All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday, time for the mailbag to rescue all of you from the doldrums fo work, class, or standing in boring lines somewhere.

Okay, okay, I know the anonymous mailbag isn’t until Tuesday, but we have so many great anonymous mailbag stories backed up that I’m going to begin this edition of the mailbag with a story that is guaranteed to make you cry with laughter.

This is worst poop story I have ever heard and this guy is the beaver pelt trader of the week for sharing it so well. Here we go:

“I believe this story encapsulates the worst fear of every living man. Inspired by the courage and bravery of the shit-stained stories of weeks past, I present to the readers of Outkick the shit story to end all shit stories.

It all started on a long weekend with my girlfriend during which I was convinced to go home with her to visit her family. Since this is the south and we aren’t married, the guest bedroom was designated as my sanctuary from the weekend’s festivities.

I will qualify this entire story with the following: I am a large man that comes from a family of large men, and we are acutely aware of the plumbing necessary to accommodate humans of our size (think average 6’4″ and 250 lbs, I am 6’7″ 300). I think I speak for many men when I say that given my preference, I would rather wait out the urge to drop a deuce in public or at a friend’s house for the relative comfort of my own throne. I think it is also important to note that I am a regular once-per-day man, but if necessary, I can stretch it into two. Seeing as this was a holiday weekend, however, I found three days to be too much to ask of my colon.

Of particular relevance was my day on Saturday. Having hit the jackpot and convinced my girlfriend to spend the entire day on the lake away from her family, I rewarded myself with a few beers. After leaving the water, we followed that up by dining with our friends at the local Mexican restaurant. In hindsight, this looks to be an obvious recipe for disaster, but I was flying high from being out of the house all day and didn’t think any ill could ever befall me.

Boy, how I was wrong.

Fast forward to 5 am Sunday morning (after arriving Friday morning): I wake up to the familiar urge and feeling of trouble that only comes along with an imminent violent trip to the can. Immediately I start panicking: I am at my girlfriend’s house, they are a family of small individuals, and there is no hope that any design flaws in their plumbing have been exposed by a stress-test of the magnitude I was about to impose on it.

Several options run through my mind: Do I leave the house at 5 am to drive to a public toilet? Do I try to hold it and pray for the best? Or do I go to the bathroom at 5 in the morning and risk a calamity with the hope that the early hour buys me enough time to fix any situation should a disaster arise?

As you can probably guess, I chose the latter.

Sitting on that toilet was the worst decision I have ever made. After doing my business I performed the mandatory courtesy flush and immediately started sweating profusely: the water started to rise. After wiping, I left the bathroom to creep through the house searching for a plunger, when to my surprise I come face-to-face with my girlfriend’s mother. Keep in mind, this is now about 5:30 on a Sunday morning, I am probably still a little drunk from the night before, and I have blown up their guest bathroom. She immediately asks what I am doing up, and in my frazzled state I blurt out “do you have a plunger?”

The look on her face says it all. She immediately tells me that the guest bathroom has been ruled ineligible for solids for years and that I have potentially made a huge mistake. With a sense of apprehension the likes of which I have never seen, she tells me where the plunger is and watches me retrieve and attempt to solve the issue.

I go into the bathroom and lock the door, bound and determined to walk out with my head held high in triumph. Oh how naive I was. After about 30 minutes of plunging, I hear a knock on the door: it is her dad. He informs me that the last time this happened in this toilet, the only solution was to pour sulfuric acid into the bowl and let it sit for an hour to dissolve any blockage. At this point, my girlfriend has been woken up from the commotion and comes downstairs (to my horror) to survey the situation. I decide to drive to the nearest store to search for this acid that I am still convinced you should have a license to purchase, and she adamantly insists on accompanying me.

