How Much Paper Could You Eat?

Illustration for article titled How Much Paper Could You Eat?

Your letters:


What non-food item (a solid) do you think you could most easily eat a pound of in one day and not have any serious health issues with as a result? Keep in mind, items like grass or dog food (stuff eaten by animals) doesn’t count. I say it has to be paper. My friend said packaging peanuts. What’s your choice, and which answer is more correct between my friend’s and mine?


You don’t want to eat packaging peanuts, because those are probably indigestible. And so many artificial ingredients! The Food Babe would be horrified. Anyway, to research your question, I attempted to eat an entire sheet of white computer paper. You actually need to eat 100 sheets of white paper to make a pound, but I’m not insane. One sheet is plenty.

Anyway, I ripped off very small pieces and then balled them up, stuck them in my mouth, let them get all soft, and tried to chew. You were probably already well aware that paper, flimsy as it is, does not break down when eaten. I’ve eaten enough apple stickers and candy wrappers by accident to know this (sometimes I get ahead of myself when I am excited to eat). Instead, you just get a hard wad of pulped garbage after rolling the paper around on your tongue for a bit.

I had to choke down the first few morsels of paper. After that, I didn’t feel all that great. That paper was probably produced in a Chinese uranium-enrichment facility and sprayed with 9,000 coatings of rayon for extra sheen. I couldn’t finish the sheet. If I ate 100 of them, I would die. Guaranteed. The shit just won’t break down.

And then I realized that I was probably eating the wrong kind of paper. So, for the benefit of science, I grabbed a square of toilet paper from the bathroom (unused). I thought it might break down a little bit better if I sucked on it like a lollipop, and it did! It was still a horrible dining experience (needed seasoning), but if I had to, I’m going with toilet paper.

Frankly, professional eating competitions should ONLY feature non-food items: sawdust, paper, foam microphone coverings, etc. Not only would it be more intriguing for me, the viewer at home, but it would be a more sustainable form of competitive eating. I wouldn’t feel so guilty about the existence of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest if they changed it to the Nathan’s Pillow Feathers Eating Contest.

There are already people in the world who excel at this kind of eating, most notably the infamous Michael Lotito, a Frenchman who ate everything. I’ll let Wikipedia elaborate:

His performances involved the consumption of metal, glass, rubber and other materials. He disassembled, cut-up, and consumed bicycles, shopping carts, televisions, a Cessna 150,[2]and other items. The Cessna 150 took roughly two years to be “eaten”, from 1978 to 1980 … He also had no problem “passing” his unusual diet.


I call bullshit on the last part. You eat a Cessna and chase it with some mineral oil, and your toilet will pay for it. That guy died at age 57 for a reason.

(By the way, I really wish grass was eligible for this question, because I think I could eat a decent amount of grass. When I was a kid, I used to rip some grass out of the lawn and eat it. Or I’d pull one really long blade out of the turf and kinda chew on it like a toothpick. I also would pretend I was a cow. I wasn’t the most normal child.)



One of the best parts about getting fast food to me has always been the opportunity to get fountain soda. That is by far the best, ranking way ahead of soda from a can or bottle. When I told my wife my theory, I was blown away that she disagreed and said they all tasted the same. To me, the ranking is clearly 1) fountain, 2) can, 3) bottle, 4) two-liter bottles that are always flat by the second time you drink from it.


Some foodie is gonna fly into the comments two minutes from now and yell at you for not putting glass bottles at the top of the list. I ONLY DRINK CANE-SUGAR MEXICAN COKE FROM A BOTTLE WITH MY CORN-SMUT TACOS.

Anyway, normally I would put fountain sodas at No. 1 here, except for the fact that the Coke you get from a soda fountain isn’t always consistent. Sometimes the soda from the fountain comes pre-mixed, which doesn’t taste as good. Also, the fountain can be dirty—or the restaurant put it next to the sewage runoff valve—and all of that can impact the flavor. Sometimes a bad fountain drink can be syrupy and gross.


I say all of that knowing that any McDonald’s ad featuring a freshly poured fountain Coke—with the little bubbles popping, and all that effervescent sugary goodness just BURSTING out the top and waiting for you—always hooks me. I’m powerless to resist. But, so long as ice-coldness is a given, I’ll take the consistency of the packaged shit. The last sip of a movie-theater Coke is usually fucking repulsive. I’d rather have a can, like so.

1. Can

2. Glass bottle

3. Fresh from the fountain

4. Small plastic bottle

5. Two-liter bottle

6. Out of a sock

The idea that Coke tastes the same out of any vessel is crazy talk. Be sure to lecture your wife sternly about this. I’m sure she won’t be mad at all if you do.



