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Why The “Cinderella” Label Should Be Killed Forever

Illustration for article titled Why The “Cinderella” Label Should Be Killed Forever
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I took my kids to an open gym at some gymnastics joint this weekend, the kind of place where you pay $8 for them to bounce around on trampolines and shit. Anyway, I noticed there was a fully grown adult couple playing around on the equipment as well. Turned out you could join this gym as a grownup (again, this is basically a youth-gymnastics training facility) and use the stuff during open hours, so here was this man (wearing black weightlifting gloves) and this woman jumping into foam pits and swinging from rope swings with 60 little kids around them. They were both at least 40 years old.

This is fucked up, right? I kept waiting for the couple to approach one of the kids and try to lure them into their sex dungeon. Fully grown adults shouldn't be allowed to join kid gyms, and I say that as a very judgmental, jealous person who really wants his own foam pit to leap into at home.

Your letters:

Drew (not me):

Can low-seeded yet still big-name schools still count for Cinderellas in the NCAA tournament? If, for instance, UConn, Duke, or Kentucky got placed at a #14 seed and ends up making it to the Final Four, will it still be considered a "Cinderella Story," or are those teams just expected to do well, regardless of their seeds?


The latter. If you're some traditional powerhouse having a relatively down year and then you pull a Sweet 16 run out of your ass, that is not a Cinderella story. No one's cockles are warmed by seeing Kentucky playing on the second weekend for the millionth time. It's like that one year when North Carolina made it to the Final Four as an 8 seed. That wasn't a miracle. That was just Carolina being annoying.

Your standard Cinderella team needs to be relatively unheralded. That is, it can't have made six different tourney runs in the past, like Gonzaga. It should be some "small" mid-major school that's basically a commuter diploma mill, and this should be your chance to learn all about it: where it's located, what kind of dipshits go to school there, etc. The NCAA tourney is basically an annual PR introduction service for random local universities: The goal is to get every college its turn in the spotlight eventually.

The proper Cinderella school has to have at least one standout player that the announcers cling to for dear life—usually a little white dude who shoots threes. (But not always—see Devin "Double D!" Davis and Harold "The Show" Arcineaux.) Any team that allows Jim Nantz to act as if he's calling a game for Hickory High will do the trick, even if your standard lower-tier basketball school is just as crooked and strange as any MEGABUCKS GLORYBOY BCS joint.

The term "Cinderella" really ought to be retired when it comes to college basketball. First of all, Cinderella herself wasn't that big of an underdog: She was a smoking-hot girl who only needed to meet a rich guy ONE TIME to get him slobbering all over her. Plus she could talk to rabbits and birds and shit. She was basically a superhero. None of the teams you see playing in the tourney represent any kind of Horatio Alger tale. These are schools that made a deliberate decision to invest in big-time college basketball to increase awareness and jack up alumni donations. It's not that the coaches and players don't bust their asses (they do), but there's no wonderful moral lesson to learn from it. It's just an investment paying off. We should call them Napoleon stories or something.



People met some really grisly ends in the Indiana Jones movies. Would you rather have your face melted off as you saw the Ark of the Covenant, or age a millennia in 30 seconds after choosing your Holy Grail poorly? What was the worst way someone died in the series? (NOT COUNTING THE FOURTH MOVIE IT WAS TERRIBLE SHIA LEBOUF DIEDIEDIE)


It's funny that you refuse to include the last Indiana Jones movie, because that one features a dude being eaten alive by giant ants, and that is horrifying, even if those giant ants were the result of shoddy CGI rendering. FUN FACT: I'm currently reading this book, which says that during the Spanish-American War, Filipino rebels once buried an American soldier up to his neck, then propped his mouth open with a stick and left a trail of sugar in front of it so that a mass of ants would crawl inside the soldier's body and eat him from the inside out. So… don't go pissing off Filipino rebels.


Anyway, I'm biased due to childhood trauma, but nothing is worse than staring into the Ark, seeing some kind of unholy terror you can't even describe, and then having your head melt off your body. That just strikes me as unpleasant. HOWEVER, we should probably rank the Indiana Jones deaths, just to be certain:

  1. Face melts
  2. The giant ant thing
  3. Mola Ram tears your heart out, shows it to you
  4. Head explodes
  5. Chopped up by plane propeller
  6. Drink from wrong grail
  7. Impaled on closing spiked gate
  8. Impaled on flaming pigeon kebab
  9. Falling down bottomless chasm just as you're about to reach the Cup of Christ
  10. Shot by Indy after showing off your coolest scimitar moves

That last one is really just death by embarrassment.