I light a large candle in the bathroom, close the door, and leave with girlfriend in tow to town to purchase meth-grade chemicals. To cut out useless details, I didn’t say much the entire trip, being as embarrassed as I had ever been in my life. We purchased the chemicals and returned home. At this point, it is around 8 am. Her family is stirring and getting ready for church, and I am disheveled, still clearly half drunk, and slightly sweaty from the stress of this situation. I go into the bathroom and pour the acid into the toilet (keep in mind the toilet has not overflown at this point), and walk out. According to the bottle, the stuff takes 45 minutes to work sufficiently, so I sit and wait and inform her family that I will not be joining them at church. The 45 minutes ends at about the same time they are leaving for Sunday service.

As they leave, I go back in, armed with my plunger and iron resolve the likes of which the world has never seen: I am bound and determined to prevail over this toilet. The water level is still in the safe zone (about 3 inches from the top), so I begin plunging. After about 3 strokes, disaster strikes. Without flushing, water starts to back into the toilet bowl from the outflow pipe and spills into the floor. (I guess the amount of acid I poured into the toilet caused some sort of freak reverse vacuum). I panic and throw every bit of cloth I can get my hands on into the floor to stop the flood of shit. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, it stops. I stand back in horror and survey the damage: I have committed the highest order of house-guest sin. At this point, my girlfriend (who I would not let get near the bathroom and who stayed behind with me) calls her dad and tells him he better come back. This is at about 9:15.

He leaves church, and the cleanup process begins. I ruin 10 towels, a shop-vac, a trash can, and arguably their bathroom floor before the cleanup is finished. I call a professional plumber to come fix it. He does not arrive until noon. For seven hours I had Gaylord Focker’d their plumbing system, and for seven hours I was in utter hell.

I am not sure I can every go back again. Not sure if there was a question here, just thought I should stand in solidarity with the rest of my brothers in shit-stained solidarity.”

If there aren’t tears running down all of your faces right now, I question why you read Outkick. 

I feel like we need an oral history of this poop story. Like, what if we mixed in differing viewpoints here? The mom tells her side of the story, the dad, your mortified girlfriend, the plumber, I’m telling you this would be gold for television too. Like if I had my own 60 Minutes type show and we just broke down a story like this, in all seriousness, like it was America’s war with ISIS.  

I mean, I can’t stop thinking about the dad getting the call in the middle of the church service that he needs to come home because his daughter’s boyfriend has Butch’d the toilet. 

And how about your poor girlfriend? It’s hard to think of a more embarrassing mess that a boyfriend can make. 

Also, to be fair, shouldn’t someone have told you not to use the toilet that can’t handle solid waste? Shouldn’t there be a sign beside the toilet or something?

Anyway, I’m going to start mixing in the anonymous mailbag into the regular mailbag now because we’re getting so many incredible anonymous mailbag stories I can’t fit them all in Tuesday. 

“Mitchell D. writes:

With LSU’s Leonard Fournette facing the worst run defense in the FBS this weekend (373 yards per game), what are the chances he could hit 1,000 yards in only his fourth game this weekend (369 needed)? It’s doubtful Miles leaves him in long enough and an LSU receiver would undoubtedly be penalized for being lined up in the wrong spot on the deciding run, but how can this guy not win the Heisman if he hits 1,000 this weekend. To make it better, would he be the first Heisman winner still wearing braces?”

I don’t think there’s any doubt that if LSU wanted Fournette to set the all time rush record they could do it tomorrow against Eastern Michigan. The problem comes, as you mentioned, if Fournette stays in too long and got injured late in a game against a crappy team. So I think you have to decide before this game starts that Fournette gets, for instance, 20 carries at most.

Unless he’s Tecmo Bo Jackson it’s impossible to average over 20 yards a carry in FBS football.

Also, how about LSU tells the next wide receiver who lines up incorrectly on a running play that he gets fed to Mike the Tiger? Literally the only job that wide receiver had on that play was to line up correctly on the line of scrimmage. He didn’t even have to move after he lined up. That’s it! And he blew it.

