Dogs in a bag
Illustration by Cathryn Virginia
Life

What Is the Right Number of Dogs to Own?

Time for your weekly edition of Drew Magary's Funbag. Today, we're talking about poker players, pickles, drinking on the job, and more.
March 17, 2020, 6:25pm

Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Your letters:

Matthew:

What's the optimal number of dogs to have?

My kids would like a second dog. So I'd like to use this response to explain to Matthew and Matthew only that the optimal number of dogs to own is ONE. That's it. One dog is plenty. Not only would it be greedy for you to own more than one dog—and we already know how greedy you, Matthew, a hypothetical dog owner out in the ether, are about eating all the hint of lime chips in the house—but it's a lot of goddamn work. And are you, Matthew, a young man already loaded down by schoolwork and dealing with two siblings in a completely generic nuclear family scenario I just imagined without personal context, ready to assume those duties? You are not. Who's gonna pay this new dog's vet bills? I'll tell you who: your poor mother and father! Well I dunno if you noticed, Matthew, but daddy's 401k just went down the SHITTER! So you can ask me every day about getting a new dog, Matthew, but two dogs are too much of a burden IN THIS PANDEMIC.

We actually had two dogs in the house the other day. My in-laws needed us to babysit their dog. They've babysat our dog so many times that it was only fair to return the favor. Anyway, taking care of two dogs at once BLOWS. My in-laws' dog is a perfect nice little dog. But walking two dogs at the same time is hell. It's like being drawn and quartered by a pair of dying pack mules. I was forced into a Jesus Christ pose so many times when they went in different directions that you would have thought I was the new lead singer of Creed. And here I thought professional dog walkers had an easy gig. I'm a fucking moron.

And I know you're saying, "Hey Drew, I own eight dogs and it's not that big of a deal," to which I say EAT SHIT. I got three kids and one dog, and I can't go to Five Guys for at least a month. I got enough bullshit to deal with. One dog is the correct amount of dog for everyone. And by everyone I mean me.

Cam:

If you had to break it up into these categories, what % is the reaction to painting a room a new color?
—"I love it."
—"That's not bad, it'll do till next time I paint it."

It's gotta be like 5/95 right?

That sounds about right. This is why the majority of rooms in this world are painted white. It's boring, but at least you won't be ANGRY at a white room. When you opt for a more daring color, even a shade of light eggshell, suddenly you become the pickiest interior designer in the fucking world. "Oh, this is too staid. We're gonna have to install brand new lighting to help this pop. Maybe there should be a ficus tree in the corner, too." Then you get used to it after four days and go about your business. Then you go to a friend's house and walk into a dining room painted in bold red and you're like HOLY SHIT THIS IS TOTALLY THE COLOR I SHOULD HAVE USED.

That's how painting a house works. You live in that house, so you end up resenting parts of it, no matter how fetching those parts may be. You're really decorating it for outsiders, so that they walk into your home and feel pangs of jealousy that make them want to go take a bath with Rudy Gobert. That's how proper WASP dynamics work. So even if you go hog wild and paint your house the way Rob Zombie would, it's still just gonna be your house to you. It'll never be perfect because you live there, and thus you're constantly aware of its shortcomings. Please note that none of this applies if you happen to be a billionaire. If you're a billionaire, you NEVER get sick of that aquamarine paint job in the home theater of your seventh mansion, because you only go there one week a year.

Jeff:

How is it that the World Series of Poker is able to consistently find new, weaponized breeds of douchebags every single year? You'd think they would have run out of versions by now, but here we are.

Have you BEEN to a casino, Jeff? Lemme tell you something: When Bill Simmons represents the LEAST annoying disciple of a certain subculture, that's a rough subculture. I have been to casinos both in America and abroad. They are fertile breeding grounds for our worst bros and bro-ettes. These are guys who make Phil Hellmuth look like fucking Nelson Mandela. They've got all the accessories: a visor, a lip full of Skoal, a polo shirt with the Auburn logo, two of the ugliest feet you've ever seen on display in a pair of Adidas slides, and "Viva La Stool" tattooed on their scrotum. They've got the whole package. The WSOP will never run out of dipshits. The talent pool is horrifyingly deep. That should be clear to you especially now, with aspiring poker bros packing into every Tilted Kilt across America to show the coronavirus that they're #ManStrong.

Also, the game of poker itself is designed to bring out the prick in everyone. It's gambling, but it's also a game of skill (as good poker players will endlessly remind you). You can win money by lying well. You can lose money to better liars. You can lord over a table with a straight flush like you're Holy Roman Emperor. You can fold and scream vile death threats at everyone else for cheatin'. On every hand, poker is begging you to act like a complete fuckhead. Perhaps teaching my seven-year-old to play it was a mistake.

