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What Is Your Go-To Cliché?

Illustration for article titled What Is Your Go-To Cliché?
Photo: Sam Woolley (GMG)
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Your letters:


What’s your favorite overused cliche? I’ve always liked “don’t get mad, get even,” even though I’m always mad and never get even.


There are two I use to the point of insufferability at home. The first one is “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” This is because I have three children and two of them don’t fucking eat. I do everything the parenting books tell you do. I cook them meals from scratch. I present them with options on the plate. I’m not forceful or demanding. Do they eat? Reader, they do not. So I mutter that cliché under my breath at every meal and then proceed to eat their leftovers. And that cliché applies in the broader sense of parenting too, because I can do everything in my power to get my children to do something, but it’s still basically a miracle when they comply. Like, when my kids actually listen and get ready for school on time, I’m gobsmacked. “Holy shit they actually did it!” If they really knew how much power they had over me, my bank account would be drained within hours.

“Tomorrow’s another day” is the other one I’ve beaten into the ground at home, because A) It’s true, and B) It fills me with false hope that things will improve. Like, any given today is SHIT. The President does something awful. I yell at my kids. Some fucking insurance snafu pops up. Today is miserable. Ah, but TOMORROW. Tomorrow is a chance to start fresh. Maybe something GOOD will happen for a change. Maybe I’ll sit down on the toilet and shit daisies. You never know! That’s basically all I’ve got to hang my hat on at this point. Maybe tomorrow Stephen Miller will die! Anything is possible!

Anyway, those are my workhorse clichés. I mean, proven clichés exist for a reason. They either act as small truths to help you feel less alone in the world, or they act as comforting lies to get you through the day. That’s why people stitch them onto very small pillows and/or hang them on the fridge. You’re allowed your own daily motivations, regardless of how corny they may seem. My wife bought a cheesy placard that says Don’t Forget To Be Awesome, and I definitely look at it every day and am like, “RIGHT ON, MAN.”


Do you think more people have seen the film Waterworld (1995) or the Universal Studios stage show Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular?

It has to be the movie because of DVD and TV airings, but the Waterworld stage show is AWESOME. It’s run for 20 years at that stupid park and it’s gonna run for 20 more. I have zero shame in telling you that I’ve seen it twice, despite never having seen the actual movie. They have a plane crash right into the fucking lake during it! Five times a day! How do they do that? TALK ABOUT HOLLYWOOD MAGIC! I took my kids to Universal this spring, and when they saw a dude in the Waterworld show get shot and fall off a tower into the water and disappear, they thought he was really dead! SO COOL.

That show is easily one of the best theme park attractions because you don’t have to wait in line, you don’t gave to freak out about who is sitting with who on the ride, and you can just RELAX for 30 minutes while a bunch of casting rejects shoot flame throwers at each other and ride around on jet skis. I saw one of the bad guys peel out on a Waverunner and completely soak a dude in the front row, and you KNOW that the highlight of that actor’s day. I can’t blame him for wanting every tourist to drown.


I know these park shows are usually poison. Like, you go to the park to ride every roller coaster six times. So when mom is like, “Ooooh there’s a bird show at 2!” every kid is like “Please dear god no.” But the Waterworld show more than justifies the break from the rides. I booed the Dennis Hopper stand-in more lustily than I have ever booed a professional athlete. Five stars!


Is it still considered a shart if you catch it in your cheeks before it hits your underwear?


Hell yes it is. Poop came out of your butthole. That’s a shart. Whether or not you had the awareness to clench before it did any kind of significant undergarment damage is beside the point. You shat, and you farted. You sharted. Now go wipe up.


Why are we still forced to type in the city and state for shipping and billing items online? Haven’t we reached a point where entering the zip code can automatically generate city and state for us? How much longer am I required to bear this burden?


Doesn’t Chrome do auto-fill for you? Google knows my fucking blood type at this point, so anytime I begin to fill out an online form, Chrome is like, “Would you like us to fill out your ATM PIN because we can do that for you!” If I somehow encounter a form that is resistant to auto-fill, I become EXTREMELY angry. You’re telling me I’m gonna have SCROLL to find my home state? It’s all the way down in the Ms! That could take FOREVER. The worst is when they also want you to fill out your country, and they force you to scroll through 200 other nations before getting to America down in the Us. I know they’re doing it just to fuck with me because I’m an American, and I can’t really blame them.

