In Defense Of Cargo Shorts

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Illustration by Sam Woolley.
Illustration by Sam Woolley.

I was at the airport late Saturday night and the airline lost my bag. You don’t care about this, of course, because it wasn’t YOUR bag. Bitching about a lost bag is like bitching about a bad beat in poker. You’re the only one who truly cares about your plight, and that’s what makes it such a lonely, awful experience. I stood there for an hour, waiting for the baggage claim to activate, eye-banging the black flaps at the mouth of the conveyor belt. I wanted to crawl past the flaps and go get my bag off the rack myself. Then the belt finally started moving and I watched as each came out at a pace of roughly one a minute, as if the bags were being unloaded by a triple amputee. Every time a red bag came out (my bag was red), my heart skipped a beat, and then I died inside when I realized it some other red bag that belonged to some other, luckier creature. I hated all the other claimants with a viciousness.

One by one, the other passengers got their shit and peeled away from the claim. And, at a certain point, I started to accept the awful truth: it was never coming. The claim eventually stopped and I said “Oh no” out loud in front of a handful of other lost souls. I nearly cried. I trudged over to the claim office and told them I lost my bag.


LADY: Huh. Looks like your bag is on the next flight. That’s funny.

ME: That’s not funny!

Anyway, that’s it for me and checked luggage. Baggage claim angst is still a hundred times worse than overhead bin angst. I don’t care if I have a pair of skis with me the next time I fly and I’m in Boarding Group 12K: I’m bringing them on board.


By the way, the new book is out NEXT WEEK. Go buy it and then hang with me on the book tour. It’ll be somewhat amusing.

Now, your letters:


When did this mocking of cargo shorts begin? I love cargo shorts! Are people secretly mocking me when I wear them in public?!

They sure are. Take it from me, since I had an usher come up to me at the RNC and explain why my cargo shorts were unacceptable. (He wasn’t wrong to correct me, BTW: I respectfully wore long pants to the Q the following night.) Cargo shorts have become a punchline… a convenient go-to symbol of lame middle-aged dadness. Throw them in there with fanny packs and visible sunscreen and tickets to any U2 concert.

But I’m still gonna wear them. And you know why? POCKETS. I got a lot of shit to carry around on my person—wallet, phone, keys, etc. I need the extra pocket room because A) I’m not carrying a purse, and B) I’m not putting anything in my back pocket because there’s nothing worse than sitting on your own keys. If you have more than two bulk items that you carry around with you, you need additional pant space beyond just the two front and two back pockets. You need storage space. Material RAM.


Will I look good in them? No. And that’s because I’m me. I’m not gonna look good in anything. Like every other garment in existence, you can pull of cargo shorts if you happen to be attractive enough. If you’re some petite 23-year-old Italian guy with styled eyebrows and the face of a child, you’re probably gonna have better luck than I would venturing out into the world in cargo shorts. You could probably pull off a fucking muumuu, for all I know. Gronk can wear jorts because he’s got the goods. Putting a dad like me in any garment automatically sullies the reputation of that garment. Don’t confuse your contempt for cargo shorts with your contempt of perma-tourists like me. They are the innocent party here.

Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s hotter than fuck outside. The poles are melting and soon the boiling oceans will swallow us whole. But I’m gonna survive it all, and you know why? Because I’m wearing my breathable cargo shorts and carrying a leatherman in the side pocket. ENJOY YOUR FIERY DEMISE, FASHIONABLE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!



My wife picks apart every piece of bacon she eats, and avoids the fatty parts and the burnt parts, which is essentially the entire piece of bacon. She claims to like bacon and buys it all the time, for breakfast and bacon wrapped skewers, etc, but she actually ingests none of it. Is she mentally stable?


Yeah, she’s just being picky. My kids won’t eat those parts of the bacon either, but I’ve come to view that an asset, not a liability. More bacon scraps for daddy. There is no bad bacon in my world, which means I am the receptacle of all discarded bacon parts. If you wife wants the bacon cooked more evenly, she should try cooking it some other way (oven, etc.), or just eat it when she’s out at a diner or a Holiday Inn Express breakfast buffet. Somehow, they always manage to keep the strips uniform, which is beyond my skill set.


If in the next World Cup the United States fielded an entire team of the best players ever to play for the USA, and all of the other teams fielded their normal teams, would the US finally win the World Cup?


God, no. We’d get thrashed. Who’s the best player in Team USA history, goalies like Tim Howard aside? Landon Donovan? He sucked. Our backlog of memorable soccer players is hilariously pathetic… inexplicable, really. I know the German guy we hired is trying to bribe us some quality international talent, but it’s not enough. We need to (***activate sports talk radio caller voice***) get Leo Messi some phony immigration papers, slip him by Trump, and have him take the field for us as LEO MOSS, heretofore undiscovered soccer prodigy from Utah. It’s the only chance we have of making headway against all these other dipshit soccer countries. OR WHY NOT TRADE FOR THAT RONALDO GUY? He seems good.


