I'm a lawyer, but I work at a newspaper. If there were a nuclear holocaust, I'm fairly certain I do not have one useful skill/talent based on my profession alone. I'm a waste of a human being and need to learn some skills.
But it got me thinking about all of my friends and which of them might actually have useful skills. I'm fairly torn about how to rank them in usefulness...obviously doctors are king, but then what? What about mechanics or accountants...Are there any other useful professions?
How would you rank different professions?
This is why, in general, most writer-types like Jonathan Franzen are insufferable human beings, because they actually think that what they do is important when the reality is that they're remarkably unproductive.
You need to read World War Z for a decent breakdown of which people are the most important in the event of a worldwide catastrophe. But in the event that we have to rebuild human civilization from the ground up, here is a basic breakdown of vital personnel:
· Doctors. As you said, obvious. Veterinarians also apply here because horses would need to be cared for.
· Military personnel. People who are skilled with arms and have critical experience surviving in harsh environs. If there were a zombie apocalypse tomorrow and some guy in fatigues started bossing me around, I'd obey him without question because I am a sheep. Oh, you need me to build a dike? I see where you're going with this!
· Hunters. Because meat will be so very precious. I read Endurance, by Alfred Lansing, the classic book that tells the story of Ernest Shackleton's fateful Antarctic voyage. Their ship got trapped in ice and they were forced to live on the ice for months and months before splitting into two groups, with one group sailing across the Drake Passage—the single most deadly stretch of water on Earth—and then scaling a fucking mountain on the island of South Georgia to find help. Read that book and you will be DYING to eat a penguin by page 150. Hunters are important.
· Cooks. But let's not glorify chefs more than they've already been glorified. In a future wasteland, I don't need Aaron Sanchez bitching at everyone about using organic toe-mah-teeeee-yos. What we need is the kind of chef you find on a commercial fishing boat, one of those meth addict guys who can whip up a meal for 80 people quickly and without being a pretentious dick about it.
· Teachers/child caregivers. "Children, this is why your parents were incinerated last year."
· Brewers and/or distillers. And I don't mean this flippantly. We really will need people to help make alcohol. We think of booze as a luxury, even a vice. But in the cold, ashy nuclear winter, having a capable brewer would likely mean the difference between hope and despair. Sometimes, people truly NEED to have a drink.
· Guys who can, like, build computers and stuff.
I'm sure I've missed some, but those jobs represent the building blocks of human society. Every other job out there—writer, politician, ESPN studio analyst, lawyer, drummer—that's the window dressing. That's the shit people get to do as a result of the foundation laid by the group above. Jonathan Franzen will NEVER be more important than a hooker. We NEED hookers. We don't need 500-page novels about troubled white people.
I was watching the Browns and Ravens, and Josh Cribbs was down on the field with players and staff crowded around. I found myself wondering, "Will this be the game? Will this be the one where somebody dies on the field?" It's gotta happen eventually, right? Say it happens on a Sunday during an early game. Does the Ginger Meat Puppet cancel any games that day? I'm betting the death game would be cancelled, but no other games would be affected, other than the obligatory moment of silence. Do you think the game changes in any kind of meaningful way if a player dies? Will Easterbrook manage to get even more insufferable?
I don't know that a player dying on the field is a mortal lock. The only NFL player to die on the field was Chuck Hughes back in 1971, and Hughes died from a heart attack, not a vicious hit. And this was back in an age of poorer equipment and far more lenient rules when it came to helmet-to-helmet contact. Players may be bigger and faster and stronger now, but it takes a whole lot to literally kill someone on the field with a hit. Football isn't designed to kill you instantly. It's designed to kill you nice and slow. If anything, new helmets and other equipment are designed to reduce maximum damage on initial impact, so that you can then go out and take even more terrible hits, building up one internal injury after another, injuries that will quickly cripple you and eventually kill you by age 46. But if a player gives you a thumbs up from his gurney, then you are officially absolved from worry.
It's worth noting that the Chuck Hughes game was not canceled. They played the rest of that game with one of its participants stone dead. And that was back in a less media-savvy age. As we discussed back in the "Hey, what if Nick Swisher dies?" edition of the Funbag, if an NFL player were to die on the field, you would NEVER hear him declared officially dead until after the game. And there's no way the NFL would cancel any other games. They'd have a moment of silence and then move on. We can't have any vital disruptions of an NFL team's subcontracting agreement with Sysco industrial catering.
The long-range effects of such a death would probably be more media hand-wringing and sincere missives from people saying, "I just can't watch football anymore!" And then everyone would hate those people and we'd all watch more football just to spite them.
