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 Gritty, weddings, pissing in the woods, and more.

Your letters:

Sam:

Sitting here eating KFC with my wife and watching Star Wars after work and she asks me, how many chickens do you think you’ve eaten total in your life? I said 500. She said that’s a lot and it’s probably closer to 300 but if anything I think it’s more.

It’s way more! Eating a chicken takes NOTHING. Five hundred chickens is a Sunday afternoon for me. The average American ate 93 pounds of chicken last year. Given that the average rotisserie chicken weighs two pounds, that’s 46 chickens a year. And I already know I’m on the high side of that average. I’m the guy who eats two whole chicken thighs off the grill as an appetizer before serving the meal. My daughter is 12 and she’s probably already surpassed the 500-chicken mark. If you’re like me, you have eaten THOUSANDS of chickens, in the form of nuggets, strips, drummies, soups, barbecues, stews, and more. You are chicken Hitler.

It gets even more interesting because per-capita chicken consumption has gone up every year since 2012. In just that short time frame, Americans increased their chicken eating by over 10 pounds a year. Each. We also, as individuals, eat over triple the amount of chicken we ate back in 1960. Chicken is now the default protein of the American diet. That, of course, is because BIG CHICKEN has lobbied to put chicken in everything, and because they’ve tricked Americans into believing white meat chicken tastes good, and because they’ve automated the process to such an efficient degree. Your average grocery store chicken is some poultroid abomination developed in a lab, raised in a glorified shipping container, and then slaughtered and packaged before it even sees daylight. It’s not an animal so much as it is a living product.

And it’s so cheap to manufacture that pretty much anyone on a budget feels compelled to buy it. I went to the store the other day to buy some steak to grill, but the steak was way too expensive. Then I looked over at a pack of chicken thighs and it was, like, four bucks. For a pack of meat the size of a car. Did I buy that chicken? You know I did. Was it delicious? It certainly was. Is it good for me, or for the world as a whole, to eat 50 fucking chickens a year? It is not. Actually, I am eating chicken as I type this and getting schmaltz all over the goddamn keyboard. It is a failure of epicurean imagination to eat that much of one stupid bird. I should be eating more vegetables and mixing up my protein consumption to include more legumes and very small, wild game birds. Why do I eat so much chicken and so little, I dunno, grouse? Why is there no Kentucky Fried Grouse? I would try KFG.

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Will I ever change my chicken habits? I will not. I’ve basically been conditioned, both culturally and economically, to enjoy stuffing my face with 100 drumsticks annually. I am the livestock. One day Perdue will execute their grand plan and switch from selling chicken meat to selling human meat and no one will even blink.

Andrew:

What is your personal opinion on Gritty, the Flyers new mascot? I know Deadspin has a company-wide policy of loving Gritty but was just curious about your opinion.

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Oh, I love Gritty. I have no what compelled the Flyers to commission a mascot who looks like Sweetums with no teeth, but I approve. Mascots are inherently ridiculous anyway, so I appreciate it when a team goes all the way with it and hires a mascot that looks like a ‘70s acid trip. Why else have a mascot? If you’re trying to make your mascot cool, you’ve already failed miserably.

So as far as I’m concerned, Gritty is right up there with the Phanatic and Mr. Met and Western Kentucky’s Big Red as mascots who will make me laugh on first sight. These are the mascots Conan O’Brien calls on when he needs to do a sketch featuring a mascot walking out of a public toilet, or reading a porno mag, or begging his wife not to leave him. Gritty is a five-tool mascot in the same way.

Also, things are horrible and depressing right now, so I’ll gladly latch onto the absolute stupidest shit to take my mind off of things. Like the other day, I was in the car with my kid and she said to me, “Hey, did you hear about the Italian chef who died? He pasta way,” and I laughed for five straight minutes. Life is so serious right now that I have to counter it with a blitzkrieg of shitty dad jokes and horrible mascots just to keep myself from going insane. If you need to offload something dumb right now, I am your man. I haven’t watched an Oscar-winning film in two years, but will absolutely spend an evening looking at Photoshops of Gritty perched on the grassy knoll during Kennedy’s assassination. [Buzzfeed voice] GRITTY IS THE IDIOT MASCOT WE NEED RIGHT NOW AND THAT’S SO IMPORTANT. Gritty is my refuge. Gritty is OUR refuge. I think the Flyers should dress all their players as Gritty for every home game. I don’t care if they lose.

