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Could You Make A Successful Hobo? And What’s The Best Way To Get Cancer?

FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Again, we go right to your questions.


Am I crazy/delusional to think that being a hobo might be kind of fun?

You can do as you please and have no commitments. Don't like your box or underpass? No lease or mortgage to worry about? Pick up your shit and go elsewhere. No job to worry about. No piece of shit car to worry about. You're living the simple life. Free to explore at your will.

You can also pretend to be crazy (ALWAYS fun). You can shout crazy shit and obscenities and no one would bat an eye because you're the crazy hobo. You might even earn the honor of a crazy hobo name.

Finding food in a big city (best place to be a hobo) should be pretty easy, restaurants and stores always throw out perfectly good shit. You just have to find it. People throw out perfectly good food in trash cans too. Or you can beg. It's probably a decent gig. You're not going to be a hobo with a wave runner, but you're not going to die of starvation.

I don't know. I just have this weird fantasy in my head that being homeless might be fun.


Well, let's get the reality part out of the way first. Being a hobo is, by most written accounts, an extremely dangerous affair. Many real hobos travel in violent gangs, and will happily beat the shit out of you if they see you infringing on their boxcar. There's the constant threat of disease, exposure to extreme cold and precipitation, and having your leg get trapped under an oncoming locomotive, severing it and causing it to gush blood and all that stuff. You really, truly, do not want to be a hobo.

Okay, that out of the way, I think we've all had the homeless fantasy before. Somehow, all your cash is gone, and your friends and family cannot help you. Your left with the nuclear option of living on the streets like a fucking dog, eating out of discarded soup cans and sleeping under newspapers. I've thought about this constantly over the years. I've wondered how long I'd make it. If I would adapt, or perhaps thrive (not a fucking chance in hell). I picture myself tucked under a rotted Army blanket, shivering in the cold next to a raging oil fire.

Just then, a very nice gentleman sees me and takes pity. He invites me to his palatial home, and his wife nurses me back to life with hot soup and fresh French bread. They give me a proper shave and a suit, to make me look presentable. Then they have me bartend at a social function they're hosting the next day. Then I meet the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation and dazzle him with my knowledge of two-letter Scrabble words. Then he gets me a corner office in Manhattan and I AM A PRIVILEGED WHITE SHIT ALL OVER AGAIN. Aw yeah.

When I was a kid, I thought about running away all the time. Not because I was unhappy. Quite the contrary. But I saw so many kids run away on TV, that I totally thought it was cool. You get your little hobo bindle and walk out the door, then Mom and Dad learn to really appreciate you now that you're gone. THEY'LL NEVER JUDGE ME AGAIN NOW THAT THEY NEEDED THE NINE LINE TO SAVE ME!



Whenever I watch a football game with my boys, and my team needs a block kicked, I can't effing STAND it when someone yells "block that kick." By yelling that, they've completely ruined any freaking chance of that kick being blocked. I know this makes no sense, but immediately after the unblocked kick soars through the uprights, I'm filled with such rage and annoyance. This goes for any sort of "rare" football play. "We need a safety!" No shit, I can read the score and deduce that 2 points would help... but now that you've said something, it's never going to happen. The only time I've ever seen this work is in baseball when someone says "wow a homer would be good now." But it's baseball, so who the eff cares?


It's true. Safeties are the worst because when the offense is really backed up, you begin to believe that a safety is pretty much the defense's birthright (It certainly was when I played Bill Walsh College Football '93). Which is dumb, because refs fucking HATE calling safeties. You'll see a ballcarrier get dragged down halfway back in the end zone, yet that prick will stretch 1/8 of the ball out of the end zone and the ref will be like NO SAFETY! And then I'm up and yelling at the TV FUCK YOU THAT WAS A SAFETY while every defensive player is doing the safety signal with their palms touching over their head. And then it becomes crystal clear that the safety didn't happen because YOU were so busy thinking about the safety. The safety only comes when you aren't thinking about it. Did he hold in the end zone? He did! THAT'S A SAFETY! HOLY FUCK, WE GOT A SAFETY!

(NOTE: I also think safeties should be worth 4 points. Just because. I'd go fucking insane on a safety if they were worth 4 points.)


Fantasy football makes this even worse, because the things you root for become extremely specific. And you can't help but think of them, because we all keep track of live scoring so closely. You need a 50-plus-yard field goal, then the offense moves to the 32, and then you want to fucking die.

This is why the Tracy Porter return in the Super Bowl is one of the coolest plays of all time. I can only speak for myself, but that's the kind of play I usually jinx from happening by hoping for. Only I was so preoccupied on that drive with the idea that, "Well, fuck. Manning's gonna drive right down the field," that the absolute awesomest case scenario didn't occur to me. Then it happened, and I was like HOLY FUCKBALLS! I CAN'T BELIEVE THE OPTIMAL OUTCOME BECAME REALITY!



