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What Is The Best Pickle?

Image by Sam Woolley
Image by Sam Woolley
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


What is the best pickled food?

My order:

1. Eggs

2. Jalapeños

3. Cucumbers

4. Carrots!

5. Shrimp

6. Ginger

7. Beets

8. Getting hit by a bus

9. Okra

Goddamn, that is a wild list. I’m not even upset. I’m just astounded by its seeming randomness. Pickled shrimp, man. I wanna know what the fuck is going on with pickled shrimp.

Anyway, pickling is super trendy among insufferable foodies because a) It’s easy and b) It adds the crucial HIT OF ACID now required of every appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Are you telling me this strawberry ice cream cone has NO balsamic vinegar drizzle on it? Why, it’s like I’m eating straight human excrement!

I haven’t ventured into the world of pickled shellfish just yet, so perhaps I’m not qualified to rank these things. But then again, that’s never stopped me from talking out my ass. Here are my pickle rankings. Please note that I didn’t include any pickled foods I haven’t personally eaten. That includes pickled beets, because beets are the devil’s root.

  1. Kimchi. Kimchi’s the best. I wish I had a giant barrel of fermented kimchi sitting in a hole in my yard so that I could call upon it as needed. I also get overly excited when I see it added to something on a menu. Regular fried rice is for fat kids. But KIMCHI fried rice? Well now… now we’re talking real grownup flavors. Serve it to me in a trough.
  2. Pepperoncini. Please note that pepperoncini WILL attack you. I love plucking one out of the jar and chomping into one as much as the next slob, but then what happens? BOOM! Big stream of yellow-dyed vinegar right in your eye. Be careful, man.
  3. Corned beef/Pastrami. This isn’t fair to all the vegetables on this list because we’re talking about cured meats here, and any meat will beat any vegetable in any flavor competition. But I didn’t wanna make this list and have everyone yell at me for leaving beef off of it. I mean, you’re still gonna yell at me, but at least my meat credentials have been issued.
  4. Sport peppers. These are what you get when you order an Italian beef sandwich or hot dog in Chicago and they fucking rule. I see no reason why Chicago should hog all the sport peppers to itself. You other cities should start putting sport peppers in things and get yourselves on the map.
  5. Banana peppers. These are the ones that come in pre-cut rings, for your sandwich pleasure. They’re also the only thing along the Subway counter that taste like anything.
  6. Red onions. SUCK ON THESE CONANT!
  7. Cucumbers. Obviously, this is probably too low for the classic pickle ingredient. I hated dill pickles as a child and would get unreasonably upset if you included dill pickle slices on my burger, because the juice would contaminate the entire enterprise. I no longer feel that way. I have made my peace with regular pickles. We’re good now. I even made quick pickles on my own and they turned out reasonably pickley.
  8. Mushrooms. These are the only reason I’ll brave an olive bar. I gotta cover my nose like I’m going into a smog zone to prevent the olive smell from overpowering me. There should be a separate marinated mushroom bar imho.
  9. Radishes. Crunchy!
  10. Ginger. Are you one of those sushi snobs who lectures everyone if they make a little slurry of wasabi pastes, ginger, and soy sauce? Tough shit. You will pry my slurry cup from my cold, fishy hands. I like to dunk my soosh, and then chow down on the ginger when there’s no sushi left. It’s my desperation move. “You mean there’s no more sushi? Fuck it, I’ll eat this wad of pink stuff.”
  11. Red peppers. Whatever.
  12. Pickled human foot.
  13. Capers. Barf.
  14. Sauerkraut. My mom used to boil that shit when I was a kid and the smell still traumatizes me. In the kingdom of pickled cabbages, Kimchi rules and sauerkraut can go to hell.


What prevents crowds at NBA events from getting a good “AAAAAIRBALL! AAAAAAAAIRBALLLL! chant going? It is not that difficult. Every time someone on the visiting team airmails a shot, this weird murmur emanates from the crowd that just sort of happens for three seconds and then stops. It’s as if everyone in attendance is waiting for someone else to start the chant, but it never materializes. What is your explanation for this?


I think it’s hard to start any chant in any arena now because people are too busy looking at their phones, or yelling at the t-shirt cannon guy to fire one their way, or trying to catch the attention of the beer guy, or strategizing a good time to go pee. It’s harder than ever to get an entire crowd to WATCH the stupid game, let alone go along with any kind of mass cheer. You basically have to print AIRBALL on a free t-shirt to make it happen.

More important, chanting AIRBALL is a dick move. Ever shoot an airball? It sucks, right? You feel like a total idiot. Ever had an obnoxious 12-year-old cry out AIRRRRBALLLL at you after sailing one? That kid fucking sucks. NO ONE DENIES THIS. I can picture a composite of that little fucker right now: freckles, braces, greasy hair … the whole thing. I want that kid dead. If you’ve been traumatized by a bully crying out AIRBALL, it makes you think twice before turning heel and doing it yourself, even if you’re heckling well-paid professionals who get laid more often than you do. No one wants to be the AIRBALL guy. That’s my armchair psychoanalysis.