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Sean:

Is there a minimum distance to be considered a destination wedding? Is a plane ride necessary? Or is it just making everyone involved have to travel a bit?

To me, it’s a destination wedding when neither the bride nor the groom has ANY ties to the location. Like, if the bride is from France and the wedding is in France, that’s not really a destination wedding. It’s still a colossal pain in the ass, but there’s a reason that wedding is in France. But when a couple decides, “Hey! Let’s get married in Cabo!” just because they want their wedding to double as a honeymoon, THEN it’s a destination wedding. It’s right there in the name: When the destination is as much of a burden as the wedding itself, PRESTO! That’s a destination wedding. That’s when a deranged, narcissistic, nightmare couple forces you to take a pricey vacation that only they really want to go on. That’s when literally every guest has to take a goddamn plane ride.

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I am currently in a fallow wedding period. I haven’t been to a wedding in years because most of my friends are married and because, since I am not a Mormon, my children are too young to get married right now. Frankly, I could use a destination wedding at this point in my life. I’m too cheap to take my wife to Paris. I need some overbearing friend to go get married IN Paris so that I have no choice but to pony up for a cross-country flight and then bitch about it. It would be a nice change of pace from the things I usually bitch about.

Sam:

FMK: inside-the-park homerun, bicycle kick goal, alley-oop

We can dispatch with the alley-oop straight away, because I’ve seen an alley-oop more times than I’ve eaten chicken. I still cherish a quality alley-oop when it punctuates a run, like when LeBron slams one home after erasing a 10-point deficit in front of a home crowd. That’s when the other team knows they’re in deep shit. But otherwise, I’ve seen it all before. So I’d kill that off, then I would fuck the inside-the-park homer, which is the two-dollar bill of homers. I mean really, it’s just an ambitious triple. It’s neat, but an inside-the-park homer usually only happens because the right fielder was in the bathroom when the ball got hit.

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And then, I would marry the bicycle kick. A well-executed bicycle kick is pretty goddamn amazing. I saw Gareth Bale nail one in the Champions League final and I still think about it. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I tuned into the World Cup and realized that Bale was Welsh and therefore doesn’t play for England. I had no idea. I never expected a guy with only six consonants in his name to be Welsh. Seems impossible.

This is the part of the column where I tell confess to you, fair reader, that I genuinely like soccer now. I did it. I crossed the Rubicon. I used to resent the mere existence of soccer. I used to bitch and moan anytime soccer had the gall to make even the quickest cameo in the American sports discourse. WE SPEAK FOOTBAW HERE, YOU GOT ME, SON? And, of course, I was one of many sports bros who would watch the World Cup and use the occasion to offer my takes on how to “fix” soccer. Hear me out on this … let’s get rid of the offsides rule. Ever think of that, you fucking loser soccer dandies?

No more. I am now cool with soccer. This isn’t filthy liberalism at work. This is not soccer virtue signaling on my part. Soccer fans are hilariously annoying and I have no urge to ingratiate myself with them. But I really do enjoy waking up on Saturday and flipping on the TV and casually watching Sackchester play West Crumley in the Blarneypole Derby while I cook up some eggs. I’ve taken my kid to three MLS games and thoroughly enjoyed myself each time. I don’t even put up a fuss when my kid wants to watch Premier League games over college football early in the afternoon. It’s fine. There’ll be plenty of shitty college football action for me later in the day.

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I even have soccer takes now. For example, Wayne Rooney was always overrated as a scorer, but underrated as a passer. BOOM. Soccer take. THERE’S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM, LADS!

HALFTIME!

Clay:

Are there people who enjoy Peyton Manning’s Nationwide ads? I understand that there are swaths of people in Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Denver who love Peyton Manning eternally, and I totally get that and think that’s fine, but are there people in other parts of America who have no football related adoration for him who watch those commercials and think, “This fellow is hilarious and charming!”? What the hell?

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Oh, it’s not about enjoying the ad. You probably already surmised this, but brands don’t really care if you like an ad. They only care if you notice it and/or remember it. The fact that you’re asking me about the Nationwide ads means they caused enough “abruption” (FANCY AD-BOY TERM ALERT!) to make it past your brain’s defenses and take up residency there. Peyton is still on your teevee because seeing him will cause you to go, “Hey! That’s Peyton Manning!” and that split second of recognition is enough time for them to plant the Nationwide jingle inside your psyche for the 57,000th time. It’s highly effective.