What is the longest that something has sat on the stairs to go upstairs but not been taken upstairs? I swear I have a coat on my stairs that's been there a month.


Decades, easily. If you're a hoarder, there are likely multiple things on your staircase that have been there forever. If you live alone and are extremely lazy, there's no one to compel you (like a spouse) to clean up your shit and make your home look presentable.

There comes a point in every homeowner's existence when it's time to accept that certain things will never be finished. Where you realize, Oh, so it will just be like this forever. That might mean a certain item never gets put away, or that a certain painting never gets hung, or that the cereal boxes will never have a good place to go other than the top of the fridge, or that the little crack near the ceiling will never get repainted. Whatever remains unfinished is now finished. It takes a particular fastidiousness (some might say lunacy) to achieve a house or an apartment where everything is in its exact right place.


This is why shit like the Williams Sonoma catalog and back issues of Bon Appetit are so annoying. They always feature pristine homes where people are eating some kind of fancy Sunday brunch while sitting at a wooden table that they put out on the fucking lawn, like they live inside a Celebrex ad. Oh, I just whipped up this country terrine and roast leg of lamb marinated in homemade almond milk. It's easier than you might think! Honestly, it gets tiresome. It's 2014. The economy is shit, and the average person is strapped for money and time, and will usually end up eating franks and beans out of the can while standing by a scratched-up kitchen counter. I don't need all this aspirational shit.



Do you think the bed that's had the most sex on it has belonged to a person or been in a specific spot (hotel, White House, church rectory, etc)?


It's probably in a whorehouse, isn't it? No one actually sleep on a mattress at the Bunny Ranch. That would be eight hours of lost revenue. Once a john has been blown on that mattress, another john gets wheeled in to keep the fuck factory going. One bed could host 150 male orgasms a day with an efficient business model. Even Gene Simmons' bed can't compete with that, much as he'd like to think it does. There's at least 70 percent less magic happening in that bedroom than in a proper brothel.


What would you say are the smelliest fart days of the year? Here are my top five:

1. March 18—cabbage/Kraut
2. Seis de mayo—beans/modelos
3. Super Bowl Monday—nachos/beer
4. 5th of July— beer/brats
5. January 2nd— beer


I think Thanksgiving reigns supreme. You walk into any home at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and it'll smell like a paper mill. Just a repugnant aroma of turkey farts from bloated uncles. I'm surprised people don't die every year from Thanksgiving Day methane poisoning.

You can sort out what the biggest fart days are every year simply by finding the biggest eating days of the year. In general, the more you eat, the more you fart. That means Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Super Bowl Sunday, and the summer barbecue holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) all get recognition. Maybe you take longer to process your farts after eating than some people—it varies—but my large intestine doesn't waste much time. I start letting it rip the day of.


So Thanksgiving is the king. I'd like to meet the middle-aged person who can get laid on Thanksgiving night smelling like that. It's not possible.


Every year, Obama does his bracket on ESPN. Are these his genuine picks, or do you think he has some young staffer do hours and hours of research about safe upset picks and picks that make him look good to certain states that he might need more support (i.e. UNC and Duke, who usually go far in his brackets)?


I think he fills out the bracket himself, but not without consulting a few trusted sources first. Because there's no way the President scouted tape on Kentucky to make his picks. If he did, then I really would pull the DOESN'T HE HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO? card. People pull that card all the time strictly for partisan reasons. But if the President—any President—wants to spend 15 minutes filling out a bracket and watching the occasional tourney game in between running wars and proposing failed legislation, that's fine by me.

As President, you're allowed to dedicate at least one percent of your duties to whimsy. You have no choice. Have you SEEN what that job does to people? Those guys age 50 years after 10 days in office. Obama looks like SHIT now, just like Bush II looked like shit for eight straight years. They look like someone took them into a room, told them what was REALLY going on — "Mr. President, the odds of us being nuked tomorrow are roughly 95 percent. We're conducting seven different covert wars we know we can't really win, and the dollar should be collapsing within the hour. Oh, and we had to round up all the stray dogs and make a bonfire out of them." — and the President spends the next eight years just praying no one finds out how fucked up everything is. Their hair falls out and turns gray. Their skin turns pallid. They look ashen. It's like spending eight years at a funeral. So yeah, the occasional Easter Egg Hunt is okay by me.



Why do bananas have such a bad representation in the fruit-flavored candy market? The only time you see banana-flavored candy is with the occasional off-brand stuff or Runts, and the banana Runt is terrible. Does lemon just have a complete stranglehold on all things yellow? I think bananas are delicious, what's going on here?


