Yesterday was Geno Smith’s pro day at West Virginia. A pro day is essentially a beauty pageant for a top NFL prospect. What I’ve never understood is why teams put so much stock into these performances. You have QBs, running around without pads, throwing scripted routes to familiar receivers. What about an NFL game is anything like that? Would you go to a driving range and watch guys hit 5-irons to decide who you’d want to make a crucial 8-foot putt for you with 20,000 people ringing the 18th green at Augusta? I understand there are certain throws that a QB has to be able to make, but hasn’t he made them over the course of his college career in game situations? To me, QB pro days are just chances for NFL scouting guys to fall in love with players they’re dying to love on the players’ terms. We’ll see if Geno Smith, now likely a high 1st round pick, can live up to his tantalizing performance from Thursday. Anyway, a mailbag, which may or not be the blog’s equivalent of a pro day…
Q: I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of people use their birth year or another significant date in their email addresses. It’s not terribly creative, but what can you do? My question is, what’s the protocol when you’re born, married, graduated in 1969? Sean Carter, Brooklyn, NY.
A: I haven’t created a new email address in a while, but it’s always a bit of a struggle. How exciting was it when Gmail debuted and there was a chance you could get your actual name? Damn, that could make you feel important. Oh, my email address? It’s just MY NAME at Gmail. Let the significance of that waft over you. It’s a bit like having had your grandpappy sail over on the Mayflower. But, so few of us can get our names, and so there must be modifications. The question is, what do you want these modifications to say about you? I see a good number of email addresses and I ALWAYS draw some type of conclusion. That’s just my way. I saw an email the other day that was like, Scuzzzylax99…I’m serious. There was an extra “z.” Extra letters, especially z’s and x’s are HUGE red flags. But, getting back to significant years, it is a common practice in email addresses. Should people born in 1969 be excluded? I like to be inclusive, but you’ve got to be aware of the general immaturity of society. Think about how many people are sullying your birth year as they log into various websites of ill repute. In the end, if I’m a ’69er–so to speak–I think I’ve got to use the full year. ThreePuttTerritory1969@gmail.com. Someone check the availability of that for me?
Q: Do you ever wish grocery stores were a little more honest with their meat packing? Everyone knows the fat and the junk is shoved underneath the chicken breast, right? Couldn’t we just be more honest about it? Tuck Ribmeat, Houston, TX
A: This practice doesn’t really bother me with chicken, but with steaks and pork chops it can be a real nightmare. In an ideal world, your meat isn’t coming in a prepackaged container, but who has the money for that? I can’t pay to have my meat grass fed, bottle nursed and hand-trimmed. You’ve got to make certain sacrifices or sometimes you’re just in a time crunch. There have been times when I’ve gotten a pork chop home from the store, turned it over and found out it’s the ass end of the loin and there’s a huge vein of fat running through the thing. It makes me SEE RED. I want to take the offending piece of meat back to the store and slap someone in the face with it. DOES THIS LOOK LIKE CENTER CUT? So, with certain meats you must be very careful. But, at the end of the day, I think we’ve come to a compromise with the grocery store butcher. It’s a game, a little dance we do. Do you really want your chicken packaged haphazardly? Don’t you want to see those breasts front and center? I think you do.
Q: Ever wonder how much of a pain in the ass it would be to have long hair? I can’t even begin to think about the agony it must cause. Everyone who has long hair must think it looks better, right? Surely there’s nothing practical about it. Buzz Cutte, Dallas, TX.
A: My hair is a little long right now–for me. I’m not throwing it into a pony tail or french braid or anything. Yesterday it was very windy. I walked out to my car, was outside for a grand total of 45 seconds and my hair was all over the place. It looked like I had just emerged from a cave after a two year hibernation. I had to quickly piece it back together to try and look presentable. Luckily for me, my hair kind of falls back into place, but if you have long hair can a stiff breeze ruin your whole look? Does hairspray or some type of “product” work in this situation? I keep my locks product free. The last time I used anything was an ill-advised mousse phase in ~4th grade. I like my hair luxurious, not the texture of raw pasta. There are so many drawbacks to long hair where do you start? I couldn’t deal with the heat. I’d spend all summer saying, “GET THIS SH*T OFF MY NECK!” And, then drying it after a shower? Another nightmare. So, I really don’t think anyone has long hair for practical reasons. It’s gotta be for the look. And I think most of us probably appreciate a nice long hairstyle on someone from time to time. We should be more grateful for their sacrifices.
