This article originally appeared on VICE US.
Before I get into the Funbag, it's time for another Very Special Paragraph. Sunday was the day that the New York Times pushed out their op-ed chief AND the day that the Minneapolis city council announced plans to disband their police department. It has been a long, long time since I felt, like, proud to be an American. The past four years have been just an endless fucking embarrassment. But going to protests and seeing what happened Sunday, it felt GOOD to be an American for half a second. So please keep it up. Donate if you can. March because they can't ignore marching no matter how hard they fight it. I'm gonna say some corny-ass old man shit right now: I hope one day that the people who participated in this movement look back on it with the same sense of pride and accomplishment as people who participated in the original Civil Rights movement. We can make this moment that vital to history, but only if we keep at it.
Now let's get stupid. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew's new novel while you're at it. Your letters:
So I'm at the coffee shop my lady works at with the required local paintings up on the wall and there is one featuring Woody Woodpecker. I commented to her that he's the only thing more annoying than Scrappy Doo and she replied, "I'm not so sure about that." So now we need to establish this for the record: What are the top annoying cartoon characters? Both Daffy and Donald Duck have to be up there. Obligatory spot for Milhouse of course since Milhouse sucks.
I'm so taken by your question and so utterly HORRIFIED by your answers, I'm really thrown. Donald Duck is an asshole, I won't quibble with that. But Milhouse? Daffy Duck? Far as I'm concerned it's AARON season now, sir.
So I'm gonna ignore most of your suggestions for the list and cobble together my own. Please note that, since I'm a dad, I've been subjected to a horrifying swath of kiddie TV characters who make Poochie look like everything Poochie promised Springfield he would be. I'll spare you the bulk of those characters, because you may not be a parent and are thus not obligated to give a fuck. But I'm gonna make a few exceptions, starting with this one …
- Spongebob. I fucking hate Spongebob. You can go ahead and switch me out with Aaron on the to-cancel list. Kids love Spongebob. Their parents love Spongebob. A lot of you adore Spongebob because you grew up with him. I exist in a netherworld where I'm too old to have been reared on that show and also too old to have watched it while stoned off my ass in college. I have only experienced Spongebob as a parent, and it's fucking miserable. Everyone on that show is screaming ALL THE FUCKING TIME. They open Spongebob with kids screaming the theme song and they don't let up until the bell. I put on the TV to get my own kids to stop making fucking noise. Now I'm replacing it with some dipshit sponge shrieking like a dolphin throwing a fit at the Apple Store? This isn't an improvement. Then I turn the TV off and my youngest kid turns into a fucking grenade. I hate Spongebob. I hope he dries out on land and his dead invertebrate body is used to scrub out the fryers at Long John Silver's.
- Alvin the Chipmunk. No one over six likes Alvin & The Chipmunks. Turning on Alvin is one of the first signs that your child is developing some semblance of taste. Every kid goes through phases of liking certain toys/movies/books, but a lot of time that's a strictly matter of outgrowing the phase. Kids ditch Alvin because he SUCKS.
- Mater. I'm not gonna quibble if you don't consider CGI movie characters to be cartoons. I too get annoyed when some cop wannabe brags that they don't watch Pixar movies because they're "cartoons," like that earns you an extra testicle. It's like Marky Mark bragging that he doesn't need to ever jerk off. If you wanna draw lines (no pun intended) establishing what is and isn't a cartoon, go ahead. That all said, Mater is a piece of shit. I remember watching Cars and realizing, for the first time, that Pixar didn't always have my best interests at heart. Pretty shitty moment. Can't believe a movie studio would betray me. Fuck Mater, fuck John Lassetter, and fuck Dan Whitney with a coaxial cable.
- Porky Pig. Before the advent of the DVR, I remember audibly groaning whenever Porky Pig appeared on my television. I saw the WB logo, and then the Merrie Melodies title card, and I was already fucking psyched for some quality cartoon hijinks. Then a title card with Porky Pig would pop up and I'd want to huck my TV into a bathtub. Porky Pig is a tightass, a loser, and a pervert. He gives pigs a bad name. Elmer Fudd is the top straight man in the LTCU. Porky Pig is a sorry-ass understudy. (By the way, you might have heard that wingnuts are bitching about the new Elmer Fudd being unarmed. As someone who has already watched shitty reboots of Looney Tunes, I can tell you that the new Elmer Fudd would have sucked either way. Make him a fucking dermatologist, for all I care. I ain't watching that shit and neither are you.)
- Donald Duck. Total asshole. All he does is piss and moan about everything. I remember reading my son a story where Mickey Mouse deliberately leaves Donald out of a picnic with his friends. Well, what happens? Donald STEALS the motherfucking picnic and ruins it. Then Mickey catches him and Donald confesses. And then Mickey apologizes to HIM for leaving him out. Mickey, you fucking toad. Keep up the pathetic groveling and you'll be the next mayor of New York.
