.

Underneath those bloomy trousers are Forrest Gump’s childhood leg braces.
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These days, Trump usually toodles around in a golf cart, presumably to avoid the caddie soiling his precious Taylor Mades with rogue hand germs. Sometimes Trump drives that cart directly onto the green. I know Rick Reilly has already staked his claim to complaining about the President’s golf habits, but it is genuinely fucked up to do this, especially if you OWN the goddamn course. I don’t drive my car around my fucking living room. The fact that Trump has a toddler’s disdain not just for people but also for inanimate objects explains, in total, why he does what he does.

By the way, if you haven’t driven a golf cart, I highly recommend it. Yes, I have accidentally tipped one over. No, I was not drunk when I did it. Golf carts weigh roughly four pounds. They are not the sturdiest vehicles. You could not traverse the Serengeti in one. They tip at a slight breeze. Regardless, when I’m a billionaire, I’m gonna buy a golf cart that goes 100 MPH and drive it up and down power line fields. VROOM VROOM VROOM!

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HALFTIME!

Nick:

The other day I made homemade chicken wings for friends, extra saucy! I was focused on the food and completely forgot to get more napkins. Faced with limited napkins (we each had one), we got into a debate on, to ensure cleanliness, whether it’s best to wipe our hands and mouth as we go, or wait until the final wing is consumed to do a full wipe up. We agreed the latter is the most effective option at home to ensure the napkin doesn’t fall apart, but also considered that this approach wouldn’t fly in a restaurant setting or if you’re out on a date. My question is: you’re in a B-Dubs and have access to one napkin and 2lbs of saucy chicken wings, what’s your approach?

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I use that lone napkin over the entire course. I don’t wait until the end. I don’t have the patience. I fall squarely on the Fails The Marshmallow Test end of the spectrum. When I eat messy barbecue at home, I use the same napkin all dinner long, until there’s just a pile of greasy orange shreds sitting in my lap. This is because I’m constantly trying (and failing) to prevent the sauce from running down my wrist. Even my swift tongue can’t stanch the flow sometimes.

Also, I don’t like my hands FEELING messy, even when I’m eating messy food. I know that’s mildly neurotic, but you go pour a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s all over your hand and see how long you can tolerate it sitting there. In my mind, the longer my hands are messy, the harder it’ll be to remove whatever sauce/honey/syrup/snake blood is on them. Plus I need dry fingers to get a hardy grip on the next wing. I don’t want it slipping out of my hand and onto the floor. Then the dog gets that wing and not me. I cannot let that happen. I didn’t pay $8 for an order of wings just to make my dog happy.

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If I’m in a restaurant and eating sloppy food, I use a million napkins as I go. You might find this uncouth, but I’m married. I haven’t had to go on an actual date in two decades. Who am I trying to impress? My wife? LOL I’ll never pull THAT off. I just want my food, and I want to waste a tree in the process. Is that so wrong?

Darrin:

My brother in law has a good friend who’s a doctor. And by that I mean a real MD who went to a great school. My BiL and sister always refer to him as their pal “Doctor Bobby” not “Bobby”. I really didn’t notice at first but then I was at their house for dinner at the same time as the good doctor. He introduces himself as “Doctor Bobby” and during the meal I find out that he insists my sister’s kids call him “Doctor Uncle Bobby”. What the fuck? I respect all the time and hard work it takes to earn a doctorate but if I’m not a patient and I’m an adult I should be able to call him Bob (or Dickhead) if I want. Do you agree?

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I do. There are some doctors who go by “Doc” (or perhaps the fabled sobriquet “Doc Boy”) as an all-purpose nickname, but that casualness goes away if the dude in question needs to be addressed as “Doctor” in full and commands fucking kids to do it, too. WHAT THE FUCK, DOC?

I understand the appeal of being formally referred to as Doctor. I assume it’s the reason 80 percent of aspiring physicians and surgeons attend medical school in the first place. I’d get a small kick of the idea that I’ve learned so much shit they literally had to change my name. But there’s a line you cross where you go from being proud of being a Medicine Man to just stroking your ego. Motherfucking Bill Cosby had himself listed as a doctor in the Cosby Show credits, and he wasn’t even a medical doctor. AND he was a serial rapist. I don’t trust these performative doctors. You got your degree. That’s enough. I don’t tell everyone to refer to me as Commandant Drew Magary, B.A. Esquire. Although it’s not the WORST idea…

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Chris:

I saw you mention in a previous question that you had a buffet at your wedding and made sure you got seconds. I’m getting married next year, and multiple couples have said some variation of, ‘Don’t expect to eat the food at your wedding.’ How much bullshit is this? Yes, there’s a lot going on, but if I’m going to have some astronomically overpriced stations served to people I don’t care about, I’m damned sure going to get my share. These people are insane, right?

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I think that a lot of couples are caught up in the adrenaline of a wedding night and all of the strange obligations that come with being the center of attention for all of it. This is especially true of the bride. No one gives a shit about the groom, and so it’s easier for the groom to steal a moment to eat and/or steal the bride for a moment to have sex. But otherwise, you gotta meet and greet every fucking friend and relative. You gotta sit for a spell at every table. You have to listen to every toast and be on the floor for every significant dance. Weddings are fucking work.

A lot of times you feel obligated to make sure everyone else is having a good time, even if that means you don’t get to plant yourself next to the raw bar. If you and the bride spent all that time fussing over planning the wedding, you’re probably gonna also be obsessive and fuss over the wedding as it’s happening, too. It’s finally happening. OH GOD WHAT IF SOMEONE ISN’T DOING THE ELECTRIC SLIDE?! You might have to kill yourself.

