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Anonymous Mailbag

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It’s Tuesday, and the anonymous mailbag is here to solve all the problems of the OutKick universe.

But in order to do so, I need you to send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

In the meantime, I’d encourage you to go subscribe to the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton show. Today we had on Alex Berenson, and tomorrow we will have on Texas governor Greg Abbott. Last week, we had on Megyn Kelly, Tucker Carlson and Bill O’Reilly. I think you’ll enjoy the show. So go rate us as well.

Also, OutKick the Show, my afternoon show, is now back up and rolling on the podcast front. You can watch us live on video on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, but the audio version is also here as well.

Okay, here we go with the anonymous mailbag:

“My family recently visited Disney World, and I saw something while I was there that I thought only you could answer or provide some clarity on. We saw a family with 2-3 young kids (probably under 8), and the entire family was double masked AND wearing a face shield. Some people are still scared of COVID, and others have conditions that require them to take extra cautions. I get it. That being said, if either of those are true, why in the world are you at possibly the most packed place on Earth if either of those conditions are true for you and your family? What could lead a family to be double masked AND wearing face shields at Disney?”

This feels like a parenting split to me. One parent really wanted to take the family to Disney World and isn’t afraid of COVID and the other one didn’t want to go to Disney World and is terrified of COVID. So the parent who didn’t want to go said, “Okay, we can go, but the kids have to be double masked and wear face shields,” and the other parent called the bluff and here they are.

It’s like parenting chicken.

This couple is probably headed for divorce because of their failure to compromise or behave like reasonable adults, but in the meantime they are ensuring their children have family photos to Disney World that will make it look like they actually visited the moon instead.

Awesome.

In all honesty, I worry about what some of the coronabros have done to their kids when it comes to assessing risk in the years ahead.

If your family stayed locked up for over a year to avoid a virus that has virtually zero impact on healthy people under the age of fifty, how do your kids ever reasonably assess risk for the rest of their lives? You’ve allowed fear to govern every aspect of their childhood, which is an awful message to send kids.

I’m far from a perfect parent — just ask my wife — but over a year ago I sat down all three of my kids at the kitchen table and explained that COVID had almost zero impact on kids and they shouldn’t be afraid. Then I laid out the actual statistical data for them and explained the concept of probabilities and how we should consider probabilities when it came to what risks we did and didn’t take. And my kids have been perfectly fine ever since that conversation.

Even though they were between the ages of five and 12, I treated my kids like adults and explained things as best I could to them. And then we went ahead and lived our normal lives over the past 18 months. I can’t imagine parenting any other way because the data has been clear and transparent for over a year now.

Obviously, I’m on the least fearful end of the spectrum as it pertained to COVID, but I do worry about the future for kids with parents who convinced them that COVID death was an ever present fear, even though there was zero real danger for young and healthy kids. Will these kids be able to adequately assess risk for themselves in the years ahead, or will they now be terribly fearful of the real world? I don’t know, but I’m not optimistic for them.

That’s made all the worse by the fact that many kids are going to spend ANOTHER YEAR wearing masks at school.

Another year!

Kids wearing masks in the first place never made any sense, and now some of them are still going to be wearing masks two years after the COVID outbreak? It’s pure madness.

“I’m overseas on a trip and my wife just called two days ago to tell me she is pregnant with baby number two. We have been trying for this for a while and finally it happened. We are excited, however, I am selfishly worried what that means for our lives now. We have gotten in a groove with a 4 year old and things are great. What is it like going from kid one to kid two? How drastically are things going to change? By the way our sex life had become great… I’m worried that’s going to go out the door with this new baby on the way too. Help me out here… what do I need to prepare myself for? What can I do to make it the best possible?”

The jump from zero kids to one kid is totally seismic, way bigger than the jump from one kid to two kids. In my experience, every additional kid is way less of a big deal once you’ve already got one. Now we’ve only got three kids so it’s possible someone out there with more kids would refute this, but going from two kids to three kids wasn’t that overwhelming of a move for us.

Which is why I suspect that for those people with four or more kids, every additional kid from four on is even less of a major undertaking than the one before it. Eventually, you just buy one of those big vans and pile the entire family inside for all your trips anywhere.

As for how your life might change on the move to two kids, well, your four-year-old is somewhat self-sufficient. By which I mean you can put a movie on and he can sit and watch it without you being directly on top of him. Sure, he may rebel some about having a new sibling, but you aren’t going to have two tiny kids at once.

I would say the biggest change for multiple kids, at least for us, is you’ll feel like a total pussy that you ever thought one kid was tough to take care of. I remember every now and then back when we had two young kids, one of them would be out of the house for the day or spending the night with grandma and grandpa or something like that and we’d have only the one kid and we’d look at each other and say, “How did we ever think one kid was a big deal?”

Once we had two and three kids, one kid felt like an absolute piece of cake.

And I bet once you have your second kid, you will feel the same way about your first kid. You’ll look back later on and wonder how you ever thought you were busy with one kid. Just like you wondered how you ever thought you were busy before you had any kids at all.

Hell, I’m writing the anonymous mailbag right now at five in the afternoon. So far today, just from a work perspective, I did TV with Fox News in the morning, knocked out a three hour radio show with Buck Sexton, did a half hour of OutKick the Show, did Fox Bet Live for a half hour on live TV, and I’m about to go on Fox News again for another live TV hit.

That’s three live TV shows, a three hour radio show, several thousand written words on a website, and a live streaming show, all in the space of eight hours.

Any one of these things used to be a major undertaking for me.

And now I just crank them all out and don’t skip a beat. Which brings me to one of the lessons of life I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older: you can almost always do more. Every time I think I can’t do more, I’ve learned to try and do more.

