Why Kids Today Are So Much Better With Computers Than You Were

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering pointless airline rules, broken legs, meeting Fred Smoot, and more.

Your letters:

James:

Why is every kid I've ever seen so good with technology? I once saw a fucking two-year-old crying in a grocery store, and all his dad did was grab his iPhone from his pocket and give it to him. Kid immediately starts tapping away with no care in the world.

It's not that the kids are good with technology … it's that the technology is so good that even someone as stupid as a child could use it. It has to be designed that way, otherwise the device ends up being mishandled, unused, or broken outright. I am a grown adult, and I have crashed my computer roughly 50,000 times in my life. I have downloaded shit from Latvian mob cyberspiders. I have typed with bacon grease on my hands. I have spent years and years and years not realizing you can change cases in Microsoft Word by pressing Shift+F3. Gadgets need to be protected from my stupidity, which is why Apple designed an iPad that even someone in diapers can figure out.

The more sinister explanation, of course, is that these screens were also designed to hook children before they've even learned to speak. Ever try taking away an iPad from a child? They will latch onto it like a fucking alligator. For all the horseshit sermonizing Steve Jobs did about democratizing technology and making the world a better place, it's not exactly a heartwarming sight to see a child completely silenced by an iPad. Children are supposed to be loud and boisterous and spazz out all over the joint. They have energy to burn, and parking them in front of a screen just muzzles that energy. Once the screen goes off, it's like opening a shaken beer can.

Children are relentlessly bored, and so they engage deeply with something like an iPad, because the image onscreen is changing all the time and stimulating their mind (but not their body, obviously). The technology beckons them to learn more and to spend hours and hours tinkering. Kids are better with technology than back when I was a child because the technology is just that much more inviting. And easier. When I was a kid, you had to type 50 lines of code (10 GOTO: XJ) just to see a block image of a cow on the screen. Things aren't quite so complex now. So don't be too impressed with little junior's ability to master Cut the Rope.

Jay:

Do you think there is an official procedure in place to ensure that Joe Theismann is immediately made aware of and properly responds to any notably gruesome broken-leg injury? Is this limited to athletes? Like, if somehow, say, Tim Cook is walking up to introduce the new iPhone, but his fibula breaks in two, would Theismann be looked to by the nation for his thoughts on the matter?

I think it would be limited to athletes. It has to be a broken leg, and there has to be footage showing that break going at a 45-degree angle at the least. That's when a TV producer demands to get Theismann on the horn. I picture him sitting at his house, staring at his phone and waiting for it to vibrate any time someone breaks a leg, or something Skins-related occurs. That man lives for forcing other people to listen to him talk.

By the way, I looked at the Paul George injury, because I can't help myself. I still think the Kevin Ware injury is the granddaddy of all horrific leg injuries. Ware's had bone. Bone puts you over the top. "Look at that fuckin' bone." People thought he had died, it was so awful. Like Ware would see that bone sticking out and have a heart attack.

Fraser:

I was recently on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to London. I had a window seat, so I put the window blind down because of the glare. Before takeoff, the flight attendant tells me that I needed to put the window blind up. She was extremely adamant in making people follow this idiotic rule, considering that she ignored people still on their phones to enforce this policy. What could possibly be the point of this rule?

Apparently, it's not standard on all airlines. But the ones that enforce it do so as a safety measure, so that if something goes wrong during takeoff or landing, you can see out the window to assess damage to the plane and/or scout the emergency-exit situation. I don't know why this helps, frankly. It takes all of .009 seconds to lift up an airplane window shade (unless you get a really stubborn one, which is just the worst). Secondly, if I see the engine catch fire outside the window, it's not like there's a clear line of communication for me to inform the pilot. I'm just gonna start screaming FIRE FIRE FIRE OH GOD FIRE WE'RE ALL DOOMED!!!!!! That will probably not be a calming influence on my fellow passengers. And what if I see something out the window that is merely a figment of my imagination?