It's because artificial banana flavoring is fucking awful. You can tell it's phony and weird. I dunno why artificial strawberry or grape flavorings are less offensive, but they are. You can stuff a Skittle with sugar and call it "strawberry" or "cherry" or "fruit punch" or whatever, and the flavor is general enough to pass muster with your tongue. But banana flavoring tastes like poison, which causes people to recoil. You need actual bananas in there, and a box of banana-chunk Jujyfruits won't sell very well.

I say this as someone who loves bananas, and eats five or six of them a day, because they're sitting on the counter and I may as well. And then my old lady is like, "You ate all the bananas!" and I have to apologize. If I see banana pudding on a menu, I don't even bother ordering a proper dinner. Bananas are the shit. But you need the texture and the CREAMY MOUTHFEEL* of a real banana to get proper satisfaction. Otherwise, you're stuck with a banana Runt, which is notorious for being one of the worst candies in modern history. If it weren't for black licorice, banana Runts would be the go-to reference for shitty candy.


*World's most strangely omnipresent foodie term




Many times I have seen quarterbacks (i.e. Peyton Manning) lick their fingertips before taking the snap. What is up with that? Why would they do that at all? What possible reason/benefit is there? You'd think more QB's would get sick during the season.


Isn't it for better grip? I always spit on things when I want a better grip: book pages, footballs, my own genitalia, etc. I don't know that this has any actual gripping benefit, but it FEELS like it does, and that's half the battle right there.

I think that quarterbacks do this out of habit, and as a way of marking their territory. If I lick my fingers and then grip the ball, that ball is MINE. I am asserting my dominion over that ball. The ball is my slave. And now everyone around knows that I am a serious quarterback who is ready to make a serious throw. If you've ever played touch football, you know that it's fun to ACT like you're playing NFL football, with the five-step drop and the tight throwing motion and everything. It's extreme pretending. And even a REAL NFL quarterback sometimes feels compelled to act the part. It draws in the chicks.



If you could time-travel only one time in your life, where would you go and what would you do? (Note: nothing you do impacts history, so you can't stop 9/11 or Hitler).


If you can't alter the past, then you have to go forward. The problem is that the future is unknown and therefore horrifying. If you traveled 1,000 years ahead only to discover the world was a smoldering ruin (this is almost certainly what would happen), you'd never be able to live with that knowledge. You'd come back to the present shaken to the core, determined to stop man's destiny, only to eventually fail and kill yourself.

I would go ahead a couple of hundred years, jussssst to see if we have flying robots and jetpack charging stations. I'm sure it would look like today, only shabbier, but I'm fully prepared for that kind of disappointment. It would be worth taking the chance to see if mankind got its shit together. While there, I'd probably pee on a lamppost. Just cause.



If the dog park is the only place I ever take my dog, does he assume I'm going to the dog park alone whenever I leave the house without him?


Yes, and he hates you for it. Why can't he go today? You're a bastard for giving him the high hat.


I live in NYC and commute to work on the subway. My typical routine is to walk to the end of the platform so I can avoid the crowded middle cars. This morning, as I approached the end of the platform, I realized I had just passed my buddy's ex-girlfriend – I immediately put my head down and made sure to avoid eye contact.

Now there's no bad blood between her and I, but I was fairly certain that she'd engage in conversation if she saw me, putting me in the position of awkwardly talking to her for my 30+ minute subway ride. After passing her I walked ten more feet to the very end of the platform so we wouldn't be in the same subway car. As I'm standing there, the guy in front of me starts talking loudly to himself. The talking turns to shouting, he starts flailing his arms around and then begins making threats at the people to the left and right of him. As this intensifies people nearby start getting nervous and some begin walking away. I found myself with two options: 1) Turn around, walk away and guarantee I see the girl and get roped into a conversation or 2) Roll the dice and hope this schizophrenic guy doesn't stab me and/or push me in front of the train.

I went with option #2. To be honest, it wasn't really much of a decision (it did make for an interesting ride though). Is it normal to dislike awkward small talk that much? How far do most people go to avoid those types of situations?


It's perfectly normal to risk life and limb in order to avoid painful small talk. Small talk takes effort, and most of us are not ready to be "on" that early in the morning, particularly on a New York City subway, where everyone is angry and you get stabbed to death for actually speaking out loud. Because a chat with your friend's ex-girlfriend merits roughly 20 seconds of human interaction. Like so:

HER: Mike?

YOU: Oh, hey! [You do not remember her name]

HER: Good to see you!