I went to a normal public elementary school in the late ‘90s/early 2000’s, and I remember our school had a weird disciplinary rule: If it was cold and you wanted to wear gloves, you had to always wear both gloves at the same time. You got punished if they caught you only wearing a single glove. We were told it was because Michael Jackson only wore one glove, and Michael Jackson was a child molester. Of course, a bunch of kids who had no clue who or what the teachers were talking about obviously started to wear a single glove just to push buttons. Was this normal back then? Were people really this freaked out by MJ? Is the two-glove-rule still a thing?


At first, I thought Kyle’s email was complete bullshit. But a quick Google search does turn up one example from way back in 1984, when a New Jersey school banned students from rocking the Billie Jean look. They also banned studded belts, which would probably piss off your local Verge editor. However, I couldn’t find anything about one-glove bans occurring during Jackson’s molestation-scandal period.

I was in school back then … it wasn’t even cool to like Michael Jackson when he was doing that shitty “Black or White” video and whatnot. He was already branded a complete freak by the late ‘90s, so I don’t know why any school would suddenly be awash in kids rocking a single glove in solidarity, even if Jackson fanboys are notoriously insane. I asked the staff here if such a ban were possible:

Burneko: Actually, I think I remember my school giving kids shit for wearing one glove.

Burke: I mean, I know a lot of really fucked up elementary school principals, because that is a horrible job, and so some horrible people get that job. So it’s POSSIBLE.

McKenna: Principals are dictators.

Okay, so that inquiry went off the rails a bit. Anyway, from what I can tell, these bans were certainly not normal, and certainly not still in effect. I mean, if I were a teacher in 2015, and some pud student walked into class rocking a single sequined glove, I might do a double take. But in no way is this kind of ban normal. Have you seen the shit high school kids wear to school now? Logos across the ass are practically mandatory at this point. COVER UP, YOU RAGAMUFFINS!



Do you have special Dad Rules for when you are in the house like I do? For example, Dad is not allowed to sing in the house. It’s to the point that when someone says it’s cold or they are cold, my 4-year-old will immediately look at me and scream NO SINGING DAD before I even hum my first Frozen note. That’s some serious Dad game.


I get yelled at for singing as well. If I hum a few bars while giving the youngest kid a bath or something, he’ll squeal like someone just poked him with a torch. I also get lots of complaints from them for watching too much football. I’m gonna have these kids deported for their insolence.

By the way, the kids have not banned Shirtless Dad yet. They still enjoy pointing and laughing at my belly hair too much to ban it. I’m waiting for the day when the kids take REAL offense to Dad walking around in his underwear. There will be an EW GROSS throwdown in about a year or two. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it. These children still enjoy my company far more than they ought to. Don’t you guys wanna ignore me for a bit?




Just had my firstborn a few days ago, and my wife and I were in our hospital room. She was exhausted after a 23-hour labor, and I had spent the night on the world’s most uncomfortable pullout chair, with no one to complain to about it since I really did no work bringing our son into the world.

In walks this “photographer” who grabs my son and proceeds to start talking pictures of him. She then shows us the pictures and asks if the $675 package “works” that includes cell phone covers, key chains, and other assorted bullshit with my baby’s picture on it. This was a scary moment. My wife and I were probably at our most vulnerable: She was high on Percocet to help with the pain of pushing out a nine-pound baby, and I had two hrs sleep in the past two days. I didn’t feel like we were in a hospital, but tourists on a Caribbean island exiting a cruise ship. We only went with the $165 package that contained some pictures. This was my first exposure to overpaying for something because of the need to feel like a good parent. Shouldn’t this be illegal, or at least included with my insurance? I can expect plenty more of these scams, right?


Holy shit, some asshole photographer bilked you out of $165 right there in the hospital? You find that photographer and you burn him. BURN HIM. It’s one thing to get a complimentary swag bag from Enfamil that gets you hooked on their patented $30-a-can corn-syrup powder (now with extra BHA and rabbit anuses!). But to have some artistic used-car salesman pop in and try to sell you that shit at your wife’s bedside is repugnant. The whole souvenir-photo industry should be burned to the ground: school pictures and Christmas pictures and pictures of you shitting your pants on a roller coaster. There’s nothing worse than some smiling photographer coming up to you, pretending he’s being altruistic by capturing a precious moment of your life, and then trying to charge you $35 for a handful of wallet-sized prints. It’s like having a roaming Radio Shack clerk at every important event. You complete assholes. I have a Snapfish account, you know. I DON’T NEED YOU. YOU SHOULD BE HOMELESS.

