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Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday and tonight I’m going to a football game here in Nashville between the undefeated Buffalo Bills and the undefeated Tennessee Titans.

With only a few thousand fans in attendance.

A Tuesday night football game!

2020 is wild indeed.

One huge positive for many of you reading this right now: the state of Tennessee will allow legalized sports gambling starting very soon, potentially in the next several days. Right now you can sign up for sports gambling in Tennessee and FanDuel will give you a free $50 in your account. There are more offers you’ll be able to take advantage of in the near future, but all you have to do is click this link and you get $50 to gamble with. That feels like a good deal. Go sign up here.

As always, you can email your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“I’ve got quite the predicament. Long story short, I have 3 events this upcoming weekend. I’m a graduate student at Alabama who won the lottery and got tickets for the UGA game. I also have a friend’s wedding to go to on Saturday night. I also have another friend’s bachelor party that weekend. I’m a lifelong, diehard, Bama fan and because of corona and the ticket restrictions, this would be my last game to go to as a grad student on campus.

Prior to getting the ticket, I bailed on the bachelor party to go to the other friend’s wedding. Now that I’ve got a ticket, I planned on bailing on the wedding for the big game. But this plan did not go over well with my wife who thought I had to hold true to my word and go to the wedding. Further, she said that if I go to the game, she would go to the wedding without me, making me look like an even bigger punk. I don’t know what to do. I’ve just got so much Bama in me that I literally cannot imagine not going to this game…but dealing with friend issues and my wife being upset really puts me in a tough spot. ​Any ideas?”

This a tough call, but the solution becomes clear as you unpack all these details.

My general position is that people in the South who have fall weddings can’t expect others to alter their football schedules to attend their fall weddings. But the whole covid cancellation of weddings this spring and summer has led many people who would never have had fall weddings feel forced into the fall wedding logjam.

So I do think you have to give people a pass this year for the fall wedding conflicts.

What you’ve got here is a clear conflict of events for a fall Saturday.

You rank them thusly:

1. Georgia-Alabama
2. Wedding
3. Bachelor party

What you are looking for via your anonymous mailbag question is validation to act on the rankings you already have established in your mind. Otherwise you’d just go to the wedding and give someone else the ticket.

The big wrinkle here is your wife clearly doesn’t agree with your rankings and you’re afraid your friend won’t either. So you’re trying to weigh what you want to do with how you think society will respond if you do what you actually want to do.

There’s one more important detail that needs to be discussed: the wedding and the game are both at night. Meaning you can’t watch the game on TV and then go to the wedding. There’s a direct conflict.

Okay, that’s important background here.

Now let me unpack all of this.

As a general rule, I don’t understand why husbands and wives always have to attend weddings together. (The same is true for boyfriends and girlfriends.) I’ve been to several weddings without my wife, and my wife has been to several weddings without me. I understand the general hope is that you will go together, but once you have kids — especially young kids — it becomes far more difficult for both of you to travel for every wedding you want to attend.

So sometimes couples split up for weddings.

It seems to me, again as a general rule, that women are far more likely to be upset about their husbands or boyfriends not going to the wedding than the husbands or boyfriends are about the wife or girlfriend not attending the wedding.

Why is that? Because deep down I think every (youngish) woman wants to show up at a wedding and essentially say, “SURE, IT’S (INSERT GIRL’S WEDDING HERE) BUT SO WHAT?! I ALREADY HAVE A MAN. AND HE’S RIGHT HERE SITTING BESIDE ME AT THE WEDDING CEREMONY!”

All weddings are social and status competitions for women.

Men, again speaking generally, are far more oblivious to most social and status-related issues than women are. So when people try to socially slight me, I don’t even notice. (This, again, is according to my wife. I’m too oblivious to even notice when someone tries to socially slight me. Also, I just don’t care much.)

So while I understand your wife feels like she’s giving you an ultimatum by saying she’ll go to the wedding without you, my general thought when I read that is, “Great! That proves we aren’t both being assholes and abandoning a wedding we’d promised to go to.”

In other words, I actually think your wife going without you is her doing you a favor, not punishing you.