But for real, don't delude yourself in to thinking an on-field death is right around the corner. Which is too bad, because I LIVE FOR THE DANGER.
So the other day I was at the 9/11 Memorial and this punk European kid was lying on the engraved stones on the reflection pool because it appeared that even though 3,000 Americas died not even that long ago, he couldn't give a shit. Not to mention that a few feet away, a mom was clearly crying and lying flowers at her son's name. Does that asshole know he was sitting on the name of someone who died? Did I fail epically as an American for not kicking his ass right then and there?
It depends. Was he lying against the stones in an assholish way? Because there are some people who merit a punch in the face merely by lying there, breathing out of their mouths and being insufferable without saying a single word. It also matters if he was carrying a skateboard, because there WILL be an idiot high school kid who one day tries to grind the memorial. SO XTREEEEEEM. If he was sitting there with his feet propped up making bawdy jokes in Czech with his asshole Czech friends, I can understand wanting to destroy him.
HOWEVAH, as time passes and we get decades and decades away from the attacks, that memorial will become part of the natural landscape. Children who were born long after the attacks will probably sit on the stones, talk with friends, and treat the area as a more practical space than you or I might. In fact, the man who designed the memorial, Michael Arad, intended it to be this way: "It's also going to be a place where people might come to, just by walking out the door of their office building … and sit on a bench like that with a friend and talk for a few minutes... And maybe behind them you'll see some kids that are growing up in the neighborhood sitting on the grass with their mother, with their caretaker." I think Arad wanted the space to be both a holy site and a place where some of the everyday vitality of New York could be reclaimed, the circle of life and all that. Those names aren't gonna mean as much to some asshole kid living 50 years from now because they can't. The tragedy doesn't carry over like that.
I went to Dachau once and when I was there, I got really hungry. So I sat down on an nearby bench and I ate a sandwich. And right in front of me was one of the crematoriums. And I had to pause for a moment to think about whether or not it was right of me to eat a sandwich mere feet away from where one of the greatest tragedies in the history of mankind took place. But I ate it anyway. In my defense, I was REALLY hungry.
I went to college with the Roger Goodell's nieces and it turns out that everyone in the family is a Giants fan, including big Rog himself. He takes over in 2006 and the Giants go on to win two Super Bowls with Eli absolutely pulling games and helmet catches out of his ass and Coughlin slobbering on his players on the sideline. And, it just so happens that the Super Bowl will be played in freezing cold and miserable North Jersey in 2014. Something smells gingery here...
It's a conspiracy! The ginger nieces know all!
Who would win in a fight, a shark with legs that can breath on land, or a bear with wings?
The bear because the bear has air superiority over the shark. Also, the shark with legs would still be without arms. It can only attack using its mouth and super shark leaping ability. I don't think that's enough to fend off the bear swooping in from various angles. Here is what a winged bear looks like. And here is what a running shark looks like. Obviously, the sweater makes things a bit biased, but still, FLYING BEAR WINS.
Now, I think we all need to think about what would happen if either of these animals were to become a reality. We all know about the dangers that DEATH HAWKS pose to modern society. But I think FLYING BEARS would be even more terrifying. A flying bear could land on your car! He could crush you using your own sunroof. Think about THAT. We have to stop the flying bears, people. I've heard NOTHING from either presidential candidate about Flying Bear prevention. Not to mention walking sharks and their tricky candygrams.
How would home run numbers be affected if there was no outfield wall? Completely eliminating the walls would allow line drives to roll forever. There has to be some mathematical formula to determine this, right? MLB should offer grant money for this research.
You can only hit a ball so far, so I have to think that a lot of potential home runs would be run down by today's outfielders, who are really fucking fast. The nice thing about getting rid of the outfield walls is that you could finally have a real answer for home run distances. No more guessing that a 500-foot home run is a 500-foot home run. Now you have a divot. Every home run would be a test of the runner's speed versus the outfielder's ability to run down a ball that's gone past him. And the outfielder would have to run over and around fans having picnics at the outer edges, which I think would add a delightful wrinkle to the game.
I was in a meeting today and some co-worker next to me was eating an apple. It was the most annoying noise I ever heard coming out of someone's mouth. He sat there all happy like he was a health god while taking one big crunching bite after another and then proceeding to chew with his mouth open like a cow. I wanted to grab it out of his hand and throw it against the wall. What is the most annoying food to listen to someone eat?
