While dining on chicken (prepared by my boyfriend) I asked for ketchup. After an argument, a small hostage situation, and some googling, I discovered that the vast majority of the world (indeed ALL OF my friends and family I hold dear) believe me to be a monster for this. Never have I been so accosted for a hot food take than when I suggested that ketchup pairs well with chicken. So the questions I pose to you and all your food wisdom are these: is it wrong to eat chicken with ketchup? Additionally is there any meat other than hamburger that is acceptable to be paired with ketchup?
This is not a chicken nugget or tender, yeah? Just regular-ass chicken? Eating ketchup with that is fucked up, yes. No two people have the same palate, but I'm confident that ketchup and roast chicken is a noticeable mismatch to the average American. I'm not sure why ketchup works with nuggets/tenders and no other form of chicken (this includes fried chicken; if I see you dunking a Popeye's drumstick into ketchup, I'm protesting outside your house). Probably because the chicken inside a nugget is barely chicken at all. Also, you may not have BBQ sauce on hand for the nuggets, hence you settle. But otherwise, eating your chicken with ketchup is the kind of thing drunk people do before shitting themselves. May I suggest Frank's instead? I'll put Frank's on my Oreos. I don't give a crap.
Your second question is more compelling because I never realized that I don't eat ketchup with ANY meat besides hamburgers and hot dogs, and putting ketchup on a hot dog isn't always standard; it's an instigation to greater Chicago, in fact. One time I ate ketchup with steak, but that was for a piece of Pulitzer Prize-winning stunt journalism and not something I do normally. I don't eat ketchup with pot roast, or lamb, or salmon, or shrimp (unless cocktail sauce counts), or sushi. I also don't eat it on meatloaf because I don't eat meatloaf. I'm like most Americans. I eat a shitload of meat. I eat a shitload of ketchup. But I rarely eat meat and ketchup together. Why? Well, I talked to Dr. Farbon Laudsmere, head of olfactory studies at Grinnell, to get a better idea, and here's what I found …
Picking boogers. Going in with wet finger or a dry finger: Who you got?
Dry! Never wet. When I was a kid, I would lick my pinky and jam it up my nose to see how far I could get it, maybe even touch my brain. I just tried it again now and made it to the second knuckle. NOT BAD. But for booger excavation, a wet finger is useless. I want my boogers to be as dry and crusty and crusty as possible, for better flickability. Also, they're just easier to catch with a dry finger. If I go in with my pinky (just realized I always use my pinky for nose-picking) all covered in water or spit, that will immediately compromise the integrity of any booger I'm trying to fish out of there. I don't wanna reach a gold nugget—even if the booger itself is wet—and make it slicker and harder to snag. Would you climb Everest while soaked in Vaseline? Adam, you would not. You need proper footing.
Let's say a team like the Buccaneers was granted permission to play a 12th man during NFL games to get the franchise back on their feet, provided that the 12th player was someone with extraordinarily low athleticism — someone like you or me! Do you think said NFL franchise would go for it?
Yes. You would literally die if they used you out on the field, but your mere presence out there would be something offenses or defenses would have to account for. I know that referees are already out there on the field while both teams are playing, but refs are paid to get the fuck out of the way. You, on the other hand, would be paid to get IN the way. It would be all you could do out there, but it's still something.
Some examples. On defense, you could impede a wideout running a crossing pattern, or you could stick your hands up and miraculously bat down a pass. On offense, you could get in the way of a tackler, the same way a wideout does when they stalk block a cornerback by essentially guarding him the way a defending point guard would. Or you could go out for a pass. You would either be WIDE fucking open because the defense doesn't take you seriously, or you would draw away a defender from an actual receiver trying to get open. Football is a game of exploiting small advantages. Having an extra guy on your side, even a total fucking pud, is no small advantage. Tom Brady would know how to exploit a nobody like you. Why, look at Julian Edelman's entire career!
Then you would get concussed to the moon and everything would go back to the way it was.
I'm visiting my mother-in-law, and she asked if I was hungry and put out some croutons to snack on. I thought it was weird, but you know what? They're pretty good. I could snack on these. I get that you're supposed to put them in a salad, but why limit yourself?