Unacceptable. 

It would be the most NCAA scandal possible, if Fournette’s braces turned out to be an improper benefit. Does he have to pay for braces or can LSU give him these for free because it’s a medical treatment? I have no idea. But if Fournette went to Georgia somehow he’d end up having to sit out for these braces.  

Rob T. writes:

“Hey Clay,

I asked last year about whether you thought Butch was the right guy for the job, and you pointed to tomorrow’s game against Arkansas as a good barometer of where both teams are under Butch and Bielema. At the time, I don’t think you or anyone else expected both teams to be trending the way they are right now (hint: it’s not in a great direction). So I guess my question is, what the hell happened to these teams and does the loser of this game keep his job?” 

I think it’s easier to analyze what has happened to Tennessee, they played well enough to dominate two top 25 caliber teams in Oklahoma and Florida, but then Butch Jones got incredibly conservative once they got those leads and that conservatism came back to bite him in the ass at the end of both games. Tennessee’s a couple of plays away from being 4-0, so of the two the Vols are in much better shape as they enter game five of the season.

That’s because even the angriest Tennessee fan on earth would be hard pressed to argue that the Vols aren’t infinitely more talented than they have been in any season since 2008. (Tennessee also had great talent on Derek Dooley’s final team, but only on one side of the ball. The 2012 Vol offense was stacked, just about every starter is presently in the NFL, but the defense was a disaster.) The Vols have top 15 caliber talent so they’re close to being able to simply out talent many teams on their schedule this year. 

As for Arkansas, I’m baffled that they’ve started the season 1-3 against this level of competition. They seem to have lost their identity on offense. It used to be they were going to be able to run the ball no matter what, now they aren’t that good of a running team and they’re throwing the ball a ton. Granted, the loss of Jonathan Williams was a blow in terms of having a double headed running attack, but one lost running back shouldn’t be able to cripple your entire offensive philosophy.  

I know you could also change two plays against Toledo and Texas A&M and Arkansas could be 3-1 instead of 1-3, but the Razorback losses are much more troubling to me than Tennessee’s because they’ve never had control of the three games they lost. (With the exception of the Texas A&M game, which they lost the same way they lost last year).

Again, the only way I can imagine any Arkansas or Tennessee fan watching this game is by playing Outkick’s drinking game.

Joey Freshwater, Jr. writes:

“Clay,

My wife is pregnant with our 1st child and I’m seeking enlightenment from a prolific baby maker like yourself. (By the way, how the hell do Muslims as gay as yourself manage to procreate at such a high level?) Anyway, I digress…. So my wife is 7 months pregnant with our 1st child. By all standards I have been a model father-to-be; I’ve picked up my workload around the house, I cook her great dinners, I rub her feet and remind her she’s still beautiful, and I go with her to every doctor’s appointment my work allows.

Now let’s flip the coin. Sunday through Friday I’m a rational 15 percenter. But when Sabbath Saturday rolls around I turn into fanatical 85 percenter Mr. Hyde (or Updyke depending on whether the Home Depot is open). Since I was a child, which is technically present day if you want to be a dick about it, I have always been the guy who gets way too emotionally involved in the outcome of games. If we win, I’m normally a rowdy drunk. If we lose, I’m the sad drunk. God only knows how my liver hung on through the “Dark Ages” leading up to Saban’s arrival? I scream, bitch, moan and say things about both my team and the opponent that would make Howard Stern blush and disgust most respectable folk. I mean anyone is fair game, including our adopted Polish kicker. Sounding way more like the 85% at this point huh??

On to my point, this has begun to cause discord on the home front. I am a force of nature during the game (screaming, yelling, gnashing of teeth) and my emotions run the bipolar gamut as the game ebbs and flows. My wife says it’s too much stress on her and the baby, and I’m sure she’s 100% correct. And just for the record, I’ve tried watching as sober as Mike Huckabee at well, anywhere, so it’s not the devil’s drink.