Online forms are a horrible racket. Every site wants your personal information, and then they want your permission to keep that personal information so that you don’t have to enter it again. And I’m just lazy enough to let them. Like, the reason Facebook has near-total dominion over online now is because no one wants to have to enter their full address into anything. Faced with the daunting prospect of having to spend 45 whole seconds filling out an online form, I gladly hit the SIGN IN WITH HITLER! button to make my problems go away. That’s the standard internet business model: They create headaches, and then they want your info or your money to make the headache go away. And the worst part is that all of my threats to leave this online life are idle. I’m not gonna go live in a cabin or anything. That’s boring. I need this bullshit and they know it.


By the way, another extension of Mike’s complaint here is any app that also wants to be a social network. Like, you download a virtual meat thermometer, and then the app is like SIGN IN TO PROBE MEAT WITH ALL YOUR FRIENDS! There are some things I would prefer to do ALONE, know what I mean? I don’t want the rest of the internet around for it. Sometimes I’ll download a game and click “one-on-one,” assuming I’m about to play a computer in hockey or whatever. And then the game will be like SEARCHING FOR AN OPPONENT and that’s when I freak out and throw my phone out the window. I just wanted to play solitaire. I didn’t want to go fishing for assholes.


One time when I was a kid I farted and the TV turned off. What I want to know is do you have a good story that sounds like bullshit but you swear is true?


I’ve had sex and NO ONE believes it. Seriously though, the closest I can get to your story is when I hit a hole in one on a golf course and no one saw it but me. But that’s a pretty dull story to tell. I wish I had better stories, honestly. When I was in college, my teammates had absolutely insane stories about getting into fights and getting laid and seeing ghosts and all kinds of other crazy shit. Either they had better lives or better imaginations than I did, because whenever I piped up, every story I told was lame as balls. I would be like, “Yeah well, one time at camp I pooped in a canoe!” And then the whole room would fall dead silent, and one guy would say “Cool story bro,” and then everyone would laugh at me. I’m not scarred by this AT ALL.


Rank the starches. I got:

1. Pasta/Noodles

2. Potato

3. Bread

4. Rice

This question works better if you force me to eat only one of those starches for the rest of my existence, right? That’s actually a dietary restriction I should actually adhere to since I’m the kind of person that uses naan to scoop up rice. I need starch IN my starch. I need a double bread bowl of Panera double bread bowls. I chase French fires with gulps of beer.* My blood is basically pure Vermont maple syrup at this point.


Anyway, this question gets real dicey when you remember that pizza is made with bread. If I take pasta and noodles in the top slot, which was my gut reaction, I’m forgoing pizza forever, and I don’t know that I can handle that. That would be like telling me I can never see my children again. You can’t just expect me to absorb that news in a calm and dignified manner. I would fucking freak out. Also, are tortillas bread? I mean, that’s tacos right there. Jesus. Jesus Christ, without tacos my life would be awful.

  1. Bread
  2. Pasta and Noodles
  3. Rice
  4. Potatoes
  5. Oatmeal
  6. All the weird grains like farro

I like potatoes as much as the next fat American but potatoes are potatoes, you know? They don’t have the insane diversity of bread and pasta. I bet bread and pasta make fun of potatoes when potatoes aren’t around. They might even toss in a few Irish epithets for good measure. “Fuckin’ bog food LOSER.”


*I willfully didn’t include beer in this starch hypothetical and you can’t make me.


What do you think would happen if 4- and 5-star football and basketball recruits started basing their decisions in part on the politics of the state they were considering and they let it be known publicly? Like if Superstar WR1 said he chose UCLA over Alabama because he couldn’t in good conscience go to a state with confederate statues or one that would choose Roy Moore. Of course, we already know that half the country would lose its collective shit, Fox News would explode in a rage orgy, and there would be endless congressional hearings, but I kind of think it would work.


I don’t think it would work because of the scenarios you already listed. If a kid publicly turned down Alabama because it’s a racist backwater (TRUE!), he would be trolled into oblivion by the entire right wing, and they would drum up enough crocodile tears to get mainstream outlets to debate whether or not it is RIGHT to shun an entire state for its political beliefs. DID POOR ALABAMA REALLY DESERVE THIS KIND OF PREJUDICE??! They would reframe the entire situation into a limp “both sides” discussion, purge it of ANY notable context, and then the only tangible result of it would be that the kid gets 7,000 death threats and NFL scouts look at him like he’s tainted lunch meat.

I’m extremely proud of any athlete willing to take a stand because that’s difficult to do when you’re a public figure and you’re going to be very seen. Taking a knee during the anthem is incredibly ballsy and, as Kaepernick showed, the consequences of such demonstrations can be severe. So it’s not fair of me to DEMAND athletes do those kinds of things. I have to make my own views public first, which means going to protest marches (I’ve gone to three) and boycotting shit (you won’t see me shopping at Hobby Lobby!) and putting signs on my lawn (haven’t built up the courage to do that just yet). Defending the vulnerable shouldn’t be the sole domain of the vulnerable. I have to be willing to risk someone egging my Kia, you know what I mean?