Why indeed. In fact, Ian, I'm gonna do you one better and tell you to MAKE croutons. That's right. Make the fuckers. [disingenuous Bon Appetit voice] It's so easy!!! Actually it's a complete pain in the ass, but let's make some anyway. Here's what you'll need:
A loaf of stale bread (presumably you have some leftover from your quarantine bread making phase, before the charm wore off)
2 tsp butter
¼ cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup grated parm
Cut the bread into 1" x 1" cubes. That's the pain in the ass part. Crumbs everywhere. Shitty. Put the oil into a hot skillet and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the bread cubes and toss them around so that they're evenly coated. Then sprinkle the salt, pepper, and cheese all over them and fry them until golden brown.
That's it. You're done. You now have a shitload of fresh hot croutons to snack on. Sometimes I give them to the eight-year-old for DINNER. Just croutons and nothing else. He seems pleased with it. I gotta sneak in my portion before he houses them all. The boy is very horny for them croutons. We ALL should be horny for croutons.
Please note that despite this lengthy preamble, I dunno if I'd snack on bagged croutons. I need those fuckers drenched in Caesar dressing first. What if they sold dressing-soaked croutons in some sort of bowl? I smell a disruptive business proposition.
When I drive, I tend to place my left arm on the door, and my right on the back of the passenger seat. I do the same thing watching TV on the couch at home. My wife says this is my go-to "dad position." Does every dad have a go-to position?
Mine is napping in my recliner with my mouth open. I did not intend for this to be my default pose, but one thing led to another which led to me napping with impunity around this house. I do not drive with my arm around the back of the passenger seat. If 80s movies taught me anything, it's that you use that move only when you're hitting on your date at a drive-in movie. My right arm is on the console (Kia) or the armrest (minivan) the whole time. Armrests are so, so important to me. They're vital to me on airplanes, and at rest, and in cars. My wife does not care for armrests and will flip the armrests up in the minivan and leave them there. This genuinely irritates me, because I am a giant baby. What am I gonna do with these arms, lady? Let them just hang down, like I'm some sort of wild ape? Unacceptable. My arms need a home.
I have one other go-to dad pose, but here is where I play the cocktease and say you'll read all about it at GEN magazine later this week. OH YOU DIRTY DOG.
I was recently talking to some friends about the guys (felons) who drive around trucks and sell ice cream. I assumed everyone knew these as "ice cream men," but one person replied that they were known as "Ding Ding Men" in Omaha, and another from Ohio insisted on "Jingle Jerks." What is going on?
This question calls for one of those clearly fabricated map graphics that says everyone in Arizona calls the ice cream man the Frostback. I have never heard the terms you just mentioned and I have no idea how they originated. I think people in certain anodyne areas of the country have their own weird lingo for shit because, a) It's the only way they can say Omaha has something different about it than other terrible places, and b) they're fucking bored. So if you're hanging out in Cedar Rapids and you're out of meth? PRESTO. You start calling the ice cream man the Pushpopper. Whole new twist.
By the way, I saw my first ice cream out in the wild since quarantine began. Two of them drove by a Black Lives Matter rally my family went to. I respected the hustle. I did NOT get my kids ice cream.
I've noticed lately that the internet and its citizens feel the need to create very hard lines on things such as the Mayo vs Miracle Whip or Coke and Pepsi debate to the point that you can only be on one side. I think both are fine. Who cares? Is this just a sign of the Trumpian times we live in? Or is it a symptom of a larger corporate conspiracy in which companies are producing T-1000 style brand bots that are programmed to hunt and kill any dissenters?
I know Trump gets blamed for "hyper-partisanship," given that he's exploited it to terrifying ends and made basic facts and safety regulations shit that wingnuts actively argue against. But I don't think but he invented it, especially not the online style of it. I think it's just been a natural development. There's an instinct to be a contrarian prick online. I myself have gotten all pissy in slack at my friends for having takes that I'm not even sure I disagree with. I think I spent an hour trying to defend Burt Reynolds to these people without really knowing why. Disagreement is my gut reaction to anything I see online, and I think a lot of people are the same way. That's how mild disagreements become bigass turf wars. This is justified when talking Coke vs. Pepsi, because Pepsi is fucking terrible. For other arguments ("FAM ARE YOU FOR MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE OR AGAINST THEM"), not so much.
I don't think it's a conspiracy. I don't think it's some sign of the apocalypse when you already have so many OTHER true signs of the apocalypse around you at the moment. I just think it's an online reflex. Agreeing is boring. When I profiled Stephen A. Smith for GQ, his colleague Max Kellerman told me as much in quote that didn't make the final edit:
It's disheartening when on a call I'm like, "Hey Stephen A, I think this." And he goes, "Yeah me too." I'm like, "Damn. I thought he wouldn't." So we got to dig more to find where the disagreement is. That's the work.