Why Kids Today Are So Much Better With Computers Than You Were

Again, not very helpful. I'm flattered that the FAA thinks I could be of help in such a situation. I'd like to think I would look outside the window, see we're making a water landing, and then SPRING INTO ACTION. I would immediately fashion a monstrous supply raft using the seat upholstery, my inflatable travel pillow, and the bag of pretzels I packed for the toddler. Then I would dragoon my fellow passengers out of the plane and whisk them to safety. Even the pilot would tip his cap in salute.

In reality, I would grab the nearest fat child and use him a cushion for impact.

Andrew:

What if it came out that Dustin Johnson had relations with Elin, and that was the real reason behind her eventual divorce and not the (pretty obvious and well-known) fact that Tiger liked getting some on the side? Do you think that we, the public, would retroactively forgive Tiger? Do you think we could somehow institute a new form of golf in which Tiger and DJ square off against one another?

I think Tiger Woods has done enough to cement the idea that he's a moody, whiny prick, so even if Dustin Johnson cuckolded him, my personal opinion of him probably wouldn't change much. What if Tiger was cold and aloof and toothy and drove Elin into Dusty Yayo's arms? What if he provoked her into it? I'D NEED TO SEE THE TAPE.

But yeah, I'm sure the Tiger Woods industry would do its best to paint Tiger as a victim of Johnson's craven advances and re-position him in a new light. "You see! He's the same Tiger you loved way before he clumsily sexted half the free world! HE'LL BE BACK IN PRIME FORM IN NO TIME." And Jim Nantz would refer to the whole episode using only one vague word, like "struggles." This man has had his struggles.

Ian:

What percentage of MLB players are wearing fake gold chains on the field?

One hundred percent. Even if a baseball player wanted real gold, you could simply trick him into wearing a fake gold chain by telling him Travis Tritt used to own it. They're dumb as balls.

Kevin:

I live in western Pennsylvania and attended Vanderbilt for undergrad. Occasionally I'll meet a Penn State fan/graduate, and when they find out where I went to college, without exception they'll smugly say, "Thanks for James Franklin." Of course, my reflex is to scream "YOUR SCHOOL SANCTIONED YEARS OF RAMPANT PEDOPHILIA, AND JOEPA WAS A FRAUD", but I also wonder if the statue of limitations has expired on that retort. What's the appropriate response here? Can I still use Sandusky as an arrow in my quiver? These people are fucking lunatics, and their smugness really makes me want to go scorched earth on them, personal safety be damned.

I think everything is fair game online. If you're having an argument on a message board, you can throw down the pederasty card with impunity.

But in real life, bringing up Sandusky as a comeback is pretty dicey. I'm not saying it's unwarranted. I'm just saying that the mood of the room turns any time you bring up child molestation in any context. Like, if you're having coffee, and someone is like, "Hey, did you hear about that guy who fucked a kid?" your day is ruined. It's such a deeply terrible thing that using it as a sports taunt feels… inappropriate.

Again, I'm not saying that PSU fans don't deserve it. It takes real balls to smugly look down on another school when you're coming off the worst scandal in the history of organized sports AND Bill O'Brien just dumped you for the Texans. You Penn State truthers don't deserve to feel superior about anything right now. This is not your dynasty phase.

Ryan:

Which current starting NFL quarterback has had sex with the most women in his lifetime? It's seems easy to say someone like Kaepernick, but they have their youth working against them here. You also have to rule out guys who have been married for awhile. My guess is Stafford. Also, note that the "starting" qualifier knocks out the obvious winner, Mark Sanchez.

What about Romo? Romo's been around for a while, and was only married a few years ago. Before that, he had ample time to lead the bedroom in smiles. I saw that dude in a bar once, and he looked right at home, man. Tony Romo may have his shortcomings, but the man knows how to take full advantage of being a star quarterback in the state of Texas.