It doesn’t matter if the ad is funny (it isn’t) or if it makes sense (it doesn’t … why is the ad a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a jingle that already exists?). All that matters is they find a way to break into you, and if that means having a football player with a kidney bean head trade unfunny jokes with a shitty country singer, they’ll do it. That is how brands “drive the conversation.” That’s why Nike stuck Colin Kaepernick in an ad. It wasn’t about justice; it was about getting you and 50,000 other media outlets to go OMG KAP IS IN A NIKE AD! And it worked. And that ad SUCKS! It’s a stock Nike ad featuring tinkly piano music and athletes doing gritty athlete shit. The copy is just a bunch of random poetry magnets nicked off a strength coach’s fridge:

“Don’t believe you have to be like anybody to be somebody.”

What is this, a fucking greeting card? I’m genuinely offended they couldn’t bother to make a decent ad for 2018’s foremost iconoclast.

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Zach:

Is there any question after his testimony that Brett Kavanaugh is the country’s most obnoxious sports dad? Can you imagine being the basketball referee Brett’s doubtlessly used the same whiny victimization routine on that he deployed Thursday?

Yeah man, he made college basketball coach faces throughout that entire testimony. YOU CALL THAT A BLOCKING FOUL?! Those are not normal faces, by the way. You could have a photographer trail you for two years and they still wouldn’t capture you making a face like this one. I don’t even make that face when I’m on the phone with a telemarketer, and this dude makes that face ALL THE TIME. Just walking around 14 hours a day with his teeth clenched and his lips pursed, like he’s doing karaoke to “Seek & Destroy.” This man made beer sound unpleasant! How is that possible! I watched that testimony and I was like, “How the fuck does that guy have ANY job?”

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Now, I know the answer to that. But I think it’s telling that, for 53 years, Brett Kavanaugh basically lived his life under the impression that he was as a “respectable” and “decent” man, and then the second he was challenged in public over it, he turned into a floppy-haired rage demon. It’s also telling that Yale classmates who haven’t seen him in decades were willing to come forward and be like, “Yeah man, that guy was a fucking PRICK.” You gotta make a strong impression on people with your prickishness to elicit that kind of response. How many times has this guy sent back wine? A hundred? I wouldn’t let Brett Kavanaugh park my car. When it comes to big public hearings, all these guys think they’re Pacino in Scent of a Woman when they’re really Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Alex:

I was recently on vacation and was just chilling in the Oceanside pool. A couple seagulls land in front of me and I look over at one of them, and it yawns. Then it struck me. I had never seen a bird yawn up until this point. Have you ever seen a bird yawn, and what other common animals have a lot of people never seen yawn before?

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I don’t think I’ve seen a fish yawn. We have a fish and that poor fish looks bored to death all day long: just swimming around in circles, nibbling at fish flakes, ducking behind a little plastic treasure chest. If ANYONE had a right to yawn, it’s Jimmy the betta fish. And yet, he keeps all of that existential weariness to himself. Very blue-collar fish.

We also have a dog and I was told by the trainer that when a dog yawns, that means that the dog is tense. Like, the dog is yawning to chill himself out because he’s totally freaked about, like, my dad visiting or something. I’m not sure I’m buying that. This dog is a lazy shit and I think he yawns because he wants a tummy rub. I have things to do, dog. I’m not your fucking butler. Rub your own tummy, you hairy loser.

Brent:

My name is Brent Cavanaugh. To quote Office Space, there WAS nothing wrong with it…until I was about 33 years old and that no talent ass clown became famous and started winning Supreme Court nominations. Obviously it’s not the exact same name, but phonetically it’s there. At this point I’m just wanting this guy out of the 24 hours news cycle. On a daily basis I’ve been reached out to by a new and different acquaintance, each making a lame attempt at humor. What’s the worst name that’s been hijacked by someone out of nowhere? Aside from Michael Bolton, of course.

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You poor, poor bastard. I hope beer hasn’t been ruined for you. Anyway, I know the answer to this. It’s Ravens radio announcer Gerry Sandusky. This guy STILL gets tweets calling him a monster, even though his name is spelled differently, and even though there have been dozens of national articles about the fact that he gets confused with a disgraced child sex predator. He could walk around with a sandwich board that says “I am not THAT Jerry Sandusky” and morons would still breeze past the headline and ask him why he’s not in prison.