You can goof on First Take all you like, but hunting around for disagreement is shit most people themselves do online. The cardinal rule of improv is that you can never say NO during a sketch, because that kills the sketch. You have to say yes to keep the ball bouncing. Online argument works the opposite way. The second you agree, the party is over. I don't want to have a CIVILIZED conversation with you about the pros and cons of mayonnaise. I want to stab you in the face.
If someone shaved off Trump's hair while he was sleeping, would he quit the next day?
No. If Trump cowered in the face of looking ridiculous, he would have never run for President to begin with. He's an inherently embarrassing specimen to behold, regardless of whether or not he's got a pile of taffeta scraps sitting on his head or not. Also, reality is of no consequence to the man. I think the last four years have proved that, no? Motherfucker stared at an eclipse. He has no interest in reality. It bores him. So if Melania shaved his head in the middle of the night, he'd be ECSTATIC to deny it and then blame it on an invisible elephant running around the White House. Then he'd embrace this Photoshop and pretend he's a submarine captain.
Lots of new cars now come with camera-type devices that can read street signs. So, in theory, they should be able to read license plates too. What if cars had an "idiot driver in front of me" button, and when you press it, it sends a notification via your phone to a state DMV database. Get reported a certain number of times—it's got to be a lot, because you know I would be reporting my friends for shits & giggles—then you have to go for remedial drivers' ed or something. Think of habitual left-lane interstate drivers, or senile grandpas, or Francesa listeners, or teens texting & driving. This could absolutely make our roadways safer and more efficient.
I'm gonna cut Bobby a break here because he sent this email before the protests erupted. But obviously, I would prefer that we NOT all be deputized to snitch on other drivers. What is this, a fucking golf tournament? No no no, we need less of this shit and not more of it. That's hard for me to say given that I live in Maryland and NO ONE here can drive. I often wish I had a fucking LED scroll on the front and back of my car so that I could, thru voice command, tell drivers in front of me USE YOUR SIGNAL ASSHOLE and drivers behind me GET OFF MY ASS. I have had very elaborate daydreams about this kind of automotive customization. But I've never implemented it and I'd throw rocks at any car that DID have it. Just honk and flip people the bird. It's rudimentary shit as far as communication goes, but the last thing the road needs is more snitching and more discourse.
I'm 40 and will refer to someone I used to hang out with a lot as a good friend or best friend, but I haven't actually seen or talked to the person in 3 months. There's no reason for this other than I just don't have time and making time is way too much work. But who has time at 40? The definition and requirements for friendship change with age, right?
They do, yeah. I haven't seen my best friend in eight months. We don't even live in the same city anymore. That's just how shit goes. In your teens, you and your friends see each other every fucking day. That ends once someone gets a girlfriend, and then the space between hangouts grows larger and larger. The average bro, and I was very much an average bro back in the day, treats this is a massive tragedy. "Bros before hoes," etc. Then you accept that things are different, but you also come to realize that those long times between don't lessen friendship. My best friend is still very much my best friend. When I see my man, it's a fucking celebration. I couldn't be happier when I lay eyes on the fella. Then I go back home and dick around for another eight months till the next visit.
I could see my friend every week if I tried. Like if I drove up to New York and braved COVID with every trip, we could see each other as a matter of routine. But he doesn't want that shit and neither do I. We're allowed to be lazier about all that. The best friendships don't require endless maintenance. They're just always there.
A person is standing on an extremely accurate and precise scale. They fart. Does that person now weigh more or less than before they farted? Please help settle a decade-long debate I'm trapped in with my brother-in-law.
Of course that person weighs less. That's science, amigo. Farts are made of gas and gas has weight. Carry a full propane tank around if you don't believe me. When you fart, you're not swapping out that gas weight for a pound of lead. It's gone from your body, and thus you weigh a microfraction less than you did before. In fact, you could fart yourself thin right now. Take it from a guy who uses fiber supplements. My weight is level—even in quarantine!—because I'm shitting out enough gas every day to fill a goddamn zeppelin. My methods are ironclad.
I enjoy watching sports with my nine-year-old son. It's a great bonding experience. But he just has the absolute worse takes on every aspect of the game and talks nonstop. It's like sitting next to Skip Bayless nightly. Should I be destroying his ideas to teach him proper sports watching behavior or just let him talk and respond, "Sure, uh huh, yep"?
