All That and a Bag of Mail

I’m writing the mailbag early this morning because — pray for me — I’m about to take my seven year old on a cub scout camping trip. I may write about it next week, but the biggest takeaway you should have is that I hate sleeping outside. It makes no sense to me. Throughout our history mankind has been trying to make the best, most comfortable, safest indoor dwellings possible. I like my house and my bed. I want to sleep in my house and my bed.

Instead I’m going to be sleeping in a tent in the rain with a bunch of six and seven year old cub scouts. Also, the rules say no dads can bring beer. The only thing worse than sleeping outside is sleeping outside without beer. 

This has disaster written all over it.  

My son is really excited though and this serves as another great parenting lesson for mailbag readers without kids — once you have kids you will do things that you would never have otherwise done just to make your kids happy. Short of Charlotte McKinney and Jennifer Lawrence inviting me out for a night of camping, I can’t think of anyone else I’d be willing to sleep outside in a tent with.

Yet, here we go.

Between this and legofest on Sunday I may not be alive come Monday morning.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is the crazy Georgia woman who hosted a teenage party that featured naked twister, naked hottubbing, a sex toy show, and sex. You need to read the details of this party. It’s simply unbelievable. 

Here we go with the mailbag:

Tons of you on email and Twitter:

“What about Britt McHenry’s flip out video?”

Full disclosure: I have never met Britt McHenry and know nothing about her at all. But when I watched this video my first thought was that she looked just like the Rachel McAdams character in “Mean Girls.” My second thought was, this will be everywhere and she’s going to have to apologize and will probably get suspended for a short period of time. (ESPN suspended her for a week). But my third thought was, have I ever gotten this mad in public over anything? What would I look like flipping out on video?

I could think of four times in my life I lost it with idiotic employees:

1. Back in around 2006 our Internet never worked well and I had to call Comcast all the time about it being out. 

My wife and I would actually get in fights over who had to call Comcast back then because it was so frustrating to be on the phone with them. 

One particular idiot cited the hot weather as the reason why the Internet wasn’t working. She actually said, “When it’s hot outside, the Internet doesn’t work as well.”

I lost it then. Among other things, I was like, “You’re telling me that the Internet doesn’t work by the Equator then, right? It would just be impossible?”

It got worse from there.

I’m pretty sure I threatened to blow up Comcast.

Honestly, I think I’d be a hero if this audio ever got out though. And I don’t think it would surprise anyone.  

2. Around 2011 I told a kickball referee that if he was a FIFA official he would be executed for making the call he just made.

It was extra innings in kickball — and if you’ve ever played coed adult kickball you know that’s when stars are made — and his application of the extra inning rules was flagrantly wrong. (Generally I get the most upset when people are applying rules to situations, but they’re too dumb to understand that the situation they’re applying the rule to doesn’t make sense.)

Anyway, I had an epic Billy Martin-esque rant.

Chad Withrow and Dawn Davenport, two local Nashville media people on my team at the time, both thought I was going to get ejected from the game and potentially arrested.   

3. A Southwest ticketing agent refused to add my frequent flier number to a flight. 

So I couldn’t check in to my flight in advance. 

I don’t purchase my flights to Los Angeles for work and I didn’t know my confirmation code or the credit card numbers that the flight was purchased with. If you don’t have either of these things, come to find out, you can’t add your rapid rewards number to your flight. This means you can’t check in in advance on your phone. 

Mind you, I know my flight numbers and my full name and my social security number and my rapid rewards number. I was on the flights. And I’m not trying to change anything about my flight. I just want to add my frequent flier number so I can check in 24 hours before the flight and not have to board with the dregs of society in the C group. 

The person on the phone kept saying, “We have to protect you for security reasons. What if you aren’t you?”

And I just kept saying, “What are you protecting me from? I am me. But I wish someone else would call into Southwest and add my frequent flier number to a flight for me. Do you have a real security issue with random people doing nice things for people? Are there lots of people calling up Southwest travel to make sure everyone’s rapid rewards number is connected to their flight?”

I kept asking for a supervisor.

I think I ended up talking to Southwest’s CEO before they let me add the rapid rewards number. 

4. Walgreen’s screwed up my wife’s prescription right after our third baby was born. 

The worst Walgreen’s in America is the Charlotte Avenue Walgreen’s in downtown Nashville. I mean, it is the absolute worst in America. This was the closest one to our house and they would screw things up all the time. It’s a wonder we’re all still alive. My wife once called in a suppository for an infant and got Viagra pills. (Which I kind of wanted to try out because it’s supposedly awesome to use if you don’t have erectile issues. But what happens if you give a baby Viagra?) 

Anyway, this past September, right after our third baby was born, my wife had a breastfeeding complication and needed a specific type of medicine to clear it up. 

So the doctor called it in and I headed over there to pick it up. If you’ve ever had a newborn you know how nerve wracking everything is. Even with our third kid. Well, it wasn’t ready. Turns out, the employee had written the birthday down wrong and had my wife’s age as 56 instead of 36. Mind you, this is a medicine that only new mothers receive. So they hadn’t been able to key in the prescription correctly or “fill it.” (Let’s be honest, filling a prescription is pulling it out of their cabinet of drugs, it’s not incredibly difficult work). So I’m like, “Let me just ask you a question, you realize this is a medicine for new mothers, right?”

