I Can’t Tell Who The Fuck Is Joking Anymore

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Illustration: Chelsea Beck (G/O Media)

Today, we’re talking about airport eating, shower clogs, germophobes, and more.

Quick programming note: I’m out next week. No, I am not having another brain surgery. I’m just going to the beach. Nothing could possibly go wrong there, apart from me drowning, which almost happened once. I really need to stop almost dying. Ideally, this’ll just be another round of me dragging a bunch of sport bottles and chairs onto the sand and bitching the whole way. Looking forward to it.

Your Funbag guest host next Tuesday will be Barry, so send all your choicest questions about office bathrooms to him at the usual Funbag address. In the meantime, let’s have a gander at your letters:


At my job you get a discount on your health insurance if you take a health screening once a year. They take your blood pressure, measurements, analyze your blood sample and have you fill out a survey then give you a rating of your health from 1 to 100. I keep myself in decent shape. I’m in my early thirties, no kids and my wife is a resident so I have a lot of free time. I got a 99.99!! That’s like The Rock level! However, I realized there’s no way for me to boast about this, right? I would not only come off as a complete shithead but also probably feel a karma lump on my testicles next month as a result.


You just boasted about to me, in this column. I don’t think you’re a shithead, though. And I’m glad you’re healthy. I am a very big advocate these days of not being dead, as much as I attempt to end up in the hands of the Reaper. Being extremely alive is good trait to possess. You should be proud of your health, although if I got a score like that I’d probably also fear some sort of karmic retribution, or I would worry I’m not doing enough activities that improve my quality of life but also endanger my health: kickboxing, skydiving, pogo-sticking off rooftops, and what not.

I think you can boast about your good health at work but you basically have to layer it in 57 different coats of irony. If you email a colleague and you’re like, “Guess who got a NEAR PERFECT score on the health exam? —->This absolute GOD<—-”, you’ll be surreptitiously bragging about your score but also couching it in enough false bravado and self-deprecation to get away with it. That’s how I’d do it. I took a neuropsych eval after I suffered a brain hemorrhage and the doctor that day told me that I retained “high cognitive reserve” after my accident. That means I have a big smart brain. Do I lord this over my family at every opportunity by making over-the-top boasts about it? You know I do. Did I mention it to you just now to highlight my indestructible cognitive abilities? 100 percent yes.


This is how shit works now. You cannot be 100 percent joking, nor can you be 100 percent sincere. Everyone now exists in a weird go-between where they can adjust the context of what they say based on how people react to what they say. I am joke-poisoned. My sarcasm detector has been short-circuited by every asshole online trotting out every defense mechanism possible.

No one means what the fuck they’re saying anymore, unless it behooves them to mean it, and vice versa. Just millions of people going I WAS BEING SATIRICAL after they drop an N-bomb on Instagram. It’s fucking exhausting. I’m at the point now where I gotta read some shit and be like, “Wait, is this a bad joke?” like some other seemingly shocking online thing that’s just a brand stunt. Jokes are now actively disappointing for being jokes. Everyone should just mean what they say or not say jack shit. Except for me. I get to protect my takes at all costs by leaving poorly veiled escape hatches in every sentence I post online. It’s the constructive way of engaging with people.



One of my summer goals is to get better at grilling chicken. All the marinades I’ve bought from the store have been disappointing. Would you hook us up with some good recipes?


I never buy store marinades because they usually make everything you eat taste like it was reheated in a Chili’s kitchen microwave, and because they contain 50 million grams of sodium per serving, Also, I have that snooty attitude where I’m like I don’t need no fucking Grill Mates. I can make a marinade myself for better and cheaper and it’ll be AUTHENTIC. I’m insufferable.