The obvious answer is chips because you get both the crunch of the chips and the crinkle of the bag. And chips are a background food, which means people eat them while you're trying to watch TV or listen to your divorce lawyer explain your settlement, and that can be really distracting. There are even louder foods, like noodle soups that you have to slurp and shit (and I always like to use the "THEY DO IT THIS WAY IN ASIA" excuse to slurp noodles as loudly as I possibly can; it makes me cultured), but those are often consumed in a restaurant setting, where everyone is focused on eating and such noises aren't as distracting.
I promise you that your office worker's apple crimes are nothing compared to the sounds that children make while eating. Hand my kid a straw and you're in for an hour of pain. It's the goddamn worst. PUT MORE LIQUID IN YOUR GLASS OR I WILL THRASH YOU.
Of all the hostile territories (for a citizen of the US) on earth, where you do think going would get you murdered the fastest?
Not parachuting into a minefield or an active combat zone, but say you were to wake up one day in Mogadishu, Kabul, Homs, etc. Just you and the clothes on your back, in public, no place to hide.
I feel like Syria's a sexy pick right now.
I worked in an office that had a travel guide called The World's Most Dangerous Places in the shitter, and I re-read the passages for the highest rated (and therefore most terrifying) countries multiple times, constantly picturing myself being held prisoner in a Khartoum jail cell.
As you might expect, places like Sudan, Chechnya, North Korea, and Colombia populated the list. But that was an old edition. You can go online and now find updated ratings for all global hotspots. Currently, 13 countries get Robert Young Pelton's prized four-skull rating: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Congo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, and Syria. It is not White Boy Day in any of the aforementioned nations. And you may as well add Iran, North Korea, Egypt, and dozens more to the list. After all, you're not built to survive a country that gets ANY skull rating, much less four.
Personally, I find North Korea the most terrifying of the bunch. You walk into North Korea, you're probably not walking back out. You just fucking disappear. It's scary as shit.
You have to choose to between being 3'9" or 7'11", nothing will be made to fit you, you must learn to adapt and go on with your life.
The first impulse is to choose being a giant, because a.) DUNKING! and b.) you get to look down on all the pathetic short people. But I don't know if all that's worth it, because being that tall means living a life of perpetual discomfort. You can't really travel. You can barely fit in any automobile. You have to constantly duck while going through doorways. Kissing women will be an exercise in high comedy. Your feet will ache under the strain. Your back will suffer. As someone who dealt with chronic pain, I can tell you that all of that shit is unpleasant.
And that's just the physical discomfort. There's nowhere to hide when you're nearly eight feet tall. Everyone will hear you eating that apple and know it's you because you stick out two feet above your cubicle wall. Children will scream at the sight of you. You'll retreat into a shell of sullen depression that will soon be impossible to shake off.
Then again, at least you're not some short asshole. So I'd probably take the tall thing.
What are the other things you watch your kids eat, counting down the seconds until their attention is called elsewhere and you can descend? Or, even better, things to skim off the top. Daddy Tax, as it were. Top four:
1) Ice cream cones
2) Tater tots
3) Smoked turkey legs. Actually, first bite of all carnival food is fair game.
4) Frosted animal crackers
On the ABSOLUTELY NEVER scale:
1) Drinks. Backwash city.
2) Those pouches of proto-fruit goo
Chicken nuggets and fish sticks are big. I'll put the fish sticks in front of my kid and they'll look all crunchy and golden brown and I'll be like I MUST HAVE YOU, so I keep badgering the kids with, "Are you done? Are you done? Cause I'm gonna eat this shit if you're done," and then I start eating it anyway because kids take FOREVER to eat. Then the kid cries because there are no fish sticks left and I'm like LIFE WAITS FOR NO ONE, FUCKO. And then we all go to bed angry. But it's worth it because fish sticks are tasty. I'm always heartbroken when the child eats everything. I'm supposed to be happy, and I try to praise them. But secretly, I curse myself for not making double fish sticks.
KraftMac is also good. I just eat that shit straight from the pot. Cook enough KraftMac and you will quickly realize that different shapes make different amounts. When we make shells & cheese, there's plenty of leftovers for daddy. But a box of Annie's bunny shapes don't make SHIT. Beware.
Children also fear new foods, so be sure to order a full entrée for them at any restaurant and then eat that entrée as a third course because you paid for it and you deserve it.
If this isnt foreshadowing of a shitty day, I don't know what is.
Aw, I like it! Very clever.
Are multi vitamins at all useful, or just an excuse for me to have gummys right when I wake up?
