Why Redshirting Your Kindergartener Is Dumb

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we're covering headphone farts, dog brains, professional button mashing, and more.

Before we get to the Funbag, Craggs wanted me to do a cattle call for audio and/or video of your local nutjob coach screaming at players. So if your indoor equestrian coach is chewing you out for hours at a time, and you had the moxie to take a video of said rant, send it on in. We won't yell at you. We're nice.

Now, your letters:

Dam:

My son just finished kindergarten. Where we live in NJ, the cutoff date is September 30th. His birthday is late August, so we knew he would be one of the youngest in his grade. What we didn't realize is that any parent that has kids born in the summertime seems to know to hold their child back (or "redshirt" them) so that they switch from being potentially the youngest in their class to the oldest. So my boy now goes to school with kids that are 13/14/15 months older than him (which gives the others an apparent physical and intellectual advantage). Should I have redshirted him? Have I screwed him for life?

Growing up, I was a full year younger than pretty much all of my classmates in school. And lemme tell you: It sucked. Age differences mean nothing when you're an adult. But when you're a kid, someone who is a year older than you may as well be 20 years older. That's how wide the gulf can feel. And it really sucks at milestone ages like 16 and 21, when all of your classmates can drive and drink and drive drunk, and you still gotta wait a year. Even if no one else gives a shit, you'll still feel like they're holding it against you. "Oh, Christ, we gotta give Drew a ride again? Fuck that asshole."

Anyway, redshirting became a big thing after Malcolm Gladwell wrote Outliers and noted that older kids on the hockey team did better than younger kids on the hockey team. So then all the crazy hockey parents decided to have Little Gordie repeat kindergarten 15 times. Really builds your confidence. It will not shock you to learn that there many studies on thism and they all conflict because science is annoying. It could be that my youth as a student hurt my confidence. Or it could be that it made me GRITTY AND SCRAPPY and determined to overthrow my older peers. It could be that begging for rides and being the only asshole who can't go to the bar made me the cowardly blogging nerd I am today. No one really knows for sure. My sister was a year old for her grade, so even though we were three years apart in age, we were just one year apart in school. Neither of us seems to have suffered for it.

Parents will always redshirt kids, and drop $40,000 on some asshole private school so that they can cover their asses and say they gave Junior every advantage possible. Some kids flourish from that. Other kids burn out and go drop acid in the woods. I would say if your kid isn't profoundly unhappy where he is, just leave him. He'll probably be fine. Ninety percent of the time, the best parenting option is to just do nothing and let the kid figure it out.

Eric:

At what age is it no longer acceptable to bring beer to a party, gathering, etc... and then take whatever remains of it home with you? I say after high school age, it just gets donated to the owner. However, I have a 32-year-old friend who does this regularly. He's a terrible person, right?

Yes, he's awful. In high school, alcohol is a relatively rare commodity, so hoarding is understandable. But at 32? No. Fuck that guy. At that age, alcohol is a party gift. You bring it in, and then you ask the host where you should put it, and then the host tells you he already has shitloads of beer here so you can put that six-pack in the basement, and then you think, But this is good beer. I don't want it at the back of the beer-consumption line. It'll get skunked. Then you rip that shit open and start drinking it yourself, then you get kicked out of the party for feeling up the neighbor. That's how polite people go about their business.

Besides, half the time, the host will ask you to take your shit back home with you anyway. That happens when you get to my age. At my age, NO ONE wants the leftovers. I once had a solid 10-minute passive-aggressive standoff over who had to take home the rest of a birthday cake. No one wants that shit cluttering up the house and making them fat. "Here, you take it." "No, I couldn't possibly!" "You take it." "But I have nowhere to put it, and it's such a lovely cake, I'd feel bad keeping it for myself!" "[Pulls gun] Just get the fucking cake out of here." Eventually, your love of free booze will be trumped by your need to not have piles of shit all over the place.

Brandon:

Have you ever farted with your headphones on? I refuse to. I'll always take an earbud out to make sure the fart is properly controlled (if I'm in public) or truly appreciated (if I'm at home). Technically this shouldn't matter, because if a work-fart has volume, it's not like I'll be able to do anything about it since it'll be too late. But I feel a lot safer farting in public with an open ear. This probably says something about me lacking confidence. Am I alone?

The only time I fart with headphones on is at the gym, because the farts come on strong, and I'd rather trick myself into believing no one heard it then to take out my headphones and remove all doubt.