“Yes.”

“You are aware that 1958 is a long time ago, right? Did no part of your brain think, “Boy, it seems unlikely that a 56 year old woman would have just delivered a baby and have a breastfeeding issue. Maybe I’ve keyed this in wrong.”

By the time that conversation ended, the manager of Walgreen’s didn’t want to give me the prescription because I’d been “too mean to his employees.” 

I hadn’t insulted their looks or their education level or said anything about who I was, I had just destroyed their competence with quite a few expletives included. 

Again, I don’t think any of these videos would really surprise people about me. I’ve told all these stories on radio. But the reason why I can recall them is because they are outliers, times when I got angrier than I ordinarily would. Two of them were audio only, the other two would have probably been more funny, to most, than they were mean. But the point is they aren’t representative of what I’m normally like interacting with people. 

And that’s what I assume with the Britt McHenry video, it’s her at her worst, dealing with a frustrating situation — who has ever not been furious when they got towed, particularly if you believe it was unjustified? But everyone sees this video and flips out on her. 

That’s because social media is steeped in artificiality and hypocrisy. Everyone on social media, by and large, is putting forward the best version of themselves. The best profile picture, the most exciting dinner, the greatest vacation location, very few people give an accurate reflection of themselves or what their life is actually like. Just about everyone curates the best part of their lives for the public. What’s so jarring isn’t the great images, it’s the jarring disconnect between the best version and the worst version appearing on social media.  

That’s why the most remarkable things about these viral social media flare ups is two-fold: how quickly people take offense and how quickly their sense of righteousness leads to them saying infinitely worse things to the offender on social media than the offender ever said.

That’s why it’s always instructive to ask this question — have I ever done anything in my life that would make me look like a total asshole if it went public? If the answer’s yes — and it is for every single person reading this right now — maybe consider that within the context of your response? Just a thought.  

Heath writes:

“It’s Masters Saturday and we have perfect weather in Nashville. Instead of watching the Masters or doing anything outside, I’m stuck on birthday party duty. It feels a lot like having a football Saturday usurped for a wedding. At this point in life, all my friends and family are married. So that risk has plummeted. But I have 2 children and they both have way more classmates than I have weekends I’d like to burn. How would you compare fall weddings to kid birthday parties at one of those god forsaken jump houses? I’m strongly leaving towards jumphouse birthdays being worse. (Enclosed room, screaming kids. No beer. And far more likely to occur on any given Saturday.) I’m hoping your insights can help end this scourge. Or at least ease the pain.”

I don’t remember there being this many birthday parties when I was a kid. I mean, I’ve seen the pictures of kids coming over to our house when I was turning three or four of five, so I know those parties existed, but it seems like there were a lot fewer kids that would come to those parties, meaning there weren’t as many return parties for the other kids to attend. 

There are 15-20 kids at most birthday parties I go to now and if you do the math on that, when you return the birthday party favor that’s a kid’s birthday party almost every third week all year long. And that’s just if you have one kid. If you have multiple kids — like most of us do — it’s very likely that you can have a birthday party on 25 or more weekends a year. Hell, sometimes you have multiple birthday parties in the same day. Which means you have to drive from one jump house to another all over the city. I talked to a dad last month who had two kids and four different birthday parties on the same Saturday. 

You want to talk about insanity. 

Can you imagine drive to four different jump house-type places in the same day for four different birthday parties for kids under eight years old?

What do you do as a dad, you can’t really leave because no jump house is remotely close to anywhere that someone lives. These jump houses are all in industrial parks in the middle of nowhere. So you’re just kind of forced to stay there and make awkward small talk with parents you don’t know. Or you can go sit in your car by yourself and read a paper or book there, but you look like a deranged hobo with social issues. Plus, you always get hungry and you’re jealous of the kids getting food, but you don’t want to take the food at the end of the party because you feel like you’re taking the food from the kids.  

I need to do an entire series of articles on the awkwardness of birthday parties today. 

It all ties in with the amount of scheduled activities today. It’s incredible. Can we talk about the advent of the term “play date”? We didn’t have play dates when I was a kid. You played with your neighbors or you fought with your siblings or you sat in front of the television watching “Growing Pains,” and “People’s Court” all day long by yourself like a goddamn trooper. The term “play date” didn’t even exist when we were kids. In the old days you got to have a friend come over and play when you stormed your mom or dad when they came to pick you up from day care or baseball practice and said, “Can (insert name) come over tonight? Can he, can he, can he? His mom says it’s okay.” (Note, his mom usually hadn’t said anything at all, but what mom in her right mind wasn’t okay with her kid going somewhere else for the night?)

Nothing was planned in advance. Sometimes your friends just got to come home with you. This was probably when your parents did the mental calculation that you were likely to be less annoying with a friend to distract you. 