- Goofy. The original Mater. Just a big redneck shithead.
- All the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TMNT were conceived as a goof on regular superhero comics, and then they became a behemoth after that one-off spawned a licensing agreement for toys, which spawned movies and TV shows and all that other shit. That whole time, the turtles themselves have always been dipshits. If it weren't for the theme song, I wouldn't know the difference between any of them. Oh they love pizza? WOW. Big fucking quirk there.
- Jon Arbuckle. Just an endlessly pathetic loser. Serves no useful purpose to society. Disgusts all women within his radius. Is beholden to the fatass orange mammal he lives with. He's basically a Trump child HEY-OOOOOOOOOOO.
- Spike from Transformers. He's the kid who gets to hang with the Autobots even though he does nothing useful. All he does is become imperiled the second something bad happens, which is all the time.
- Sober Barney Gumble. Is he still sober? Did they make him drunk again? There's no point in having Barney on The Simpsons if he's not drunk and belching and shitting himself. I don't even drink anymore and I understand this innately.
- Caillou. I worked the shitty children's television beat for Deadspin for years and in that time people said to me, "Drew, none of these shows are as bad as Caillou. Caillou is satanic." Somehow, someway, I never had to watch that show. And guess what? I never will. My kids are too old for that shit now. I WON.
- Ruby. But I was subjected to Max & Ruby. Ruby sucks. But hey, at least she ain't screaming all episode long like Spongedick does. Sometimes I miss having kids young enough for shows like Max & Ruby. They'll never be that young again. But that yearning fades quickly when I remember the content that they routinely subjected me to.
Is there anything worse than thinking you're done cleaning up and then realizing there's a ton of shit left to do?
Nope. When I'm washing dishes and delighting as the sink grows emptier, my wife will come along and deposit MORE dirty dishes into it. I take this as a personal attack. You mean there are more of these fucking things I gotta do? Unacceptable. Let's burn those extra dishes instead.
I do my chores like a good dad, but I grow immediately cranky when I am confronted with surprise chores. Like, if it's 5 pm and there's an IT problem in the house? Or I gotta assemble some shit from Wayfair suddenly? No. Fuck that. I grow quills when I'm blindsided by any of that busywork. You see that clock, people? That clock is saying my day is OVER. Respect my green hour, please. You got all day to give me pictures to hang. It's a wide-open patch of daylight. Tough shit if you miss it.
The last Harry Potter movie was released 10 years ago. The first one is 19 years old! When will these be remade/rebooted, and how will they be different?
I don't know that they'll remake the original eight movies any time soon. Like I said last week, nothing is sacred to studios, but Warner Bros. is still making so much money off of the original Potter movies that they might actually hurt the gravy train by watering it down with shitty reboots (starring Andrew Garfield as Harry) too soon. Also, JK Rowling is too busy right now begging to be cancelled to help out. They'll wait another 10 years and THEN get around to it. By then Rowling will be a full-time contributor to The Federalist, but kids will be horny for a new round of Potter movies because no one reads any other books anymore.
Also, one of the streaming services will spend $1 billion on a Fantastic Beasts series and it'll be fucking awful.
I'm a college professor and regularly send/receive a couple hundred emails a day. Often, they're from some random person in admin checking in on a student advisee or asking about registrar crap or god knows what else they can think of to waste my life 30 seconds at a time. Today I had someone email to ask me to let a student on the waitlist join my class, and her signature is something like C. Mara Bluth. Do I address my response to C. Mara? Ms. Bluth? Mara? Every second I have to spend thinking about this is an affront to my day. Meanwhile, I just got two more emails.
Usually, anyone who gives you just their first initial goes by their middle name casually, so I'd wager that you can call her Mara in your reply and have it go over well. But if you need to be extra careful—because you never know how those PEECEE campus dictators will react to basic niceties—then go ahead and call her Ms. Bluth. You're sending a professional email, so you're allowed to sound a little stiff.
My wife has told me this on more than one occasion. I'll draft an email to a local school board and she'll be like, "This sounds way too much like you." I always think I can get away with being Mr. Casual in virtually any digital exchange, when sounding like a tightass is the better way to go. You should see me in Proper Drew mode. I write "Thank you so much!" in customer service chat windows, without ANY implied irony. It's weird.
Has Trump ever taken a shit in a public bathroom?
Do hotel bathrooms count? Restaurant bathrooms? The answer is a clear yes to both of those, although I'd wager that Trump has paid a lackey in the past to guard the bathroom door while he's in the BLT Prime restroom grunting out a used taco salad.
