How To Deal With Your Neighbors

Your letters:


So my wife and I have lived in this house for seven-plus years (her all seven and me four). We had literally never hung out with our neighbors that entire time, even though they are roughly our age, though we are cordial and have had a few conversations. But last weekend, I somehow got us roped into hanging out with them two nights in a row, for which my wife wants to kill me, as she is extremely antisocial. Worse, the guy has subsequently asked me to do like four different things with them. I don’t really want to do anything more than like once a year max, and now I am starting to freak out. What should I do?


If you’re not crazy into the neighbor, just blow him off a few times and things will settle back into their natural, awkward state. You’re your own man. You don’t HAVE to hang out with the O’Patricksheas if you don’t feel like it.

I used to live in New York, and the only neighbor I talked to was one guy across the hall who sold me weed. Took me TWO YEARS to work up the nerve to knock on his door and ask for a joint (his place reeked of weed all day long). Otherwise, I never talked to neighbors in my building, and they never talked to me. There are a lot of reasons that neighbors do that in New York: a) you’re fucking crammed onto an island with 10 million other assholes, so you keep as much to yourself as possible (no wonder people in the Midwest are so friendly … they have space!), b) there is high churn in apartments, so your neighbor could vanish at any moment, and c) being nice to people is a pain in the ass. You should have seen people in my building the day of the 2003 blackout. We talked to each other for ONE DAY and then went right back to dead silence in the elevator the next day.

The neighbor dynamic is difficult, because you’re all thrown together in the same spot, and you can’t be DICKS to one another—because that would make life miserable—but you’re not assured of loving each other either. I happen to be good friends with my neighbors, but that’s dumb luck. You’re usually at the mercy of fate. Sometimes you get an Old Man Withers across the street who does nothing but yell and let his dog shit all over the place.

But even if that’s the case, it usually pays to establish a decent relationship with your neighbor. Neighbors are handy in case you need a cup of sugar, or you need to borrow an edge trimmer, or you need to gossip with someone about what a cock Mr. Borkdurgler is down the road. You don’t have to be buds for life if you don’t feel like it: YOU get to establish the parameters of that relationship. Neighbors will take your cues if you always say hi but never invite them over for dinner and whatnot. You can keep them at arm’s length right up until the moment when your Camaro needs a jump-start. Then you spring into action.

One more story: Back in 2004, my wife and I moved to the D.C. area and had a housewarming party at our apartment. No one showed up. It was the saddest, lamest party ever. One of the six people who came out of pity was our neighbor, some scrawny guy with glasses. So I busted out a joint, trying to be all KEWL, and asked the neighbor guy if he wanted a hit. And he looked TOTALLY freaked out, and turned it down flat. And then I freaked out that he freaked out. And then I worried he would narc on me for the rest of the night. I never invited him over again.


When watching a video snippet on the internet, I’m often forced to endure an ad. If I’m able to “skip ad” after five seconds, I’ll continue watching. But if the ad is 30 seconds, and I can’t skip it after the first five seconds, I will not wait it out. Am I a typical impatient American asshole, or am I right to bail out?


No, that’s the smart play. We’re busy people, Carl. We don’t have 30 seconds to waste on that buff Asian dude telling us that he can eat WHATEVER he wants. Fuck that guy. It’s your right as an American to express incredulous outrage at having to endure more than five seconds of unwanted video because you have five other tabs open in your browser and need to care and nurture them all. It’s very important business. If you absolutely HAVE to watch that video of a Russian driver attacking another Russian driver with a blowtorch, you should have a second screen handy to stare at while the ad plays out. That way, you don’t waste a second.

I have a rapidly depleting attention span these days, which makes sitting through ANY video nigh intolerable. But the dynamic of sitting at a computer or staring at a phone makes it even worse. If you’re watching an ad on a TV on your couch at home, an ad is fairly tolerable. You can just go check the fridge or something. But on a computer, you feel more captive. The video must be ADDRESSED. It’s not an ambient thing. So you get even antsier. Hell, I get mad when I touch the wrong app by accident and it spends half a second loading against my wishes. I spend 80 percent of my time opening up new tabs because I’m bored by other tabs or can’t wait for said tabs to load. I’m just tabbing my way to the grave.


( is the WORST for video ads, because they make you watch the whole thing, AND they often fuck up and reload the ad so you have to watch two ads just to get to the highlights of the Giants fucking up the clock. Burn


If Auburn had lost Saturday’s game and then proceeded to win out and win the SEC, would the playoff committee put them in at 12-1 with the loss to Jacksonville State?


