New-Car Smell Is Overrated

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering partners, air beds, office superpowers, poop, and more.

Your letters:

Jeff:

I hate the new-car smell. I mean, I HATE it. Makes me nauseous. I have a new car now, and it's driving me crazy. Is this unusual? Actually, my oldest son, unsolicited, told me he hates the smell in my car. So maybe it's not that unusual? Maybe the new-car smell is something that the auto industry uses to market new cars?

It's probably not all that unusual. The new-car smell has a great reputation because it's an evocative smell. You smell the new-car smell, and you remember that you are sitting in a new car, which makes you feel like a fancy rich person. And new-car smell is almost always an improvement over the odor of your previous car, which smelled like cigarette ashes and old fishing bait. The smell is linked to pleasant thoughts, even if the smell itself maybe isn't all that great.

I bought a car a year ago (a Kia; I'm a practical fellow, and the speakers light up!), and it had the new-car smell, and some days, I was like, "This car smells good!" But other days, I was like, "Did someone piss in here?" New-car smell is an amalgam of synthetic fluid odors and plastic factory scents that are likely all carcinogenic. And yet… SNIFF SNIFF OH YES THIS CAR IS NEW BITCH. So yes, it's probably an overrated smell.

Tony:

I recently moved to New York with my longtime girlfriend, and one of my co-workers, when asking me about my girlfriend (he knows we are a straight couple), has taken to referring to her as my "partner." I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's fucking weird, isn't it? Also, is being in a relationship with a "partner" more serious than one with a girlfriend? Is this a normal thing now? Am I unwittingly homophobic for not getting it?

I always thought people used partner for unofficial or common-law marriages. Like, if you have a girlfriend, and you two have kids together, but you don't want to get married because marriage is a remnant of PATRIARCHAL SUPERIORITY COMPLEX or something, you say partner instead. That's how I think of it. It's code language for a long-term relationship between insufferable liberals, like how Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon used to be partners.

If you don't care for the term—either because you don't think your relationship is on that level, or because you just hate it—that's fine. It sounds shitty. It sounds like a romantic relationship between Darren Rovell and Darren Rovell. I know boyfriend and girlfriend both have issues in terms of semantics. A boyfriend can be someone you've been hooking up with for four weeks or for 40 years, and the term isn't clear about it. You also have to go out of your way to distinguish between girl friend and girlfriend. How many times have you had to make that distinction in your life? Fifty? My kid is eight, and she's already had to explain her way around those words. It's a pain in the ass. The problem is that all of the replacement words—partner, lover, fuckbuddy, BEAU—are somehow worse. I had a terrible ex-girlfriend who would introduce me as her beau, and it sounded every bit as crazy as you imagine it did. We need a better word for both, and no, BAE doesn't fucking count.

Nate:

Does the President wear a beacon device, so the Secret Service can immediately track his whereabouts in case something goes completely haywire (e.g., natural disaster, kidnapping, Bane) during one of his many public events? Is it on his person at all times? Is it something he has to take on and off (like in his belt buckle), or is it implanted, like an electronic chip on a pet? Ronald Reagan's senile old ass was probably the first time they realized they needed something like this, huh? Dude was probably wandering off all the time.

According to the New Yorker, both the President AND the Vice President can be tracked by their handlers at all times. It doesn't say precisely how. I'd like to think that the President walked in on the first day and a Secret Service guy was like, "Listen, Mr. President: Before we take you to the aliens and debrief you on the current whereabouts of Hitler, who is still very much alive, we're gonna have to implant this transponder in your butt."

Most likely, the tracker is linked up to the super-secure (I think?) BlackBerry that the NSA devised for the President when he took office, which he still uses. The President still uses a BlackBerry LOL WHAT A FUCKING N00B. I bet his private email address is an AOL account, too. Anyway, that's how the White House tracks the President's comings and goings if he decides to slip away to masturbate or strangle a hooker. But what if a team of wily terrorists should take over the President's helicopter and throw his BlackBerry into the sea? What then?! He probably needs an ass chip if that happens.

Tom:

If you could travel back in time, let's say to medieval times, with modern-day fast food (T-Bell, McD's, Pizza Hut), how would this food be received? Would people love it or hate it? Would people instantly die from it? Would peasants riot in the streets when the Cheesy Gordita Crunch was out of stock? Would the course of history be changed with this new introduction of modern food?

Do you get to show King Arthur the packaging as well? Because the packing itself would probably impress him more than the food. He'd probably accuse you of aliencraft after laying eyes on a Big Whopper box. Paper was a big deal back then—a luxury. The fact that you presented the King with a taco wrapped in printed materials not made from dried cat tripe would be a big deal.