How the fuck is Penn State football a thing, much less a national championship contender? How is it possible the stink from Sandusky, Paterno, and all the other enablers hasn’t driven away every half-decent recruit or up-and-coming coach? They should have been reduced to a program of walk-ons playing Alaska A&M and here they are in line to win a national title. It makes me want to puke.


It’s EXTREMELY uncomfortable, especially given that the coach presiding over this revival is a dude who was involved in a very nasty rape case at Vanderbilt, where two players were found guilty of raping a student and filming it. Not exactly heartwarming to see James fucking Franklin, of all people, restore Penn State to college football’s elite.

But of course, you can’t knock the PSU players for this. That’s the beauty of the college racket. Whatever your school did in the past, there are always new players who are fed into the mill and who are conveniently disconnected from that history. Saquon Barkley is awesome, right? Can’t blame him for all that shit Jerry Sandusky did! Are you really gonna take out your anger at Penn State on [Dick Vitale voice] THESE KIDS?!


This is why college football programs are so resilient. Redemption is baked into the business model. You can run a murder ring out of your school and the NCAA will be like “Well now that’s very BAD,” and then they will punish you—but not to the point where you’re insolvent—and then a few years later you can come back with all new players and all new coaches and pretend none of the bad shit ever happened. Every school gets its Blue Period. That’s all by design, and joints like ESPN are more than happy to follow along because, as SMU taught college administrators and networks, there’s no money to be had in shutting a place down.

I’d be more into Penn State’s comeback if there was ANY indication that things had changed. I’m not talking about what Sandusky did, but rather the environment of fanaticism that allowed for bad shit to be covered up and enabled. Read this thing. Fucking read it. Nothing’s changed, man! As at other places, Penn State still has an infrastructure in place where self-preservation remains the utmost priority, with enough people who have either a monetary or emotional stake in the place to abide by it. And what happens when a football team is GOOD?! That blind loyalty gets even worse. I went to Penn State after the scandal and the games are fun and the people are nice, but the potential for rot is still ALL OVER the place.


Given Franklin’s presence, I have zero confidence that PSU is now some bastion of integrity, especially given that PSU truthers are crazy assholes who are like WHY YOU GOTTA TALK ABOUT THE PAST?! the second you dare to point out that this whole thing isn’t exactly wholesome. Penn State and ND are gonna make the playoff and I’m gonna end up having to cheer for Nick Saban somehow. So annoying.


Has Donald Trump ever used a condom?

Ugh. Christ. Fuck. Probably not. Definitely not. Donald Trump definitely thinks condoms are for losers and that if you’re a woman and you get pregnant, it’s 100% your fault. I could also see him actively denying that he has crabs. He could be itching his dick 12 hours a day and still be like, “Many people say I have the healthiest dick they’ve ever seen.” He’s never worn a rubber.



How do you rank the pressures that come along with the flying process through your standard domestic airport? For some reason, I find the moment when you reach your row and have to quickly unpack the stuff from your carry on that you want with you for the flight and then throw the bag into the overhead compartment to be a real pressure cooker. Everyone knows that the people behind forced to wait overtime for said asshole to keep the line moving. I can’t stand that shit.


I’d put general overhead angst way at the top because that’s the whole reason people crowd the gate area and stand ready to pounce. It’s the reason gate agents yell at you to check your rolling bag after only five people have boarded. It’s the reason I feel like I’m smuggling drugs onto a fucking aircraft as I roll by the bag sizer and pray they don’t ask me to squeeze my bag into that little box like I’m stuffing a Cirque De Soleil acrobat inside. It’s the reason I feel like I’m gonna be arrested when I pause to cram my suitcase in the bin and it sticks for a microseconds, alerting the entire passenger manifest to the fact that my bag may violate specs (it’s a normal fucking suitcase, I swear). It’s what I dread as I go through security and people behind me are actively in my personal space as they get their shit onto the belt before I do, like they win a stuffed bear for beating me. And then the bag gets flagged and the TSA agent rifles through my crap and they RUIN my careful packing job. That shit ain’t gonna fit in the bin now, you fucker!

It’s also the reason that airlines have begun charging for reserved bin space BEFORE you board. I have no proof, but I’d say 90% of all rage incidents stem from overhead bin disputes. It dominates the whole process. My fear over having to check my overhead bag is a thousand times more pronounced than my fear of, like, terrorism. Go ahead and hijack the plane. Just don’t fuck me over and make me hit up the baggage claim when you force us to land in Lisbon.


