Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering Ebola, Ebola, Ebola, and more.

Your letters…

John:

If there happened to be an NFL player who contracted Ebola, the NFL would have to cancel the season, right?

Nah. As always, the NFL is so entrenched in American commerce that, short of a nuclear war, no one will ever let it stop. Remember: Paul Tagliabue, to this day, is breathlessly praised for delaying games for one week after 9/11. One stupid week. And Peter King rode his jock because it was such an EMOTIONAL decision, and because marketers probably had to put in a hundred extra man-hours just to accommodate the logistical shift. They didn't cancel games; they just postponed them, but this was seen as akin to building the pyramids.

Advertisement

Ebola's not stopping the NFL, especially since the virus is apparently only contagious if you are symptomatic. They would simply monitor the Tampa Bay locker room (I assume the infected player would play for Tampa Bay) and isolate players one by one as blood begins to gush out of their ears.

But the NFL wouldn't stop. In fact, I bet BIG GUBMINT would secretly meet with Goodell and tell him to keep playing so that no one would panic. Of course, by then it would be too late. If Tom Brady got Ebola, I would TOTALLY freak the fuck out. I'd seal the house in cling wrap and buy surgical masks for the kids. My two sons each had a cough this week, and I'm still waiting for their inner organs to liquefy. It is coming for us. It is mutating into a supervirus that will change us all to WALKERS and will have us feasting upon the eyeballs of the dead. It's the logical endgame for us at this point.

Avi:

Apple CEO Tim Cook's gotta have a super-charged iPhone with like a week-long battery, right? No way he dry humps wall outlets like the rest of us.

Don't you think he has more than one iPhone? He probably has a dozen of them that are all connected to one super-secret iCloud account that Apple actually bothers to safeguard (with regular iCloud, they actually sell your nudes to Reddit for a small fee). Then, if one of Cook's phones runs out of juice, he can just throw that shit away and have a pissboy hand him a new one.

Advertisement

Although, you're probably right: I bet Cook gets a special advanced prototype iPhone that doesn't include ANY U2 albums, never has to have its fucking iOS updated, is actually fun to type on, and won't seemingly ask to erase itself the moment you connect it to a computer other than your own. "Oh, you're on a new computer? Would you like me to erase myself and destroy your life? HIT YES OR YES."

Brendan:

I work from home fairly often, and my cat always jumps up on my desk, rolls onto my keyboard, and flicks his tail around, turning whatever I'm typing into gibberish. What would be the worst possible job to have your cat around to do this to you once a day? Aircraft pilot? Missile-silo technician? Some kind of heavy-machinery operator seems like the worst scenario.

In general, I think virtually any job featuring an intricate knob panel—submarine operator, bomber pilot, etc.—has controls in place to prevent Cat Error from triggering global thermonuclear war. They don't actually have a big red button that says NUKE ready to go over at the Pentagon. Engineers have anticipated the event of you spilling a Dr. Pepper all over the throttle and designed the helicopter to protect itself in the event of user stupidity.

No, I think the worst place to have your cat jump up on you in the middle of your work would be working the table saw at a Home Depot, or during a Turkish weightlifting competition, or up on a Verizon utility pole. Any work environment that places you in a precarious physical position would be bad for cat interference.

Also bad: record producer. I've been in a recording studio, and I know they only use, like, three of the knobs on those crazy soundboards. Oh, but if the cat hits the wrong one, that awesome kazoo solo is RUINED.

I also spill stuff on my own desk all the time. I once put my foot up on the desk and knocked over a full cup of tea that I had placed there. I had completely forgotten about it and was like, I think I'll just put my foot up like a bawse and OH MY GOD ….

Mike:

Do you think a mother and son have ever accidentally swiped each other on Tinder? Brother and sister?

It has to have happened. What if the mom uses an old photo of herself and a fake name and the son doesn't realize it? I guess he might be alarmed when the first sext comes in and his phone recognizes it as MOM, but still. I am firm believer in the boundlessness of hormone-addled idiocy. If you are stupid enough, and you are drunk enough, and you are horny enough, you can bypass all warning signs and end up failing to realize that was your own mom. This has surely happened in Florida at least three times. It will also be the plot of the next episode of Bad Judge. Also consider the TINDER-O-MATIC.

The Tinder-O-Matic isn't counting for potential sisters in there. Bad move, Tinder-O-Matic. I wonder if anyone has swiped a friend or family member platonically, without realizing what a bad idea that is. "Oh, hey, it's Jenny! I'll swipe her to say hi! HI SIS."

