Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering the Simmons suspension, jury duty, the O.J. chase on shrooms, and more.

Your letters…

Kevin:

I'm from Minnesota, and my roommate is from Indiana, and both of us think our state is the most Midwestern state. Can you give us a list of most Midwestern states, ranked?

I can, although I'm biased, because I'm from Minnesota, and I have hard time thinking of a whiter, more passive-aggressive variant of humanity than your typical Minnesotan. Here is my list. Please note that I have included the Plains States here, even though I think the Plains States are their own distinct brand of freakshow.

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1. Wisconsin. They have the girth, the fried foodstuffs, and the accent. Plus they aren't as stuffy as Minnesotans are. Minnesota is famous for lakes, and Wisconsin is famous for cheese, and cheese is a way more Midwestern thing than lakes.

2. Minnesota. My home state is the worst. Also, the most famous movie set in Minnesota isn't even named after Minnesota, which is weird.

3. Iowa. It's all made of corn, right? Even the people are made of corn.

4. Indiana. "We're just simple folk round here (roots for the white guy on every basketball team)."

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5. North Dakota. Of the two Dakotas, North Dakota is way more Midwestern. South Dakota has the Badlands and old gold mines and all kinds of cool Western frontier shit; North Dakota just has Tom Brokaw speaking to you through the clouds as you drive through it.

6. Nebraska. I grew up with the old Big Ten, so I still don't really accept Nebraska as a real part of the Midwest, even though the people here are stoic enough and boring enough to qualify. "'Round here, we don't tell our kids we love them. That's for showy folk."

7. Michigan. Detroit kinda cancels out the more Midwestern parts of the state, which is too bad, because I maintain that "the Michigan" is underrated as far as horrible Midwestern accents go.

8. Illinois. Chicago makes Illinois way cooler than any other Midwest state. We should airlift Chicago and put it down somewhere better than a fucking arctic wind farm. If you took Chicago away and left just the "AW JEEZ GUYS" parts of the state where Leitch is from, Illinois would rank way higher.

9. Kansas. Not the Midwest. It's just crazy, Oklahoma-type people.

10. South Dakota. See North Dakota.

11. Missouri. Also not the Midwest. It's the South now. They've shot enough unarmed minorities to qualify.

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12. Ohio. Like Pennsylvania, Ohio is its own batshit-crazy thing. I don't even think of Ohio as being American. I don't want to get any Ohio on me.

To me, Midwestern people are white and boring and have awful taste in food. Hence, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

James:

What's the best way to get out of jury duty? At first, I thought it was just plain pretending to be racist, but I'm going to college full-time, and that seems to be the best excuse so far, since they can't make you work around your schedule.

I have weaseled out of jury duty twice in my life (once was grand jury duty, which you REALLY do not want), and I can tell you that judges could give half a fuck if your jury service interferes with your work or class schedules. They have heard every single excuse from every single asshole, and it pleases them to inconvenience your selfish ass. If I were a judge, I'd force only the busiest people to serve. The only way you get out of jury duty is through sheer luck. The numbers are usually on your side, so you just have to sit there and pray that they don't pick you, or that they do pick you and then find you naturally repellent enough to dismiss you.

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Because most of the time, people don't have the nerve to declare themselves racist in front of a judge. Not only are you lying, but you will shockingly not want people to think you are racist! And you will feel like a terrible American (because you are). The last time I got out of jury duty, I went to the Maryland courthouse and they showed a taped video from a famous lawyer on TV (I can't remember who it was, possibly Sam Waterston) who talked about our patriotic duty to serve on a jury of your peers. And as cynical as I am, I watched that video and felt like shit for wanting to get out of there. I did a full 180. I was ready to serve, man.

Then they brought us into the courtroom for voir dire and I changed my mind immediately. They told us the trial would last WEEKS because it involved a man accused of sexually assaulting his neighbor's children, which OH HOLY SHIT THE WORLD IS HORRIBLE. A clerk got up and asked the jury pool a series of questions, such as, "Do you know the defendant?" and "Are you not a citizen of the United States?" and "Are you armed right now?" (At one point, they asked if any of the jury pool members knew each other, and one dude looked at me and raised his hand and the clerk asked how we knew each other, and I said, "I write for a few places, and I think he reads some of my stuff," but that wasn't true AT ALL. This guy's kid went to school with my kid, and I hadn't recognized him. "Oh, you write?" he asked me. I've never felt like such a dipshit. I should be shot into fucking space.)

