It’s Tuesday and it’s time to make the world a better place with the anonymous mailbag.
Stay tuned for big news from Outkick tomorrow.
And in the meantime, Tennessee residents reading this right now, it looks like by sometimes next week sports gambling is officially going to be legal in the state. Go sign up here with Fan Duel right now and you get $50.
As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to email@example.com, anonymity guaranteed.
Here we go with the anonymous mailbag:
“So my dad graduated from Michigan in 1975 – took me and my brother to football and basketball games there all the time growing up, we went to sports camps there – it was our biggest bond. Unfortunately, Dad passed away four years ago.
I have 2 boys of my own and the way we remember my dad is through Michigan sports. We watch football, basketball and baseball games together and it always makes me think of him.
So my mom is remarried now, and that’s great. However, her husband went to Michigan State. I guess you can say I’m lucky he didn’t go to Ohio State, but on 3 occasions, he’s bought my boys Michigan State shirts.
I have been diplomatic about it and not made a big deal.
But this weekend we are visiting them and my mom said “make sure you bring the boys Spartan shirts to wear.” I finally said — and I was being polite about it — “My kids aren’t going to wear Spartan shirts.”
My oldest is 10 and has even commented that he doesn’t like it.
My mom thinks I am insane and being a dick. I think I’m completely justified. My dad and I were very close, so it’s important to me – am I wrong here?”
I don’t think you’re in the wrong here at all.
You remember and honor your dad’s memory by, among other things, sharing his love of his alma mater with your own children. Asking them to wear a different t-shirt for a rival program at your mom’s house — that their step-father bought no less — feels like, to you at least, you’re dishonoring your dad’s memory.
Again, I don’t think that’s wrong at all.
Everyone chooses to handle their grief differently; you express yours through sharing a common love that you and your dad had by passing that love along to your own children. That seems eminently reasonable to me.
There are two options here that can explain the situation you find yourself in: your mom and step-dad don’t understand your connection to the school and why it matters to you so much or your step-dad is being a total dick.
I think it’s probably the former, but it could be the latter.
It’s hard to know for sure.
If you sat both your mom and step-dad down — without your kids present — and explained why this matters so much to you, I suspect they’d change their tune on the t-shirts.
And if they don’t, you can turn the tables on them and ask why they care so much about your kids wearing t-shirts for a rival school? That seems stranger, honestly, to me than your opinion. Who tries to dictate what t-shirt grandkids wear to their grandma’s house?
It seems much stranger to me to give kids shirts and insist they wear them than to prefer not to wear the shirts.
(To be fair, it’s also possible your step-dad sees the shirts as a bit of a gag gift, but the insistence that the kids wear them to the house makes that seem less likely.)
To be fair, it’s also possible you might be projecting some here. Do you actually like your step-father or does he seem like a poor replacement for your own dad? It seems like you probably don’t like this guy very much and the t-shirt demand is really a symbol of that dislike.
Regardless, I’d just be honest with them.
If they keep insisting on the t-shirts, you can just make it a firm no. And say it’s a subject you don’t want to discuss any more with them. Or you can go buy your mom and step-dad Michigan t-shirts and insist they wear them every time they visit your house.
If they think that feels like strange behavior by you, you can point out their hypocrisy.
But I think the direct conversation is the way to go here.
“Please help my husband and I settle this argument about a poop stain:
About five years ago I had just started dating my now-husband when my roommate went out of town for the weekend. First thing we did, naturally, was fool around on my roommate’s linen white couch. Trying to be the hot, new girlfriend, I pulled my then-boyfriend’s pants down and gave him a blowjob on the couch. As soon as he got up, much to our horror there was a GIGANTIC skid mark across the couch cushion. GIGANTIC. I spent the rest of our weekend buying expensive fabric cleaners and steamers, trying to get the stain out. He tried to help but was so embarrassed he could hardly look at it. I ultimately rearranged the cushions to try and hide the stain (I did my best but it’s non-washable white linen and you could tell there was a stain there). A few months later when she discovered the mark, my roommate ultimately blamed it on her dog and I played dumb.