(Whatever you do, good lord, DON’T TELL HER SHE’S DOING YOU A FAVOR. Make her think she’s actually slighting you by going. If she realizes she’s doing you a favor, you will never hear the end of it.)

Now the problem here is women never forget a slight so she will hold you not going against you forever, potentially wrangling you into a much less enjoyable activity you may have to attend without her in the future. (You are still relatively young in your marriage, so you might be thinking your wife will forget about this. Trust me, she won’t.)

Which is why my big question comes down to this: Are you going to the game by yourself?

If so, I think this knocks down the enjoyment of the game by a huge margin. Football games are meant to be shared. I’m taking my two oldest boys to the Bills-Titans game tonight, and next week I’m going to Alabama-Tennessee with a couple of buddies.

I would 100% not go to either game if I were going by myself.

That’s even though, technically, I could get a credential and go watch the games from the press box as a member of the media. I’d rather watch most games from my couch by myself than sit in the stadium by myself.

Football is a social sport, and it’s meant to be shared with others.

You’ve tossed in the fact that you’re a grad student and this might be your final game, but, honestly, that argument doesn’t work on a veteran like me. First, you just found out you got tickets from the student lottery, which means you might get tickets for a later game. And, second, you can always buy a ticket for a later game in the season.

It’s not like you’ve got terminal cancer and will never be able to attend another game for the rest of your life.

In fact, you’ll probably be attending games at Alabama for the rest of your life.

Which your wife, if she’s smart, would use to make her argument.

Now let’s talk about this Georgia-Alabama game in particular.

Yes, it’s a huge game, but, let’s be honest, does it actually solve anything? In other words, I would wager a ton of money that these same two teams are going to be playing again in Atlanta in December. So while I’ll definitely be watching Saturday night, Georgia’s season is probably going to come down to the Florida game, no matter what happens against Alabama. That is, Georgia is likely to have to beat Florida in the Cocktail Party to win the SEC East, no matter what happens against Alabama on Saturday.

And win or lose, Alabama will probably win the SEC West. They’ve already beaten Texas A&M, and I just don’t see any other team this year that is beating them in the division. This means they’d still probably need to beat Georgia in Atlanta to win the SEC title, but even if they lose, they’re still likely to be in the title game.

Which means there’s a decent chance there’s going to be a December rematch which will have far more at stake than this October game.

So this decision, to me, comes down to this: who are you going to the game with?

Because if the answer is no one in particular, I’d probably be inclined to sell the ticket, pocket the cash, keep your wife happy and use this as a bargaining chip for attending another game down the line, potentially the SEC title game in Atlanta.

I understand this answer will be controversial to some, but you can attend the wedding with your wife and potentially create marital freedom for yourself by making the “adult” decision and going to the wedding.

Plus, you get “going to wedding sex” from your wife, which is typically pretty good married person sex. Especially if your wife gets drunk and you have a hotel room.

Unless you’re going to the game with buddies, I’d be inclined to sell the ticket, go to the wedding, and let your wife know you’re going to Atlanta for the SEC title game as a result of this choice.

“Last Saturday I tested positive for the coronavirus. I’ve felt fine the whole time. Never had a fever but I definitely can’t taste or smell shit. Other than that I feel completely normal. I don’t want to get into the morality of this; but, my question is: if someone were to go out in public, let’s say a bar to watch a game, while knowing they had the virus and someone at their work found out about it… do you think that it could potentially turn into a fireable offense? Especially with where we are in the country right now? Put on your lawyer hat and let me know.”

Yes, you could get fired for this.

It’s a risk that’s not worth taking.

Here’s my position on the virus: unless you have to get tested for the virus to go to work, why would you ever get tested for the virus if you’re otherwise young and healthy? It just makes no sense.

Look, I’ve had the flu several times in my life. Do you know how many times I’ve ever been tested for the flu?

NEVER!

Not one time in my life.

Like the vast majority of you, I know when I have the flu and don’t need to go see the doctor as a result of the flu. (I also get the flu shot every year now, by the way, because I don’t have a job that I can miss. If I’m out sick, the radio show turns into a complete mess. Which is why I’ve never missed a radio show from being sick in my entire life. Not once. I’m like the Cal Ripken of radio.)