Also, meat and spices were marks of high society back then as well, so the king would be taken with your ability to procure those ingredients for your McNuggets and barbecue sauce. He would treat you as a cunning noble, and wine and dine you for a string of nights, presenting you with damsels and all the honey mead you could drink. And then, he would demand your recipe for McNuggets. And when you aren't able to provide it, he'd cut your balls off and have you burned alive. That's how they rolled back then. They were nice to people, and then they used people, and then they killed them. That's human history in a delicious flour tortilla that's been deep fried and smothered in a delicious American cheese.

If you opened up a fast-food joint in the Dark Ages, you could probably charge a fortune for everything on the menu. And then no one would come, because a) no one had money back then, b) no one cared about food back then, and C) people hate new, weird food they don't understand and would probably just sneer at your fancy CrunchWrap Supremes. They would compose lengthy, Yelp-style reviews on vellum parchment. "'Ere I waited seemingly a fortnight for myne Stuffed Crust Pizza to come 'hither. Myne server was verily NOT of good stock. Thy should be wary, forsooth! Yon, we shan't return."

Kreb:

Which would you rather have the ability to do: play one season of Little League with your current body/athletic abilities, or be able to dunk for the rest of your life?

Dunk. If I could dunk, I would never get tired of it. I get excited dunking on the trash can, and that's three feet below my hand. TAKE THAT, CAN! This is why white people like me derive an unreasonable amount of joy from pool dunks:

If I had the means and the time, I would just spend every day drinking and doing pool dunks. DUNK DUNK DUNK. You couldn't stop me if you tried. I bet King Arthur would be crazy impressed by my pool dunkage. If you're telling me I could dunk on a regulation hoop for the rest of my life, I would quit this job and spend every day at the YMCA, openly dunking in public like a complete asshole.

Joe:

Is there a worse feeling than listening to some tunes on your iPhone/music device and having your headphones suddenly and brutally YANKED from your ears? This happens all the time when I'm working out or mowing the lawn: My headphone cord gets caught on something, and BOOM, I feel like the insides of my ears have been ripped out. On top of that, you suddenly get cut off from your music. It's a very jarring experience.

I've had that happen at the gym, when the cord gets tangled up in some kind of cardio-equipment handle and the entire thing gets yanked away. And then I yell out, "SHIT!" and everyone stares. And then I smack the equipment for embarrassing me in public.

(One time, I also put on my headphones and must have hit the PLAY button without realizing it, because the music came on before I was ready, and it was at maximum volume, so I yelped out a really loud "FUCK!" and literally jumped in the air, I had scared myself so badly. Again, everyone stared.)

As a middle-aged man, I can no longer enjoy headphones properly. When you're young, you can rock headphones with the confidence that no one will bother you in the middle of a powerful self-jamming session. But when I put on headphones, I'm always waiting for a kid to come yanking them out, or the phone to ring to tell me someone died, or the pilot to come on over the loudspeaker to tell us we've been re-routed to Memphis, or something like that. I can rarely just sit there and shut out the rest of the world, because the world won't stop nagging me. So savor your overpriced Beats cans while you can, you hipster dipshits. One day, an eight-year-old will bitch you out for not giving her enough attention. I'm just waiting for the shoulder tap, man.

Brian:

So the strikeout record is 20, right? Let's say you're an outfielder in a 10-1 ballgame. Your hurler has tied the record. 20 strikeouts. Top of the ninth. Two outs. Batter hits a pop fly to you in right. Do you catch it and end the game? Or do you let it drop, let the single happen, and give your teammate a chance to get the 21 st strikeout? You'd have to sell it of course—tripping, sun in your eyes, or some shit—but how bad would that be looked at?

I would think about pulling a Favre, but then opt to catch the ball (provided I could catch it). It's not worth giving your pitcher another chance at the record if everyone just shits all over its legitimacy because you tanked the play. There's nothing worse than people affixing their theoretical asterisks to every goddamn thing, so I'm not gonna give them any reason to. Also, tanking the play for stats probably violates some unwritten baseball rule that would then result in a 58-man brawl in which no one throws an actual punch.

HALFTIME!

Rob:

I have to help plan my wedding, which will be a destination wedding. We don't expect more than 40 people to come, but how many people is OK to invite? My side could easily invite 300 guests, and her side could be another 200. At what point do we stop inviting people? Are they going to think that this is just a way to get a gift?

DO NOT INVITE 500 PEOPLE. I don't care if you're having your wedding on the fucking moon—never invite more people than you know you will be able accommodate. Treat every invitee as if they're gonna show up, because many of them do, because everyone is bored. You don't wanna end up asking the staff at Señor Frog's to add 15 extra folding chairs because your great aunt's family decided to use your wedding as an excuse to finally get away. Destination weddings are already a grand imposition, so invite the 40 people you think will come, and that's it. Don't invite your 7-11 clerk and then throw a fit when he takes you up on the offer.