Advertisement

The most realistic scenario is that someone has merely SEEN a family member on Tinder. That's enough to get anyone to freak the fuck out. Like, you're just swiping along, looking for some hot action, and then Aunt Ginny pops up. God, that has to be awful. What if she's in a swimsuit? Just … BARF. Anyway, if you've ever accidentally sexted your first cousin on Tinder, hit us up.

Mack:

If every country had to choose one person in their history to fight in a gladiator-style battle, which country would win?

See, this sounds like it would be cool, because you would think Spain would choose Hernan Cortes and Iran would pick the Iron Sheik and Mongolia would take Genghis Khan and Russia would be forced to pick Putin and we would choose John Wayne and it would just be this awesome bloodbath between people of historical import, but NO. No, every country would just pick some random MMA fighter, and then Joe Rogan would be brought in to announce it, and it would all be boring as shit. I will watch any MMA match except an MMA match between actual MMA fighters.

Evan:

I was at an NFL tailgate this weekend where sushi was served. Exactly how many tailgate violations is that? I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of ALL OF THEM.

Fuck that. I would eat tailgate sushi right now, man. I would eat all the tailgate sushi. Even if we weren't anywhere near a body of water, I would eat it. Sushi is AMERICA, my friend. I'll eat any sushi. I've had grocery-store sushi. I've had airport sushi. You could wrap a dead rat in sushi and I'd risk it.

Advertisement

I don't think there are any real rules for tailgating anymore. People have gotten so into pre-game spreads that they'll serve everything humanly possible: barbecue, sandwiches, Chinese food, empanadas, pho, roasted seal steaks, whatever. Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the mandatory fall run of writerererers fawning over the fucking tailgate food at Ole Miss and LSU and thousands of other places where I am not currently located. These people are feasting on smoked grouse and GUMBO GUMBO GUMBO and lobster finger sandwiches while I'm at home with my thumb in my ass, searching for a decent snack and only finding a bag of Terra Chips my wife bought. THOSE ARE NOT REAL CHIPS. You people who have enough free time to eat well and be festive with other human beings … you're all jerks.

Alex:

Suppose that everyone wakes up one day without the ability to speak, but with a full arsenal of radio sound effects (slide flutes, etc.) to use at any time. Assuming that the change is permanent, how long would it take for humanity to be able to communicate at the level it did before the change?

I don't think much would change. I barely talk anymore. I tweet and email and text and soon my mouth will wither from disuse. So if you replaced all my words with farting sounds, it wouldn't make much of a difference. I bet certain early adopters rip on you for talking now. Oh, so you TALK? How quaint! [Communicates via squinted Glass emojis.]

Advertisement

If anything, this would give me a good excuse to stop talking altogether. All screen time for Daddy! Plus, people would be too embarrassed to talk during movies and shit. That sounds great to me. I am 38 now, and I finally understand why old people just sit around and stare all day long. Eventually, you're comfortable with yourself to the point where hearing other people speak or sing is just annoying. The old man in me just wants everyone to shut the fuck up. I was in a hotel room the other day, and I was lying in bed in the morning and I couldn't sleep, so I just KEPT lying there. For, like, two hours. I think I turned on ESPN at one point, but it was so annoying that I turned it right back off. Sometimes I don't even turn the radio on when I drive anymore. I just sit there like a fucking weirdo and stare off into space. I think having three kids yell at me all day has destroyed my need for hearing things.

Jake:

How in the hell did the first person figure out that it might be fun to smoke weed? If I'm a person living a thousand years ago, my first thoughts upon finding a new plant would be a) to figure out if it were edible (I guess that means that I'm not killed after eating it); or b) see if I could use any of it for shelter, clothing, etc., and that would probably be about it. Do you think it was someone's job in ancient times to go out into the forest and burn the buds of plants, inhale it, and see what happens to you? Please provide some clarity here.

People have been smoking weed for at least 2,500 years, according to this timeline. Before that, people used hemp for ropes and oil, dating all the way back to the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago. So there you go: Man discovers fire, man invents hemp rope, man then needs 7,000 goddamn more years to throw that rope into the fire and get the hint. There are many things that we take for granted now—smoking weed, cooking meats, brewing beer—that our ancestors needed centuries upon centuries to sort out. That joint you're smoking today is the result of cavemen trying to smoke pig shit first, BEFORE finding the right thing to set ablaze. So give them a bit of gratitude. Those people had a lot of free time to experiment with, and they needed all of it.

HALFTIME!

Ian:

About 75 percent of the time when I am taking my normal morning dump, my eyes water uncontrollably, and even sometimes I find myself full on crying. Can you please explain this phenomenon?

According to Dr. Oz (who is a liar and a quack, but still a licensed doctor!), this is a simple matter of your biological wires being harmlessly crossed, and not a symptom of some larger problem. Apparently, sweating while pooping is common as well, which is good, because that's happened to me. Ever sweat on the can after a spicy meal? It's awful. You feel like the most repulsive creature on planet Earth, and you are!