(By the way, our man Dan here is right: There is nowhere good for the dad to sleep in a hospital room. For one delivery, I slept on a bench. For another, I was on the rollout. They skimp on bedding for dads because dads CAN’T complain without getting a rolling pin to the face. They are expanding profit margins by exploiting your inner shame. It’s not right. I could have used a bed, man. I switched out DVDs from the DVD player for my old lady and everything. I bet the MRAs on Reddit are fuming at this sort of treatment.)



So the other day, the NFL televised a 2015 schedule-release show for the first time (at least as far as I’m aware). As ridiculous as this is, I have no doubt that this telecast will have the highest (or close to the highest) cable ratings of the week. How far will the NFL go with the live televising of mundane events? Would the NFL televise, for example, the Seahawks’ rookies picking up their helmets and jerseys? Newly signed free agents filling out their W2 forms at Vikings headquarters? Cam Newton choosing his food in the team cafeteria? And at what point will people stop watching?


Actually, we may have found the breaking point. Deadspin’s own Tim Burke ran the numbers on the schedule-release specials over on NFL Network and ESPN, and the ratings were god awful. The same number of people watched the 6 a.m. SportsCenter, and more people watched the Copa MX Final on Univision Deportes. The schedule release isn’t gonna become the new draft anytime soon.

I’ve said this a million times, but the NFL has flourished because, as a sport, it doesn’t ask a whole lot of you. It’s not on every day. And the draft, even with it stretched out over three days, represents the bulk of its hot stove season. But the NFL keeps trying to add more obligations to you as a viewer, with the televised combine and the veteran combine and that stupid fucking schedule release, all of which goes against the fundamental appeal of the sport. They’ll keep trying, but there is a limit to the national appetite for this shit. They put the Jets on the Thursday night schedule twice, man. TWICE. There’s only so much I can tolerate.



The all-time record for boxing PPV buys is 2.4 million (Mayweather/De La Hoya). Hypothetically, if Mayweather/Pacquiao were broadcast live on network TV, how many people would watch it?


Twenty million. I know I’d gladly tune in to see an unapologetic wife-beater take on a broke old man for free. That’s just quality television.

Anyway, I am a remnant of the 1980s, so take it with a grain of salt when I repeat myself and say that I still believe there’s a difference between events that are relegated to cable and/or PPV versus ones that are freely available on network television. I know network comedies and dramas are complete garbage, and cable runs circles around them, but live events are different. Monday Night Football feels like JV shit on ESPN, with Gruden up there in the booth doing his tough-guy horseshit. And I tried watching the Wizards playoff game the other night, but it was on “CSN Plus,” and I couldn’t find that shit if you plugged its location into Google Maps for me. I tried watching another NBA playoff game, but it was on NBA TV, which I don’t get because you gotta pay extra for that tier, and I already pay too fucking much. If I can’t find your shit, then I know other people can’t find it, which means it’s not important. I know that’s illogical, but that’s my gut reaction to a playoff game being broadcast on QVC6. They put the whole Final Four on TBS this year. It was weird as hell.


Boxing made more money going to PPV, but became a niche freakshow sport in the process. I know this fight is a big deal already, and its principles will make an ungodly fortune, but if it were on NBC or something, it would be fucking MASSIVE. Then again, I grew up with Mike Tyson, and he became the biggest athlete on the planet even though he fought on PPV. I’m just a stupid old man, really. You kids quit wearing just one glove to school, by God!


What’s the protocol on crying coworkers? If I walk past a conference room and a coworker is losing it, am I obligated to check in on him or her? I never like seeing another human in pain—and this might be a very important point in their life, and they just desperately need someone to be there for them and say it’s going to be okay— but it also feels like people want to be alone when they’re crying?


I’d give them privacy. If you’re having a nervous breakdown at work, the last thing you want it is Big Jim From Accounting coming over and putting a meaty paw on your shoulder and being like TOUGH BREAK, KIDDO. Or some nosey shithead lady trying to figure out why you’re getting divorced so that she can tell the rest of the Accounts Payable department. If you’re a legitimate friend who socializes all the time with that person outside of work, maybe it’s all right. But if you’re just another asshole in the office, forget it. Leave them alone. They either want privacy, or the crier is some office drama queen who WANTS you to walk in and console them so that they can talk your ear off for two hours about why their boyfriend or girlfriend just won’t LISTEN. I swear there are people who go to work every morning with the intention of making small talk for eight hours straight. These are not good people. Small talk sucks.


If aliens that had a similar anatomy to humans were discovered, how long would it be before the first human/alien porn would be released? I’m saying six or seven months, max. People are fucked up.