Anyway, I wish that airlines were working to ease overhead bin angst, but they’re going in the opposite direction. They only profit off making you tense and uncomfortable and then charging you to EASE that tension. They can’t have happy customers as the baseline, because then you won’t pay extra for anything. It’s awful. BURN THEM, I SAY!

By the way, if you hate overhead bin angst as much as I do, fly on puddle jumpers if you can. You get a little red tag at the gate, you leave your bag at the door, and BOOM! You get it right back after you come off. It’s lovely. I’ll gladly fly in a rickety 12-passenger Cessna to Bluefart, OH, just for the jetway check.




I know this has been HBO’s cash cow, but wouldn’t it make financial sense to release this last Game of Thrones season into theaters as three epic films and make a billion dollars?


Yeah but then wouldn’t all the GOT fanboys storm HBO headquarters and kill everyone? If I shelled out for the first seven seasons of that show, only to be told by HBO, “Sorry, you actually gotta go pay to watch the end in a movie theater, and we’re gonna space it out into yearly installments like The Hobbit,” I’d throw a brick at someone. Fanboys are better than anyone at wringing maximum grief from the slightest offense. It’s not worth the extra coin HBO could make to have them up their ass from now until death. Those dorks want their medieval incest ON DEMAND.

Besides, HBO has a million GOT spinoffs in the pipeline anyway: The Blackfyre Rebellions, The Founding of Braavos, The Night’s King, The Stark Diaries, Khaleesi Loves Chachi, Arvid The Sword Humper, etc. The HBO move is to make a movie of a show only AFTER that show has completed its run and everyone is sick to death of it. I think we’re all pretty jazzed for Girls: The Movie to become a reality 30 months from now. Will those crazy girls ever get their act together? You’ll have to visit your local Cineplex to find out! Save your popcorn for the 3D butt-eating scene!


There was actually talk a long time ago about a Sopranos movie. Now, that mostly went away after James Gandolfini died, but David Chase also toyed with the idea of a prequel, which… I think it’s probably for the best if that never gets made. Imagine shelling out $12 for Young Tony only sit through a movie with nine different dream sequences and only one minor character getting whacked. I’d be livid. You know damn well that dudes like Paulie Gualtieri are probably still banking on that shit to happen, too. That guy probably has a down payment on a boat ready to go if that thing ever gets greenlit.


As a fellow back pain sufferer, what have you done/would you do if a back throw-out happened in public? I’d like to think I’d have the fortitude to ride it out and collapse in a dark corner so I could writhe in peace, but that’s probably not how it would go down.


I threw my back out once during a flag football fame and kept playing because I was in denial about the severity of the injury and because I prize looking TOUGH and gritting it out there with my fellow FLAG WARRIORS. Then the pain got worse, to the point where I could barely walk, and I dragged myself to my car and drove home while wrenched in agony. It is unwise to drive like this, but I’m not calling for an ambulance unless my heart has stopped. If you ever throw your back out in public, I assure you that adrenaline and misplaced pride will give you just enough time to get someplace where you can scream and beg for a quick death.

I’ve told this story before, but I had a truly awful disc injury back in, like, 2006. I literally couldn’t stand without being subjected to torturous pain, so they scheduled me for surgery. At the time, my wife was eight months pregnant, so she was like, “What the fuck, Drew? I’m the one who’s supposed to be rushed to a goddamn hospital.” Anyway, we get to the hospital and they had me sign in and wait. Only I couldn’t wait in a chair because I couldn’t even sit. I could only lie down and wriggle around like a red snapper that fell onto a ship deck. Everyone can see me but I don’t give a shit because I’m in hell. So the hospital had me go into a different lobby and lie down THERE, away from gawkers. And then the head of the joint walked by with a group of donors and saw me on the floor and was like, “Uh, why is that man on our floor?” That’s when they finally scooped me up and got me to a morphine drip.


The moral of the story is … if you are in pain, it doesn’t necessarily pay to suck it up and act like nothing’s wrong. If you flop down like an Italian and scream like a little girl, you get drugs!


What sport are butts most important in?

Wrestling. In virtually every sport, butts are crucial. If you swing a baseball bat or golf club, you need your butt to generate torque. If you play football, you need your butt for getting low and putting all the power in your hips, as evidenced by this exchange:




But in wrestling, they REALLY emphasize butt stuff. I took wrestling just for one season, but in that season I heard about butts more often than in a standard Brazzers video. It was a whole winter of HEY THE POWER IS IN YOUR BUTT and HEY GO KNEEL BEHIND THAT GUY’S BUTT. It’s a veritable butt fiesta at every wrestling practice. So if you’re wrestling without a butt, you’re really starting from … behind. Huh? Huh? Hey, where are you going?


There’s only one sport where butts don’t matter and that is swimming. Swimmers have negative butts to reduce pool drag. You could probably cover Michael Phelps’ whole asscrack with a quarter. Butts are optional in the pool.