My three and half year old son is beginning to have some success with potty training. And this, combined with a recent 5+ plus hour road trip, has got him hooked on peeing on the side of the highway. I found myself joining in a couple times and I’ve got to say it is way better than a full exit pit stop. Why aren’t we doing this more? Is it illegal? Is it in poor taste? Too dangerous?


It’s illegal, yes. You don’t wanna be the guy who has to register as a sex offender just because you took a piss on the side of I-95. Also, the shoulder is a thoroughfare for emergency vehicles and stopping on it is incredibly unsafe, especially if you get out of the car. I have many worst nightmares, and having a pickup truck hit me flush on the ass as I’m taking a squirt is definitely one of them. Also, I’m scared people will see my peepee if I piss on the highway.

That is why, even though I have a comically weak bladder and I love pissing outside and I don’t like wasting time on the road, I still prefer to find a formal bathroom to do my business. Sometimes I’m on a real barren stretch and desperate times call for desperate measures. But I wouldn’t make a habit of pulling over if I were you. You don’t wanna be lumped in with the weirdoes who will pull over on the side of a highway for anything. I see people do this all the time, and their cars aren’t disabled. They’re pulling over just to HANG. They reshuffle the trunk and eat sandwiches and generally act as if having cars blow by their face at 85 MPH is perfectly okay. You don’t wanna be a voluntarily highway vagrant.



So we all know the president loves him some McDonald’s on the regular, but I’ve been agonizing over the logistics of how he safely gets it. You KNOW he’s not the type to settle for whatever (definitely healthier, possibly much tastier) simulacrum the White House chef might prepare for a Big Mac and super size fries. Does a plainclothes secret service member alternate between DC locations? Does McDonald’s Inc send all ingredients and prep protocol to the White House directly for the chef to use? Considering this administration can’t stop leaks to save its life, I feel like either of these options leave so much to chance and endangerment. After going on for waaaaaaaay too long about this and all the ways harm could befall Donny’s insistence on Mickey D’s with my husband with neither of us coming up with any good answer.


I think he just sends a lackey out for it. Trump famously loves fast food because it always tastes the same and because he’s a germaphobe who (mistakenly) believes that fast food has better quality control and is therefore “healthier” for him. So I don’t think he gives a shit about which McDonald’s his Big Mac comes from as long as it’s a McDonald’s. If it’s certified McDonald’s, he’s very comfortable and pleased.

Also, he doesn’t give a shit about security, in the formal sense. Like, Trump likes having a big beefy security detail around him whenever he’s in public so that he doesn’t get shot, and because it makes him looks super important. But when it comes to the small, finicky details of actual security—for example, using an encrypted phone, or not letting fucking Omarosa plant a bug in your office—he’s a big sloppy moron. He has absolutely screamed at an aide to go over to the Union Station McDonald’s and bring him back an extra value meal at 3 a.m. To him, that’s much safer than eating a rare steak or having a disgruntled hipster chef make him some fancy dish that he thinks has the power to turn people gay.



Has anyone ever been pleasantly surprised or happy when they heard their own voice for the first time?


Of course not. HOWEVER, I think people in 2018 are much more likely to get comfortable hearing their own voices quickly thanks to the advent of smartphones and all that shit. I don’t think I heard my own voice on a recording until I was, like, 15. So when I heard it for the first time, I was DEVASTATED. I was like, “Why do I sound like that? Who’s been fucking with this tape?!” Nobody warned me that your voice sounds different to you than it does to everyone else. I was shocked. It still blows my mind to think that my voice sounds different as I’m talking because it somehow passes through the webbed filter of steak porn and petty grievances that pollutes my brain. I don’t like it one bit.

But my kids won’t have the same kind of hang-up because they’ve been watching video of themselves essentially since birth. They know their voice sounds different when they’re watching it on a phone, but that will never stop my son from watching the same video of himself jumping off a swing 980 times in a row. He’s over that shit already. Meanwhile I can barely bring myself to listen to my own podcast. And neither can anyone else! HEY-OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!



Bruce Springsteen would probably beat the shit out of Donald Trump if he ran in 2020, right? Is there anyone alive who would win in a bigger landslide?


I hate to break it to you but Springsteen would lose to Trump. You think Trump voters are gonna side with some rich liberal asshole from Jersey over their golden boy? I don’t think so. The right wing media could turn Bruce into Satan with virtually no effort at all. Trump would call him Hollywood Bruce or something like that and it would be all over. “Hollywood Bruce, who left his lovely gorgeous 10 of a wife for a tambourine player, isn’t strong on borders! GET TOUGHER!” He’d probably troll Bruce by adopting “Born To Run” as his campaign music, and his base would love it.