Oh yeah. They’d get in easily. By the way, there’s nothing worse than the near-upset in college football or college basketball. You spend a few hours watching little Edelman State go toe-to-toe with the big boys, only to succumb right at the very end. What a cock-tease. It may as well have been 70-0. I could’ve been making brownies the whole time. If a rinky-dink college team has the lead or is tied with five minutes to go, they should just call the game so that I can have my satisfaction. Nothing beats a big, corrupt, MEGABUCKS school getting beaten by a tiny, awful, equally corrupt little school that yearns to be as evil as the team it just beat.


Is there anything more sharp than the fingernails of an infant? It’s like living with a raptor. This kid has razor blades for fingernails. When’s this get normal?


Never, because cutting a kid’s fingernails is nigh impossible and one of the truly horrible parenting things they never tell you about in advance (picking the kid’s nose is the other). When I come at my kids with the nail-clippers, they react as if a serial killer just entered the room. I can barely get one nail cut before they pull away and my back gets thrown out of alignment as I try to hold them still. It’s infuriating.

And kids have FILTHY nails. They play in sewage runoff all day, and come home with nails that are longer than a hobo’s and dirt-black underneath. Then you ask them if they’d like chicken for dinner, and they scream NO! and rake you across the chest. I stand by my assertion that children should not grow arms until 5 years old.



Am I a deplorable person because I hate beer? All beer tastes gross, and I get bloated after two. It’s not a pleasurable experience, so I stick to hard liquor in all drinking situations. Day-drinking at the lake? Liquor. Tailgating for a football game? Liquor. Drinking games before going to the bar with friends? Liquor. People treat me as if I have cancer.


No, it’s fine to hate beer. But I would never, ever sub in a mixed drink during beer pong or anything like that. You’re just asking to be shit on when you try to pull that stunt. If you don’t like beer, you are disqualified from beer games. Sorry. That is the price you pay. YOU ARE NOT UP FOR WHATEVER.

Like coffee, beer is an acquired taste. Not many people like it at first. You have to really WANT to be a hopeless lush who needs to keep drinking it until the light goes on and your belly’s full of delicious, sudsy, ice-cold lager. MMMMM BEER. But I’m older now, and beer basically destroys my body. It makes me feel all fat and sweaty and bloated. I feel like I’m gonna give birth to a hippo if I drink too much of it. So I tend to stick to wine and liquor these days, and no one really seems to care. Liquor makes me feel healthy!


We had a kid in college who always drank Captain Morgan’s or some other college-kid liquor instead of beer because he didn’t like the taste of beer, and people gave him shit all the time for it. I bet that kid is in terrific shape right now. I still carry around two boulders of fat on top of my hips from college beer drinking, and I will never rid myself of them. CURSE YOU, BEER.


Hey, I’m not on social media, but I hate the 49ers. Could your Vikings not be a total, utter piece of shit? Would appreciate.


No such luck! My team is a festering butt.


Some colleagues and I have entered a charity ping-pong tournament hosted by the Heart & Stroke Foundation. We think we’ll be pretty competitive, but the tournament includes a team of survivors of serious heart trouble/strokes. If we end up playing the survivor team, do we have to let them win?


Hell, no. They don’t want you going easy on them. That would not be living life to the fullest. Grab your paddle and SLAY those frail-hearted saps. It’s what they would want. Why are they physically taxing themselves by playing ping-pong anyway? Are they GLORY BOYS? Sounds like they need to be taught a stern lesson. Aim your serves right for the sternum.


Let’s say you and nine friends played one inning of baseball against three major-league players (a catcher, a pitcher, and an outfielder). Assuming the strike zone is the same, and your team is allowed four outfielders, could you beat three professional baseball players? Your advantage would be that if you managed to hit the ball, one guy is tracking down your ball, while the other 2 cover all the bases. Their advantage is that they’re playing 10 dads in cargo shorts. If you don’t stand a chance, could an average high school baseball team do it?


No, because you’d never make contact against a major-league pitcher. If you swapped out the major league pitcher with an elementary-school student, you’d win. But against 90-mph fastballs and wicked curves? Not a chance. They don’t need ANY fielders for that half-inning. They could wipe the floor with you using only the battery. Plus, they’d kill you once they came up to bat. Even the high school team would lose.

I don’t appreciate pro athletes enough, really. Ever play golf with a scratch golfer? They’re very impressive, and yet they are PUKE compared to legitimate PGA Tour players. Ever go to school with a D-I basketball prospect? Holy shit, are they good. And yet, they have a .01-percent chance of ever being good enough to make the NBA. Pro athletes occupy a stratum of human ability that shouldn’t even exist. They’re mutants. We should fear their powers.