Kevin:

Do you think that Quincy Jones is pissed at Michael Jackson?

A simple Google search would indicate that he very much is, though not for the obvious reason.

"Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. He was as Machiavellian as they come. Greedy, man. Greedy."

Quincy did react to the HBO documentary by yanking Jackson's name off a London jukebox show right after the movie premiered, the kind of loose Michael Jackson banishment that everyone has done since it came out. Quincy didn't actually CANCEL that show, of course. He plowed right ahead with it and made his money, much to the consternation of Michael Jackson truthers who still very much exist. So Quincy doesn't like Jackson, and probably believes that Jackson was a child molester, but he's still gonna go ahead and use Jackson's music—and Quincy believes with good reason that much of Jackson's catalog is also HIS catalog—to his own ends.

I'd make frowny faces at Quincy Jones for being a mercenary, but he's just doing what every music industry exec in history has ever done. Also, I still have two Michael Jackson songs on one of my Spotify playlists. One is the posthumous collaboration he did with Justin Timberlake (co-written by Paul Anka!). The other is "Pretty Young Thing," which is the LAST Michael Jackson song anyone should hang onto after he was definitively proven to have ruined young lives. Those songs pop up in the rotation and my wife is like, "Uh, Drew?" And then I'm like, "Oh right! He did all that shit!" So anyway, I just took those songs off. Very brave of me to do the right thing months and months after everyone else did. This must be what it's like to be Mitt Romney.

Gabe:

You're in a 12-round regulation boxing match with a heavyweight champ. He cannot in any way fight back. Can you knock him out? (Assume he gets TKO'd for protecting himself.)

I could not. Tyson Fury still gets to move around, yeah? I'd be fortunate to lay a glove on that bigoted pile of shit. In fact, I would lose the match outright. Fury would circle around the ring three minutes at a time and I'd chase him, flailing around and hoping to land one on his chin. And then, sometime around the fifth, I'd pass out from exhaustion and he'd be declared the victor. It'd be like every Floyd Mayweather match you've ever had to sit through. Really shitty television. Then Fury would spit on me and give me corona.

I'm not even confident that I could knock out Tyson Fury if he was forced to stand still. I've punched a heavy bag. I'm spent after 10 seconds. I would have to conserve my energy, giving Fury my best chin shot every minute and a half. I could even get a running start. I'm still not confident I could finish the bastard off. Let's swap him out for a hungover Jimmy Fallon. Then my odds would improve dramatically. I'd fight angry.

Matt:

What counts as a dynasty in sports? Clearly teams like the Spurs or the Patriots are dynasties, but what about consistently excellent teams who don't win championships as consistently, if at all? Like the Bills made 4 consecutive Super Bowls in the '90s (4!!!!). It feels equally weird to label them a dynasty as it does to just write them off. The people need answers.

You have to win three titles with the same key players to be a dynasty in the pros. That's my unofficial minimum. If you win no titles, you're a bunch of chokers (Bills). If you win just one title, you're either a fluke or you're STILL a bunch of chokers for not winning more (Atlanta Braves). If you win two titles, you're legit (late '90s Broncos) but you don't get the fabled dynasty tag unless you're some annoying college team (Duke in any given period). Three titles make it iron-clad. Three titles make a team resistant to any and all hot takes. Even Skippy Bayless is gonna be like, "LeBron is still _Me_Bron as far as I'm concerned, but I have to hand it to him this time!" Three titles are when I get sick to death of your team's dominance and want them to drown in a lava flow. God do I miss sports already.

Bryan:

How do you shower at the gym? Do you put your sweaty gym clothes directly in your gym bag? I've enjoyed making the gym a part of my routine, but I always feel self-conscious leaving them in there soaked in sweat. (Like, wet t-shirt contest soaked.)

Yeah, I put my sweaty clothes in the gym bag. That's what the gym bag is for. I get done with my requisite 45 minutes CRUSHING the elliptical. Then I go to the locker room, strip down, put my stank-ass clothes in a little pile on the bench to mark my territory (by law, someone with a locker right next to mine will be showering at the exact same time), shower, get dressed, and stuff all the dirty shit into the bag. Then I go home and hang my shit out to dry. Smells like a perfect spring day, yes it does. My wife told me I should leave the gym bag unzipped overnight so that it airs out, and I followed orders. Let that technique be an essential lifehack for you, the reader. That's about as hygienic as I can make the process. I'm working out. I'm going to produce unpleasant smells. All I can do is contain those smells as best I can. FLATTEN THE ODOR CURVE.

Also, I don't put my street clothes into the gym bag. I hang those in the locker separate from the bag while I exercise. Those clothes have their own distinct and unwelcome musk. No need to handicap them any further by mixing traces of ammonium nitrate from daddy's crotch sweat.

HALFTIME!