Q: Would you rather have a good caddy, who’s a know-it-all and a bit of a prick, or just nice a kid to carry your bag around who’s mostly clueless? Spalding Smails, Bushwood, IL
A: Caddies are a bit of a mystery. So few people who play golf get the experience of taking a caddy on a regular basis. They are an upper class golf accessory. And for people who get to take a caddy every once in a while, they often aren’t comfortable. It’s another reminder that you are out of your comfort zone, or it’s one more pair of eyes on your hideous golf game. You’ll often see golfers apologizing to their caddy if they are a guest at country club. That’s an odd dynamic, right? You’re paying the guy to do this job, but apologizing for not being JACK NICKLAUS out there. Sorry, you had to rake six different spots in that same bunker–here’s an extra twenty. But assuming you are comfortable and experienced with loopers, which of the above is the better scenario? In my opinion all caddies are either good or bad, but that doesn’t mean you are going to have a good or bad experience. Often times the better caddies are the bigger pricks, just because of the elite status they’ve gained in their little world. They are used to good loops, good pay, and so if they get STUCK with your group, you could end up getting a little bit of attitude. Of course, there places like Pine Valley, one of the best courses in the world, where the caddies are allegedly encouraged to be critical/sarcastic/generally unimpressed. Apparently this is part of the experience. For me, though, golf can be enough of a hassle just trying to hit the shots. I don’t want to think about my caddy’s mood. So, if I can’t have a good caddy who is also a good guy (they do exist), then I’d always take the happy idiot. A couple of good reads isn’t worth four hours of attitude.
Q: You know how your pets know exactly when it’s time to eat. To the exact minute? I always feel for them when we change the clocks. If humans only ate twice a day and we didn’t have any way to tell time, how close do you think we’d get to the same times every day? Miss A. Meal, Purina, MO.
A: How good are our internal clocks? I think they’re pretty good, and honestly I think they could be better. Because we live in a world with alarms and clocks at our disposal it is easy to get pretty relaxed, but I find that I’m one of those people who wake up before their alarm goes off. It’s annoying in the sense that I rarely maximize my sleep time, but I also very rarely oversleep. When I come to a minute or two before my alarm is about to go off, that always creeps me out a bit and at the same time I feel very POWERFUL. Could humans apply this power to their eating schedules? It must be rough being a pet and having to rely on others for your food. Hey, PSST, it’s 4 pm. HEY, how about a little food over here? Assuming we still were in charge of feeding ourselves, I think we’d probably be slaves to our schedule. If you were done work and home at 7 pm every night, that’s probably when you’d eat regardless of whether you knew it was 7 pm or not. If your schedule was less consistent, I guess you’d probably know when it was getting close to 7 pm–you’d get a little stomach rumble, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean you’d eat at that time. My concise answer is that our guts could help us tell time if we didn’t have clocks, but most of us are probably still too busy to address that hunger at the same time every day.
Q: I saw that Seinfeld the other day where George wants to name his kid “Seven,” after Micky Mantle and then another couple steals the name for their own kid. George, rightfully, is furious. Do you think real life friends ever disown each other over baby names? Bob Cobb, Newark, NJ
A: Great episode. And, really a fine moment for George. He’s often so petty, and yet he offered them a second choice for a name, “Soda,” with no hesitation. Everyone loves soda! One of my favorite things to do with Seinfeld episodes is to look up the plots. I HAVE ISSUES. But, when you think of a Seinfeld episode you usually think of just one of the story lines. That’s what I do, anyway. In my memory, that whole episode is about the baby name. That’s NEVER the case. For example, this episode was also the one where Jerry’s girlfriend wore the same dress every date and Kramer fixed Elaine’s bad back in exchange for her “girl’s bike.” Two classic subplots. And, that’s why Seinfeld is the best sitcom ever. By a thousand miles. Getting back to the question, I’m sure this has happened. People fight over anything. The only question is, how often does this happen? Is it prominent? I have no personal experience, but I think if I had a baby name I liked I might sit on it. People CANNOT be trusted. Imagine being the person who thought up Michael? The epiphany! Then all of a sudden people are getting named Michael right and left. Frustrating. I think there has to be some type of unwritten rule, right? You can’t name your kid the same name as your friend’s kid? Unless you have valid familial reasons, or something? It’s like a first come, first serve thing. Seriously, say your friend has a 1-year old son named, oh I don’t know, Morty (sticking with the Seinfeld theme), is there any way you can call them up and say, “It’s a boy! We’re going with Morty!” That’s a clear violation. OF SOMETHING. And, I think the original Morty parents have a right to be pissed. Whether they get over it or not, I guess that’s up to them.
Q: Are you going to have an NCAA pool this year, and how about a prize this year?
A: I will set up a pool, as is my custom. For the stragglers, the downtrodden and the degenerate. Bring me your tired and weary. I’m not sure how much action it will get now that I’m semi-Retired. We’ll see. Will there be a prize? We’ve always handed out pride as a trophy for the NCAA’s, but maybe I can think of something. I’ll try to get the pool information up by Monday Morning at the latest and then I’ll harass people until tip-off next Thursday. Can’t wait to lose two Final Four teams on day one (again).