But if I have headphones on in an office or something, I definitely pause to monitor the fart volume. If you can hiss one out without anyone noticing, you're always gonna make that call. Unless it's some awesome boy's-club office where people grade each other's farts on a greaseboard and play foosball and shit. That probably happens in the writer's room for The Daily Show or something.

Keegan:

My last name is McKeegan. But my sixth-grade basketball coach could not pronounce this (not that hard of a name), so everybody called me Keegan. Most of my high school teachers called me Keegan; the name followed me somehow to the small liberal arts college I attended out of state, and to the big (all relative) Midwest city where I now live.

In my mind, my name is Keegan. That is what everyone calls me, including my parents and siblings when they are really trying to get my attention. At what point to I draw the line when introducing myself? I don't want to call myself Keegan in a professional environment, and then hand out a business card and have it say something else. But I am in grad school part-time (LOANS, the government owns me), buy shit off craigslist, and am not a social introvert, so I usually introduce myself as Keegan. Is this weird?

Nah, I don't think so. You should always introduce yourself with the name you prefer people would use. Don't worry about business cards. People put all sorts of crazy extended names on business cards. "Hi, I'm Bob! [hands you business card that says H. Calvert Robert McVarnish XII, Jr.]" And plenty of famous people use their full name for television, but never for interpersonal interaction. Like Anthony Bourdain. Everyone calls him Tony. Why isn't the show called Tony Bourdain: Parts Unknown? Do I need to be part of the inner circle to have Tony privileges? That makes me feel sad and uncool.

Anyway, if you're Keegan, and you want to stay Keegan, just tell everyone you're Keegan. I had a friend once who went by one name with his friends, and a completely different name with his family, and that threw me off. Was he a different person when he was Jim and not Derek? WAS HE TWO PEOPLE?! I say keep it consistent.

Bones:

If you tried out for your high school football team today, do you think you could make the starting lineup?

No, because I'd hurt myself during the first session of two-a-days. Every man dreams of going back to high school as an adult and kicking some serious ass, but I prefer to keep that illusion going in my head, rather than test it out in live action. I would like to daydream about strolling back onto the practice field as an experienced, savvy vet, and showing the young punks how it's done. MEN VERSUS BOYS, etc. What I lack in youthful dexterity I would make for in sheer guile. But I know damn well that one hit would put me in physical therapy for eight weeks. If only I had redshirted.

Brandon:

I speak English, and arguably a tiny bit of Spanish, but 100 percent of my thinking is done in English. I assume that all people think to themselves in their native language, unless they are bi- or multi-lingual, and are having a conversation in another language. But regardless, humans think to themselves in a language that they speak.

So how do dogs (and even other animals) think to themselves? When a dog smells some bacon, he doesn't think to himself in English, "Wow, that smells amazing." But the dog has to be thinking to itself something to that effect, right? But how? What is going on in a dog's head?

Well, dogs communicate in grunts and barks and howls, so they probably think that way as well, right? That's their "language", so when the dog smells bacon, he probably thinks BARK BARK. Hell, I'm a human. and that's what pops into my head when I smell bacon. That's a universal reaction.

I would disagree with the idea that all human thought is done with words. When I think of a sandwich, I don't think the word "sandwich." I picture a sandwich in my head, and then I picture myself making sweet sweet love to that sandwich. Sometimes Bach plays in the background. Words aren't always part of the mental processing. There are pictures and feelings and other gut instincts that don't form perfect sentences. I don't walk by a shop and literally think, "That looks like a fine shop. I will patronize that shop." It's a lot more complicated than that. This is why the movie What Women Want was fucking stupid. Well, one of the reasons.

Thought and dreams are fun because they aren't bound by language or even imagery. You can't accurately depict a dream in a movie because dreams are not a clear, single vision. They're not even framed. Sometimes you can feel things, but you can't quite see them. It's like a broken Imax movie, with cats crawling across your face. Thought isn't bound by physical laws, which means that you and your dog probably think alike in many ways, dreaming of humping random object, and forsaking all that you know and love to pursue a sizzling ribeye on a picnic table. Now let's all do a big bong hit.

/BIG BONG HIT

HALFTIME!

Matt:

Worse person: guy who gives himself his own handle for a call-in sports talk-radio show, or Hitler?

Hitler, but it's close. You'll never out-Hitler Hitler, even if you proudly identify yourself as "Keegan from Syosset" every time you call into WFAN. "It's me! Your old favorite guy who calls in to radio stations!"