Jon:

For all burgers that are served with pickles, wouldn't we be better off using pickled onions instead? You'd still get onion and you'd still get the vinegar that you get from pickles, but you wouldn't have to taste the actual pickle. How is this not a noticeable improvement? Also I swear I'm not high, I'm at an airport burger shop waiting for a flight.

I'm already on record saying that every restaurant should offer FRIED onions on top of every burger. But yeah, if they also wanna offer pickled onions to boot, I'm not gonna complain. The pickled red onion is now a hallmark of artisanal fast casual dining. If Provisions Creamery Larder doesn't have fancy pickled things on its small plates menu, it's common garbage to me.

However, you clearly have it in for regular pickles and want them removed from the burger rotation outright, which I can't get down with. I used to hate pickles on my burger too when I was a kid. I'd open up the bun and peel those little bastards off. But eventually I turned the corner and welcomed the [Chopped judge voice] contrast the pickles provided. That hit of acid really cuts the richness of the beef! I love it when I talk foodie to you.

So now I want pickles on my burger every time. I'm not gonna turn full mayo bully and demand that you, Jon, get used to them being there. I'm just gonna say that permanently swapping them out is a needless overcorrection. I'll eat your pickles for you. I mean, not right NOW. When the dust settles, hand those puppies over and I'll take care of them.

Matt:

I just started working in a new company, and their office was boasted to have "plenty of beer if you need to work late." They have a good selection, but in the month since I started I've seen no one actually crack one open. I'd like to have a Miller Lite when I work late, but don't want to be seen as a drunk. Is this a trap? What's the etiquette here?

Holy shit you must work for Roger Goodell. I think you can be brave and help yourself to a few as you see fit. In my experience, there are drinkers who can handle their mud and drinkers who can't. If you're the type of alkie who gets extremely sloppy every time you break the seal, then those free beers at work are indeed a trap. But if you're a functional alcoholic and you can have one or two without becoming a one-man Bourbon Street, then you'll get away with it. You might even lead by example, proving to your colleagues that they too can finally indulge. Then Frank down the hall will barf all over the copier one night and the drinks will be locked away for good. But until that night, you will be a HERO.

We had free beer at an old office job of mine. One night we all got loaded and played flipcup in the conference room. The bosses sent out a very stern email the next morning. No more flipcup. I regret nothing, except the fact that we didn't clean up after ourselves. That was a dick move.

Andrew:

If you could take a pill that would stop you from ever farting again (and there would no attendant negative health consequences), would you take the pill?

No.

Austin:

Why do people follow celebrities on Instagram when every post is a goddamn ad? Who actually thinks that's good content?

Well you're assuming that those followers CARE about the posts. They don't. They follow celebrities on Insta to gawk at the pictures and to get a follow back that never comes. Following a celebrity is a cheap way of feeling bonded to them. "I follow Karlie Kloss on Insta! That makes us related!" A lot of people are more than willing to tolerate vacuous posts from famous people when they already follow 2000 other people and when they're holding out hope that they'll get a reply from Caroline Calloway when they post WE STAN A KWEEN in the comments.

Also, when I wrote for Deadspin we were downright militant when it came to hating brands and hating clumsy branded content. But I know that's a losing battle. Native advertising is so prevalent now that it's a given to younger generations. They don't give a shit. They're used to being sold. I can scream about it all I like, but that'll just make me age in double time. Ads don't bother most people anymore. It's the cost of doing business if you want Kendall Jenner to see you being horny for her.

Jon:

I saw a story about Woj recently where he was flipping out about a flight not having WiFi on it. Given that we can download movies to tablets, isn't in-flight WiFi just a neoliberal scam to extract more work out of you? We're already taking time out to fly to Cedar Rapids to review the Pensky file, don't we deserve three hours of serene intoxication rather than having to justify why we didn't send out 30 emails?

I don't think it's a political scam. I do think it's a scam instigated by Gogo, which is inarguably one of the most evil corporations on the face of the planet. These fuckers have a monopoly on charging $30 for spotty WiFi while you're up in the air. Why? How? Can't we jail them? I WANT ANSWERS.

Anyway, I have terminal internet addiction, which means I'm the guy asking the gate agent if our flight has WiFi. When he says no, I'm crushed. Then I spend three hours on that flight reading a book and being an actual human being again. Those isolated flights represent the majority of my screen-free time as an adult. I always land refreshed and happy before turning off Airplane Mode and hurtling directly back into hellworld. So if they ended plane WiFi for good (they'll never do this), it'd be healthier for the general population.

That said, when the plane DOES have WiFi, and when I can expense it, you better believe that I surrender to Gogo and waste precious reading time doing all my usual online bullshit, toggling between Twitter, Slack, and Sudoku at my leisure. I don't do any WORK in that time. I always plan on working midair and on using the free time to be a Really Useful Engine. Instead, I get into Slack arguments about bread. Much more pleasant.