I went to your Twitter account the other day, and noticed you had fewer than 300 tweets. I know you’ve tweeted more than 300 times. Why do you delete your tweets? (I’m mainly asking you because I’ve seen this happen with other people I follow and it’s always been weird/interesting to me).


I installed Tweetdelete, which wipes any way tweet that’s like, two weeks old. Now, if you’re a needy attention whore like me who thinks even his most disposable tweets are holy writ, it’s really hard to go through with this. I had one joke about Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” that I really nailed, you know? Some tweets are timeless.

Anyway, I started wiping tweets after the election because I was afraid BIG GUBMINT would start targeting every blogger, start combing through tweets, find something they objected to, and then haul me off to Poundtown. If that sounds paranoid and insane, well… Look man, adjusting to life with Donald Trump as President takes time. So I nuked my feed. But really, if they want you, they can GET you. Superficially wiping a bunch of tweets that are still easily accessible via cache won’t save me.


And frankly, I don’t deserve to be saved. I swear my first tweet was “So this is the twitty bar, huh?” Boy, that has NOT aged well. I bet I thought that was gold at the time, too. “Like TITTY BAR! Oh Drew, you old scamp! You’ve done it again!”


Say an eccentric billionaire buys your company, and offers you the following. Your salary is doubled instantly, but you must legally change your first name to “Cheese”. (Assuming you need to show a drivers license, paperwork, etc as proof). Do you do it?


Sure. Going by Cheese sounds like just the kind of desperation move I would pull at 41 years old. “Guys, I had a lot of fun as Drew Magary, but those days are behind me. Now’s the time for Cheese Magary to shine bright.”

Although I would genuinely be more annoyed by the paperwork than by people yelling CHEESE at me, and accusing me of selling out Prop Joe to Marlo. All that I could live with. An extra trip to the DMV would be the more rigorous test of my naked greed. I’m so lazy can barely fill out expense reports. That’s free money, mind you. I need that money for, like, college. All I gotta do it fill out an online form. But even for that I’m like… “What if I took a snack break instead?” So chances are I’d accept the deal to become Cheese, then put off changing my W9 for 16 weeks. Who knew being Cheese would be so much goddamn work?



My dad eats like an insane person. He makes noises that seem impossible given the food. Hearing him eat chips or anything else crunchy is spiritually devastating. My question is, is this going to happen to me? Is this a dad epidemic? Or is he singularly disgusting?


You’ll turn out like your dad, sure. I’m not saying ALL dads eat at 150db while simultaneously drooling out straight maple syrup. But yes, people do tend effect their parents’ mannerisms. So if your dad eats like a fucking savage, you probably will too. Not only do I act and talk like my old man now, I sound like him, too. I’ll fart and I’ll be like, “Oh Christ, that fart sounded like dad!” It’s unavoidable. I’ve accepted it. Frankly, I like that I can blame genes for some of my more egregious bodily noises. “It’s not my fault I belch in movie theaters, honey! It’s MY FATHER.”


At what price point are you paying too much for a car wash? I’m talking about your standard, gas station, drive-thru wash. Is The DeluxeUltraMegaSupreme Wash really $9 better than the Basic Wash? FWIW, I always choose one level above basic but never the top levels.


Don’t you get a discount on your car wash at the gas station when you fill up? In that case, you probably never have to pay more than $10. I know I never want to pay more than that. I’m the dad who says “We’ll just wait till it rains!” every time my wife points at the car and it has barnacles growing on it.

However, if you have a minivan like mine that is riddled with crushed Nilla Wafers and beheaded Lego men, you gotta go to a proper car wash, because cleaning the INTERIOR is really the important part. They gotta get in there with the vacuums and suck all the used Band Aids and gummi bears out. When the time comes, I go to the local Flagship where the standard wash is $16. I know this is not cheap. I get renewed sticker shock every time I go. “What kinda WAR PROFITEERING is this?!” But considering I get my car washed roughly once every three years, I figure it’s worth the splurge. I think I got the Rain X one time because the wipers were squeaking. They stopped squeaking for a good seven minutes after that. I’ll never spring for that again. $16 is my limit.


Email of the week!


I can confirm that being a hungover teacher is the WORST. My wife teaches high school, and we went out with a big group for a friend’s birthday. While she doesn’t normally drink much, that particular night she really turned the party up to 11, to the point where she and the birthday guy were leaning against one another at the table for support.

This was a Thursday.

The next day, I went to my job, where I shut myself in my office and mostly surfed the net. At about 11:00, I get a text from her that said:

“Whose bright idea was it to give all these little shits motherfucking whistles? WHISTLES?”

Friday was her school’s Field Day, and some company had donated a bunch of toy whistles to all the kids. So, she had to teach for a couple of hours, and then go supervise the kids while they played outside, apparently all with whistles.



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

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