Another fine food to swipe from your own children. I bet they don't even have vitamins in them at all. Big Vitamin knows how to keep you in its thrall. By the way, don't buy the gummy vitamins that look like sour patch kids. Your child will be dead of a vitamin D overdose by morning. Real dangerous shit.
My wife accidentally bought something called "sea gummies" once, a brand of gummy vitamins for children that included Omega-3, the acid contained in many kinds of fish oil. And these gummies SMELLED like fish. I opened up the bottle and nearly passed out in horror.
So my Dad died a few weeks ago. Tragic, but we had many good years with Dad and life moves on. Now I'm doing lots of things to help out - assembling the estate paperwork, making sure the trash gets taken out, and trying to save my mother the heartbreak of having to handle every single personal possession he ever had.
One of the first things I did was to get into his closet and get the porn collection. I haven't lived at home since before college, but I damn sure knew where he kept it in the old days and so I had to check before Mom came across it on her own.
I'm wondering what the right move is with this stash. My Dad was old school, keeping a revolving collection of tasteful nudie magazines. How does one properly keep the stuff away from prying eyes while properly respecting the dead?
For my part, I went old school myself - took the whole pile upstairs to my old bedroom, found a few choice pictures and wailed away for a few minutes, just like when I was 12. Then I put the whole pile in a box and dropped them off in the mixed paper recycling dumpster at my office. No evidence survives.
Was I wrong? Should I have done differently? If so, what's the right thing to do?
I'm surprised you were able to successfully fap without picturing your late father doing likewise, or without thinking he's looking down on you from heaven. I guess he'd be proud. Proud and horrified. If you really wanted to be daring, you could scream out THIS ONE'S FOR YOU, DAD just as you bust. Lot of conflicted emotions in doing something like that.
But no, I think you did the right thing by getting rid of the evidence and moving on. It's just a pile of porn magazines. It's not a family heirloom. It's not as if you could have it framed and put it on your nightstand to look at any time you want to think fondly of him. Trashing that shit is what Dad would have wanted. I assume in heaven, God lets you access all of your old porn anyway. He'd be a real dick if he didn't.
Email of the week time! It's a GREAT MOMENT IN ROACH KILLING.
I felt the urge to take a huge shit, I went to sit down on the toilet and right before anything was coming out, I noticed out the corner of my eye one of the biggest, meanest, most nastiest looking roaches I have ever seen in my life in the corner near the door. Right when I saw it I almost leaped off the toilet and started screaming like a baby, but what happened instead was I had the shit scared out of me, literally. All of the backed up shit from today just came rushing out in one clean splunk into the toilet. I immediately grabbed the toilet paper, not to wipe my ass, but to crush that damn roach.
I knew that I was probably going to have shit hanging from my ass and it would probably go all over the floor, but this roach took immediate priority. It was my duty to kill this thing and make sure it did not crawl into my bedroom (which is near the bathroom) and then lay eggs somewhere near or in my body when I went to sleep, even though if I didn't catch this god awful thing right now I was never going to sleep again having waking nightmares about this thing.
So, I went to go crush the damn thing, but it hopped up and then flew towards the door. I was able to block it by going for a crush again, the thing then went into this crack by the bathroom sink (damn those loose baseboards in houses, hiding all the bugs you want to catch). It was nowhere to be seen, I then sat back on the toilet and went to wipe my ass. I was paranoid the whole time that the roach was going to crawl out of that hole and then make a beeline straight to my hole... Luckily it didn't.
After I got my ass all clean, I went into the hall closet and grabbed the bug spray (forgot to flush the toilet). My thought process was that if this roach was in the hole hopefully it hasn't burrowed far into the house and that maybe I can get bug spray in there and by some off chance send this thing to a slow painful death. I then sprayed the hole, but all that happened was the roach came flying out of there, not even stunned by the bug spray, and was running around the bathroom like a bat out of hell. Luckily for me it wasn't going anywhere it could escape this time, so I grabbed the small trash can near in the bathroom and started trying to crush the fucker. Being the monster that it is I took about 15 to 20 whacks at the thing before it even started to slow down. Eventually it was gimping around like Jay Cutler in the 4th quarter. I was able to get a wad of toilet paper again and I crushed it up. I then noticed that I didn't flush the toilet at the time and dropped the body into the massive shit I just took. I then watched as that thing sunk into the shit like quicksand, and looked over this victory with pride as the monster cockroach was drowning in my own fecal matter. Take that bugs, you don't fuck with this man anymore!
This must have happened at the new Cowboys stadium.