So Romo is my #1 choice, followed by Aaron Rodgers, Big Ben (consensual or otherwise!), Kaeperick, Stafford, and Johnny Football. Johnny Football may be young, but he's got ambition when it comes to drinkin' beers and scorin' some tail.

Andy Dalton would be in last place. Married AND a ginger. What a waste of underreported guaranteed money.

Chris:

Why do we call other countries names other than what they call themselves? Japanese refer to their country as Nippon, not Japan; Germans refer to their country as Deutschland, not Germany; etc.

Because this is America, and in America, Japan is Japan, and if you don't like it, you can get the fuck out. WE SPEAK AMERICAN JAPAN HERE.

Anyway, our own names for other countries are simply a byproduct of cultural and linguistic evolution. Many country names are taken from specific words that translate differently in other language (as "United States" becomes "estados unidos" in Spanish). Besides, you really wouldn't want everyone to pronounce every country in its native tongue. Imagine a friend of yours saying, "Well, when were in Italia…." You would punch that friend in the face. Best to use the country name that best fits the language you speak.

Michael:

As someone who has procrastinated my entire life in pretty much every category, how doomed am I for me and my wife's first child that is going to arrive next month? I figure most parents have no clue what's going on and are just trying to not kill their kid each day on accident.

Most parents are winging it (I know I am) and learning on the fly. They just like to present the façade of having their shit together, hence the advent of Christmas cards. You can't really prepare for a kid, because every kid is different and because walking around with a Tomagotchi in your pocket or something is no substitute for live gunfire. I have an eight-year-old, and even at that age, the child is completely unpredictable. She will rend mountains with her screams if you touch her hair at the wrong time and stuff. There's no tape study that will prepare you for that. You will sit there and you will wonder, Is it only MY child who does all this weird shit? Am I doing something wrong? The answer is usually no on both counts. It's insane at all times, and there's pretty much nothing you can do to prevent it. All you can do is head to the playground, watch other parents fail, and take solace in knowing they suck as badly as you do.

The only time procrastination bites you in the ass as a parent is when you gotta sign the kid up for shit. Nursery-school applications need to be turned in years in advance. A lot of schools require forms be turned in on a specific date and at a certain time, and you will see a line of parents waiting to put them in the office basket to make sure their kid gets a slot. Day camps fill up. Sports leagues are basically filled to capacity for eternity. You need the sleep habits of a fucking Navy SEAL to enroll the kid in pretty much anything. I'll never get over that. It's immensely irritating.

HALFTIME!

Mark:

What are the odds that Johnny Football spends 15 minutes each day looking at himself in the mirror naked?

Fifteen minutes at a minimum. And fully erect as well. He's making sure he's harder than a tax form before he makes that pose.

By the way, I've been to a lot of hotels, and every single hotel room on Earth has a full-length mirror in it. The people running hotels aren't dumb. They know guests need a full-length mirror to perform terrifying acts of self-abuse and sexual depravity in front of. "Damn, look at how naked I am. That is pretty naked." You got a mirror and a free tiny bottle of body lotion, and your room is a one-man bacchanal.

Tom:

I just ran into Fred Smoot at a 7/11 getting a Slurpee, and afterwards I wondered whether or not I should have asked him about his involvement on the Vikings Sex Boat. Although I am a few inches taller than him, I think I made the wise decision to not ask him, because he could easily end my existence with a single punch. Is it ever okay to mention embarrassing situations to athletes/celebrities?

I think it's a funnier idea in theory than in practice. If you go up to Smoot and are like, "Hey, how about that Sex Boat, eh, Smooty?" you'll probably end up feeling like an asshole. Common courtesy prevails. You don't bring up Bryant McKinnie eating a girl out, nor do you bring up Jerry Sandusky. Best to just say "howdy," and then sit in your car and kick yourself for not making some kind of okra patch reference.