Yes, sometimes you can truly reach the end of your abilities, but most of the time, we don’t get that close to our full potential. At some point I may want to scale back my work load, but right now I love all of it.

Having said all of this, I always feel like sleep is the biggest challenge with any young child. So if you can help your wife get as much sleep as possible, that can be a tremendous key. My advice for any new parent is focus on the sleep. If you can get decent sleep, almost anything is manageable. And if you don’t get decent sleep, almost everything feels impossible.

As for the sex, plan on a rough six months. You’re going to be treating your body like an amusement park for some time to come.

And I’d also bet part of your sex life being great recently was because she wanted another baby. The only time my wife has ever pursued me for sex was when she wanted babies.

But congrats on number two.

My three boys are the best thing I’ve ever done. I’d keep having more kids if we hadn’t gotten too old.

“I’m a huge Braves fan. I refuse to watch the All Star Game tonight because of the political cowardice of MLB pulling the game out of ATL. Am I overreacting?”

Well, if you’re a Braves fan, it has already been a pretty crappy 2021. The All-Star Game getting pulled was just a sign it wasn’t going to be our year.

So should you boycott the All-Star Game?

Well, some people were mad at me for taking my son down to Atlanta over July 4th and watching a series there. But this wasn’t that hard of a decision for me. First, the Braves didn’t support the decision made by Major League Baseball. In fact, they were furious with it. So why would I punish the Braves? Second, and most importantly, my son is ten and a huge Braves fan. Does it really make sense to punish him for Rob Manfred’s stupidity?

Of course not.

For better or worse, for the rest of my life, I’m probably going to make most decisions based on making my kids happy.

We had a great time at the Marlins-Braves series, and I’m glad we went.

Now the All-Star Game, to me, is different. It’s not that integral to the Braves or your individual team fandom. I’d say you were overreacting if you stopped watching all baseball — why allow someone’s idiocy to take something from you you like?

We were going to attend the All-Star Game in person in Atlanta. And now we’re not going to the All-Star Game in Denver. That’s a personal choice we made. My family had just as good of a time at the three game Braves series over July 4th as they would have had at the All-Star Game, and I got to give my money directly to the Braves as opposed to supporting Rob Manfred’s insanely stupid All-Star Game decision.

That feels like the right balancing act to me.

Finally, unless you’re a Nielsen family, no one knows what you actually watch. So your TV viewing boycott wouldn’t really have any impact unless you’re a Nielsen family who is being tracked for ratings purposes.

Do whatever makes your Tuesday night the best.

“What do I tell my 7 year old son when LeBron’s Space Jam previews come on TV about why I won’t take him? He’s too young to understand my views on LeBron/China and whenever I try to start him on thinking for himself, I get the look from the lib wife.”

Let your wife take him to see Space Jam 2 if he really wants to go. Or go see Boss Baby 2 instead. (I watched it last weekend with my six-year-old. It wasn’t too bad.) Personally, I won’t be taking my kids to Space Jam 2.

Would I take my kids if Michael Jordan were starring in Space Jam 2 instead of LeBron? Probably.

Now, to be fair, my kids haven’t asked about Space Jam 2 at all. I don’t think they want to go. But I certainly am not going to suggest it. And if they decide they really want to go, I’ll probably tell them just to watch it on streaming.

Also, while we’re here giving movie reviews, I’ve seen two movies so far this summer in theaters, A Quiet Place 2 and Black Widow. Both were really entertaining. But I’ve got to say, if movie theaters are going to compete with streaming, they’ve got to step their game up. I need to feel like I’m getting an experience in a movie theater that I can’t get at home.

And right now, I don’t.

Before the COVID era, I loved the dine-in theater option. That made going to the movies feel like an experience that wasn’t replicated at home. I could sit and order food, we had a waiter, the chairs were fantastic, I was willing to pay a premium price for a premium experience in a dine-in theater.

But last night, I went to the dine-in theater and you had to order food at the concession stand off a vastly reduced menu, and they’d walk it in to you in a bag like you were picking up takeout. And I have to be honest, it was a very mediocre experience.

I found myself thinking I might as well have streamed the movie at home, which would have been WAY cheaper. (Black Widow was $30 to stream. I paid $45 for three tickets plus another $50 for food at the theater. That’s over three times as much for an experience that wasn’t anywhere near three times as good.)

The experience left me believing theaters are in a really, really tough spot. Because COVID put streaming on steroids and probably advanced things by ten years in the space of a year. Companies embraced streaming in a way I don’t think they would have if COVID hadn’t happened.

I’m not a particularly price conscious consumer now — I have been in the past, but I’m not not very much now — so I’m willing to pay a premium price for a premium experience. But I’m not willing to pay premium prices for mediocre experiences. And I think most people are going to end up with the same value analysis as me, maybe even more so, since I’m probably less price conscious than the average dad of three kids out there.

Pre-COVID, I was optimistic with the directions I saw movie theaters going in terms of making going to see a movie a cool, unique experience, but post-COVID, I’m not. Maybe it’s just a short term staffing issue that movie theaters are facing, but I wasn’t impressed with the experience last night or the service compared to streaming at home.

(By the way, I had the exact opposite experience in Atlanta. I loved the product the Braves put on in Truist Park. Going to a game felt like a really fun, family event that isn’t easy to replicate elsewhere.)

Circling back around to your question, I’d be inclined to just let your kid wait to stream Space Jam 2. It will cost way less, and I doubt the movie is going to blow his mind. But if it does, you’ll own it and he’ll be able to watch it several times.

Good luck.

Okay, I’m off to eat dinner. Apologies on the anonymous mailbag being up later than normal today on a Tuesday. I’m still adjusting to the new schedule and trying to get everything fit in.

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.

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