Anytime people raised their hand to one of the clerk's questions, they would get called up to the bench to talk to the judge, with the attorneys standing nearby. And they turned on a white noise machine so that the rest of the jury pool couldn't hear the conversation. It was the weirdest shit ever. I tried to read lips, but it was no use. If you really want to serve on a jury, you never raise your hand for any of these questions. At one point, I did raise my hand and was called up in order to explain my past encounter with a child molester (which was a true story). I also snuck in that I was a busy man and had many children of my own to tend to, and that having children made me not like child molesters. The judge gave NO fucks, at all.

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I sat back down, and then they began to formally seat the jury. I was called into the box. I was gonna be juror #1. There is a formal language to court proceedings that I do not understand, so when the prosecutor approved of my presence, she said something like "The juror is obsequiated." It all happened very fast. I was confused. And then the defense lawyer traded whispers with his client (who TOTALLY looked guilty) and said he formally protested my selection. Then they kicked me out of the box, and I was done for the day. I don't have to serve again for 10 years.

The defense never tells you why they object to your presence. I'd like to think they were scared off by my good looks and Jeterian moral rectitude. They could not handle my truth. I would have fried that bastard. Anyway, don't bother trying to get out of jury duty. If they want you, they will claim you.

Mike:

How do we know that this Bill Simmons/ESPN rift isn't a page from WWE? Think about it: Say Simmons wanted to go on vacation for a few weeks. The storyline pops up: ESPN is the evil corporation stroking the ego that is the NFL. The common folk are speaking up, but don't have a hero. In steps Bill! Bill breaks against his employer, stands for the common man, gains tons of new followers/readers, and then he gets "banned" for three weeks.

I think there's some of that to his suspension. It was a "real" suspension, but he obviously knew that daring his bosses to discipline him would result in his being disciplined, because ESPN is the sort of place where talking out of turn is regarded as crass and unprofessional. WE SIMPLY DON'T DO THOSE THINGS HERE AT ESPN. They always like to consider themselves above the fray. Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith is making fart noises at Skip Bayless from inside a gray box.

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Anyway, Leitch put it best when he said Simmons likes to be with ESPN but not considered of ESPN. He likes all the money and resources and exposure that ESPN provides, but he doesn't want to be seen as one of the loser drones working there. He wants to be PUNK, man. That's why he got his own boutique site with writers he can collect and put in his little trophy case, and he gets to pretend that the site doesn't benefit from having the ESPN-traffic fire hose attached to it. The fact that Simmons operates next to old-school hot-take morons like Wilbon and Cowherd makes his shit seem twice as fresh.

So what better time to get suspended than right before the beginning of the NBA season? Simmons has a new Grantland TV show coming out next month (!) that doesn't appear to be in any jeopardy of being scuttled, and he already told Richard "Thirsty" Deitsch that doing TV exhausted him and his family. It's the perfect time for him to rest up, and for ESPN to look like it's being all proactive with loose cannons and shit. You can make a "real" decision to suspend a guy while still being aware of the convenience for all parties involved. And having Simmons around benefits ESPN because he is their model sports fan. ESPN is structured to cultivate know-it-all sports fans, and there is no bigger sports know-it-all than that guy. They want EVERY fan to be a Simmons.

I dunno why Simmons would leave ESPN when they pay him millions, and have an entire web infrastructure built to feature him, and they put him on TV, and they let him executive-produce movies and shit. With ESPN, he gets to starfuck to his heart's content, plus he can just keep doing everything possible to make himself look awesome. Even when he had to apologize for the whole Dr. V fiasco, Simmons was still pushing how awesome Grantland was ("We want to distinguish ourselves by being thoughtful and entertaining. We want to keep surprising people. We want to keep taking risks. That's one of the reasons why we created Grantland … Just about every writer we have is under 40 years old. Many of them are under 30. I am our third-oldest writer, as crazy as that sounds"). He does pretty much everything craving and expecting validation, so I don't expect this suspension to be any different. He probably spent all weekend wearing a motorcycle jacket with a carton of cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt.

Tim:

What happens if Derek Jeter announces he's coming out of retirement to play one more season?

I will kill him personally. You have my word.

By the way, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Jeter would come back. All of these retiring pros talk a good game about leaving on their own terms, and then another season rolls around, and they're all sitting at home thinking GOD MY LIFE IS SO EMPTY, and then they come back because they have nothing else to do. Jeter could do that. Everyone wants to be relevant. Everyone wants to matter. The Yankees have a big expensive stadium that no one can afford to go to, so they'd have no problem turning to YEAH JEETS to boost attendance again. Every Yankees fan slobs Jeter's knob because they know that without him, the team will probably devolve into the Knicks.