He's nine? You can talk shit to a nine-year-old. You job, as a father, is to teach the boy takes. Otherwise, you could be asleep at the switch as he slowly morphs INTO Skip Bayless. You don't want that. You have to parry with this little fucker. You have to say to him, "Oh, so you think Tom Brady doesn't need Bill Belichick? Well then tell me how well Jameis Winston did with Cool Grandpa as his coach. WATCH THE FUCKING TAPE, ASSHOLE." You should also put a Take Jar in the kitchen. All bad takes cost the boy a dollar. That'll get him thinking twice before mouthing off about Mike Trout being a fraud.
My 11-year-old is a big sports fan and has his share of takes. But, because he's a diehard soccer fan and I'm only a casual one, a lot of those takes sail over my head. If he comes in with a shitty NFL take, you better believe I will plant him in the Earth's mantle. But for takes that are out of my depth, I have to rely on his friends to make fun of him appropriately.
I've gotten mad at my 14-year-old because she has insisted, many times, that Helen Keller was fake. That's right. My daughter is a Helen Keller truther. She's like, "It just doesn't make sense!" She did this for like, five nights in a row at dinner. She wouldn't shut up about it. Finally, I blew up. I was like YOU SOUND LIKE OUR ASSHOLE PRESIDENT. That really offended her, but she hasn't mouthed off about it at the table since. For summer, that girl is gonna watch The Miracle Worker. I'm making it mandatory. The Miracle Worker, and then the new Chappelle special. I will not have any Helen Keller truthering in this house. That shit belongs on OANN, not here.
You walk into your house from back from food shopping, and your wife and kids are not to be seen. What you do see is all of your ex-girlfriends, drinking tea with stern looks on their faces. What do you do?
Is it every girl I've ever slept with? Or strictly serious ex-girlfriends? Because I only had one serious girlfriend before I met my wife and that relationship ended… poorly. It would be EXTREMELY fucking awkward for her to show up in my house unannounced. Unbearable, even. I'd genuinely rather that every girl I ever hooked up with be there with her. Then at least the hostility would be diffused among many women instead of concentrated in just one. I could serve all of them mushroom puffs. It'd be like a baby shower, only worse.
I was watching the last season of Hard Knocks on HBO and Jon Gruden made a reference to not seeing his wife in two weeks. That got me to thinking- with this whole macho culture of coaches working 18 hours a day—what do you think the percentage of wives who have or are currently cheating on these guys? Gotta be at least 50%, right?
Oh it's 100%. Even the Evangelical Stepford Wives in that lot bang the personal trainer. Every football coach in the world is a sucker. They're all like, "See here now, I told Sharon that football will always be my priority, and she said me Jimbo, if that's what yew want, I'll always be bah yer side." Meanwhile the pizza guy is making time with Sharon while Jimbo is breaking down tape at 3am. These women aren't stupid.
Email of the week!
What's the worst time or place to let loose with a terribly inappropriate "Fuck!"? I know that mine was in the intermission of The Lion King on Broadway five years ago. I had been getting my Hotmail account (I know, who had Hotmail even then) hacked on a routine basis. My full email list would get lots of fun emailed links to porn, dick pills etc, you get the idea. I found out the first time because my mom called me and asked me why I had sent her the link to some hardcore porn site (lovely conversation to have with your mother BTW). So, I reset the password, the security questions, the whole nine yards.
Fast forward a week, same thing happens. This time I reset the password, add two-factor authentication, and also send an email to my whole contact list to open nothing coming from me until further notice.
A week later, I am in NYC visiting my buddy and his wife. We decide last minute to catch a show and end up at a matinee of The Lion King on a Saturday. We are surrounded by families with kids in every direction. Intermission rolls around and I, like the phone addicted 28-year-old that I am, get it out to plug back in. I have a text from my brother-in-law that I have been hacked again. I am pissed. Do I hold this in? No, I do not. I said something to the effect of "Fuck this shit, fucking Microsoft piece of shit email FUCKKKKK". The death stares from all the parents around me are insane and fair. There are an easy 50 kids that probably heard that last FUCKKKKK. My buddy yells at me "Byron!!!" in his best disappointed dad voice. The guy behind me talks about going to security to throw me out. I apologize profusely but also told him he should if he feels like it, I know I screwed up. I ended up not getting kicked out but probably deserved it, I felt so embarrassed for the second act. Not surprisingly I ended up canceling that email account: something that sounds simple but actually ended up taking six months. Microsoft is the best.
I dropped an F-bomb playing Yahtzee with my father-in-law the first time I ever went to the beach with him. He wasn't having it.