I was with my girlfriend walking her dog in downtown St. Paul, Minn., and a guy and his two young children (ages four and five by my estimation) were walking up the street towards us. As they come up, the father is loudly telling his son to “shut the fuck up.” What am I obligated to do? Should I say anything? Will it do any good? I feel like an asshole not doing anything, but what should any person do?


You can’t do anything other than maybe audibly wince or shoot the guy a dirty look. I mean, if he’s willing to say that to his own child, he’s probably capable of fucking you up badly. No sense in BOTH of you getting an ass-kicking from that Adrian Peterson fanboy.

I yell at my kids from time to time (because they won’t cut their nails), and I tend to forget what a horrible look it is to yell at your kids. When I see other parents do it, I feel shitty and uncomfortable. Even when my own wife loses her shit! When my wife loses her shit, I’m like, “Damn! I didn’t know she was capable of being that pissed.” Any time I see another parent lose it in public, I try to remind myself that I look that way when I yell at my kids as well. And then they go wiping poop on the carpet and I forget all that valuable learning.


I swore at my kid once. She was misbehaving in the house and wouldn’t stop and being a terror in general and, at some point, I yelled out I HAVE FUCKING HAD IT and that froze her right in her tracks. Really threw her off her game. I think I may have put her off swearing forever. It may be my greatest victory. Anyway, don’t swear at your kids. Unless you REALLY have to.


I went to Wrigley Field a couple years ago. This was back when they still had 14-foot long troughs that eight guys would line up and piss into so they could all watch the golden stream of urine funnel to a single drain in the center. Anyway, on this particular day, I saw a $20 bill stuck on the drain. I found that to be a relatively large sum of money to lose, and decided that if it was my $20, I would have fished it out and rinsed it off. I was not willing to grab this one, though, as I was concerned it was a prank. (I was a victim of the poo-dollar prank in college.) What is the smallest denomination of currency that is acceptable to reach into a pee bucket and fish out? (Your own dropped currency or otherwise.)


I’d go piss-diving for $20. That’s 20 bucks! I could buy, like, a beer and a half at the ballpark with that money! Money found in piss is twice as sweet as money earned. I would just grab it and wash my hands vigorously. Shit, I’d do it for five bucks. Any paper currency, basically. Coins are trash, but I’m never passing up real cash. I bet 90 percent of all bills in circulation have urine stains on them anyway.


Which NFL team do you believe is inherently more hateable at this point: New England or Washington? I would say Washington, but I may be biased as I am (in spite of myself) a ’Skins fan. They don’t deserve any success so long as Supreme Leader Danny is in charge, yet I am incapable of changing my allegiance, no matter how hard I try. Possibly related: I hate myself.


It’s the Patriots, because they win. The team that wins stuff is ALWAYS more hateable, and that’s even if you factor in Dan Snyder being Dan Snyder. Thanks to all the losing, his tone-deaf despotism and the collective delusion of this fan base takes on the air of high comedy. It’s like watching a dog get tricked by its own shadow. I was listening to 980 here in D.C. after the Dolphins game, and host Kevin Sheehan was emphatic in saying that Kirk Cousins had an “above-average” game. These people have been manacled to a dungeon wall for so long now that they’ll talk themselves into anything. IF YOU SAW THAT ONE PICK HE THREW IT WAS OFF THE HANDS OF THE RECEIVER AND I BET HE WOULD HAVE THROWN THREE MORE TOUCHDOWNS IF NOT FOR THAT TRICK OF FATE…

By contrast, the Patriots win all the time, and their fans grow more pathetic and obnoxious by the day. For the time being, they’re the worst. Even if they start losing again, they’ll probably keep being the worst. Brady and Belichick will retire, and fucking Bill Simmons will be like THIS HURTS US MORE-AHHH BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW FACKIN’ GOOD WE HAD IT!



What would happen if every NFL team had to switch offense with defense with no warning, meaning every defensive player suddenly has to play offense and vice versa? Which team/players do the best, and would it still be worth watching?


Hell yeah, that would be worth watching. Until all the linemen got flagged five times on every play. Then it would start to drag.

Anyway, if this ever happened (and I’m sure Belichick drills for such a scenario just in case), you’d have your o-linemen play d-line, your backs and tight ends playing LB, and your QB and wideouts playing in the secondary, right? That’s a bad defense. The quarterback would be a huge liability, like a pitcher batting. That defense would get killed by, say, the Seahawks defense running a triple-option offense all game long. As always, I love it any time a professional athlete is forced to play out of position. This should be the Pro Bowl.



I’ve been dating this girl for about four months, and it’s been great so far. She’s smart, funny, better-looking than what I thought I could attract, and I couldn’t be happier. There is one thing about her that really bothers me: She has the same first name as my sister. I thought that things would get less weird as we were together longer, but it’s still been awkward. Should I break up with this girl because of something that is not at all her fault, or should I try to just deal with it.