Anyway, chicken. If you’re grilling just plain old white meat, you’re gonna have a hard time cooking anything that doesn’t taste like you just shot it out of a caulking gun. Fresh herbs make a huge difference, though. For Fajita Night at the Magary household, I usually coat the chicken in a mix of olive oil, fresh oregano, garlic, lime zest, pepper, and all-purpose Adobo seasoning, which you can get at any grocery store and costs roughly a buck a gallon. Mix that shit up and give it a taste before you marinate. The rule of thumb is that if the marinade tastes pretty good on its own, it’ll probably taste good with whatever you use it on. That little oregano combination gives chicken breast at least SOME life. You’ll have to go to Popeye’s if you want to eat white meat that’s fully sentient.


Otherwise, I would suggest you grill dark meat. It tastes better, it’s got a bigger margin for error with doneness, and it has more life-giving chicken fat. Who says no to dangerous levels of schmaltz? Not Nicholas Sparks, and not you. With the notable exception of kebabs, you’re better off grilling bone-in chicken if you can, because the bones are where the flavor is. Never grill a pack of those sad white meat chicken tenders they sell at the store. You end up with a chicken Twizzler when you do that. I gotta have a bone. The bigger, the better! I’m sure that came out right.

There are a shitload of ways to season leg quarters to ENHANCE THE FLAVOR PROFILES, like so:

1. Brown sugar, kosher salt, garlic or garlic powder, smoked paprika, olive oil, Cajun seasoning


2. Za’atar (it’s a seasoning AND a fortune telling machine that will make you a kid again!), lemon zest, garlic, kosher salt and pepper

3. Melted butter, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, cider vinegar


4. Soy sauce, grated ginger, honey, garlic

Really, the most important ingredient is salt. I’m not even saying that to make a gratuitous Simpsons reference. Whenever you eat underwhelming home-cooked food, it’s almost always because someone didn’t season it properly. If you buy kosher salt (avoid table salt for prep if you can, because it’s too easy to overdo it and end up with food that tastes like contact lens solution) and then evenly sprinkle it over whatever meat you’re grilling, you’re probably gonna end up happy with the result even if you don’t add anything else to it besides garlic. Salt and garlic improve everything, especially pancakes!



Does Heath Ledger’s Joker use the toilet or is he so fucking insane that he pinches one off onto his purple pants because he’s an absolute maniac?


The Joker uses a toilet. He’s deranged but he’s also extremely savvy and vain. He saves his crazy for better use. It’s more important to The Joker that you THINK he’s the kind of guy who would shit himself for pleasure than that he actually do it. Like, I could see The Joker sealing himself in a stall in a crowded public bathroom and then freaking everyone out by cackling loudly and talking to his own poop (“You’ve been very naughty… HAVEN’T YOU?!”) and releasing vial-ed chemicals into the air that smell like rancid peanut butter and then faking his own suicide in the stall and pouring fake blood out onto the floor. Then everyone would flee the bathroom and he could finish shitting in peace. He might even wipe with a silk kerchief as a finishing touch. He likes being elegant in odd moments.


Is it just me, or are people way more worried about germs now? Like, people won’t drink tap water (which is only justifiable in America if you’re in Flint), or need to sanitize their damn hands all the time. Maybe it’s just that I grew up on a farm, but germs are good for you! Toughens up your immune system. I have no evidence for this, but I wholeheartedly believe it to be true. Go play in the mud, kids.


Mike, may I introduce you to Alex, the man who eats food sitting leftover at strangers’ restaurant tables? You two are clearly soulmates. I don’t think people are more worried about germs now. The fact that there’s a Purell dispenser every five yards as you walk down a hospital hallway is not yet another sign of the pussification of ‘Merka. It’s that those dispensers actually work. People KNOW more about germs and germ prevention than they used to, which means you’re seeing more visible ways of helping eradicate them. So use the Purell. I don’t wanna get typhus because you and I used the same doorknob.


And yes, people can go overboard with germophobia, our president being the foremost example. My wife asks me to wash my hands so often, I’ve sloughed off all my skin. These hands are just exposed veins and dried sinews now. Very sad. Your body is designed to fight germs, but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to overload it with microbes, like you’re putting your white blood cells through an Oklahoma Drill. Let them live. Literally. You could spend all day bathing in witch hazel and you’d still encounter rogue microorganisms trying to ruin your shit. That’s fine. It’s also fine to drink tap water, although there’s growing evidence that Flint was merely ground zero for water corruption. But don’t go inviting disease into your life. Prevent what you can.