John:

Do you think any prisons have fantasy football leagues? I feel like it could be done: You would just need one guy from the outside to come visit the commissioner and bring him the box scores each week. Then he could add up everyone's points and post the results in the cafeteria or something. Setting your lineup and managing free agency would be a challenge without the injury reports, but that kind of adds a nice element of mystery. Also, what would the buy-in be? Cigarettes?

Lots of prisons have computers and stuff, so I'm sure they've got a few fantasy football leagues going. Every prison has a bookie (I assume with some cool nickname like "Jimmy Dice" or "The Banker"). You could pay in cigarettes or toilet wine or anal sex IOUs or even real money, I imagine. If I were running a prison, I would install fantasy football leagues to encourage prisoner bonding and keep them preoccupied. And then they would start stabbing each other over fractional scoring, and I would get all mad at them for taking a nice idea and ruining it.

Advertisement

I asked our unofficial Deadspin prison correspondent, Dan Genis, about this. His response: "There was no concrete policy on fantasy football, but when the gambling rings were apprehended, that is what they pretended they were doing." That's interesting. So fantasy football is a DECOY sport!

WARDEN: Are you shivving that bunkmate?

PRISONER: No, sir! Just setting my lineup!

WARDEN: Oh, well then. Carry on.

PRISONER: [Shivs bunkmate.]

Chris:

Do you think anyone has had to get Tommy John surgery because he/she played too much beer pong? Just now I was practicing throwing crumpled-up pieces of paper into the trash can at work and realized I was using the same form one would use for pong, and then thought, "I'm old now (30), and this elbow could blow at any moment if I keep this up."

Barring some kind of freak muscle spasm, I say it's unlikely. A pitcher is throwing with thousands of pounds of torque. You, on the other hand, are throwing a ball that weighs one-20th of an ounce into a plastic cup that's eight feet away. That is not a strain. I'm sure we could all use a few tweaks to our beer pong mechanics, but I'm sure your faulty delivery is not all that taxing. Once you hit age 40 or 50, you can hurt yourself simply by getting out of bed and putting on a shirt wrong. But for now … you're fine. I know baseball players end up getting triple Tommy John surgery because they fell off a golf cart drunk and then lied about it, but beer pong tossing? No.

Advertisement

By the way, every party has one or two guys who take beer pong WAYYYY too seriously, like they're playing in the fucking Final Four. The longer two men hold court at a beer pong table, the more insufferable they become. They can get really proud of their run.

Gethan:

What would happen if President Obama caught the Ebola Virus?

You'd never know. They would say he has a heart ailment or something. And then truthers would be like HE HAS EBOLA and you'd be like, "Pfft. I'm not listening to what some idiot truther has to say." And then BIG GUBMINT and BIG SLATE POST would align their talking points, and you would buy it, and then the disease would hit your house, and it would be too late to do anything about it. Fucking Obama. SHOW US THE BLOOD SCREEN.

Advertisement

Seriously though, if Obama's Ebola diagnosis were to be publicly disclosed, everyone would buy Hazmat suits and lock themselves in their houses and eat SHITLOADS of vitamins and I wouldn't even touch the iPad here because the kids put their doody hands all over that thing. And then we would all just sit there and wait to die. I think that's what Ebola hysteria is all about. I think people are demanding the truth about the dangers of Ebola so that they can die and then get super mad at Obama for letting them die. Again, this seems like a fitting end for 'Merica as we know it.

Derek:

So my buddy and I are having a disagreement. He seems to think that if someone pays him enough money, he can drive all the way from his home in Seattle to Boston while keeping his hands at 10 and 2 the entire trip. THE ENTIRE TRIP. Small breaks to drink a soda or scratch the face would be allowed.

What he doesn't realize is keeping your hands at 10 and 2 is the worst goddamn thing ever. And since that trip would be 3,100 miles, that's five days of 620 miles each. Could you make that trip if you got paid $1 a mile +expenses? True, $3,100 isn't a bad take for less than a week of driving, but still. Fuck that noise.

Advertisement

Yeah, fuck that. I'd rather kill myself than do that. I drive with one hand in my lap, holding loosely onto the wheel, and the other hand resting comfortably on the armrest. I barely steer at all. My wife will literally take my right hand and apply it to the steering wheel when she thinks I'm driving too casually, and then I'll get mad and be like HANDS OFF MY ARM, MISSY.