Tom:

How much of a blow to your cool-ego is it when SNL's musical guest is someone you've never heard of? Seventeen-year-old me would be halfway devastated.

I remember when Andrew Dice Clay hosted the show a long time ago, and he was so controversial that they had to book two obscure musical guests—Julee Cruise and the Spanic Boys—that I had never heard of. But I usually have the opposite reaction from you when the show trots out a new act I've never heard of. My cool-ego is so deluded that I can just pretend that a band sucks BECAUSE I've never heard of them. Who is this no-name band? Where do they get off pretending they deserve to be on live television? They'll never make it in this town, I tell you. And in the case of the Spanic Boys, I was totally right.

Murph:

Could your local Department of Traffic put out a calendar of you picking your nose from traffic-camera images? I think mine could get to at least 10 months.

But don't speed cameras usually photograph your car from behind? One time I got a speed-camera ticket, and it showed my minivan speeding around a curve, and the minivan was leaning INTO the curve, like I was fleeing a Miami drug bust. I've never been so ashamed.

Anyway, you couldn't make my face or head out in the photo. The speed camera's job is to get a clear image of your license plate, not you with your penis out. The photography is so bad that you could be doing lines off the steering wheel and it would still be blurry.

Now, elevator cameras… those would supply enough images of me digging into the batcave for a page a day.

Mike:

Do we have to wait until Dave Grohl dies to admit that the Foo Fighters are better than Nirvana?

That is such a strong, strong take. Will Leitch just died inside reading it. Secretly, I enjoy Foo Fighters music much more than Nirvana, because I burned out on Nirvana back in the '90s and can barely bring myself to ever listen to them again. But if I ever strutted into some bar and announced that the Foo Fighters were better than Nirvana, I'd be arrested on the spot. Probably for the best. It's not like "Big Me" is impervious to sounding dated.

Back in the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time at the Foo Fighters official message board as a way of putting off doing actual work (I liked other bands more but the Foo Fighters have many fans and therefore a more active board). And one time, I said that none of the band's lyrics made any goddamn sense (they really don't; I like the band, but the lyrics are fucking gibberish). My message board colleagues were NOT happy. Don't go questioning Dave Grohl in front of Dave Grohlites.

Andy:

As a non-Catholic attending the occasional Catholic wedding, I am always unsure as to the protocol during the portion of the Mass when congregants exchange "Peace be with you." Am I expected to simply swivel in place to shake hands with everyone within reach? Or may I wander to avoid those with obvious hygiene issues, or to hug the inappropriately dressed blonde a few pews away?

I always assume you're supposed to shake hands with everyone who is within a body of you. Picture yourself as the middle square of a 3x3 grid. So you shake hands with the two people flanking you, and then the three people sitting directly in front of you and the three people sitting directly behind you. A full rotation. Sometimes I complete the full rotation. Other times, I search desperately for people I know so I can shake their hands and avoid talking to strangers, which goes against the whole idea of the ritual. But there are many old people in church, and I don't want them getting their old on me.

David:

I'm throwing my birthday party this year at a bar that can project movies onto a wall. They normally play old black-and-white movies like trendy restaurants do nowadays, but the manager said I can put on whatever I want (there's no sound; it'll just play in the background of the party). I'm thinking I have time for two movies (9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.), and that any movie should meet the following criteria:

1) It has to be recognizable, so people don't wonder what they're watching. Nostalgia is a plus.

2) It has to be visual, so it's not just a bunch of dialogue.

3) It can't be too visual or edited in a jumpy/jarring manner (like modern action movies), or it will be distracting.

Here's a few I came up with: Jurassic Park, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Caddyshack, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Pulp Fiction, Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Other ideas?