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So yes, I can see couples getting distracted to the point of forgetting the entrée portion of the festivities. But I was never ever going to be one of those people. People who forget to eat are like fucking aliens to me.

Michael:

Putting fragile egos aside, why do managers consistently start their aces against their opponent’s ace, even where the opposing pitcher is by far the best in baseball? To go back before I was born to 1973, shouldn’t the Texas Rangers have started their worst guy in the rotation against Nolan Ryan at his peak and given [checks Wikipedia] Jim Bibby a chance at out-pitching the Angels’ number two guy?

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I sorta get where you’re coming from. HOWEVAH, regardless of sport, I don’t think it behooves you to PLAN on being horribly outmatched from one game to the next. You go ace against ace because it gives you a better chance of winning that particular game. If you cede that game by starting some pud—like, oh I dunno, let’s say Clayton Kershaw—then you’re betting that your ace is a lock when you have to play THEIR Kershaw. And if that turns out to not be the case, well then your strategically unbalanced rotation has all but sealed your doom.

Also, for my sake as a casual viewer, I don’t wanna be deprived of spicy pitching duels. I want a critical playoff game decided by two pathologically surly rednecks taking turns mowing down the side: perfunctory inning after perfunctory inning. Now THAT’S excitement.

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By the way, our own Chris Thompson brought this up the other night and I agree with it: being on the losing side in the middle of a baseball game is fucking agony. It’s worse than losing mid-game is in any other sport. If you’re losing a baseball game and the other team is still at bat, you’re utterly helpless. You don’t get to intercept a home run and run it back for a run of your own. You don’t get to steal the baseball and suddenly usurp possession. You’re just fucked until you get to bat again. And then things get even worse because the dude hitting sixth in your lineup dribbles a grounder directly to the first baseman, like he was planning to do it all along. The worst. Baseball is designed for pain.

Neil:

Virtually everyone agrees that the c-word is the worst thing one can call a woman. During a spirited discussion about profanity, my coworkers and I decided that there’s no male equivalent of the c-word, but there should be. So I’m challenging you to make up an appropriately nasty obscenity for the twig-and-berries set (and no, just calling a dude the c-word doesn’t count; you have to coin a new term). What you got?

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There isn’t one. It’s like to trying to find a truly cutting epithet for white people, like honky or yakoo or cracker or whatever. I am a card-carrying cracker and that shit barely registers. No one is really offended by that shit. There are only Hannity-Americans who ACT like such words injure them. Truly, they are signaling. Same deal if you call me a bastard or an asshole. None of those terms carry the weight of history. You can’t really degrade me significantly when, all along, it’s been my type that does the degrading. You know what I mean? Sorry to get all ruminative about it, but that’s the setup. About the only effective epithet for my kind is racist or rapist, and both of those terms have been overused by people complaining that they’re overused.

It’s a shame because this imbalance in the lexicon deprives assholes of the chance to feel REAL empathy. I can’t really know what it’s like to be called a cunt (non-British division) or the n-word by someone hellbent on doing bad shit to me because of who I am. All I can do get close to that feeling is, like, write the screenplay to Pleasantville. That doesn’t do that job. We need forceful, damaging epithets for all these shitty guys, so that they UNDERSTAND. For instance, what about cockgoblin? I wouldn’t want a bartender hurling that at me. “We don’t serve cockgoblin folk like you at this establishment.”

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Sandro:

Regarding stadium food, when is it ever acceptable to put food on the ground, under your seat and eat it later? Has anyone seen this happen in real life or am I making this up in my head? Is it a dealbreaker if the person you bring to the game does that?

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I did this, like, a week ago. Where else am I supposed to put the food if I’m not eating it? They don’t give you tray tables, like you’re in a fucking airplane. And I don’t want it in my lap for an hour. What do I do with this last chicken tender? I only have one storage spot in a stadium seat, and it’s beneath my ass. That’s the only place I can store food, roadies, jackets, and jars of piss. If you want actual “space” for “things,” you have to upgrade to the Johnnie Walker Bootlegger’s Club skybox for access to a bus station locker that costs five bucks for every 30 minutes of storage.

So no, I don’t get all skeeved out when people gotta put their shit down there for a second. They don’t give you any choice. Normally I eat all of my concession food within 10 minutes of purchasing it (last week I ate all of my dinner at a D.C. United game while waiting in a DIFFERENT concession line to get dinner for my son; all stadium concession lines move as fast at the US criminal justice system). But sometimes you buy the $8 hogshead tub of popcorn and it requires the occasional break. I’m not gonna be like YOU’RE DEAD TO ME if a friend stashes one under his seat on the designated urine terrace.

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Email of the week!

R:

I have a poop towel. What wasn’t included is the most important part: The poop towel is used in conjunction with a bidet or washlet. So you wash your butthole and backside squeaky clean with a HEATED fresh jet of water from the washlet/bidet. Then you merely lightly dab the area with the poop towel to get the residual water off. Much like toweling off after a shower. There is no fecal matter present. When you try to do this without a poop towel and use toliet paper instead, the toilet paper disintegrates and sticks all over your butthole and backside. I’m not sure if you understand how impossible it is to get little balls of wet toilet paper off of your nether regions.

The cleanliness afforded by a washet/bidet is extremely satisfying and impressive. As a washlet snob, I think people who dump and only use toilet paper don’t truly care about cleanliness and personal hygiene.

FWIW, the washlet we use has a “feminine” mode which washes the lady parts. For fun, I tried it on myself and was treated to a thorough, pleasant washing of my balls.

Hope this helps with the confusion of a poop towel.

Well LA-DI-DA MISTER FANCY BALLS.

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About the author

Drew Magary

Drew Magary is a Deadspin columnist and columnist for GEN magazine. You can buy Drew's second novel, The Hike, through here.