Every couple squabbles over invite lists, because every bride wants to invite a thousand people, and every groom wants to invite an equal number of people so that he doesn't feel like a fucking loser. You will fight about this list for the rest of your marriage, well after the wedding itself is over! "Why did you invite the mailman? People thought he was weird."

Craig:

How many in-game player deaths in a season would it take for the NFL to just cancel the rest of the season?

Let's say week 1, one player is killed on the field.

Week 2: 1 player dies

Week 3: 2 players die

Week 4: 1 player dies

Week 5: 2 players die

Continue this order for weeks 6-18. At what point, if any, does the league cancel the season?

They never cancel it. Canceling the season would involve lost revenue (unacceptable) and the threat of legal action from the NFL's many, many business partners (also unacceptable). I've said it before: Modern sports are so thoroughly entrenched in commerce that they will never stop unless they are destroyed completely.

I'll tell you what would happen: Roger Goodell would convene a grand summit of owners and GMs. Maybe he would suspend play for one week to make this summit happen. And then he would institute new rules in the middle of the season that essentially eliminated tackling altogether (as he did when DeSean Jackson was nearly killed on the field a few years ago). And then, a decade or so after the fact, Peter King would compose a lengthy tribute to the Ginger Hammer's leadership in such troubled times. THE MAN CRIED.

I still can't get over that link from King. "NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue was among the leaders who were tested like never before." So true. When I think of 9/11 leaders, I think of the President, the Secretary of Defense, and Speaker of the House, AND some dude who decided it would probably be in bad taste to stage football games for a week. Jesus. It's the NFL commissionership. It's not a cabinet post.

Kyle:

What do you think is the funnest crime to commit? Obviously a lot of crimes probably aren't that fun, like murder with a weapon (too messy) or whatever Snowden did (boring computer shit). But I imagine arson or boosting a car is a real kick, and I can't picture anything more entertaining than slashing a cop's tires while he's pepper-spraying some college kids. The queen mother of fun crimes would have to be successfully ripping off the Louvre.

I agree. Any kind of heist is no. 1 in my book, even if Ocean's Eleven deliberately omitted a lot of the tedious planning required to loot the Bellagio vault. Here are my rankings for fun crimes:

  1. Grand theft
  2. Prison escape
  3. Arson (so long as no one is inside the joint)
  4. Joyriding
  5. Vandalism
  6. Kidnapping (but I would treat the hostage really nice and stuff; I wanna be the "nice" bank robber who lets the hostages go pee and actually turns them against the cops).
  7. Counterfeiting
  8. Contempt of court (YOU'RE OUT OF ORDER!!!!)
  9. Open container
  10. Public nudity
  11. Public urination and/or defecation
  12. Piracy (real piracy, not dipshit movie piracy)
  13. Disturbing the peace
  14. Shoplifting

I've done six of the things on that list. ALL FUN. I am not a kidnapper.

Jeff:

Got into a heated argument with another dad at my son's friend's birthday party about Star Wars. He is convinced that Star Wars takes place in the future, even though the very first f-ing thing you see before every damn movie is "A long time ago, in galaxy far, far away..."!! His reasoning was that the Star Wars story is being told in the future, but to someone in the past, but still thousands of years from present day. That the "long time ago" part is still in the future, and someone is retelling the story thousands of years after the action. This is preposterous, right?

That is preposterous, yes. The universe is nearly 14 billion years old. It's completely within the realm of possibility that an advanced galactic society existed, say, a billion years ago or so. I mean, all the stuff with spaceships that go light speed and humans being able to understand Wookies just from their grunts and people being able to openly breathe on many different types of planets is completely insane. But aside from that? TOTALLY FEASIBLE that it all happened a long time ago. For all we know, there are other alien civilizations out there, and they have been there for a long time, and those alien civilizations are ages ahead of us when it comes to engineering and social progress. I bet they have superpowered telescopes that allow them to see YouTube comments from light years away. And then they just giggle.

Dan:

How much would Coors Light cost if literally the only way to get them was by ice climbing or arctic scuba-diving with freaking bombs (like in the commercials)? What type of hazard pay would the climbers/divers get? I'm thinking it would be worth more than Alaskan crab fisherman, because it's a higher skill set ,and you'd literally have to use fucking bombs to get your Coors Light.

Finally, every few months would there be cautionary articles about the impending effects of climate change on Coors Light like there are with avocados and coffee? Would the Broncos threaten to stop selling Coors Light if global warming continues, like what Chipotle has done with guacamole?