When you get sick with a virus, what do you do? You tell people you are sick, and you try and isolate from them until you feel well again.

That’s been the way we’ve responded to viruses in this country for my entire life.

Now we’ve got a virus that is actually less deadly to young people than the seasonal flu, and suddenly we’ve got otherwise young healthy people getting tested to find out if they are positive for the virus or not?

It makes no sense to me. (Again, presuming you don’t have to get tested. If you have to get tested for work or school, I’d get tested. But I wouldn’t voluntarily, as a healthy person, go get tested).

If I was a college kid, I would never get tested for this virus.

Ever.

And I wouldn’t want my friends to get tested either.

Why would I want to have to quarantine myself when I felt perfectly fine? I’d just stay away from old people and presume that I was 100% healthy for the entire fall semester. And if I felt sick, I’d isolate myself until I didn’t feel sick any more.

If you get so sick that you need to go to the hospital, then they’ll clearly test you there, but almost no one under the age of fifty is getting so sick they have to go to the hospital.

Which is why this entire testing obsession is wild to me. When has there ever been a time in our nation’s history when people who felt 100% healthy felt compelled to voluntarily get tested?

It’s absolute insanity.

Having said all of this, if you get tested and you find out that you’re positive, you can’t go on living your normal life and exposing people to the virus.

You have to quarantine.

And if I owned a business and found out that one of my employees had known he was positive for the virus and kept showing up for work — or otherwise engaging in behavior that put others at risk of having to quarantine — then I’d definitely consider firing him for that choice.

Let me put it to you this way, we have a bunch of people who work at OutKick now. If one of them came over to my house to do something OutKick-related and they had tested positive for covid and still came over to my house without telling me, I’d be furious with them.

You probably would too.

Which is why we just need to make reasonable, logical decisions. This shouldn’t be complicated. If you decide to get tested — or are forced to get tested — and if you test positive, then you can’t continue to do what you normally would do, either for work or your normal life.

But if you’re healthy and have no symptoms, I also think you shouldn’t be taking up medical resources by going and getting tested.

Just live your life.

“I come to you with a problem. We live in Michigan. We have a mask mandate. I’m like you, I don’t have a problem wearing one. I think there is a benefit to wearing one as I may have the Rona but it prevents me from spreading it. In fact, I’m thinking masks during the flu season wouldn’t be a bad thing either, but in America there is a cultural aversion to wearing them and I get it.

That being said, my wife is a vehement anti-masker. No problem. I don’t wear one around her. It makes me uncomfortable but no big deal. A couple of weeks ago one of our kids told her that I was wearing one when we (me and the kid) went into stores. She flipped out and gave me the laundry list of how they were unhealthy and can be awful. We ended up having a long talk about it and have some resolution on it (basically, I’m not going to go anywhere with the kids or her now). It is an emotional topic for her, so I can’t use facts or reasons as they don’t work against emotion.

The bigger problem is that she told me that I was ‘psychologically damaging’ the kids by wearing a mask in front of them. I still can’t get over the accusation. I don’t even know how to approach it. I know DBAP and all, but at the same time, I don’t want to get derailed back on to the masks (which is what will happen).

Any suggestions?”

First, it’s not a “solution” that the way you have resolved this issue is that you won’t go anywhere with your wife or kids as long as there’s a mask mandate.

That’s crazy and isn’t a reasonable solution. (Trust me, I know sometimes it feels like a reasonable solution to just let your wife win, but this isn’t a compromise. You are validating all of her opinions, and she is invalidating all of yours).

Second, your wife’s suggestion that you are “psychologically damaging” your kids by wearing a mask is way over the top. There’s no way that’s true.

Kids are very perceptive and tough. They aren’t fragile. They can adjust to new situations better than adults can. I don’t make a big deal of my kids wearing masks at schools because my kids haven’t made a big deal of it.

I understand that people have strong opinions about masks, but I don’t understand people who have such strong opinions that they are willing to cause fights over them. I think it’s dumb that I have to wear a mask to be seated in a restaurant. I don’t think this makes any sense at all. But do I think it’s so dumb that I’m going to throw a fit at the restaurant? Or refuse to go out to eat at the restaurant completely? No, of course not.