Why does the word micturate exist, when urinate exists?

Why have one word for pissing when you can have ninety? That’s the beauty of the English language, my friend. They may refer to the same bodily function, but the sound and spelling of every word gives it its own feel, its own context and shape. If I say I’m going to go piss, that means I’m a normal guy. If I say I’m going to go urinate, it means I’m an uptight weirdo. And if I say I’m going to go micturate, that means I’m a terrifying fetishist who is almost certainly heading off to go pee onto another person. See how that works? You can never have too many words out there to choose from, especially if you’re writing an R. Kelly song.



I’m from the South and periodically enjoy saltwater fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve never fished up north. Recently I went on a guided fishing trip down the Housatonic in Connecticut. We had a great time catching fish and throwing them back because the Housatonic is filled with toxic chemicals from GE. With an hour left in our trip, it started pouring rain. While my group felt compelled to keep fishing because we paid for the shit and it distracted us from the miserable rain, we saw lots of guys still standing out in the river trying to catch trout that they obviously had to throw back. They were getting pummeled with rain. What is wrong with these people?!


They got the bug! Do you know how easy it is to get addicted to fishing? One second, you’re goofing off with your kid, using a push-button starter rod. The next, you’re buying ugly bucket hats with hooks in the brim, and trying out waders, and lugging a smellyass tackle box and a cooler full of cheap beer out to some godforsaken pond at 4am, and hanging some tacky GONE FISHIN’ placard in your living room. It happens that just that quickly, especially if you’re an oldish man with nothing better to do.

I took my kids fishing a few weeks back and caught a microscopic perch within the first ten minutes. I spent eight hours on that dock trying to catch another one. In fact, let’s go ahead right now and rank elements of the fishing experience. Please note that I am the world’s most casual fisherman and have no idea what I’m talking about.

  1. Beer. Duh.
  2. Seeing an actual fish on the end of your line as you’re reeling it in. OMG, I did it! That’s a real fish! Now the battle begins. Get the net, boy! GET THE FUCKING NET.
  3. Netting the fucker. MWAHAHAHAHAHA. There’s nowhere to run now, fish. I’ve got you in my clutches. We’ll be feasting on half an ounce of bone-ridden crappie tonight, my friends.
  4. Tug on the line. Oh shit, look at the rod bend! Something’s biting! IT COULD BE A WHALE.
  5. Casting. Casting is awesome. I could spend nine days casting continuously. It makes me feel like Hercules when the bait goes fifty yards from the boat.
  6. Spinning the reel thingy. Look at it spin! That’s so cool. Fishing requires great patience, but fuck that. I’d rather reel my shit in lightning fast and cast again than sit there for thirty full seconds without spinning stuff.
  7. Fucking with bait. We bought a bunch of live minnows for bait a while back. Minnows make for great bait because you already have fish pre-caught for you. It’s reverse fishing. You can just reach into the bucket and hook the poor bastards before sending them off to their doom.
  8. Bossing my kids around. I have next to no serious fishing experience, and yet I will offer advice to my children as if I’m Babe Winkelman reincarnate. “Now, don’t reel ‘er in too fast, boy. Pull that rod up just a bit thar and see if you get a little tug.”
  9. Grabbing the fish after it’s landed on the dock/in the boat. The thrill of catching one wanes a bit when you have to grasp the thing by its razor sharp scales and keep it contained. Plus, the smell stays on your hand for days on end.
  10. Nothing happens for hours. Obviously, this is why the beer is so critical.
  11. Whatever was tugging on the line lets go. What happened? I had a thirty-pound monster on the end of this bad boy. Come back here and fight like a MAN, Mr. Seabass. Sometimes I reel the hook in and the bait’s gone. Well played, fish. You bested me this time.
  12. Clump of seaweed on the end of the line. Why do we even HAVE seaweed? Plant life does nothing for the Earth! That’s a fact.
  13. Untangling everything. I get my shit tangled once every seven seconds. I feel like a lack of experience may possibly be to blame for this.
  14. Hook in your face. DAMMIT.



When did “no worries” become every American’s response to everything? I can’t stand it anymore. It feels like a few years ago, there must have been a secret meeting among Americans (which I was not invited to) where everyone said “ Hey! Remember back in the 80’s when Crocodile Dundee came out and we all started saying G’day mate to each other all day? Yeah, well, we’re taking that up a notch.”