Also, Trump has been to a lot of sporting events and traveled around a lot. So I think there's a good chance he's had to take a shit at JFK when his valve has gotten testy. Airport bathrooms are true public bathrooms, and our president is living embodiment of having to shit your brains out inside of one. That's his spiritual birthplace, private jets or not. I know that Trump would tell you, with a straight face, that he's never taken a shit in his life. But he's never been one to deftly hide his lies, nor his turds. So yeah, he's used public bathrooms. He also deserves to die in one. Alone.
I wandered into the men's room to take a leak this afternoon and, as I started to pee, a sudden, violent urge to shit hit me out of nowhere—so much so that I had to squeeze and waddle frantically to a stall, where I sat down and immediately unleashed hell. Worth noting that I had felt no inclination to poop prior to walking up to the urinal and unzipping. I'm in my early-mid 40s and this was an absolute first (I'm normally very regular). Is this just the sort of thing I can expect as a new normal as I careen recklessly into middle age?
Shockingly, no. I'm 43 and I am not routinely stricken by sudden, violent bouts of Montezuma's Revenge. I mean, I get the surprise urge now and then. I'll be pissing and have to call an audible at the line of scrimmage. But that's been the case my whole life. Oddly timed shits have not been a byproduct of middle age for me. So I would tell you, cautiously, that you'll be fine. You probably ate too much Italian sausage and the bill came via FedEx same day delivery. Happens all the time.
This is the part where I tell you to start taking Citrucel or Metamucil daily. They keep your shitting clean and regular. It's just sound colon maintenance, regardless of your age. I've had SOME excretory misadventures thanks to aging, with many more certain to come. Something will definitely happen to my prostate down the line and then I'll be pissing maple syrup for a year. But I am all about preventive butt and dick care. Eat your fiber and stay hydrated, and the poop fairy will be more considerate when he comes knocking on your door.
My girlfriend and I were sitting on the couch watching Grace and Frankie. Anyway, I was stuffing my fat face with unshelled pistachios and she asked for one. So, I handed her a shelled pistachio. She threw it right in her mouth, chomped down then began screaming bloody murder. She then yelled at me asking why I did not shell it before giving it to her. I responded that they are unshelled pistachios, do you want all my hand grease all over the pistachio? I wouldn't throw a sunflower seed in my mouth and then spit out the seed for you. Who was right in this dispute?
I'd just like to note that half the questions I get for this column are, "Tell me I'm right and my lady is wrong." Anyway, you're right. First of all, who can't tell by feel if a pistachio is still in its shell or not? That's a layup. Secondly, we're in the middle of a pandemic. I cannot trust anyone to shell my pistachios for me. What if there's COVID under their nails? Did they wash THERE for 20 seconds after opening an Amazon package? Highly dubious. Thirdly, if your girlfriend already saw that you were munching on unshelled nuts, and didn't see you shelling one before handing it to her, why blindly assume the shell is gone? What are you, her nut butler? You gotta be vigilant with pistachios, man. You never know when they'll gitcha.
When I see a roach, 99% of the time it's standing still, so I casually grab my bug jar, trap the roach, and slide the lid on with the roach still inside. I then put the roach in the freezer where it dies overnight and can be safely thrown out. My wife agrees that this is a sensible practice but some of my friends were horrified when they saw me do it. They say it's gross to have the roach that close to food; I maintain that the outside of the jar is totally clean and the physical proximity of the roach to the food in the freezer is irrelevant. So what's more disgusting, squashing a roach in the middle of the floor, or putting it in a jar next to my DiGiorno pizza?
I guess the squashed roach is grosser because of the bug guts. But I'd also never trap a roach in a jar and stick it in my freezer. While I respect the cruelty of sending any roach to a frozen grave, that's far too laborious a process for me, a lifelong roach-aphobe. I don't want the roach to live. I don't want there to be a chance of it escaping from the jar and laying eggs in my eyeball. Even if I do manage to snare it, I don't want it near my food. What if he breaks out? What if he calls his roach buddies to mastermind a freezer break in, with glass cutters and blueprints and what not? I don't want the roach to be in my life for that long. I want it dead, regardless of the mess. So your methods are sound, but I'd rather keep a dead body in my freezer than a live roach.
What if the NFL took a page out of Netflix's book and just dropped an entire season all at once for you to binge watch with no commercial breaks? The games have all been played at their normal times but the results are kept secret to avoid spoilers.