I am the Usain Bolt of ATM machines, I'm pretty sure I could take anyone in a race. Deposits, withdrawals, balance inquiries, whatever.


I don't think I'm faster than anyone, but I do make a concerted effort to act FAST while at the ATM. Look at me punching in my PIN number! No thief could possibly have discerned the numerals over my shoulders! I even used multiple fingers to punch that bitch in. FEAR ME.

I don't like people who linger at an ATM. It's like people who order fifty things at the supermarket deli. "Oh, and half a pound of the potato sala…" FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU. It's an ATM. You're either getting cash, or depositing a check. And if you're depositing a check, you better damn well have prepared your deposit envelope over at the special Fill Out Your Deposit Slip Island. Doing that while at the actual ATM is a huge dipshit move.


I often feel poor when I go to my ATM, because the cash withdrawal options they give me are always exorbitant. All I wanted was $40. But they give you options all the way up to, like, $1,000. Like I can just take out $1,000 in cash on a whim. What the fuck do I look like, Randall Cunningham? Thanks for making me feel cash poor, ATM.

One time, and I mean one time, I took out $200 from the ATM. And that made me feel like the richest asshole in America. Listen to how long it's taking to process the cash! Look how thick the stack coming out is! I COULD BUY THE WESTERN TERRITORIES WITH THIS MONEY.


Rich Smith:

You are so unfunny. Please get cancer and suffer for another 50 years before finally kicking it. Thanks.


I asked Rich if there was a particular KIND of cancer he wished upon me.

The kind where you write something funny. Nobody likes you.

Oh, that's lymphoma. Lymphoma is definitely the joke-symptom cancer.

I think purposely getting cancer QUICKLY would be harder than it seems. The obvious way to get cancer right away is to go play around naked in an exposed uranium mine. But I don't know where those are, and someone would be around to keep my white ass out. Smoking takes too long. Sticking your nuts in the microwave, Randy Marsh-style, wouldn't do it. A slippery eel, that cancer. Discussions like this always remind me of that Short Time flick with Dabney Coleman, which I never saw, but whose premise remains with me every time I think of induced accidental death.



Cheese Mac:

Ever get those Knorr Pasta side things? You know, it's like bootleg Rice-A-Roni and comes in a little pouch or something.

Well, on the top left hand side they have a little pre-cut perforation. The only purpose for which has to be to easily tear the pouch open. However, every single one I have ever gotten tears directly above where the pouch is sealed. So you wind up ripping off, like, a half-inch of the top of the pouch, but it's still closed.

Every single one. It drives me absolutely crazy. It's just so bizarre. Is my local grocery store like a factory outlet for all the slightly defective Knorr products or is someone at Knorr retarded?


Faulty perforations are not solely limited to Knorr products. Bags of yogurt-covered raisins and flavor packets in various low rent ramen products also have this problem. All of this can be remedied simply by using scissors, of course. But scissors are for pussies. No, I never go for the scissors like a normal person. I always have to try and tear it again, using my teeth to make the initial assault. This never works, and I often end up somehow exposing the plastic lining of the packet and then watching that lining stretch 50 fucking feet without tearing. Or I try and open the packet like a potato chip bag. Beef broth dust lines the floor of the kitchen five seconds later. FUCK.


Not sure if you've ever worked in an building before where the lights in your office or cube area are sensor activated. Ours turn off after about 10 minutes of inactivity. I recently realized I can walk at least a couple steps into my office without triggering the sensor to turn on the lights. So it's now become a game every morning when I first come in and every time I come back from a meeting/lunch/long bathroom break I try to see how close I can get to sitting at my desk without triggering the sensor to turn the lights on. At first I was pretending I was a skilled and debonair jewel thief (is there any other kind of jewel thief?) but recently I realized the perfect movie scene to play in my head in this scenario: I'm pretending to be Robert Redford's character at the end of Sneakers, moving ever-so-slowly through my office so as not to disrupt the highly advanced heat sensors so I can recover the details of my troubled past from my desk computer. If I ever pull it off, I can only imagine Ben Kingsley will be waiting outside my office to hold me at gunpoint.



Don't forget Entrapment, with the whole ass-lowering scene. I also like surveying the office and figuring out a path out of the office that would shroud me entirely should Agent Smith come looking for me, because I'm The One and I can free everyone from The Matrix and star in two really shitty sequels.


We have an alarm system in our house, and it has motion detectors. The motion detectors have a red light that goes on if motion is detected. So you walk by the sensor and the light pops right up. It's impossible to beat. I can't get five inches, high or low, without it marking me. This is because I'm large and unwieldy. But I also kinda wish it were simply less effective. It's worth the increased risk to my wife and kids. I don't want the alarm doing ALL the work for me. The burglar will have fled our house before I even make it downstairs with the 5-iron. I want time to get in a lick when Rich Smith tries to come and give me cancer.