By the way, I saw that Anthony from Opie & Anthony got fired last week, and I was like, "He couldn't have said anything THAT bad compared to the shit he's paid to say on a daily basis," and then I looked at the tweets, and HOO BOY! Turns out I was wrong! That was some serious all-in racism. Kinda refreshing that it was so cut and dried. No dipshit racist coded language for that fella!

Ari:

What percentage of people do you think lose their virginity at the same time they have their first kiss? For the purposes of this question, doing them both in the same day qualifies, even if it's not part of the same continuous hookup.

If you're kissing and losing your virginity all for the first time, you are either A) a highly religious person who waited until marriage to engage in both kissing and intercourse, or B) the EXACT opposite sort of person. If it were up to every man, kissing and popping your cherry would happen on the same day every damn time. I know when I kissed a girl for the first time, I was like, "All right! Now we're gonna have sex!" The girl then calmly explained to me that my plan had numerous flaws.

According to this website, only three percent of Americans wait until marriage to lose their virginity, which would make the percentage of people who do it the day of their first kiss even lower. If you've ever seen this video, you know that it's better to space them out:

Brian:

If there was a job that would pay you $300,000 a year (pre-tax) to simply push a button every 60 seconds for eight hours a day, would you take it? Caveats being: You sit in a room by yourself with only this button in front of you; you have no other outlet of media/entertainment in front of you; you get two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute break during your eight-hour shift and seven personal days off; if you do elect to take the job, you HAVE to complete the job for at least a year—not doing so would forfeit all compensation.

Would this mundane, tedious, and possibly psychosis-inducing task be worth a nice salary?

Does the button kill someone who is far away? No? It's just a button? That's no fun. Anyway, you would take this job. It's no different from being a lifeguard, really. A lifeguard can only sit there and look at the pool. No headphones. No socializing. No reading. You just sit there and look hot and pouty for hours on end, and the pay is much lower than $300,000 a year. I think the average person would take the button job, do it for at least a year, and then quit. You can rationalize the money all you like and still be unable to avoid burnout.

You have to give people credit: They don't always do shit for money, even if it's something relatively benign. Americans want to get paid AND we want to be creatively fulfilled, which makes us completely unreasonable people. My personal dream job is to be paid a billion dollars to get stoned and think of taco recipes.

The other thing is that you'd never stay in that job for long because the longer you stay, the more limited your options become. One time, I got offered a job to write legal ad copy. Really boring, tedious shit. The pay was pretty good, and I had a family to support, so I was mulling it over. And a guy I worked with at the time was like, "Yeah, the pay is good, but that job's a career-killer." And he was right. Once you take a limiting job like that, it's on your resume. You gotta explain your button duties in the next job interview, and that will mark you forever. Avoid the career-killer if you can. You probably can't.

Carl:

What is the food alternative with the best-to-worst ratio when comparing brands? For instance, Mountain Dew vs. Mello Yello has to be up there. Meaning Mountain Dew is delicious and Mello Yello is shit.

I personally think there's an enormous gulf between Coke and Pepsi, because Pepsi is fucking terrible. People who like Pepsi must go around thinking to themselves, "You know, I'd like a Coke, but I want a Coke that tastes flatter and comes from a company that thinks Cuba Gooding Jr. makes for a good pitchman." To me, Coke/Pepsi represents the ultimate parity-product discrepancy. They're both made of pure shit, but by God, Pepsi is somehow a lower form of it.

Dan:

Who holds the title for most tickets punched to the Mile High Club in history? JFK would be my guess, but Oswald cockblocked him. It has to be a U.S. president, right? Maybe it's Clinton then.

Nah, you can pick pretty much any filthy rich guy who owns a private jet, and you'll beat out Kennedy or any other U.S. president. The President has work to do on his private plane, and he has to keep things relatively discreet. A playboy oil sultan can concentrate on pussy for the entire flight. In Jeff Pearlman's book about the 1990s Cowboys, Jerry Jones uses his private plane specifically so he can nail his mistress. That's quality flyin'. So I'll take Richard Branson or Paul Allen for the title.

By the way, most of us will die never having had sex in a private jet, and I feel like society needs to correct that somehow. Some sort of luxury air-fuck welfare program.

Paul:

Do professional sports players have work email addresses like the rest of us scrubs? I want to believe that Kobe keeps a folder of hate mail at kobe.bryant@lalakers.com as motivation.