If I drive with my hands at 10 and 2 for longer than five seconds, I'm in agony. I would need Tommy John surgery. This is why they have to start making driverless cars standard. Secretly, driving is far too strenuous. I have to reach the pedals with my foot. I have to hold the wheel. I have to breathe like a SUCKER. I'd rather just lay back and stare at Twitter (my fellow drivers on the highway feel the same way and take part, often while going 80 mph!). Get me that Google woman-repellent car post-haste.

Tim:

If they played each other, who would win: a team with an elite MLB pitcher with high school kids playing every other position or a great high school pitcher with MLB players?

In that setup, you're basically switching from an MLB-quality game (MLB pitcher vs. MLB batters) to a high school-quality game (high school pitcher versus high school batters) every half-inning. I think the high school pitcher would fucking smoke the high school kids. Even Clayton Kershaw gets batted around once in a while by the pros. But some high school prodigies can throw forty consecutive no hitters and shit. I say the MLB batters would win 2-0. I KNOW BASEBALL.

Pete:

What is the point of a person's middle name? My guess is that the most useful use for a middle name is to dissuade your spouse from naming your kid after a relative he/she loves with a really bad name. "Oh, I think it's sweet you want to name our son after your recently deceased great uncle Englebert, but how about we use that for his middle name?"

That's true. It's useful as a distinguishing characteristic if you happen to have a boring name like John Smith or something. Back in the day, EVERYONE was John Smith, so they needed middle names* in order to tell John Q. Smith apart from John B. Smith on field trips and stuff. This isn't necessary now that every parent names their kid BRAXXXTYN or some other made-up, unused name that sounds like absolute shit. But back in the Puritan age, it was crucial.

(*making all this up)

Also, a middle name is a good exit option for any child that grows up to hate his or her first name. They called you Bort, but Dragonmaster is always there for you if you need it. Or, if the parents have to give the kid some dickhead first name like Blakeley to satisfy some asshole grandpa, but they really want kid to go by XRAYDEN, they'll drop that in as the middle name. I bet Grandpa is still pissed about that.

Advertisement

But yes, in general, middle names are now useless. They don't even bother asking you for anything beyond your initial on the credit card application. "What's this D stand for? Diapergenie? WHATEVER APPROVED."

Email of the week!

Ryan:

Today I boarded my flight from St. Paul to Grand Rapids and took my window seat next to a girl who looked about my age. I sit down and we do the typical pleasantries, "Where you from," "Where are you going," "Is the wifi free or paid," etc. Ironically, we were both going to a wedding this weekend in the same city, although not the same wedding. To be clear, here's where the conversation ended:"Oh wow, that's totally random." "Yeah, right?" Maybe five sentences each, total. I open my book to read, she puts on her headphones to listen to music.

With maybe 20 minutes left in the short flight, I look up as the flight attendants are coming down the aisle with drinks, and some guy, a TOTAL bro with a half-goatee, high-and-tight flattop Army haircut, and wearing HIS OWN softball jersey with his name on the back is standing up and looking in my direction, but I didn't think anything of it other than, "Man, what a bro." I look at the flight attendants still on their way to me, then go back to my book. Ten seconds later, I look up again, and this guy is staring in my direction, but I can't tell if he's looking at me, or someone behind me, but he is PISSED about something. So I point to myself and mouth, "Me?" and he mouths back, "FUCK YOU." I raise my hands and say, "What?"—as in, "I'm so confused right now"—and he just keeps mouthing obscenities to me.

Finally, the girl next to me apologizes and says, "That's my boyfriend. I'm so sorry." I just laughed, "OHHHH," told her not to worry about it and went back to my book. Passive as can be. Not doing anything. But the whole time I'm thinking, if he does something, I just hope he makes his move on the plane and not at the baggage claim.

So I'm reading my book as we land, and when we finally come to a stop, the girl gets up to get her bag. As soon as she does, her bro, I mean boyfriend, comes flying down the aisle and I look up just as he's diving over a row of people towards me, only to be caught by some other guy who saw everything go down, and then a bunch of people pushed him back. He's cursing and threatening me and telling me how he's gonna "fuck me up" and everything.

Welp, he got arrested. The flight attendants took him off before anyone else, straight to the cops, who'd already been called by the sweet flight attendant who had seen all this evolve. It was only after they pulled him off that everyone around me told me he'd been dogging me the whole flight, and also that he was pissed he couldn't sit next to his lady. To which I said, "Why didn't he just ask me to change seats?!?!"

As I exited the plane, an officer asked me if I was okay and if I wanted to press charges, which I didn't. Even better, I got to walk by him as he was standing in the corridor, surrounded by two cops, in handcuffs, staring at the ceiling.


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, photos via Getty and AP.

The Concourse is Deadspin's home for culture/food/whatever coverage.Follow us on Twitter.