To this day, if you type Gerry’s name into Google, Google asks you “Did you mean: jerry sandusky?” He has to deal with this all the time, forever and ever. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I would break down and either murder Jerry Sandusky, or just get it over with and become a child molester myself. My name is kinda close to Drew Carey’s and that’s annoying enough as is. I can’t imagine what kind of psychic toll such cases of mistaken identity take on Gerry Sandusky, or on Donald L. Trump. The latter goes by the nickname “Skip” and I don’t blame him for it. Call me Assbag or Doodooface … ANYTHING but Donald Trump. FREE ME FROM THIS HELL. I know I bag on shitty white kid baby names, but I do have to admit there’s a certain security in knowing that no one will ever confuse your little Praxtynn with some hardened serial killer. Bad baby names are a clever form of identity insurance.

D:

I have clear memories of being in Little League and being instructed to wander off into the trees to piss if we needed to. I believe Little League is 7 years old to 10 years old. Does this still happen? I can’t imagine parents are super psyched about their kids wandering alone into the shrubbery with their dicks out, nor would it be acceptable for a coach to accompany them. Or are all parents required to come to practice now in case their little one has to piss?

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No, they still piss in the woods. I don’t think the coaches explicitly tell them, “Hey, take your dick out in public!” It’s just understood that they’re going to go pee. Doing it in the woods is unavoidable because my kid usually practices plays games near a local public school, and all of those schools get locked down at night and on weekends because Americans cannot be trusted to walk into a public school without shooting it up, robbing it, or rubbing their balls on the trophy case. It sucks. We really have ruined everything for everyone.

Anyway, if the kid has to go, they gotta go. It is an ironclad law of parenting that every bathroom emergency with a child occurs five miles away from the nearest bathroom. I don’t even blink anymore when this happens, I’m so used to it. I just march them into the woods and then run away so that only one of us gets busted if the po-po comes along.

Also, I still marvel at the fact that my sons cannot choose a decent spot in the woods to piss. It’s always a spot that offers ZERO privacy, or they’re pissing onto a slope that will slowly pool the urine back at their feet, or they’re pissing onto a tree knot or a leafy branch that will IMMEDIATELY splash back on them. Or they’ll just cut out the middleman and piss directly onto their own shorts. It’s amazing. They’re very talented young boys. I’m very proud.

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Jim:

Is icing your own kicker a brilliant unused strategy, or just a terrible idea? A couple of years ago Jason Garrett iced his own kicker, but the kicker wasn’t in on it. What if a coach asked the kicker prior to the kick if they wanted a free practice attempt? Imagine it’s a windy day at Lambeau in December and the kicker agrees that a practice kick would be a good idea. The coach gets the time-out in right at the snap, and the kicker sails it wide. Then on the next attempt he adjusts accordingly and hits the game winner. That coach would look like a genius, right?

I don’t think any kicker wants that, though. They already have time prior to the game to do practice kicks and gauge the conditions, and they have the sideline net available to get their kicking motion down before trotting out onto the field. You’re assuming that the first kick will help inform the second one, and that just isn’t true. Studies on icing the kicker are notoriously inconclusive, but here’s one that suggests a kicker is less likely to make the “iced” kick, especially if they’re kicking from beyond 35 yards away. I don’t think your reverse psychology would change those numbers significantly.

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What if they follow your plan, and then make the “practice” kick but miss the next one? How fucking stupid would YOU feel if that happened? You were the kicking diva who needed a test run before kicking a 45-yarder, and you fucking shanked it. I’d rather die. I think most kickers just want to run out there and kick the ball as quickly as possible, and then fuck off back to the sideline. They don’t wanna be out there any more than you want them to be.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK!

Eric:

Our town has an obnoxious Facebook group where 15k of our 35,000+ residents bitch about things. It’s the worst and mostly I check it once in a while to see people lose their minds in the comments. It’s like normal Facebook lunacy but with a nice personal touch (“Karen you’re what’s wrong with this country! We need plastic straws! Let the sea turtles die. Also your kid and my son had a class together in elementary school and he said your kid was always a troublemaker #MAGA”).

Anyway this was a real post the other day (for what it’s worth this is a pretty wealthy area filled with mostly pretentious white people): “There is a POOPER on the loose! A grown man literally just went number 2 behind a bush in my yard on Downer Street. Just keep an eye out in case he is a repeat offender *sidenote-He was caught and made to clean it up*”

I have no idea how I would handle this if it happened to me. What would you do if the mad pooper struck in your backyard? Would you stop him mid-poop?

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Hell no. I would film that shit and post it to Twitter. The future of pooping … IS CONTENT.