Drew Magary's Balls Deep column runs every Thursday afternoon. Drew's new book, "Men With Balls," featuring 100% new material, is available for pre-order here. You can email Drew here. Read him during the week at KSK.
I'm married with a kid. If you happen to be in a similar predicament, you know that being married with kids acts as a giant Dyson vacuum cleaner on your free time. You have to go to work. You have to commute. You have to run errands. You have to get gas. You have to do chores. You have to pay taxes. You have to do paperwork. You have to do housework. You have to do yardwork. You have to do someotherkindofwork. You have to dress the kid, change the kid, feed the kid, keep the kid occupied, take the kid out, and generally make sure the kid doesn't go hurtling down the staircase. You have to find three free seconds to go quietly masturbate in the upstairs bathroom.
And at the end of the day, when you've finally managed to do all your goddamn shit, just as you're ready to breathe a sigh of relief and begin the cathartic movement of lowering your ass onto the couch, it is AUTOMATIC that your wife will say to you:
"Wait, before you sit down, can you change the laundry?"
God. Fucking. Dammit.
That's a fucking whole lot of responsibilities. I've mentioned this before: as you grow older, you end up not having as much time for sports as you used to. If you're married, or even if you have a girlfriend, your life becomes a timeshare. Everyone gets to rent your sorry ass out for a few hours. Sometimes, watching the game gets sacrificed. It happens to the best of us. All men are forced to grow up at some point, and all men resent having to do so.
Now, maybe you're some pompous asshole who went to an ACC school and you're all like, "Well, I don't know what YOU'RE talking about. My lady lets me watch whatever I want whenever I want. Guess I'm just not as big of a pushover as you are." Well, congratulations fucktaster: your lady is banging another man right now. Loudly. I'm sure she's enjoying herself. Don't wait up.
Normal guys recognize that relationships, though they may cost you a few games, are well worth the time put in. So, over the years, I've performed a sort of sports triage in my life, evaluating which sports and which games ABSOLUTELY MUST BE SEEN AT ALL COSTS. Now, in my case, this means every game of the NFL season, back to front. But I can't simply tell my wife, once September arrives, "Hey lady, I'm watching 12 hours of games each week. You're on your own, toots." You get your dick slammed in the sock drawer if you do that.
No, no, no. I have to INVEST time, in order to gain the sufficient number of unofficial credits necessary to be able to freely watch my shit. The NFL offseason is not a time of rest for your big fat narrator. No, I use offseason to amass a steaming pile of good will that would make any woman putty in my large, clammy hands. And you can do it too, you pussy-whipped denizens of the Deadspinoverse.
I have devised the following Brownie Point Calculator, assigning a time value to certain acts of chivalry that, when sufficiently accumulated in multiple quantities, will give you a valid excuse to spend the fall not loving your family. Now, this isn't basic shit, like taking out the trash or doing the dishes or whatever the fuck. Those don't count. Your lady already EXPECTS you to help with that stuff, which is total bullshit. Alas. You gotta go above and beyond the call of duty, fucko. Take it from someone who's got experience being a rock star husband: Follow the calculator, and add your way to FREEDOM!
NOTE: If you have a wife or girlfriend who enjoys watching football with you, use this calculator as a subtle way of building up chits so that you can watch games out with your friends, thus weaseling out of having to watch games with her. Because watching football with women is fucking annoying. Sorry ladies. NFL season is gay male bonding season.
+2 HOURS WATCHING THE NFL: Stealing Gossip Magazines From The Gym Or Doctor's Office. If your wife is like mine, she has far too much dignity to actually buy gossip magazines or subscribe to them. But if one were to, oh I don't know, pilfer 12 issues of People from the rack at Sport And Health Club and bring them home, no woman can possibly resist. "Ooooh! Reese moved in with Jake!" I know. Isn't that crazy? He's such a gay! Finding your lady something to read works wonders, because while she's reading, you can watch whatever the fuck you want. I wish US Weekly were written by goddamn Tolstoy.