I can’t go watch the game elsewhere because Saturdays are one of the handful of days a month we get to spend any meaningful amount of time together and she’s getting pretty close to the big day. Even if I try to stifle my emotions and not let the game affect my demeanor, I seem to stress her by osmosis. So how in the name of Allah do I seek a balance on Saturdays between my fervent fandom and my proven ability to be a loving and supportive husband/future father? How will I handle this conundrum when our child actually gets here? I’m in need of sage advice…

May Allah Bless and Keep you.”

This is a tough question because I know so many otherwise mild mannered men and women who totally lose their shit when a football game is on featuring their favorite team. 

So I don’t think your problem is unique at all, but I also understand why so many spouses might be terrified of this behavior. One of Outkick’s writers Hayley Frank — who just had her first baby, congrats to her — once told me that she didn’t understand why so many men cared why one team was better at doing things with a ball than another team was at doing things with a ball. When you really break down sports to that level it becomes pretty outstandingly hilarious.

But I understand your wife’s perspective too. 

Especially because what happens if Nick Saban leaves and Bama actually starts losing four, five or six games in a single year? Inevitably, and I know the 85% will never believe it, Bama will be mediocre again at football. Potentially for years in a row, even a decade. Everything in college sports is cyclical. So this means that you could ruin a ton of Saturdays for your young family.  

So I’d suggest this compromise that you start working on tomorrow, you get five hours to react to Alabama’s game, win or lose. Anything is fair game during those five hours. To preserve her sanity and her baby’s healthy, she leaves the house and finds something else to do during these five hours. When that five hours is over, you promise, regardless of the outcome, that you will act like a grown up.

Good luck.  

Kaitlyn writes:

“Hey Clay,

Recently my best friend got married to an awesome guy. They are perfect for each other in every way except for their college football team loyalty. Now I understand there are a lot of couples who cheer for opposing teams. However, this is more complicated. You see, the three of us all graduated from the University of Florida. My best friend grew up a Gator and is a loyal supporter. Her husband however, grew up a Florida State fan and continues to cheer for them in everything they do even though he got his degree from UF! Obviously he could have gone to Florida State, he just chose not to because he knew Florida was a better school. My question is: is it ever okay to graduate from a school yet be a bigger fan of their number one rival?”

I have some empathy for your friend’s husband, but I also understand why you’re pissed about it. 

Let me explain.

See, I grew up a big Tennessee fan — grandfather played for General Neyland, started going to games when I was five — but I went to Vanderbilt for law school and grad school. I love everything about Vanderbilt, it’s a tremendous school, I’d be thrilled to have my kids go there. My wife went to the law school and grad school, my sister went to undergrad and grad school there, my brother-in-law went to med school there, my immediate family has graduated from almost every part of the university. We love Vanderbilt. 

But long before I had any idea where I might go to grad school — or even knew what grad school was — I had grown up a Tennessee fan. I picked Vandy for law school over Tennessee, and other schools, because it’s a superb school. I think most intelligent people would make that decision too. That is, I don’t think there are that many Tennessee fans who get into Vandy and don’t go there because they are UT fans. Vandy’s grad school is filled with grads of other SEC schools.  

I would consider myself a Vandy fan and a Tennessee fan now, but my childhood team will always be my primary rooting interest. Now grad school is a bit different than undergrad and Tennessee’s top rival isn’t Vanderbilt so the situations are somewhat different than the Florida-FSU dilemma, but the question that we really get to here is this — should you change the favorite team of your childhood if you actually attend a hated rival for college?

See, I don’t think you can do that. Because it invalidates the fan experiences of your childhood. Most fans choose a favorite team long before they think about higher education choices. Your friend’s husband hated the Gators long before he became a Gator. Why should the team you pick as a kid limit your educational horizons as an adult? 