YOU: You too!

(awkward cheek kiss)

HER: Great to see you!

YOU: You too!

HER: So what have you been up to?

YOU: [Frantic search for some notable event in your life that you can mention in lieu of the fact that you have spent the past decade doing absolutely nothing of consequence]


HER: That's nice! I'm working in graphic design!

YOU: Well, it was great to see you! [This is her cue that the conversation is now over.]


HER: You too!

And then you look down at your phone to cut the interaction off entirely. Now this alone is a great deal of work. But if you're stuck on a train near this person, you then have to spend the remaining 20 minutes cognizant of the fact that you ended the conversation, and the other person is still standing right there, like when you say goodbye to someone on the street and they end up walking in the same fucking direction as you. Annoying. So yes, it's worth being pushed to the tracks by a demented hobo to avoid this situation.


(By the way, for some reason, New York excels at having more angry ranting bums per capita than any other city. You'll be walking down the street and start to hear someone shouting, and you won't really understand what's going on until it grows louder, and you realize there's a crazy man yelling at an invisible opponent, and you are now the closest person in his vicinity. And then you get the fuck away from that guy as quickly as possible before he skins you and uses you for a meat jacket.)


What if Obama had picked the perfect bracket and won the billion-dollar contest? Does he accept the money? Does he donate it to the U.S. budget in order to shrink the deficit? Or does he resign and catch the next flight to Hawaii?


He probably just sends a check for $5 to every taxpayer. STIMULUS, PEOPLE. There's no way he'd do something fun with it like buy a lava dungeon or shoot the world's most expensive White House sex tape. As President, you have to do the most politically expedient thing, which means the most boring thing. He'd be accused of rigging the bracket with his FILTHY LIBRUL pal Warren Buffet, so he'd already be forced into an apologetic position.

If I were the Prez and already had plenty of money in the bank, I'd take that billion and build a fucking hyperloop with it. True, $1 billion would only represent a thousandth of that project's actual costs, but at least we'd have a hyperloop station with vending machines and everything. It would be a good start!



Let's say humans came with a third arm and society was totally used to it (like all of our clothing had an extra holes and pockets, etc.). The arm is also the same size and functions the same as the other two (shoulder and elbow joints, fingers, etc.). What would be the optimal placing for this third arm? Sticking out of your gut would give some extra reach for anything you may be working on, but may get in the way of a lot when not using it. I thought sticking out your back like a monkey tail would be cool, but beyond getting annoying back itches and possibly hanging from branches, it can't do much else there. My guess is under one of your other arms and coming out of your midsection is the best spot.


Initially, I wanted one coming out of my back so that I could scratch my back and be a really efficient Marco Polo player. But what happens when you sit down? That arm is digging into your back and shit. Just a complete disaster, even if there are holes in every bed and chair to accommodate it.

I think the ideal spot for that third arm would be above the genitals. As someone who curses the name of God every time I have to bend down to pick up something, that lower arm would be a godsend. And it could be put to use during intercourse for reacharounds, stinkfingers, and any other kinky plan you have in mind. Plus you could hold three beers easily! Oh, the agony of walking across a crowded bar with your hands clutched around that uneasy triangle of filled beers. TERRIFYING. Your cock-arm would make that walk much more pleasant (until some asshole extra friend asks you to get a fourth drink).


Honorable mention goes to the top of your head. Now you can screw in a new floodlight without looking!

Email of the week!


A couple years ago, some friends and I went to see a movie at a theater. After getting situated in our seats, we noticed someone had left their iPhone in one of the cup holders. Being the nosy people we are, we turned on the phone and it happened to be unlocked. We noticed a couple text messages from names we recognized and quickly realized the phone belonged to one of our good friends. Our obvious reaction was, "Holy shit! No way!"

Come to find out our friend had left it there the PREVIOUS night and hadn't even realized he lost it. This in itself seemed absurd to me since I'm ready to send out a search party if I lose my phone for more than five minutes.

A few key things to consider here:
- This isn't some little podunk town where everybody knows everybody.
This is a metropolitan area.
- In the time that he had lost the phone, nobody else had found it.
- We were unaware that he had even gone to a movie the night before.
- This wasn't the closest movie theater to any of our houses.
- We saw a different movie than our friend, which happened to be
playing in the same theater and we sat in the same exact seat as him.

The chances of something like this happening to any human ever again have to be zero percent, right?


Right. Unless your friend is lying and he planted that phone there to test your loyalty. YOU PASSED.

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


Illustration by Jim Cooke.

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

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