I do this, although I merit SOME exception here because I was literally born in Australia. I should be able to wear Koala Blue t-shirts and skin a crocodile if I so choose.

I think the reason people do this now is because it’s so easy to have a text or an email be misconstrued. So if I preface my reply with, “No worries,” I’m telling the other person that the situation is fine and under control, and I am not cursing them under my breath for burning all my mail (even if I am). It’s a palate cleanser for motive. How many times have you messed something up and then emailed or texted out a terrified apology? “OMG I totally forgot to bring your wedding ring to the ceremony! I’m such an idiot. Hope you’re not mad.” Seeing the other person throw a “no worries” back at you helps put your mind at ease. I spend 90% of my time online worrying that I’ve fucked up somehow. I need reassurance from time to time, even if it’s disingenuous.



Given his competitiveness and noted amateurism in both ventures, would you rather see His Airness on the PGA tour or WSOP? Does it change if it’s for a whole season or single event? Either way he’s thinking he can win it, right?


Poker, for sure. I don’t need to watch Michael Jordan bumble his way around a golf course. I can tune into any off-week celebrity pro-am and get the same experience watching some other asshole celebrity tee off into the sagebrush. I’d much rather watch Jordan sit at a poker table wearing mirrored sunglasses and a cheesy sponsor hat, losing hand after hand and looking like he wants to eat your babies.

Of course, I already had my chance to watch Celebrity Poker Tour—which recruited degenerate gamblers/wannabe gangsters like Ben Affleck and let Americans watch them lose. But I never bothered. Screw that. You may as well watch the Pro Bowl. I only want to watch famous people do the stuff they’re famous for. Anything else is a waste of time.



If given the option, following a red card, would the USMNT rather play man down for the rest of the game (let’s say the red card is at the half in a 0-0 tie in a must win game) or would the rather have the 11th man be replaced with me, a random schlubby guy in his late 20s with little to no athletic talent? Let’s say I can’t be subbed out for the rest of the game and if I get injured then they have to play with 10 men anyway. Do they take the warm body or would I just mess up their flow by simply being there? I could presumably still stand in front of people which might help?


I would take the warm body and then instruct the rest of the team to NEVER pass the ball to you. You would serve in a defense-only capacity, getting in the way of the opposition and slowing their progress toward the goal long enough for extra help to arrive on the scene. I also might use you as a designated goon, willing to take a yellow card or even a red card if it means plowing into a few ankles and sending a message. I would use you to become the Buddy Ryan of soccer, basically. You may beat us but, BY GOD, WE’LL MAKE YOU PAY FOR IT.


You’re a complete douche if you wear both t-shirt and shorts of your college to the gym, right?!? Also what percentage of Duke fans do this, 90%?


Yeah, if you do the shirt/shorts combo, that’s probably overkill, especially if it’s sports-team specific. We get it, kiddo. You played water polo at Grinnell. Let’s dial down that school spirit by at least 50%. No matter how much you try to cling to your college glory days, you and I both know that your future lies in cargo shorts and hideous fitness club B.O.!

I do think it’s fine to wear worn-out college t-shirts at the gym, though. That commemorative Senior Week tee shouldn’t go to waste. “IF WE’RE NOT WASTED, THE DAY IS!” LOL. Never gets old, my man.



How good would an NFL expansion team be in year one if their final, 53-man roster was comprised of the first 53 picks in the draft for the year that they were to begin play?


0-16, or close to it. It’s not that far off from the standard “What if the Browns played Bama?” hypothetical, only with a squad of combine all-stars swapped in. The NFL learning curve is too steep (unnecessarily so, in fact) for an All-Rookie team to have a chance. They would be fast and young and strong, but they would still be forced to learn some megalomaniacal coach’s overly elaborate scheme and 4,509-page playbook on the fly, while having their confidence smashed by a parade of more experienced teams.

I remain torn about how the NFL treats rookies. My team sat their first round pick for most of last season and it enraged me. He was a first rounder. He probably would have been useful at certain points. Then again, it’s probably better if your average rookie is sent away to football re-education camp for nine years before taking a snap. FOR THEIR OWN GOOD. The good news is that, no matter which way my team chooses to handle its rookies, I can always blame them when things go wrong. You brought Trae Waynes along too fast AND too slow, you assholes.



How many jerseys do you think Chris Sale had to cut up to prevent the Sox from wearing them? Does he reach full intensity mode and destroy every available jersey or did he strategically target the bare minimum?