I think what this FSU fan should do is root for Florida in every game except for the final game of the season. That’s a fair compromise. If he can’t do that, he’s an asshole who probably painted Jameis on his chest to celebrate the non-rape charges.   

Ken G. writes:

“Butch as Zook is an interesting comparison to this Gator fan, and brings back some particularly painful memories. One involving a game with UT in 2003 was particularly Zookified – the Hail Mary at the half by UT because Zook had horribly mismanaged the clock deep in his own end. Zook had previously that month butchered a game at Miami against a great Miami team when UF was on the way to routing them in the Orange Bowl. Both men have the deer in the headlights look on the sidelines which just confirms what you are thinking – they are way over their heads here. (Mind you: McElwain may be over his head too; we just don’t know yet.)

By the time the Gators blew the 2004 game in Knoxville, Zook, despite all of his recruiting victories, was done.

While recruiting is a lifeblood of any program, if you can’t win games with top recruits, it almost makes it worse. You didn’t get beat because “they had more talent”; you got beat because the other coaches were better. NOTHING shortens a coach’s lifespan more than that – blowing a game on the sidelines when you have the talent to win. Last two years, UT has been very close to UF’s talent level. How does Butch recruit around this disaster? Ultimately, that will be the thing that will do him in. You don’t look that stupid on national TV and survive. Zooker proves it.

Tennessee played with effort I hadn’t seen since the 2001 game (the once postponed by 9/11 where they got the Gators the week AFTER FSU and Dockett tearing up Graham’s knee in the pile); their QB was the toughest guy on the field. Tough loss.

College coaching jobs are the hardest jobs to fill in America – it is why they are so vastly overpaid. Because the coaches are so determinative in what the product looks like (and have to have multiple qualities to be successful with recruits, boosters and academics), which in turn fuels a money machine and brand loyalty unlike anything in the United States. If Zooker had won those games in 2003, who knows: he might still be the UF coach. I’m guessing when they write the Butch Jones story, they’ll be pointed to September 2015 in much the same way.”

Butch needs to win eight games this year, and even that will put him on the hot seat for 2016. Because even with eight wins, who will Tennessee have beaten in 2015? A bad Arkansas team, Kentucky, Missouri, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt. This would be the weakest eight win season in Vol history. You’d have losses to all three big rivals, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and a loss to Oklahoma. 

By the way, I’m not even sure Tennessee can win these eight games, but I’m just pointing out that the Vols should be favored to win all of those games and that this wouldn’t necessarily be a season that leaves Vol fans breathless with excitement. 

Regardless of what happens this year Butch will enter 2016 with a mandate to win the SEC East or at least to win nine or ten games. He could have eased that pressure — indeed, even ended the hot seat talk completely — this year by beating Florida or Oklahoma. And he still could erase it if he won those eight games and pulled off an upset of Georgia or Alabama. Hell, as bad as these last two losses have been for Tenessee, if Butch could go 2-1 in these next three and beat Georgia, Tennessee would still have to be your favorite to win the SEC East at 6-2. (If Georgia loses to Tennessee I think it’s likely the Bulldogs would lose another game somewhere this year. They are, after all, still Georgia).

And regardless of what happens, the Ron Zook comparison is going to be tough to shake. It’s just impossible to trust Butch Jones on the sideline right now. 

Teacher writes:

“Clay,

Currently, in many parts of the state of Tennessee, there is a HUGE debate over the Social Studies curriculum in the middle schools. Parents are writing letters, calling the news, and even boycotting schools. Why might you ask? Because of the unit taught in 7th grade on the history of Islam. By the way, the subject of 7th grade Social Studies is World History. So people are complaining about schools teaching ACTUAL history. If you want to see real Facebook comment winners, check out the comments on these stories. My question is, as it could only be answered by a gay Muslim like yourself, what are we as a society going to be like in 10, 20, 50 years? Are we doomed to act out the entirety of the movie Idiocracy?”