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Jeter has also ruled out a career in broadcasting because he doesn't want to criticize players. He must not watch much baseball on TV, because those analysts never criticize anyone. Old athletes like to get into broadcasting because it's easy, it pays well, and they can get all locker roomy with Terry Bradshaw while trying on a suit for the FOX NFL Sunday set. It's the only viable substitute for being back on the field. Anyway, I bet Jeter stays retired and out of TV, if only because then Jeter fanboys will be like OH MY GOD HE'S SO UNKNOWABLE WHAT A CLASS ACT.

HALFTIME!

SMS:

The food court in my building has a cafeteria-type offering where you wander down the line picking an entree, sides, bread, etc. They serve fantastic Southern-style (i.e., made mostly of butter) biscuits from a large pan. The biscuits are heavenly.

The problem is, I don't love the biscuits cooked on the side of the pan (too crusty), and then the corner biscuits with the pan touching two sides cause the Baby Jesus to cry. How picky should I be in the line? Do I just take the biscuit that makes sense in the sequence, or do I get picky and direct them to the sweet, sweet biscuit in the middle? I try to be a nice guy, and I don't generally want to screw over my fellow biscuit-lovers, but I really don't want the biscuits on the edge, and fuck me if I get the corner biscuit.

You can take any biscuit you want, so long as you don't hold up the buffet line. Period. If I have to stand behind you for five minutes while you hem and haw over which biscuit to take, I will brain you with my lunch tray. There is nothing worse than people who linger at a buffet. I want my fucking food, and you are in the way. Don't stand there, picking out tater tots one by one. And don't fucking mingle with family members as you amble through the line. This is serious. This is business. I will steamroll you.

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I am a terrible person when waiting for food. I am so very angry that you got to the Eggs Benedict before I did. One time, I went to a cookout, and the buffet line was so long that I decided to just chill and wait for it to subside. And you know what? It never did. It just kept growing and growing until all the shitty pizza was taken. I've never been so unhappy.

Boomer:

What would happen if a football player who ended up at the bottom of a dog pile just completely vanished into thin air? Would they show an "in memoriam" video before every game, saying, "It's been three years since we last saw (name of player)"? Would they cancel the game or just postpone it?

I assume CNN would try to find him in the ocean. I think it would be so unfathomable for a player to disappear into thin air that they would just keep playing the game. They could replay the disappearance all they like, but they'd still be searching for a tangible explanation. "He must have snuck out somehow when no one noticed," etc. A sideline reporter would note that Linval Joseph had gone AWOL from the stadium somehow, and the conspiracy theories wouldn't really begin in earnest until the game was over. Was it a sinkhole? Was he raptured? Is there some new form of CTE that causes you to collapse down to a single molecule? Did he criticize Roger Goodell and get "removed" for it? I would believe the most insane theory possible until they finally found the guy hiding under a trap door at the stadium and it all turned out to be a big letdown. Why can't magic exist?

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By the way, we've had a long run of football analysts being forced to talk about issues outside of football (domestic violence, child abuse, etc.), and it's always hilarious when that happens. They're so bad at it. It's like someone needs to translate it to footballese for Dilfer to understand. "You see, when a football loves another football, but one football gets angry, sometimes they go to live contact even though it's a THUD practice … ." They should take the entire Countdown crew and make them the hosts of Meet the Press.

Cam:

How old do you have to be to die too young? As a young dipshit, I feel like 55 would be good for me.

Technically, I would just go by life expectancy. Died before age 76? That is tragic. Died after age 76? NOT BAD! I'm glad you're off the roads.

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Anecdotally speaking, I still maintain that your death is only tragic if you left the world with unfinished business. Like, if you die and you still have a young kid, that is awful. But if you're old and you made some money and your kids are grown and able to take care of themselves, you can go right ahead and choke on your calcium supplements. You finished what you started.

Robby:

When it comes to taking a dump, what time of day do you think is the best/most satisfying? Morning pre-shower shit, after-lunch shit, or a late-evening shit?

I like a good shit after breakfast and a morning coffee. You're just waking up. There's plenty of time left in the day. No better moment to drop trou, bust off a few turtles, and whip out your phone to see what's going on in the world. Any unhurried time is a good time to shit. That usually means in the morning, or maybe after lunch, when work hasn't ramped back up yet. No one likes to shit when there are kids around and everyone is just getting ready to leave for the beach but you have to be like HANG ON I HAVE TO DO MY BUSINESS and then your wife looks at you funny and you're like What do you want me to do woman, shit in the car all over myself?! But I wouldn't know anything about that.

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Also, night shitting sucks, especially getting out of bed to shit. The nighttime is for drinking and sex. Ideally, all fecal business is put to rest before then.

Phil:

I turned 30 this past June, and since then I've accidentally sat on my nuts three times. Is this actually the beginning of the end or a cruel coincidence?