At the time, my husband was horrified. I laughed it off and we swore it would always be between us (and now the mailbag). Our fond memory came back up over beers this weekend and we’ve come to an impasse: Who’s to blame for the stain? I say he, and he alone, is responsible for the cleanliness of his sphincter. He says I’m to blame because one, I “should have known” not to trust the cleanliness of a man’s sphincter, especially considering his age (he was 36 and I was 26 when this happened) and two, I was the one who suggested beers and wings earlier the day.
Who’s to blame?”
100% your husband.
I can’t believe he would even have the audacity to suggest that the WOMAN WHO GAVE HIM A BLOW JOB is to blame for his unclean ass.
Furthermore, I think his age works against him in a big way here. He’s 36 and he doesn’t know how to clean his ass properly? Especially when he’s dating a new girl and should be aware there might be amorous activity afoot. I mean, every girl reading this right now takes special care to wear her best underwear when she thinks she might be hooking up with a new boyfriend. You’re not breaking out the granny panties and the ten year old bra when you think they might be visible to a new man.
Yet your (then boyfriend) now husband can’t be bothered to wipe his own ass clean in a new relationship?
This is a no contest, he’s to blame.
Next to last point here, it’s fairly remarkable you kept dating him. Because I think most women early in a relationship who had this situation happen would be so disgusted by the guy, they’d call it off right then and there.
He’s a lucky man this relationship continued.
Final point, I think you should buy a new couch for your old roommate and finally confess what caused the stain. This seems like the perfect capstone to the story. (Your husband, of course, should lead the apology. Because it was his dirty ass that caused the issue).
“So my girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for a couple years. We get along fantastic, have similar interests, and great relationships with each other’s families. I get asked by many people (including her) if I am going to pop the question. While I keep my response pretty vague to that question, I do have one hiccup that is making me not want to rush into this. I believe that my girlfriend is very susceptible to “Pyramid Schemes” and she is now on the third company since we’ve been dating and doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the first two negative experiences.
To provide context, she has been duped before by people in her network that have gotten her to sign up under them, purchase products through these distributors in bulk, and then have to get people to buy products underneath her in her pipeline. In the first two instances, nobody has wanted to purchase these products, and I’ve personally covered her losses and tried to teach her a lesson that these companies have a bad reputation for a reason, and that most of the stuff they sell, aren’t tested, or can be had for a lot less in retail stores or online.
Lately, she got hooked on another company and it’s almost a repeat of the first two examples. She signed up under somebody that duped her, bought a bulk amount of products, and has been putting the most cringey, spammy posts on her social media. I know how this ends with her crying to me about how she can’t sell this stuff and how she is out a lot of money and needs help. She isn’t the best about her finances and with me being older, and in a better spot financially, I’ve helped her out in the past. She is somebody that is college educated, has a good career, and in most cases makes intelligent decisions, but for some reason, just seems to be easily influenced by people.
My question to you Clay is should I stay out of this, let her fail on her own, not pay her back and let her learn the hard way, or should I just prepare myself to cover her losses, and try to get the point across to her in a nice way? I work with a lot of clients that go through divorces and I know money is the number one issue that causes these break-ups, and I just want to make sure that I rule out any future issues that can come with finances as much as possible before I pop the question.”
Your girlfriend is going for her third straight pyramid scheme and you’ve had to already bail her out twice?
I mean, that seems excessive.
Put it this way, if she’d caught you twice with side chicks, would it be your fault if you got caught a third time or would it be her fault for thinking you were going to change? At some point you have to recognize who or what someone is. Their actions tell you. And you have to decide if based on these actions if that’s a person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
In other words, you have to decide whether an issue in a relationship is a negotiable one that you’re willing to accept or whether it’s non-negotiable and a relationship breaker.
Given that finances are one of the top issues couples fight about, I think it’s well with your relationship rights to have a talk with her about all of this.
As a preliminary, here’s the deal, what she’s susceptible to isn’t pyramid schemes, it’s success stories. These direct to consumer companies don’t sell products, they sell people who have been successful at their businesses. They sell a lifestyle, they sell success. The product is secondary to the lifestyle and the success they sell to other customers.
You know this because most school fundraisers sold this same idea to you when you were in school. They get the free labor of kid sellers and what do kids get? A relatively minor reward for the hours it takes to win those rewards.
The company gets free labor at a tiny cost, the seller gets the illusion of success.