I doubt it. If you were a GM, would you hand JR Smith an official team email address, or would you prefer he proposition women using his own hotmail account, making him 100 percent liable for every stupid thing he does with it? I'm sure players and coaches are lectured on the use of email and perils of social media, and then the players go fuck it all up anyway.

By the way, if you've ever wanted to know if a famous person is emailing you, check for two things. ONE: An AOL account. Apparently, only famous people are stupid enough to still use AOL email. TWO: A cryptic phrase for the email name. If you get an email from mindyourstep@aol.com, that's guaranteed to be a famous person. Probably the president or something.

Aaron:

What if soccer goaltenders were able to use their hands on either end of the field?

I was wondering this during a World Cup game the other day when the losing side brought the goalie up for one last push (abandoning the goal in soccer is even more fun than abandoning the goal in hockey). The goalkeeper can't use his hands out of the box, but ohhhhh, if he could. If he could abandon the goal anytime he pleased to pull a Christian Okoye… That sounds like a really cool idea that would actually end up ruining the sport! I'd pay 10 bucks to see it happen. Dare you leave your goal unattended to make the Run Of Death?!

Maybe you could unlock the ability to always use your hands if you save 10 shots. Like getting your pawn to the end of the chessboard. QUEEN MY ASS, BITCH. Now that's what I call soccer!

Ben:

What would happen if Congress announced this would be the final season of the NFL in 2014-15, other than riots and ESPN shutting down? How high would the ratings be for the final season?

I would watch every single game in its entirety. I would watch all the Sunday games on tape delay during the week and shit. And I would pay really close attention, not like when it's a terrible game, and I kinda drift off and think about bacon for minutes at a time. I would watch the pregame shows even thought the pregame shows are the fucking worst. I would watch highlight shows on a loop. I would really try to absorb as much footballness as possible before the coming NFLpocalypse, and I think most football fans would do likewise. Maybe a 20 percent bump in ratings, given that the NFL's popularity is already at critical mass.

The networks would milk this for all its worth. Every game would feature a graphic saying THE LAST SEASON in gold block letters. All pregame shows would be five hours long. Ad rates would skyrocket. Every game break would include a tasteful "NFL Memories" bit featuring some old player (probably Theismann, because he has nothing better to do) talking about how much he'll miss the League. And that's not even factoring in the whole new arm of the culture war this would kickstart. Let's just hope the NFL is always free to maim players and rob municipal coffers forever, so that you and I don't have to endure anything like that.

Email of the week!

Trevor:

A few years back, I was 18, and I had been dating this girl (my first serious girlfriend) for about four months. We spent the day at Disney World, which is about an hour and a half from our town, and were on the way home.

So we're about halfway home when I got that all-too-familiar feeling that often accompanies a day spent downing overpriced theme-park food and Daffy Duck-shaped sugar cookies. I began having sharp stomach pains and cramps and profusely sweating while exerting all my energy to keep my asshole from EXPLODING hot magma all over the interior of my sweet '04 Jeep.

In the midst of all this, I'm having a mini panic attack trying to figure out how I'm going to take care of this situation without letting the girl know what was up, since I had never farted in front of her, let alone been in the midst of an all-out bubblegut attack around her. Luckily, there was a rest stop up ahead, so I decided to pull in and try to play it off like I had to pee. I pulled in, shook her awake and tried to tell her in a calm voice (no small feat in such a situation) that I was going to use the restroom.

So I BARELY make it into the bathroom and I proceed to drop one of the nastiest dumps of my lifetime. Like, really really bad stuff. It takes me about 15 minutes to get cleaned up and get back out to my car, and I simply blow right by the fact that I was in there for that long. At this point, I think I've really dodged a bullet and my ordeal is over. It'd be a pretty standard and lame poop story if it ended there though, but, alas, it did not.

We didn't even make it a mile down the interstate before I am AGAIN about to explode, except this time it's even worse. I didn't have the luxury to wait for the next gas station this time. I immediately pull to the side of the road, RUN around to the other side of the car, squat RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE MY GIRLFRIEND IS SITTING and release a flood of hot, brown water all over the ground, with all the accompanying farts and bubbling sounds. I've given up on all dignity at this point, as there's obviously no hiding it anymore and I tapped on the window and asked her to hand me the box of tissues in the back seat, which she passed to me literally gagging from the smell when she cracked open the window. So I cleaned up and we headed home. Surprisingly, she ended up finding it pretty funny and somehow didn't break up with me, although I wish she would've, because she ended up being a psycho bitch.

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 Sam Woolley.

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