+6 HOURS: Taking Your Kid(s) Out For A Full Morning Or Afternoon By Yourself. If all mothers have one thing in common, it's the belief that no one else could possibly take care of their kid as well as they can. So when I take my kid out for three hours one morning or afternoon, then bring the kid home, and the kid hasn't been shredded by an escalator, my wife is always amazed. "Wow! She's, like, not dead! Impressive!" Oh, yes. Yes, it is. MORE FOOTBALL, PLEASE.
Caution: One time I took my kid out for a full morning. Then I brought her back and asked my wife what she did. "Oh, I cleaned the house." DAMN YOU, WOMAN! You were supposed to eat bon bons and paint your toes! Not negate my fucking brownie points! I'LL GET YOU FOR MAKING THIS HOUSE SMELL LIKE ROSE PETALS!
+1 HOUR: Doing Some Random Chore Without Her Having To Ask. Women hate it when you don't do stuff. But what they hate even MORE is having to ask you time and time again to do the same shit. Well ladies, the reason we don't do it without being asked is because we hope one day, you'll just give up and start doing it yourself. But you never do. You never, ever do. You're so damn tenacious. CRIMINY!
Cook and clean without asking, and you've got yourself a happy lady. Be sure to boast about it in a casual manner that doesn't sound like you're boasting about it.
Her: Hey can you do the…
You: …The dishes? Oh, I did those already. And I dried the pots and put them away too. I'M BATMAN.
+EQUIVALENT TIME SPENT: Watching Her Favorite TV Show/Movie With Her. I like to make a big deal out of this. I say to my wife, "Oh, you're show's on tonight, honey! Don't forget!" I call it "your show" instead of "Grey's Anatomy," because acknowledging that I know it's "Grey's Anatomy" would make me queer. Hey Katherine Heigl, I hope you DO get fired. Then I hope they kill off Izzie by having you do a faceplant into a bucket of knives.
My wife also likes "Project Runway." I too enjoy this show. Heidi Klum plus skinny models forced to wear outfits crafted from discarded lampshades makes for good viewing. But I have to pretend that I DON'T like it, so that it appears I'm sacrificing my precious time to watch it with her. Oh yes, I'm just that evil.
+8 HOURS: Doing Taxes. Not sure this is even worth it.
+5 HOURS: Planning Some Sort Of Special Dinner, Birthday Party, Or Brunch.
+12 HOURS: Conceiving And Completing Some Sort Of Godforsaken House Project.
+2 HOURS: Fixing Something Without Having To Call A Service To Do It.
+4 HOURS: Going Out On Couple Dates Where The Wives Are Best Friends But The Husbands Have Little Or Nothing In Common. Hey, Frank. Do you like the NFL? No? What's that? You like listening to "This American Life" and reading The Atlantic? I'm just gonna spend the rest of the meal in the bathroom, if you don't mind.
+36 HOURS: Not Being A Golfer. I can't play golf anymore because of my back. Which is too bad. But holy fuck, do I reap the time benefits. I enjoy my reminding my wife time and time again that hey, I'm not one of those lawyer fuckwads who heads out to the golf course every weekend during the summer. You owe me for all the additional time I could have spent ignoring you, like other terrible husbands do to their wives. Aren't I awesome?
+0 HOURS: Starting An NFL Blog Then Telling Your Lady You Have To Watch Football Because It's "Your Job Now". Yeah, they never really buy that shit. "That's not real work. You like doing that! YOU LOVE THAT COMPUTER MORE THAN YOU LOVE YOUR FAMILY." Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's close that box right back up there, Pandora.
-10 HOURS: Finishing All The Sun Chips Without Offering Her Any. Well, if you wanted some, you should have spoken up, missy!
This calculator is but an initial guideline. I'm sure the commenters have plenty more ideas to help get you on the way to Lazy Sunday Heaven. Don't be afraid to be creative. Why, you could clean out the garbage cans! Or you could put your affair with your nanny on temporary hiatus. There's really no limit. But hurry! Training camp starts soon! Don't get stuck in September having to pay attention to people you care about. That would be tragic.