Would all cheap beer be harvested in a similar fashion? Because I ain't ponying up market price* for Coors Light if there's a perfectly good cheap can of Schlitz sitting there at the c-store. If all cheap beer had to be sourced via longshoremen (who would be paid tens of thousands of dollars for each expedition, then would blow the money on meth once they landed back on shore), you could easily see prices spike to $20 a can. High-end New York restaurants would serve it in decanters, and rich people would talk themselves into thinking Coors tastes great to justify how much they paid for it. And then farm-to-table joints would boast that they serve dolphin-free Coors Light and double their prices for it.

Meanwhile, you and I would just move over to liquor and wine and black-tar heroin without missing a beat.

(*I'm terrified any time I see MARKET PRICE on a menu. You know damn well it won't be $13. It's gonna be 50 million dollars for that lobster, and you will look like a cheapskate for asking. And the restaurant could easily print the price. They LIKE making it obscure so that big swinging dicks order the stone crab with abandon.)

Connor:

A month before moving into my new apartment last August, I made a joke to my roommates that it would be easier to move in and sleep on an air mattress than an actual bed. They kind of chuckled and one of them said "Yeah, whatever Connor." It really pissed me off that he thought it wouldn't be easier. So to prove him wrong, I got an air mattress from my parents' house and used that as my bed for the whole year. Since I only had to re-blow it twice during the whole year, and my roommate had to put together his fucking bed with screws and shit on move-in day, then take it apart at the end of the year, did I win?

You're probably in your twenties or something, so yes. You won. Avoiding one day of bed assembly is well worth a full year of sub-optimal sleep conditions. That will change for you years from now. Years from, you will look upon an air mattress as you would a bed of poison-tipped spikes. My back fears them. There is no dignified way, at my age, to get out of an Aerobed. You look like a cockroach that got flipped over and can't turn back. Ten years from now, you'll crack boulders if it ensures you a good night's rest.

Sam:

I just started a summer internship at a financial firm, and like any person in my position, I am still mastering the art of constantly looking busy. I've noticed that I've developed the ability to put my feet on the ground and feel the vibrations of people coming my way so that I have ample time to switch ESPN over to a spreadsheet. I feel like one of those Indian chieftains who could put his ear against the ground and feel a stampede coming. So can I consider this to be an office superpower? Do I have heightened intern abilities? What other small abilities could you consider to be classified as an office superpower?

That's actually a really good skill. I've never acquired that skill. Even now, my wife will catch me checking my phone because I didn't hear her footsteps in time. So I salute you. You may be part snake. Other important office superpowers:

  • Being able to leave the office early without detection
  • Print something without an error
  • Use "auto-collate" on the printer without a single paper jam
  • Swoop in on conference-room food the second it is made available to all after a meeting
  • Know precisely when the bathroom is empty so you can shit alone
  • Perfectly timed announcement of upcoming vacation/personal day
  • Ability to maneuver in swivel chair to grab something across the office without physically having to get up
  • Ability to steal looks at other co-workers' butts without detection
  • Ability to fix your own IT problems.

Email of the week!

Antti:

Here in Finland, all the men are obligated to go to the army for six to 12 months. I'd like to share one of my experiences from one five-day encampment in the middle of the winter.

So we had been on this camp for four days and three nights. I should mention that it indeed was the middle of the winter, and the temperature was near -35°F. I had been able to hold a poop for all this time. Then came night four, and with it, trouble. You see, we didn't get too many luxuries during these encampments. So when one of the sergeants announced that there would be coffee for those who have to stay up at night as "guards," I was kind of thrilled. I drank three cups (which were by the way THE BEST three cups of coffee I had ever drank, even though the taste was terrible) right before my two hour shift.

Approximately the first five minutes went well. And then it hit me. The WORST urge to lay cable I had ever had. Now, you are most definitely NOT allowed to leave your duties as a guard, so I was faced with a dilemma: Either I have to shit myself, or I have to give up this ridiculous game for an unknown period of time. The choice was clear.

I got up and headed maybe a hundred yards away from our camp. I found a nice tree that could use my feces as nutrients. In the army we have this special kind of pooping technique (The Guerilla Pooping), where you lay down your pants and sort of "hug" your tree of choice with your arms. Then you bend your knees to 90-degree angle and start pushing. So I performed this routine and almost immediately the KING BOA of all poo starts to make its way out of my ACHING rectum. And then I heard footsteps.

I thought that I could get away with this because I knew our sergeants pretty well. But the person approaching was no sergeant—no sir. It was the MAD lieutenant of our company. We made brief and yet surprisingly intense eye-contact. Just as the lieutenant was about to yell something, the BOA hit the frozen ground. And I kid you not, the sound was similar to the one that a coffee mug makes when you put it on a wooden table. Only this had more bass to it. I made a sound of deep relief. The atmosphere grew tense. Lieutenant was silent. And then he cracked up in hysterical laughter. He walked away, and I buried the boa in snow (only for it to be found the next day). To this day, no one other than me and the mad lieutenant knows about this.


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

Image by Jim Cooke.

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