Why would it take that long? Since the beginning of time, mankind has wondered if there are aliens, and if they can get nasty with those aliens. Someone, somewhere, is DYING to be the first human being to fuck an alien on camera. It would take no time at all for some Alien Nation porn (“That part you’re touching on my back? THAT IS AN EROGENOUS ZONE.”) to spring up. All you need is an iPhone and a willing participant from the Zorbongg Nebulae. It would get done. Porn always gets there first.

By the way, take a quick gander at the old Alien Nation TV show. It’s got awful makeup, hair, writing, AND acting. It’s a quadruple threat:


If everyone in the world suddenly lost the ability to sneeze, how long would it take for the masses to realize it?


Right now? During allergy season? Four days. Ever live with an allergy sufferer? Half of all discussions revolve around allergies. My dad could talk to you for eight hours about the benefits of Flonase. If my wife sees a layer of pollen on the windowsill, she reacts as if ebola was sprinkled all over the house. Allergy people would recognize their miracle cure right away and gladly spread the news, and the powers at BIG ALLERGY DRUG would commission insta-studies on why their sales were dropping, and soon the whole world would realize that sneezing was a thing of the past. If the same thing happened in the winter, it would take a couple months before someone put two and two together.

By the way, I would never give up the power to fart willingly. But sneezing? I could give half a shit if sneezing ceased to exist. Every year I get older, my sneeze volume increases by five percent. I get dirty looks from everyone for ripping off five snot bombs in a row. WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO ABOUT IT, YOU FUCKERS?



This weekend I was watching some late-night stand-up comedy on Comedy Central. Since it was after midnight, the sexy hotline commercials start running. How are these still a thing? Seems like only a purist would be into this in this day and age.


As someone who called phone sex as a teenager, I assume that there are probably some old-time devotees of the practice who keep doing it because they like it. After all, you get quality one-on-one dirty talk with a girl who has a thoroughly vetted script to run through to get you all hot and bothered, and you get to use your imagination when it comes to how they look and what not. THEATER OF THE MIND, GANG. This is why there are erotic podcasts out there (true!) and erotic iheartradio stations and shit. You really FEEL the boner in that kind of retro environment. That’s why I dial phone sex while looking at vintage 1900s French erotica lithographs.

Everybody likes some good dirty talk, and apparently the price difference between phone sex and online sex chatting or live shows is fairly negligible. In fact, as expensive as phone sex is, some of those live video chats appear to be even more expensive. And god only knows what kind of Czech spiderbot will infect your hard drive the second you try to open up a video sex chat with an Anita Blonde lookalike.


Email of the week!


About six years back, we had an Australian Shepherd named Pirate. Fantastic dog, miss him dearly, but thankfully this wasn’t what did him in.

My wife and I were having a nice quiet candlelit fondue bourguignonne dinner for two at home, as she was eight months pregnant and pretty shortly we’d no longer have the opportunity for this. We heated a couple cups of grapeseed oil in the fondue pot, sliced up some beef and pork and chicken, mixed up and set out some sauces, yadda yadda. The meal was great, but at the end of the night we decided that we’d just leave the oil in the fondue pot overnight because, bah, we can take care of that in the morning.

The following day as we’re milling around in the morning, we hear a dog drinking water from the dining room, and we ignore it for a minute or two until we remember that there’s no water dish out there. Turns out that Pi had pushed a chair out, climbed on top of that, climbed onto the table, and had proudly lapped up two cups of meat-flavored grapeseed oil.

We called the vet right away, because we knew that grapes were toxic to dogs. The vet said, “He drank WHAT? Uh ... I don’t know what part of the grape is toxic to dogs. Get some bread into him ... wait, that dog is celiac. Okay, let me call some folks and get back to you.”

Vet called the national pet poison control hotline. “He drank WHAT? Uh ... yeah, grapes are toxic, but grapeseed oil? Is that toxic? It doesn’t say where what part of the grape is toxic to dogs. Okay, let me call some folks and get back to you.”

Poison control hotline starts calling universities. “He drank WHAT? Um ... yeah, this is a new one to us. Okay, try to get that oil out of him and watch out for kidney failure.”

By then, the dog had laid down on his side. Burp: Oil comes out the mouth. Fart: Oil comes out the ass. Burp and fart: Oil comes out each side. The mailman comes by, the dog gets enough energy to run to the front window and BARK BARK BARF, unloading another cup of oil in a fountain on the front window as the mailman goes from “Hey, doggy!” to “HOLY FUCK WHAT THE SHIT.”

Dog diarrhea is pretty bad, but when it’s a stream of oil coming out, you realize just what sort of sacrifices it takes to have a pet in the house.

He oozed for 48 hours.

Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Art by Sam Woolley.

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