Booking a play date with one of my kids today is like trying to schedule a meeting with President Obama. My wife has things scheduled weeks in advance. She’ll try to tell me about things she’s got planned and my mind can’t even comprehend it. “We’ve got a jump house play date three weeks from now?” You’re telling this to a guy who doesn’t wear pants for 90% of the time he’s indoors. This is too much detail for me. 

I wouldn’t even let her email me the address for the camping trip until today because I knew I’d lose it.  

And right now you know what I did? I think I accidentally deleted the camping instructions trying to read all your mailbag questions. 

Cam writes:

“My girlfriend works for a major company that puts on competitive travel cheerleading competitions all over the country. This past weekend, I tagged along with her to a competition at Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, along with a friend of mine, after agreeing to help out and work the apparel station selling cheer t shirts and such (completely had to swallow all pride but we thought what the heck). Now, both of us come from very athletic families and have grown up playing competitive sports at a high level, but neither one of us had any family members involved in cheerleading so we had no idea what to expect. We get there and there are over 500 TEAMS from all over the country with up to 30 cheerleaders on each team ranging from ages 4 to 20-somethings. It was enormous and a world that I didn’t realize existed at such an enormous level. We also realized how many dads were dragged along with their daughters and how bored they looked walking around the hotel aimlessly with their beers. It got us thinking, how successful would a cheer competition gambling ring be for these competitions? Setting up off to the side of the competition setting the over/under at certain scores for different teams, putting money down on certain teams to win their age group, etc. We thought these dads and some moms would eat it up. What say you Clay?”

My wife was the national championship winning coach of the Ravenwood high school dance team. They went down to the Disney World event — the one ESPN puts on — and won the national title in their bracket. Which is a pretty incredible accomplishment even if I never had any idea what was going on. 

I went to the state championship that year, which is the only one of these events I’ve ever been to. 

And I only remember two things, the amount of hairspray and glitter. And, get this, they have actual glitter spray. Glitter. Spray. Somebody was like, “There is so much demand for glitter that we need to put it in a tube and let people spray it.”

And that guy is probably a billionaire now. 

Because it’s all these girls in their dance uniforms just hosing each other down with hairspray and glitter spray. 

There are hardly any dads there — it’s all moms — and the dads you do see just have a defeated, glazed look in their eyes. They’re walking around thinking, “I didn’t max out my 401k this year because my daughter spent $800 on glitter spray this year. What am I doing with my life?” 

So I’d be all in with gambling. The difficulty would be setting the odds. You’d need one of these announcer guys or girls who knows the talent to set accurate odds. 

I’d definitely gamble on it though. 

But I’ve gambled on little league baseball and Miss America too, so I’m not sure I’m the best arbiter for how popular it would be with normal people. 

James writes:

“What’s the O/U on how many times you and your family will see Star Wars episode 7 in theaters? And how much the movie will make domestic?”

The over/under on my family’s trips to that movie is definitely five.

When we watched yesterday’s preview and Han Solo and Chewbacca came on the screen, the entire family was ecstatic.  

In terms of the revenue, “Avatar” made nearly $2.8 billion worldwide and is the highest grossing movie of all time. (When you adjust for inflation and just consider domestic revenue, “Gone With the Wind” is the highest grossing movie ever at $1.6 billion). Star Wars episode one made just over one billion dollars, but that was back in 1999. (Adjusted for inflation the original Star Wars, released in 1977, made $1.5 billion, most of it domestic).

But here’s the deal, international box offices are massive now. I’m assuming Star Wars will be released on the same day everywhere in the world and that it will also play on a ton of Imax screens for insane ticket prices.

So I think it does over two billion worldwide, which will put it up in the top five movies of all time, $1.2 billion domestic.  

JR writes:

“As an Ole Miss alum I can’t help but feel that many of my Miss State friends take joy is hating my Rebs or watching us lose than they do in a State accomplishment. Do you think this is a true statement and what % of SEC fans would rather see their rival lose than their team win?”

This is really just a question of who has the hater gene.

If you have the hater gene you’re more likely to root against a team than you are to root for a team. Since they’ve proven that “haters really are gonna hate,” that is, some people are statistically likely to hate on things much more than others, I’m guessing it’s around a third of the population. 

So let’s say that one-third of SEC fans take greater pleasure in their rivals losing than they do their team winning. 

That sounds about right. 

“Keep me anonymous as he’s started reading outkick….

I’ve been going on a bunch of dates with this guy and he’s great. Really smart, runs his own company, total package, BUT there’s a problem. He consistently uses the wrong form of “your” and “you’re” and it’s driving me insane. I don’t know if he just doesn’t know how to use them correctly or is just lazy, which is a ridiculous excuse. Can I correct him on this without seeming like a huge bitch? We’re about a month in, if that factors in. Help cure the epidemic.”

Here’s a question that only you can answer — could you really marry someone who got your and you’re confused all the time?

Because I couldn’t. 

If you can’t either then you need to discuss this with him. Sure, you may seem like a bitch, but would you rather seem nice and date an idiot?

Okay, boys and girls, I’m off to cub scout camping. 

Pray for me. 

Oh, and my official comment on any and all controversies surrounding me or Outkick will always be this music video going forward. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.