I’ve said this before, but social media opinions need to be taken less seriously by everyone. Having strong, dumb opinions is nothing new, but now people with strong, dumb opinions are able to broadcast those opinions to everyone immediately. That’s fine, everyone’s entitled to an opinion, the problem is when people start reacting to these opinions and giving them credence.

I’ve used this example before, but when I was interning in Congressman Bob Clement’s office during the Bill Clinton impeachment, we were inundated with demands that Clinton be impeached. This was in a pre-social media era so the way we received those opinions was via gobs of mail, literally thousands of opinions a day arriving via mail. Many of those opinions were form letters or form postcards, the modern day equivalent of RT’s or Facebook likes. We didn’t take these opinions very seriously because they were manufactured opinion, all a person had to do was put his or her name on a card and it was mailed to Congress. There was no substance or originality to them and the person hadn’t even taken the time to provide their own postage stamp. Yet now we treat those same opinions like they represent something significant. 

Right now the Republican party has an unholy alliance between, to simplify things, people who don’t believe in evolution or its teaching in schools, i.e. the social conservatives, and the fiscal conservatives, who believe in Republican financial principles, but are terrified of the anti-evolution crowd. The Democrats have their own unholy alliance — between, say, labor voters in the Midwest and hard core liberal activist ethnic groups, but it’s much less pronounced.   

Here’s what I want to happen, I want all the logical people in the middle part of the political spectrum to kick the idiots on both ends of our political process to the curb and form a new political party rooted in the middle of the country, the radical moderates.

The far right can have the Republican party and the far left can have the Democratic party and those of us in the middle can have the country.  

Ann writes:

“Clay,

I’m a 50 year old suburban mom…I’m a huge football fan and a faithful Christian. I love reading your stuff and listening to you. As a Vols fan, I almost always agree with you. The article you just wrote on Butch Jones broke my heart…because you’re 1000% right. I don’t want him to be the guy before the guy, I want him to be the guy! Your suggestion for his post game presser was perfect.

Clay, I have an 11 year old son. He’s just the Madden player you spoke about who could have called and coached a much better late 4th quarter game than our $4 million dollar man. I would love him to read your article but, you see, he can’t. The language is so bad I don’t want him exposed to that. I will continue to read your stuff but by using that language you are cutting out a large part of readers that can’t jump on the Clay bandwagon. I produced local news for 15 years and have heard most anything & everything you can imagine in a newsroom. But exposing my son to it is something else.

As I said, I will continue to laugh at the Alabama fan pictures, the shots you take at Saban and even the well deserved critique of my coaches abilities. But, if you want my son and his 6th grade rain man facts knowing buddies to read your stuff, then please for the love of of all things Big Orange, clean it up!

Your old lady fan.”

This is a good email question that I wrestle with and get all the time, what’s the appropriate editorial standard for Outkick? Basically, what age range of readers should we aspire to have and how should that dictate the way we write? 

Because clearly this site is not for everyone. 

In my mind everyone who reads Outkick is an adult or a near-adult. That is, I see us as the equivalent of an HBO audience. Our driving wheelhouse of readers are people in their twenties and thirties and the vast majority of our readers are college-educated 18-40 year olds.

Based on email and Twitter, I know we get a ton of high school age readers as well, but nothing they read on Outkick is anywhere near as bad as what their conversations are like in school. Or even as risque as their text messages and pictures.

But those are high school age kids, which I think is probably an okay age to read the site. They’re close to adults. 

To me, an easy litmus test for who should read Outkick is this: is your kid old enough to watch “Game of Thrones?” If the answer is yes, then Outkick is age appropriate. If the answer is no, then they aren’t ready yet.

Because if your 11 year old likes my piece on Butch Jones’s coaching, next thing you know he’s back on Outkick reading the anonymous mailbag and his head explodes. 

Hope that makes some sense.

Have great weekends and good luck dodging the hurricane at your tailgates.  

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.