But look, I already know I’m talking to an empty telephone here. I’m not gonna dislodge pro-germ folk from their takes. Frankly, I’m shocked they don’t have their own anti-vaxxer style movement, with footholds in our wealthiest Orange County developments. Very soon, Alicia Silverstone is gonna be on the cover of People with the headline BEING EXPOSED TO LEPROSY CURED MY CHILDREN’S DEPRESSION! Christ. There are so many different movements we need to resist our corporate overlords and the ONE that’s gotten mild traction here is the absolute stupidest one of all. Wash your fucking hands.



I’m hairy as fuck and I’m tired of bi-monthly clogged shower drains. What do I do?


Buy a hair catcher! They sell them on Amazon for you and any other hirsute fella who has the full Magilla Gorilla thing going on. Catch those hairs before they clog up your plumbing, and then knit them into a fine shawl. Soft to the touch!


This probably isn’t even a question. But is there a worst decision than trying to sleep next to your kid? They are 2000 degree pinwheels that make odd noises and twitch nonstop while driving their tiny feet in to your sides.


It’s the worst. I’ve had to sleep with my kids in moments of necessity, like when we all share a single hotel room, for instance. It feels very warm and loving for five minutes until you try to fall asleep and they steal the covers, drape a leg over your head, and elbow you in the spine. All while they’re sleeping. It’s like they brushed their teeth with Jolt cola. I don’t get it. I’ll go to wake up my kids in the morning and they’re still as can be in their own beds: curled up and looking so cherubic I hate to disturb them. But if I’m in some hotel bed with them, suddenly they’re subconsciously trying out Mortal Kombat fatalities. I’d rather sleep on the floor. Scratch that: I’d rather make them sleep on the floor. That’s justice. The bed could be king-sized and my son would still find a way to scooch over and jam a knee up my ass.


Is it possible to pick a decent restaurant at an airport? I just walked around the whole terminal and looked at every option and I still somehow picked the worst damn one.


I know airport dining has evolved to the point where Rick Bayless has a joint in O’Hare where you can line up with 2,000 people to get an overpriced torta, but I remain steadfast that you should keep your expectations low at the airport and eat whatever’s reliable: Chick-fil-A, Five Guys, etc. If you go somewhere fancy, you’ll be disappointed to learn that $30 steak au poivre you ordered was not as good as the menu made it sound. And if you go to a joint that specializes in local cuisine, you’ll find it’s a money-grab offshoot of a place that serves its best and actual food back in town.

I take after my mom and get to airports too early. That leaves me with enough time to canvas the entire terminal for food, checking the directory and then scouting out each promising restaurant with naked eyes. I ask to look at menus. I stare at the deadbeats guzzling cocktails at the bar at 11 a.m. I hem and haw over whether or not I’ll have time to eat a full sit-down meal at Bistro De LaGuardia or wherever, and then I wisely settle for Cava instead. Modern food culture has trained diners to seek out and demand the absolute bestest shit. But airport food doesn’t work that way. The goal is adequacy. So if I were you, I would go anywhere that serves reliably easy shit to make: eggs, bacon, sandwiches, sausages, very large pretzels, etc. When you try to reach beyond that in a setting designed to get you fed in a hurry before launching you into the sky, you end up feeling like an idiot.




Why is it a weird thing to order both raw and grilled onions on a burger?

GET THEM FRIED, MOTHERFUCKER. Honestly though, I don’t think it’s weird, just more pointless than anything. I’ve got too much shit to do to demand the Shake Shack clerk give me my burger onions two ways. So long as the bacon and the cheese are there and the mayo is not, I don’t really care how the onions come. Make them into a pudding for all I care. I’m just here for the meat.