If there's no sound and you're not really gonna watch it, there's no point in picking a good movie. Much better to pick a movie that is visually stunning but has nothing resembling a plot, like this…

Or what about Miami Vice? That movie was a bomb, but man does it look good. It looks like there's a yacht right in your living room when you watch it. I'd feel like a big swinging dick if that movie was playing on a wall at all times in my home. I'd also vote for Easy Rider, because I watched Easy Rider in high school, and that movie probably makes a lot more sense if you are in an altered state and can't hear any of the shit they're saying.

You can also troll your guests and choose some shitty old B-movie like Leprechaun. LOL IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S NOT GOOD. Or pick some terrible '90s teen movie like Can't Hardly Wait specifically so that women in the room will be like OMG I LOVED THIS MOVIE WHEN I WAS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. That's your one-way ticket to eventually having a drink thrown in your face.

Scott:

Whose Twitter account would you go to first if an awesome virus hacked everyone's phone, posting all their pictures online?

Well, let's assume you'll get all of your fapping needs out of the way first (Rihanna, Chrissy Tiegen, Tommy Lasorda, etc.). After getting your fill of naked selfies, it's straight to the President's account to find images of the mistress, the REAL birth certificate, and the secret hangar where we keep the alien spacecraft. I know the President can't have a phone of his own, but god dammit I will check for aliens no matter the cost. I would devote the next 48 hours to finding every precious bit of scandalbait I possibly could: the President, Tebow, Bieber, Roger Goodell… SO MUCH SCANDAL OH GOD THE SCANDALGASM…

Also, did you know Putin has a Twitter account?

I bet what's in his phone is amazing.

Charlie:

What is the minimum threshold for those free plane vouchers that airlines give out on overbooked flights that would make you consider changing your travel plans? I'm waiting for a JFK>Savannah flight for a good friend's bachelor party weekend, and Delta is offering a cool thousand bucks in flight vouchers for five passengers to fly tomorrow morning. At what point does disrupting your travel plans become a viable option? Do your ditch your best friends for a free trip to Hawaii? Cut short a trip to the in-laws' for a weekend trip to California? There should be type some of graphic to help assist one in making these choices. As an aside, the amount of couples wearing matching pastel-colored outfits on this flight is remarkable.

Honestly, they could tell me they're gonna give me a free flying car, and I'd still probably ignore the lady on the PA. I have no doubt that some of those offers are actually good deals, and that it's theoretically worth sitting at the airport for another six hours to cash in. But I never take them up on the offer, because a) I am conditioned to believe that the offer is a lie, and has many irritating and ultimately negating pre-conditions and b) I want to go home.

If you make me that offer before I go to the airport, I would probably consider it. But once I am in the terminal and surrounded by airplane people, no amount of money on Earth can keep me from getting on that fucking plane and leaving. I don't even listen to the lady. She could be offering free houses for all I know. The second the word "volunteer" comes out, I stare at the floor and will the announcement out of existence. If you people hoping for a standby seat are hoping I'll be your savior, you can fucking forget it. That's MY seat. Find another sap. I want a million bucks to leave it.

Email of the week!

Josh:

When my wife had our first child, it was over 24 hours between when her water broke and when she actually delivered. We casually drove to her doctor, who said, "Yep, you're having a baby," and then we drove home to pack and ate lunch before casually driving back to the hospital.

TV and movies led me to believe that when her water broke, I would get to drive like a madman daredevil, swerving in and out of traffic at a high speed, flashing my lights and honking my horn while yelling OUTTA MY WAY, MY WIFE'S HAVING A BABY! Then an officer would pull us over, I'd scream at him with crazy eyes while my wife moaned in the back seat, and I'd get a full police escort with sirens blaring the rest of the way to the hospital.

None of this happened. I calmly drove us to the hospital in our Honda Accord at the speed limit, conversing pleasantly. My question is: Why does life always crush your dreams?

Because God is mean. Josh is right, though: Labor is crazy boring. For a woman, it's tortuous and agonizing and jeez lady enough with the groaning in pain! But for the man, it's just really dull. Bring a book.


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 Tara Jacoby.

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