Suppose you are on an island that is five miles by five miles. Some rocky parts. Some jungle-ish parts. Assume it's similar terrain to the Lost island. The only other animal of consequence on it is a lion. Who dies first, you or the lion?

I maintain that a single human's odds of survival in this situation are extremely low, until said human becomes aware of the lion. Once that person knows the lion is on the island with him, his odds of survival grow steadily. My co-workers and I spent a whole lunch hour screaming at each other about our relative abilities to construct a trap with raw materials found on the island and whether or not I could kill a trapped lion with a spear.


Well, the lion is used to living out in the open without benefit of Wi-Fi or a working shitter. Lions also know how to hunt and do so under cover of darkness. So I fail to see how knowing there's a bloodthirsty lion stuck with your sorry ass on an island helps you at all. You now know you can't sleep on the island at night, because that fucker will eat you and sport wood while doing it. If anything, it would drive you to madness. It took Tom Hanks four years in Cast Away to turn into Super Awesome Spear Hunter Guy Who Looks Like Brent Hinds. And everyone in the theater where I saw that movie thought that was some serious bullllshit.

I'm sure this already exists, but there very much needs to be some sort of desert island survival test rich people can pay for. They pay a helicopter to drop them onto a barren island. Then, the rich Richard Branson-type asshole tries to see how long he can survive on that island (with no training) until he gives up and pushes the special giant red button that calls the helicopter to come pick him up and bring him back home. I wouldn't last 12 hours on the island before pressing that button. Not a chance. Especially if it rained. I curl into the fetal position and cry like a bitch when the power goes out for longer than five minutes. I'd also forget all my training from Man vs. Wild. FIRE IS SO IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MORALE.


The desert island test could also have add-ons you could pay for. You could pay to have the lion on the island. You could pay to have the island set up just like Myst (which is basically what Lost is), with all kinds of puzzles and shit to solve. Or you could go the full Lostie package and have a Smoke Monster and evil tribes of other people and hatches and all the other shit they have on that show that I know of vaguely because Entertainment Weekly devotes 75 pages to the goddamn show every week. Every TV show should have an elaborate fantasy camp. You could go to Sopranos camp and be a mob boss for two weeks. You could go to Letterman camp and host a phony talk show for a week. I'd enjoy that.


What would you rather have: bad sex or a good shit?

Bad sex. Ever have a bad sexual encounter, then reform it in your mind so it's awesome, then keep THAT altered memory in your spank bank? My life in a nutshell, gang.



Showering in darkness is awesome. Doors closed, lights off, windows nonexistent (yay crappy apartment complexes!) or shades drawn if there are windows. You gotta have a decent knowledge of where the soap and shampoo are, but once you do it once, it's easily duplicated and awesome. I feel like daredevil!


In absolute darkness? No, I'd slip and kill myself instantly. Showering in MILD darkness, however, is cool by me. Instantly makes me 10,000 percent more likely to jack it a second time while washing off.

I've tried the "close your eyes and pretend you're blind" for seconds at a time. I never keep my eyes shut very long.



When you find yourself showering in a bathtub/shower combo and you're in there, pre-shower testing the faucet water with your foot, when it comes time to pull the pin up do you try to run to the other side of the tub so as to spare yourself the initial burst of cold water that has remained in the pipes from the last shower? I'm pretty sure these antics will cause my very sad eventual demise.


I plaster myself to the tile wall to avoid the initial blast, which is always foolhardy because the tile is colder than a cadaver. I've tried aiming the showerhead straight down and away from me, but then the water ricochets off something and makes me want to shit myself because the spritzing is so cold.

The showers at my gym are bizarre in that they warm up quickly, then get ice cold, then warm back up. I ALWAYS forget this before I get in, so I get in on the initial warmth, then I think OH FUCK I FORGOT and then have to dodge the cold blast by ducking under the stream. It's awful.


Time to end this session with a GREAT MOMENT IN HEMORRHOIDS HISTORY:


I recently acquired my first case of mild hemorrhoids. The doctor told me to get some of those Tucks medicated pads, or some witch hazel liquid to use after completing any regularly scheduled bathroom activity. Being the cheap fuck that I am, the bottle of liquid witch hazel which looked big enough to last a lifetime cost less than a can of 60 medicated pads, so I bought it, congratulating myself on my thriftiness. Unfortunately, witch hazel comes in a bottle that is virtually indistinguishable from rubbing alcohol. After my next deuce, I dutifully wet down the TP with what I thought to be the witch hazel. As you probably have guessed, it was, in fact, the rubbing alcohol. I literally passed out from the pain, and awoke on the floor of the bathroom feeling as if I had squatted on a pizza oven. The lesson here is to buy the goddamn medicated pads.

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