One unverified report said Sale cut up ALL the throwback jerseys, although that’s still in dispute. I wanna know if someone caught him in the act and tried to stop him (only to be confronted by a man in the middle of a demonic slashing spree), or if they discovered all the jerseys were tattered after the fact and had to summon forensics to search for jersey fibers in Sale’s hair. Apparently, he rampaged through the clubhouse and slashed the equipment with a knife…


This guy has a million dollar arm, and he’s running around swinging a knife at shit? Cutting through a jersey is hard work because your average sports jersey is made of a space-age polymer that has a radioactive half-life of 14,000 years and the tensile strength of suspension bridge cable. One slip with the blade and your pitching career is OVER. That’s what makes this story so fucking crazy. How does Sale react when he gets a botched order at a drive thru? Does he angrily ram his hand through a deli slicer?


In the next 10-15 years when paper/coin currency completely goes away, how will the hobo economy work? Right now they subsist on people’s generosity of spare dollars and coins. But what happens when everyone is only carrying plastic and using shit like Bitcoin? Will cities launch programs to give all of the homeless card scanners? Will some Silicon Valley asshat invent an app where you can put money on Dirty Mike’s debit card? Given my current addictions to DFS and hard root beer, I fully expect to be homeless in the next decade and need to know.


I think that physical cash will never go away, because A) It’s untraceable, B) anyone can use it, and C) You can’t make it rain with credit. If cash was ever gonna go obsolete, it would have done so already. Two hundred years from now, when everyone is flying around in jetpacks and shooting each other over the last Antarctic penguin to eat, you’re still gonna need cash for buying heroin, selling fresh human organs on the black market, and tipping your local busker.

The only way to make cash obsolete is if you issue burner debit cards that are WiFi-enabled, unaffiliated with any bank, and contain your virtual “cash” right in a chip on the card. Then someone walking by could just zap some money into your card if they felt like it. Even then, I don’t think your average hobo would trust it. They would probably shred it, searching for the government-issued bug inside. And then you’d have to abandon the idea of giving them money and just give them booze and cigarettes instead. May as well cut out the middleman.



What if we could generate a reasonably good amount of power from our farts? (Assuming that this power would be 100% clean energy) Would people start eating a lot of junk food in order to fart more and be more “sustainable”? Would Brussels sprouts become scarce? Would toilet cars become a thing? Oh god, the world would be a mess powered by farts...


I think that BIG FART would build giant gas farms and pay people to sit in them all day, eating chili and farting directly into very small turbines. Then they would sell the energy directly to you, the consumer. Farting freely would become strictly a luxury for the rich and powerful. The rest of us would either be forced to work on the fart farm or to crudely live off our own, self-fracked gas. It would be a fartopian nightmare. I’m not looking forward to it.


What would the ramifications of a real-life Die Hard scenario be if it happened today? Terrorists take over the building, make outlandish demands, murder a couple hostages, etc., BUT our NY cop sneaks away and manages to pick off the terrorists, one by one, until the ringleader — who really just wanted to rob the place — falls to his death from the roof. All of the other elements — the exploding helicopters, the firehose rappelling, the FBI fuckups, Al Powell, Ellis getting offed, Karl coming back from the dead in the parking lot before Powell plugs him — remain essentially the same. Would this, in fact, break the Internet? What political party benefits most? What happens to McLane afterwards?


You would never find out that the terrorists were actually robbers. The NY Post would blare the headline “NAKATOMI NIGHTMARE” and then mistakenly report that Hans Gruber had ties to ISIS and shouted out “ALLAHU AKBAR” before icing Mister Takagi. Meanwhile, John McClane would get a parade as a hero cop, and then the parade would be protested by anti-cop demonstrators, and then a hungover and grumpy McClane would open fire on them, and then there would be a riot, and then 36 more people would be killed. On Christmas Day. That’s what would happen.

Email of the week!


I work with this guy who is constantly making allusions to how tall he is. Any time a person needs to move anything in the office and he’s like, “I’d better do it since I’m so tall.” (Height has nothing to do with strength but that fact is lost on him.) Every time he passes through a doorway he feels like he has to reach up and touch the top of the frame and he will repeatedly complain about how nothing in the office is made for someone his size. Here’s the thing - he’s 5'10". I guess that means technically he has above-average height but only by a couple inches. Meanwhile I am 6'7" and never make a mention of it. In fact, the only time my height is brought up is when this guy is trying to make it seem like we’re on the same team by turning to me after one of his complaints and saying things like, “Tall people problems, right?” He’s been doing it since I started working there over 2 years ago which is long enough that I am certain he is not just a guy who doesn’t know when a joke stops being funny. I guess this begs 2 questions: how tall is “tall” and can I kick this guy in the face, just once?


You gotta be over six feet to be tall. Do not kick him in the face. Being a delusional 5’10” guy is punishment enough.