Also, I may be a filthy liberal desperate to bring Trump down, but even I would arch an eyebrow at the Democrats trotting out some ancient bard to be their standard-bearer. Joe Crowley played a Bruce Springsteen song during his own concession speech, you know what I mean? Bruce’s music represents an American mythos that was pretty much blown to shit the day Trump was voted into office. He’s a talisman of the boomer generation’s love affair with itself, so no thanks. I know Bruce makes every 50-year-old sportswriter’s dick hard, but that’s not exactly the most crucial voting bloc in 2020.


By the way, I wrote up the Jets and Giants previews without noting that New York REALLY deserves more blame for Trump than it’s gotten. New Yorkers can try to disown Trump all they want but he is very much a product of that town: loud, publicly horny, annoying, thinks he knows everything, and thinks that “making it in New York” is some kind of ultimate human achievement. There are plenty more Trumps in that city. I know because I’ve had to go apartment-hunting there. You made him, New York. I demand recompense.


I was at a BBQ last week and saw a guy open a can of beer with his thumb with the mouth of the can facing away from him. This struck me odd. What finger do you open a can of beer with?


I brace my thumb against the side of the can and then pop the tab with my index finger. I think that’s standard, right? If I had to open a can of beer with my thumb, I think I would end up slicing it clean off. I don’t do well with new techniques.

I know my love for shitty canned beer isn’t exactly news around these parts, but god do I adore it. When you pop the tab and it makes that hiss? Tell me that isn’t the best sound in the world. Popping a bottled beer is such a letdown by comparison. You get a little bit of a hiss and then the cap rolls under the sofa, lost forever. The can wins.



Which scenario would have a bigger impact on the game: If NBA players in the 80s had to wear the shorts the players today wear, or if today’s players had to wear 80's shorts?


I don’t think it would make much difference either way because today’s NBA players don’t wear shorts as low as they did in the ‘90s and early 2000s. Look at this shit:


Put those shorts on John Stockton and THEN you will see a variation in quality control. But NBA shorts today are pretty much the exact right length. LeBron would still be LeBron if you forced him to wear hot pants out there. He’d just put on some compression shorts underneath to keep his dick contained and then go throw down 40-10-10.

By the way, I keep waiting for the baggy stuff to come back. You know it will. We’re only 15 years or so away from knee-length suits becoming a thing again…

Illustration for article titled What Is Your Go-To Cliché?

Look at those men. They all look like they’re about to be pallbearers at R. Kelly’s funeral.


Email of the week!


I lived with my husband in a Duplex apartment for well over a year, before a neighbor moved in next door. Due to our conflicting work schedules I didn’t end up meeting her until Thanksgiving morning. Turns out, she was delightful and kind and transferred her job to be closer to her mom who was dying. Between work and her mother’s illness she was rarely home and had no other friends or family in the area. So, I insisted that she come to Thanksgiving at my in-laws.

They were the sort who loved meeting people so I knew it wasn’t an issue. It was such a non-event in my mind that I didn’t really mention it to my husband until we were just about to leave. And HE. BLEW. UP.

It was a completely unhinged rant and disproportionate to the situation. He was fucking adamant the neighbor was not coming with us. It was loud and absurd and tailored so she would hear us through the thin walls. He called his mother, but it was all decided that the neighbor was coming to Thanksgiving. The car ride was awkward.

Once there, everything was fine. My husband disappeared and refused to come out of the basement. The meal was great, the pie was served and laid out on the table.

Then this happened in quick order. My sister-in-law handed her baby to my husband as he was coming back up the stairs for dessert, but he was unprepared for the handoff and grabbed his nephew at the bottom and smashed his arm against the diaper.

I would not be shocked if you told me that this diaper had not been changed all week. It exploded. The entire contents were out and all over my husband’s shirt, pants, shoes… everywhere.

He was screaming hysterically, causing the baby to scream. My sister-in-law scooped up the baby and ran for the only bathroom with a shower and locked the door, leaving my husband to scream like a maniac for the second time that day. We hosed him off in the garage and he went home in his old clothes from high school.

He didn’t talk the on the way home. He dropped the neighbor and me off at a bar. And that’s when she told me that he had a key from the landlord and for the last year or so, while the apartment was empty, he was using her place to take a shit. And after she moved in, he was still using her place while she was at work. One time, she walked in on him as he was running out the door only she didn’t really realize he was the empty apartment shitter until that night, while screaming and running after his sister. I moved out by Christmas.


Lot to unpack there.

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