That’s why the marketing campaigns for companies like these usually say things like, “This mom of four makes $8k a month in her spare time by selling (insert product here) to her friends! You can do it too in as little as ten hours a week!”
Are there some people who make substantial sums of money selling these products? Sure.
But most of those people either have massive networks of contacts — and got started early in the process in your city and state — or they work massive amounts of hours to be successful. Success is not, and has never been, a function of low time investments.
One of the real flawed ideas out there is that substantial financial success can come with limited amounts of work.
That might happen (very rarely) in some industries, but I’ve never seen it.
Most people I know who are successful work really hard at being successful. (Or they inherited money. But that’s just luck, not work).
Real estate is a great example of this. How many people get into the real estate agent business because they’ve seen someone in their social circle be successful with it and then they themselves have (very) limited success when they actually enter the profession?
Most of them.
Why is their success limited? Because they aren’t willing to do what’s necessary to be successful.
The truth is: most people aren’t that successful at any business. It doesn’t matter if it’s selling cars or writing about sports online. Success isn’t easy. It requires tons of work and dedication to perfect a craft.
Almost no one who is successful at anything has become successful by working a few hours a day.
Most people fail because, and I really believe this, most people aren’t willing to put in the time and work as hard as success requires.
So in addition to being susceptible to these pyramid scheme ideas is your girlfriend also not a very hard and efficient worker? (Efficiency of work is as important, often, as how hard you work. Many people work hard, but aren’t working hard in an efficient manner).
I’d bet she’s not.
Which is why it’s perfectly reasonable for to wonder if it’s already happened two times why it won’t happen a third, fourth or fifth time.
But just be ready for her to accuse you of not being supportive of her work choices. That’s 100% what she’s going to say. Your response to this, I think, should be that you’re fine supporting her, but you want to support her in doing something that can be successful, not something that’s going to result in lost money for you as a couple and frustration.
She has a college degree; there has to be something she can do as a job that’s more fulfilling and more reliable than the choices she’s making now.
I think that’s where you should address your support, in helping her find a job that satisfies her cravings for success without being entirely reliant upon her work ethic and skill in business.
“Do you think corona-obsessed journalists and sports fans are hypocrites if they’re watching sports right now?
I’m astounded at how many corona scolds on my twitter feed are also posting about college and NFL football on the weekends when there are games.
Same goes for some of my coworkers. In the group text every even slightly bad news on the virus gets sent, but come Saturday and Sunday the texts are flying about the college and pro football games.
I actually asked a local journalist about this last night, and he said the games are happening whether or not he’s watching them, so it doesn’t matter.
I just think it’s a completely indefensible position. If things are so horrible that sports shouldn’t be played, why are you supporting it by watching / reporting on it?”
I’ve argued exactly this.
There are tons of people in sports media who have spent months denigrating the idea that sports should be played at all. They’ve shared every positive test, every negative story, every single possible reason why sports are impossible to play this year.
Yet now that college and pro football is underway they are traveling and covering sporting events?!
How is that not extreme hypocrisy? If you don’t believe it’s safe to play any sports outside a bubble, why in the world is it safe for you to travel and write about sports. If football shouldn’t be played then your job absolutely, positively shouldn’t exist right now either.
It’s the height of hypocrisy for you to rip football being played from Monday to Friday and then come Saturday and Sunday to fill your Twitter feed with reactions to football games.
I mean, the cognitive dissonance here is otherworldly.
Look, I believe sports should be played. I’ve been up front and honest about that for months. But if you disagree with me, that’s fine. I think you’re wrong, but you’re entitled to your opinion. What you aren’t entitled to, in my opinion, is arguing against sports being played every weekday and then cheerleading for football on the weekend.
What you should do is have the courage to stand behind your convictions. If football shouldn’t be played then you should stop covering it this fall..
Put your money where your mouth is and give up your paycheck.
It’s absolutely wild to me that we’ve reached this situation and hardly anyone else in sports media will point out this insane hypocrisy.
Okay, I’ve got to get ready for my two afternoon shows now and also get packed for travel.
I’m out of town for a couple of nights starting tonight. Stay tuned to Twitter tomorrow for some big news on why that’s happening.
And, as always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, anonymity guaranteed.