I’ve been playing in a soccer rec league for about 4 years. The team is....bad but they do a lot of meetups at bars for the World Cup/after games and whatnot so it’s worth it. My thing is: you have to pay in each season in order to play, and 80% of the time we barely have enough people to field a whole team. Are these people just psychotic and rich? Should I stop wasting my time?


I’m guessing that people joined that league more for the socializing than the soccer itself, yeah? I don’t blame anyone for that. The whole point of rec leagues is to get shitfaced with new people. So I think what happened is that your teammates joined for the soccer and for the partying, but ended up only really caring about the partying and now would feel bad dropping out of the league but still showing up to postgame keggers after leaving. Occam’s Razor, my man. You already said the meetups made the league worth it, yeah? I’d likely start bailing on games and still paying the membership fee, too. It really is amazing how you can get twisted into paying for some shit you essentially do not need. But it wouldn’t be America if that never happened to you.

If you really are in it for all the fast kickin’ and low scorin’ and ties, then join another league. The new team will ALSO drink beer. I can guarantee it.



Trump recently said that he is, “not a breakfast guy at all, fortunately.” But does he drink coffee? Or does our wet prez wake up and immediately drink a Diet Coke?


Wait, did he say really that? Holy shit, he did. Why does he not like breakfast? Why is that fortunate? Does he think skipping a bowl of shredded wheat so he can wild out on a platter of overcooked tri-tip ends at a depressing hotel spread later on is, like, good for his health? In present form, the man looks like a taxidermied Monsters Inc. character. Shamrock shakes are not the elixir of life he thinks they are.

Anyway, Trump has previously claimed he’s never had coffee in his life, but a WaPo reporter found evidence to the contrary:


Can’t believe he lied. So unlike him! I actually do think that Trump believes that coffee is for drug addicts and that tea is for sissies (Snapple excluded), and that he prefers to avoid them and instead derive energy from his own psychoses, and perhaps from a package of Dexatrim he snorts every morning. I also avoid coffee, so I understand his aversion while also being completely freaked out that we share it.

But I do NOT believe that man is passing up bacon and donuts if they come into his line of vision. Ever. He’s lying. LYING! That’s just standard Lyin’ Donald Flump behavior right there. You could fill up volumes of books with a list of beliefs that are rational only in the mind of Trump, like “stairs are a conspiracy” and “no one makes a bed better than Polish ladies do” and “headphones were created to eavesdrop on your mind,” but “lucky for me I hate bacon!” is not one of them. When 78 percent of the St. Louis Blues visit the White House, he’s putting out an acre of Croissan’wiches for everyone to enjoy. And by “everyone,” I mean him. Fucking asshole.



You’re drunk at a random bar in Anywhere, USA. What’s the most interesting thing you find in the bar bathroom?


Two people fucking. Still haven’t stumbled upon that yet, but fingers crossed. Anyway, the two most compelling things I can find in any bar bathroom are a clean toilet and a working soap dispenser. Those are my white whales. Otherwise, here are some other curious items to stumble upon:

· Turd on the floor

· Condom machine. I once bought condoms from a bathroom vending machine. At a strip club. You will not be shocked to learn I never used them.


· Breathalyzer test machine. I said this before, but I found one of these in a bar bathroom a few months ago and was mesmerized. They obviously kept it in the bathroom so that patrons wouldn’t start ordering shots and try to game the test, but I bet they do it anyway.

· Little soccer goal home for the urinal cake

· Strung-out hobo

· Postings above the urinal for escort services and/or Judas Priest tour dates

· Attendant offering free gum so long as you tip a buck

· Framed, autographed Elway jersey


How many players can the average NFL owner name on their own roster from memory?

Five. They know the QB, the backup QB, the best skill position guy on offense, the defensive MVP, AND whichever player they’re paying the most at the moment. If the latter is not the QB, then they know the name of the next highest dude.