Rob:

A movie celebrity retires from acting and immediately becomes one of the most astute and informative commentators in the NFL. Which celebrity do you want for this?

Dennis Miller. For real though, networks have been dying to make a non-football football commentator work throughout my lifetime and the guys they've chosen—Miller, Tony Kornheiser, Rush Limbaugh—have all been guys who clearly hated the job. Tony presided over MNF games like he had been sentenced to a fucking podiatrist appointment. So it's vital that whichever celebrity takes the gig is not someone I would want to huck off a balcony. Here are my choices:

  • Dave Chappelle
  • Jeremy Irons
  • James Earl Jones
  • Kathryn Hahn
  • Nick Offerman and Rob Lowe
  • Jennifer Lawrence
  • Andrew Yang
  • Cardi B
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Eddie Murphy

There you go. That's my list. It makes no sense. I would put Stephen Colbert on here but he's famously indifferent to sports. I'd also put Ricky Gervais on here but he's famously an insufferable prick.

Mr. Shannon:

I am approaching my 35th birthday and I have noticed significant signs of aging. I have been having a lot more random aches and pains. Heartburn is a thing now. I consistently read in bed and monitor my IRA each morning. The most shocking thing to me has been my slow slide into 'Dad Fashion'. I do not own any graphic tees besides those used for outdoor work. Every nice button down shirt I have is dry-wick technology so my pit stains don't draw too much attention. I have also started wearing a bathrobe on weekend mornings. For my birthday I am asking my wife for a pair of slippers. Should I be alarmed or is this just the natural progression for the middle class suburban male?

[Dr. Evil voice] Quite standard, really. Next thing you know you'll be quoting Austin Powers unironically. YEEEE-EAH BABY! My own dad fashion has also become noticeable and untenable. My closet is a festival of neutral colors. It's like Eddie Bauer opened an outlet store inside of it. Everything is gray, brown, dark blue, black, or slightly less dark blue. Unacceptable. The older you get, the harder it is to pull off cheap clothes. So I did what any discerning aesthete might do: I took my sons to Dick's to shop for slightly better athleisurewear. They joined me in the fitting room and graded my prospective improvements. I tried on a pair of red pants I thought might pop.

"Dad, oh my God."

I looked like a failed Superman cosplayer. I tried on a pair of Columbia cargo pants. They were beige but they also converted into shorts, which I thought was quite sharp. Really good reporting pant/shorts!

"They're okay."

I tried on a pair of kinda greenish blue track pants.

"Those are fine."

DONE. I also went to Uniqlo and bought a red hoodie. I blanched at the $40 price tag, but that's characteristic of me. I'll drop $40 on dinner out but ask me to do likewise on a hoodie I'll wear for days on end and I'll be like WELL THAT'S JUST OUTRAGEOUS! But I had to spend it. I'm more than happy to settle into comfortable, less-than-appealing dad habits. But I had to salvage SOME shred of my self-esteem and upgrade my wardrobe to include actual colors. You look good, you feel good. Of course, now I can't even go to a fucking bar to show these wares off. All the ladies out there are wracked with grief.

Email of the week!

Patrick:

Every year our family of six would drive to the Gold Coast in Queensland over xmas/new years. It was a 12-hour drive. I would get car sick but I was 9 and therefore not a competent enough human yet to have anti-nausea pills. So each trip would start with Dad yelling out me and trying to force feed me a pill at 4:30 in the morning. We also had a 5 seater station wagon. So a couple of smaller seats (aka in Aus "kiddie seats") were put in the back.

I would sit there cramped in the back in a cocoon of luggage, and for this year, a turkey in an esky that my Dad received for free as part of a deal on a new fridge he had just bought and didn't want to go to waste.

We had just had a petrol station stop and I was eating some chicken twisties (like yellow cheetos). Our next stop wasn't for 2 hours. My oldest sister hated the smell of chicken twisties. I ate them slowly to annoy her. Eventually she got so annoyed that she ripped the bag out of my hands and threw it out the window.

Shortly thereafter the road sickness hit me like a wave. I told everyone I felt sick. My Dad made it clear to me that I better not even think of being sick. I grabbed my sick bucket and filled it up. He cursed and my sisters freaked out. My mum noted that we needed to pull over and empty the bucket. Dad refused to compromise on the planned stoppages timeline and told me I could hold it until the next stop.

We all sat in silence and the stench of my chicken twisties vomit for about half an hour. Eventually I got tired and spilt it all over my mum's luggage that was next to me. I let out a feeble "oops". My Dad flipped out and pulled over to clean it up and let me have it.

Next year we flew.

Now I want a chicken twisty.