The same thing was true at my gym for a while. They asked us to wear a mask into the gym and then we could take it off while we worked out. (I do CrossFit, and there’s zero doubt to me that we’d all have been in far more danger not being able to get a breath of fresh air while wearing a mask than we would have been from the virus). I didn’t think wearing a mask into the gym made sense, but if it’s the price of admission to the gym, I’ll do it.

Heck, we started the SEC football season later in the year than normal, but I kind of feel like at a super hot SEC football game you’re more in danger from overheating in a mask than you are from covid. But next week, I’m going to wear a mask to watch Alabama play Tennessee.

Again, it’s the price of admission.

This is the way I’ve approached this entire process: I put a mask in my pocket, pull it out when needed, but most of the time don’t wear one in my ordinary life. I’m certainly not wearing a mask while I sit typing on my computer.

And you’re not going to see me wearing a mask driving in the car by myself.

But you’ll probably see me wearing one into a restaurant.

I’m going to the Bills-Titans game with my kids tonight, and there’s a mask requirement at that game. (They’re actually giving Titans masks out at the game). Would I prefer not to wear a mask? Sure. Do I think much of mask wearing is cosmetic theater? Yes. But I also wear a shirt and shoes to attend a football game. And I agree not to bring a flag or a cooler of beer, and my wife agrees to carry a clear purse.

My point is, there are all sorts of limitations — and requirements — involved in attending a public sporting event already.

In the grand scheme of things, a mask seems like a relatively small nuisance. Especially when you don’t have to wear one while you are eating or drinking, which I plan to be doing for a substantial portion of tonight’s game.

And here’s the deal, I also think taking my kids to a game is an important parenting lesson. What I’m teaching them is to look at the data and the facts and then act on those data and facts. My kids and I are under far greater danger driving to and from the game than we are of covid at the football game.

Understanding risk and how to manage it is one of the most important lessons of adulthood. It’s one of the most important things a parent can teach a child.

I want my kids to be intellectual lions, not sheep.

But I also don’t want them to be so upset by regulations they disagree with that they give up their engagement with larger life.

I believe going to a game during a pandemic is an important lesson I’m sharing with my kids — look at the facts and data and use them to avoid making irrational decisions. Don’t allow fear to govern your life.

“This week is my birthday. I told the girl I’m dating that I don’t want any gifts. Just give me something I can’t give myself (aka waking up to a blowjob). Never had this, but in the name of science, I will find out.

We had talked about it before and she is down. She texted me this morning, I’m blowing your brains out this weekend!”

I’ve been saying this for years, but every heterosexual man would rather have an exciting night of sex with his partner than any gift you could possibly give him for his birthday.

If you told your average dad, you can wake up one morning to an unexpected blow job or you can get a new tie, there’s not a straight dad alive who wouldn’t pick the unexpected blow job.

Don’t overthink this, ladies, just give him great sex for his birthday.

As always, thanks for reading OutKick and send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is an author, radio show host, lawyer, TV analyst, and the founder of OutKick (formerly known as Outkick the Coverage).
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8 Comments

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  1. Here you go. A loon who thinks we should wear asks for the flu. I’m with his wife. I wonder how our ancestors survived wars and famine when we’ve become such pussies now. In the meantime American keeps eating garbage food. The world is becoming Stupid

  2. For the guy with the Bama game, wedding, bachelor party, this one is easy. The University of Alabama is not going to miss you being in that stadium one iota. Coach Saban is not going to give you shit every time there is a wedding or family invite for the rest of your life. Unless you are a millionaire booster, nobody is going to give two sh*ts about your attendance at the game. You will live to see 500 Bama games. You may only get to see your buddy marry once, or, bless his heart, twice. If you are that broken up about it, put the game on your smart phone and wear an earpiece at the wedding.

  3. Clay, I have a GREAT book recommendation for you. “The Great Influenza” by Joh n Barry. it”s a comprehensive look at the 1918-1920 flu pandemic. It’s like a novel that I can’t put down. He woete it in 2005, but it is very applicable to today.

    BTW, he estimated not less than 21 million died worldwide. That’s be like 70 million today.

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