This is for the best. I’ve been in the workforce long enough to know that you do NOT want the big big big big boss to know who you are. It’s much better if you have an immediate boss who protects you from the lunacy, viciousness, and ambivalence of that big dog. I remember when I first got a job in NYC and the CEO said “Hello” to me in the hallway ad I was like, “The CEO knows I exist! SWOOOOOON.” I know better now. Keep those assholes away from me at all costs. Otherwise, they’re gonna either fire me or meddle in my shit so much that I end up dying to quit.

So if I were an NFL player, I’d rather play for some oblivious pud like Stan Kroenke than a guy like Jerry Jones who knows every last name on the roster and yearns to exercise absolute control over all of them. Just cut me my check and leave me the fuck alone. Jerry’ll slap you on the back and buy you steaks and hire a stripper for your Arbor Day house party, but that’s just him buttering you up so he can fuck with you. Those friendly bigwigs… they’re the ones you gotta watch out for.



Do you think Trump could dodge a shoe thrown at him like Bush did? My money is on the shoe breaking his nose.


I was gonna say yes because, in my mind, the original shoe thrower had crummy aim and poor arm strength. But I watched the video again and my memory was wrong on both counts. Truly, Muntadhar al-Zaidi had elite arm talent. Also, he didn’t just throw one shoe. He threw both of them. He went into full bullpen mode and Bush still deftly evaded his attacks. It was impressive on both ends.

Trump’s not dodging a shoe. He’s getting that shoe right to the dome, and then firing the Secret Service for not jumping in the way of it. Then he would immediately turn the attack to his advantage, outlawing all footwear and bragging about how the shoe thrower failed to crush his mammoth brain due to his high cognitive reserve. There is no failure Trump cannot turn into a petty grievance against enemies both real and perceived.



Nothing annoys me more than when someone has a bumper sticker on their car and it’s crooked. Bumper stickers are lame enough, so if you have one at least spend more than 0.32 seconds lining it up. I digress.


I agree but it’s very much on-brand for someone who has a KEEP HONKIN’ I OWN A GRENADE LAUNCHER bumper sticker to not excel at applying a sticker correctly. If you’re the sort of person who will bring a level out to the driveway and draw a stencil on your bumper in wax crayon to ensure proper straightness, you’re probably not a bumper sticker person. All a bumper sticker says now is that you were too cheap and too dumb to buy a magnet slogan instead.

Email of the week!


My Penn State freshman summer dorm roommate was an all time odd duck named Brad. I walked into our room on move-in day (with my Dad behind me carrying a TV), and Brad was already in the room and the first thing he ever said to me was “We won’t be watching TV in here.” And off we went for the summer.

Brad would:

Leave for class after me and leave our door unlocked and wide open. When I asked him to lock it, he would say, “I don’t really have anything worth stealing.”

Walk around our quad slowly eating an ice cream cone and just stand by groups of people and stare at them, saying nothing. Penn State is actually not that big of a place in the summer, and after a few weeks I kept running into people talking about the creepy guy, with a bowl cut, who would stare at people. People would laugh uproariously when I told them he was my roommate.

Ask me why we never went on double dates with any other two girl roommates.

Get in arguments with students on the dorm floor and in the quad about how free speech should be abolished — his reasoning being that not everyone had valid opinions to be shared.

Turn off my video game if I left the room, even to go the bathroom. He disapproved of video games and did not appreciate me leaving the TV on.

Wait up on weekends until I got back from parties and ask me how many drinks I had. The next day, I would receive pamphlets on binge drinking and alcoholism.

Always answer the phone first as he was closer to it in the room (no cell phones in 1998). He would talk for a minute, then say, “Phone is for you Matt.” It became a running joke among my friends that you had to talk to Brad about your day before he would give me the phone.

But the weirdest thing, that I will always remember, is he had one single CD that he owned. About once a week, Brad would ask if he could put a CD on in the room (“You mean the CD, Brad?”). But I of course would let him play it. You probably think it is some really odd, obscure German band or something? It was A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin. I can still picture the cover. Whenever I hear Sonny Came Home, to this day, I think of Brad.


And now I do too.