Deal with it. She’s not your sister, right? You are not fucking your sister. And just because she has your sister’s name doesn’t mean you are deliberately dating her to fulfill some deranged subconscious desire to fuck your sister (unless you actually want to fuck your sister). This is a completely different person who brings their own style and personality to the name, imbuing it with its own connotations. You ought to be able to compartmentalize the two. Would you ever confuse Taylor Swift with Taylor Lautner? You would not. OR WOULD YOU?!

Besides, you can just use a pet name instead. Your sister may be Brandee (I assume her name is Brandee), but YOUR Brandee is Schnookums and will always be Schnookums. You don’t have to cry out BRANDEE in bed if it makes you feel awkward. Stick with the pet name, and you should be able to easily keep the two apart. I had a crush on someone once who shared the same name as a family member, but it didn’t matter, because a) I was able to readily discern which Brandee I wanted to sleep with and which one I did not, and b) The girl didn’t like me anyway. What a load. I suffered through an Oedipal crisis for NOTHING.



What if, tomorrow, Monica Lewinsky releases a new tell-all memoir where she reveals that not only did Hillary know of the affair with Bill, but that she also facilitated it and sometimes participated in Monica’s trysts with Bill? Like, the Clintons are huge swingers—that’s how they get off. What happens?


Nothing. If Hillary Clinton has any advantage as a candidate, it’s that she’s been around for so long, and been involved in so much shady shit, that nothing new about her would faze anyone. If you told me Hillary personally ordered a homeless shelter burned to the ground (in Benghazi!), I’d be like, “Yep. Sounds about right” and then go about my day.

If you acquire enough scandal, you eventually become scandal-proof. It’s kind of brilliant. I can’t imagine any voter—even a voter who likes Hillary Clinton—hearing about a Clinton-family key party and being like, “I thought I KNEW this woman!” Everyone knows what they’re getting with the Clintons. They are forever huddled into their townhouse like the Underwoods, plotting to destroy us all. Hell, that’s probably why some people will vote for her. “Well, she’s Machivellian and pure evil, but dammit is she effective! SHE KNOWS THE GAME!”


Besides, Trump would overshadow the scandal by saying something dumb the next day. “I have personally been involved in MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE THREESOMES, some of the most amazing threesomes in history.”


In a given year, what is the average number of times someone ejaculates in a baseball stadium?


Oh, like these two?

Image for article titled How To Deal With Your Neighbors

Orgasming at a baseball game is a real challenge for fans, but it can be done. You just have to WANT it. You have to run out that orgasm. Anyway, if we’re we counting players and executives and stuff, then the number is pretty high. Because those people are all filthy animals with access to private luxury boxes and toilet stalls. I would say there are at least FOUR orgasms per game inside the confines of your local ballpark, half of which are part of a prank into the catcher’s mitt. That’s 10,000 ejaculations per year. Be sure to wash your hands.


What’s the most satisfying part of the “getting out of work/dress clothes” routine? My top choice is taking off my socks, followed by undoing the tie and undoing the belt.


If I’m in a suit, the tie goes first, because you can take off a tie in public. Feels good to throw off the shackles of THE MAN by whipping that tie off. But after that, it’s socks and shoes all the way. God, socks get so gross and clammy after a full day of use. It’s like walking in a thermos. Gotta get those socks off. Then the pants. Then the dress shirt. Once you’re down to a T-shirt and a bare dong, you are back to your truest self.

Email of the week!


I’m recently married after living together for a couple years, and my wife’s pre-work morning routine happens before mine on most days. During the past couple months, she’s taken to packing me a lunch for work, which she leaves in the fridge, usually with some sort of nice note on the counter. I view this as a jackpot scenario. Not only am I saving time in the morning, but also eating healthier as a result. I’m very grateful for the gesture and know this may not (probably won’t) last forever.

The thing is, there are a few details about the stuff she packs that I don’t particularly like. Minor things, like using too much mustard on a sandwich or overdressing a salad. Sometimes I really want to get out of the office to grab a burrito or something, but feel guilty because she packed me a lunch already. Am I an asshole if I mention something? I know beggars can’t be choosers, but I never even asked her to start doing this! Can I say, “Please don’t pack me a lunch tomorrow. I really want an excuse to duck out of the office to get Chipotle”? What’s the proper, decent move without being a jerk or ruining the situation altogether?


No, no. It’s fine. She didn’t know you didn’t like all that mustard. It’s FINE. Go ahead. Have that burrito. It’s fine. No, really. It is. She’s just glad you’re happy. YOU FUCKING MONSTER.

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.