No. No way. Fuck that. I don't want 64 hours of Vikings game sitting in my queue, draining my will to live before I've even hit PLAY. I want to watch my sports live. I don't like being behind on the DVR. I don't like turning off the TV and just taking in the game via highlights and Twitter the next day. I wanna be IN the game. I wanna be part of it. That sounds hilariously naïve given that, as a fan watching at home, I'm tangential to the festivities. But there's still an energy to watching games unfold live that gets lost the second you know you're behind. That you're the only one experiencing the game in an arbitrary patch of time to be named later. Even if I'm alone, I wanna feel everyone else's eyeballs on the game alongside mine as it unfolds. This is especially true right now, when I'm all but locked inside. I want the strange, indirect sense of community that comes with watching an NFL game as its being played and bitching out Bill O'Brien right when everyone else is doing likewise. I don't want some canned, NBC primetime Olympics-special style football. I want to be there.
On a barely related note, I went to protests over the weekend and felt better, more alive, than I had in months. Maybe I got COVID from it (I wore a mask and kept my distance), but it doesn't matter. Everybody wants to feel like they're part of something. It's very easy in 2020 America to feel like you aren't. You have all the tools at your disposal to divorce yourself from society. You have a shit-for-brains president encouraging people to feel alone, isolated, and hostile. You have cops clubbing people for daring to gather publicly. And yet, people are still marching. Because it feels fucking GREAT to be together and have it be real and organic and not just some fucking brand PSA. It's addictive. For the past four years, I've felt like I was 75 fucking years old. Just completely spent. I don't feel quite as old anymore. I wanna go where the people go, whether that's to the National Mall or to my basement to watch an NBA playoff tournament being staged directly on top of the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Doing shit on your own time is overrated.
I've been thinking about Jesus a lot lately and I kind of want to know how He would do in a slam dunk contest against respectable NBA talent. I personally think He'd get smoked but for some reason I can't get the image of the Lamb of God finishing a windmill tomahawk jam that started from the free throw line out of my head. Naturally this got me thinking about what sport position He would excel at?
He would NOT excel at basketball. He was shorter than an actor and, being a man of modesty, probably weighed as much as a magazine. Jesus was built like a waterboy. A wineboy, if you will. Might have had the temperament for chess, though.
Email of the week!
I encountered a Nazi at a restaurant a while ago. I don't mean it in the Seinfeld-y fun Soup Nazi way where someone working at the restaurant was unreasonable. I mean it in the heil Hitler way, where the person openly advocates genocide. One of my favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities has "Cheap Date" night every Monday. It's $28 for two entrees and a bottle of wine. That's a smoking hot deal AND this joint is within walking distance of my home, has a great patio, welcomes my dog, sources things locally, grows their own vegetables right there at the restaurant; you get it, it's great! (Tiny Diner in Minneapolis.)
This Monday, while eating there with my wife and dog was when I spotted the Nazi. A man and his family were seated at the table next to us. The first thing I noticed as this man walked up was that he was approximately the size of aircraft carrier. He was 'uge. He was Grave Digger turned flesh. I noticed quickly that he had tattoos covering most of his body and shortly after noticed that those tattoos consisted of a plethora of swastikas. I thought, "Maybe this cat is just really into Hinduism," but then there were the skulls, the 88s, the SS lightning bold things, and confederate flags. Probably not a Brahmin.
There I sat, pondering over my Macro Bowl, trying to decide what an Edmund Burke Good Man™ ought to do. Here is a person who is a living sandwich board for vile ideologies and he just gets to enjoy a burger in peace?** My first thought was to challenge him to a fight in the parking lot. I think that's what my Nazi fighting Grandpa would have done. He would have torn me in half Mortal Kombat fatality style. Also, fisticuffs have never done much to change minds.
My next idea was to say some snarky, "You know the Nazis were the bad guys/the South lost?" line. I think I would've needed to fight myself in the parking lot if I'd gone with something that lame. Then I thought maybe I could just engage in an actual dialogue with the guy. You know, talk him out of racism in 3 or 4 minutes.
As I was playing out that scenario in my mind, this guy and his family finish their meals and leave. While they're going, he comments to me in an obvious joke that my dog, a mini goldendoodle, looks vicious. Channeling my inner Venkman I say, "He'll bite your head off, man." And that was it. I had pleasant joke exchange with a Nazi and did nothing to bend the arc of history toward justice. Is there a better course of action in this situation? Did I disappoint my Grandpa?
**In fairness to the Nazi, he was there with his family, and didn't say or do anything inappropriate that I could tell. It's also possible he got those tats when he was younger and now regrets them or that he joined the Aryan Brotherhood in prison or something, I've seen Lockup on MSNBC, I know how that goes.
I think I probably would have been similarly meek a few months ago. I hope I'm no longer that way. Public Nazis deserve to be shamed and humiliated openly. I feel like the more everyone protests, the more they give each other the courage to call out what needs to be called out.