It gets worse. Try doing jumping jacks now. You'll destroy yourself. Your nuts will slap you in the face if you try to do them. My flaccid old-man balls get in the way of everything these days. Even if I just lay down on my stomach, they will find a way to get crushed. It's like lying on a beanbag chair. Old-man balls are the worst.

Gibson:

I just got off a flight where the stewardess giving the standard preflight "your seat can be used as a flotation device" sermon took an unusually long pause after saying "and your complimentary in-flight snack will be ... ." The unbridled anxiety of waiting to hear what was coming next just about did me in. And then, after what felt like an eternity of anticipation, the woman had the gall to announce we're all getting PRETZELS. Freaking pretzels. Am I crazy to have been so worked up about the possibilities that she could have offered and/or so incensed about the eventual result? (For the record, I turned the snack down in protest.)

No, it's fair. Pretzels are garbage. They ruin every snack mix. They are the worst complimentary airplane snack, especially compared to honey-roasted peanuts. They are somehow more fattening than any other snack. And yet they are EVERYWHERE. They're at every cookout and in every fucking bar. They come in 90 different shapes, which is completely unnecessary. They even repackage the shards and sell those to people. Pretzels need to be destroyed. I've had enough bland-ass pretzels in my life. Nuts and chips are where it's at. Pretzels can go to hell.

Andy:

Assuming a person were to voluntarily have his/her foot run over by a car or truck just to see if they could do it without getting injured while attempting this (said person is standing straight up with one foot out farther than the other for easy access), what would be the best speed for the vehicle to drive to minimize the chance of injury? I'm of the opinion that if you just creep over the foot, it would be more agonizing, but if you gunned it over the foot, the impact alone might turn the bones in your foot to dust. Any ideas?

Even at 10 miles an hour, a car is going much faster than you think. I mean, it's going slow as hell for a car, but it's still the equivalent of having someone sprint over your foot. So if the car is going 10 to 20 miles an hour or so, it will probably roll over your foot quickly (breaking it), but it won't be going so fast that it will force your leg out from under you, causing you to fall down and get mangled to death. I have no scientific data to back this up.

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Sometimes I think about getting run over. Like, if a bus is coming, I think to myself, Hey, what if I stepped in front of that bus right now? I bet that would hurt! I never follow through on this, because I lack grit. But one day, man. One day, that bus and I will tango. My plan is to jump up onto the roof and roll to safety, Statham-style.

Jared:

Would Lacrosse be more interesting if it were played on roller skates?

Not if it's still on grass. Make them play on a slab of marble and now we're talking.

Email of the week time! Stick with it. It really pays off.

Patrick:

Recently I was with my wife and a group of close friends while a news story recapped the night O.J. Simpson ran. We began discussing where we were and what we were doing that night and how weird it was. Because of what happened to me that night, I could clearly recall where I was. I told them I was at a friend's parents place that had a big house on one side of the huge property and a "barn" on the other side. The barn was more of a party place for derby parties and such, as half of it was a furnished apartment with wet bar and big screen etc. That night my buddy and I planned on watching the NBA Finals and enjoying some shrooms from the cow pasture next door. With recent rain, hallucinogenic mushrooms were plentiful if you didn't mind picking them out of cow shit.

When the television coverage switched to O.J. on the run, we honestly thought we were hallucinating and kept asking each other if what we were watching was real. We drank and watched in utter amazement and laughing hysterically at how absurd it was. Later, after exhausting the alcohol supply, my buddy asked if I would drive across the property to the main house and get a 12-pack from the garage fridge. It was pouring rain, and I questioned if my Honda Civic would make it down the dirt road to the house, and he assured me it would, but told me to drive back in his Mom's new Jeep 4x4. A couple weeks before, a horse his mom owned since she was a teenager (nearly 30 years; I never knew horses lived that long) had died, and she was so grief-stricken that his dad bought the Jeep she had always wanted to cheer her up.

On my way back to the barn with the beer, I decided to take a short cut, which went fine until I started to get stuck, and the front wheels of the Jeep began to sink and bog down. The more I tried to get out, the more the front of the Jeep sank. After churning up the mud for a couple minutes, I realized I wasn't getting loose and would have to walk back to the barn and get my friend and their tractor to pull it out of the stinking mud. And when I say stinking, I am not kidding: It literally smelled awful. I got back to the barn and told him what I had done, and he laughed and said we would pull it out the next morning because he was tripping too hard to function. After that I blacked out.

I woke up the next morning on the barn sofa with his brother standing over me yelling at the top of his lungs. His mom was outside crying and losing her mind screaming at her son. Apparently I hadn't just gotten the Jeep stuck in some random spot, I had gotten it stuck in the grave of her horse and then sort of dug it up with the wheels. That was a long morning.

The longest.


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, source photos via Shutterstock.

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