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Token Dude weighs in on gender wage gap three days later

So, I sat on a panel at the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) National Capital Area (NCA) Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) and Expo last week. How’d that happen? The panel was about the next generation of proposal professionals (a.k.a., “Better Know a Millennial”) and, while there are many young women entering my field, there are very few young men who are (a) known quantities to the APMP-NCA leadership and (b) willing to sit in front of a crowd and answer questions about generational differences in our workplaces.

In short: I was offered the rare opportunity to be a token dude and jumped at it.

The only way you can tell that this isn't a stock photo is because we're not laughing at salad.
The only way you can tell that this isn’t a stock photo is because we’re not laughing at salad. [Source: Lisa Pafe]
Most of the panel was easy. We practiced a few times on the phone, so we all came in with a few canned stories for each of our moderator’s questions. If anything, it got easier at the panel itself because we could finally see each other and figure out who’s about to talk. This was critical for me because, as Token Dude, I didn’t want to interrupt any of my peers and become Token Mansplainer.

But, then we opened up for questions from the audience. And that’s when things got exciting — mostly because I figured there wouldn’t be any. It was the last session before the bar opened, right?

Now, you’ll have to forgive me here because I don’t remember the exact phrasing of the question (thanks, open bar afterward), but I believe someone asked us how we felt about women in our field — proposal and business development — earning $20,000 – 30,000 less a year than men. (If the woman who asked sees this, please correct me if I got this wrong.)

I didn’t answer. For a couple of reasons:

1. I was caught off guard. Remember, the rest of the panel to this point was at least semi-rehearsed.

2. I deferred to the women on the panel. I didn’t want to act as a white knight when I was already sitting with three people more qualified to speak to their own experience.

If possible, I try to only Wayne Knight, never white knight.
If possible, I try to only Wayne Knight, never white knight.

I don’t regret not answering, but after having three days to mull it over, I know how I would respond if, say, I were the only person asked. After all, I may not be a woman in my field, but if the statistic is true — that my peers, including the ones I sat up on that stage with — are being paid less than me for no other reason except their gender, then what does that make me if I’m willing to go along with it?

So, in hindsight (which is how I’m a Jeopardy! champion in my own mind), here’s how I’d answer if ever asked again:

If that statistic — that women in business and proposal development are paid $20,000 to $30,000 less a year than equally qualified men — is true, then that’s abhorrent. Because, for that level of disparity, that means that this isn’t just an issue of one or two men being better salary negotiators than women — it’s companies knowingly paying a large portion of their workforce less across the industry.

It means that, since is the norm, I can only wonder if my own employer does this. That my peers, who are mostly women, are working the same crazy proposal hours I am, yet their work is somehow less valued than mine.

I don’t know if my employer pays women with my same level of experience and ability less than me. I assume not because I’m led by two extraordinary managers who are women, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have full control over who does and doesn’t get paid more.

But, I want to believe that, if I found out that my employer does pay unequal salaries and wages for equal work, I would start looking for another job, even if it meant giving up a larger salary.

I don’t want to participate in a system that rewards me and undervalues someone else for an arbitrary reason. Because, if a company can justify discrimination or preferential treatment on the basis of gender — something we all know is wrong — then they can easily undervalue performance for less controversial reasons.

A company that can pay a woman less for being a woman can decide to pass me over for a raise or promotion because of my politics — which are garbage to most government contractors, I’m sure. Or my sexual preferences. Or because I’m not sufficiently manly enough — like I said in the panel, man, I hate golf.

I also said in the panel that I like working for and with women. I want to believe that my peers are as valued by my company as I value them. And I want to work in an environment where all of my colleagues, regardless of identification, are treated fairly because that’s not just good for women, members of the LGBT community, or ethnic minorities — that’s good for everyone.

Anyway, this panel was a great experience, one that I believe will shape my future career. I should probably do things like this more often. And maybe next time, it won’t take me three whole days to form a coherent thought about a complicated issue.

That time I wrote about Mike Rowe and he responded

So, Wednesday a week ago, I wrote a Take it from Snee column on SeriouslyGuys about a Mike Rowe post about whether he, as a celebrity, should recommend people vote. He declined to do so, and I took offense at the way he described the right to vote, the process to be ready to vote, and the idea that any actor using his or her celebrity to encourage people to vote were either (a) misguided but well-intentioned or (b) only doing it to win votes for their candidate without having to actually defend their own choice.

As someone who writes for a living, but not often enough on the stuff I want to do, I seized on that anger to write what seemed funny: what if Mike Rowe, of all people, was being a snob?

And so, I pulled full quotes of what he actually said, and then I recontextualized them. I “indigninantly” explained what I heard in his arguments.

For example: did Mike compare telling anyone to vote to giving anyone the gun that lots of people responsibly own but also was used to shoot 21 kids at Sandy Hook Elementary School? Yes, he did:

However, I’m afraid I can’t encourage millions of people whom I’ve never met to just run out and cast a ballot, simply because they have the right to vote. That would be like encouraging everyone to buy an AR-15, simply because they have the right to bear arms. I would need to know a few things about them before offering that kind of encouragement. For instance, do they know how to care for a weapon? Can they afford the cost of the weapon? Do they have a history of violence? Are they mentally stable? In short, are they responsible citizens?

Casting a ballot is not so different.

Mike could’ve chosen any gun to represent the exercise of our Second Amendment rights. He specifically chose the currently most controversial one in America. That’s symbolism, and I inferred from it a sense that we need to control who we do and don’t encourage to vote, like in Mike’s response when he asked me:

Forget about the apathetic and the willfully ignorant – what about the racists and the homophobes? The religious zealots? What about the tax-cheats and the wife-beaters? Do we really want to encourage bullies to vote? What about KKK enthusiasts? NAMBLA sympathizers? What about those who call for “more dead cops?” Can you think of no one who should maybe stay home on election day?

That’s quite a list of miscreants, deplorables even. But, I’ll get into that a little farther. I’m still sorting out where I quoted Mike correctly and where I went too far in my own head.

Did he say voters treating the election like American Idol was how we got our two major presidential candidates this year? Yes, he did:

Look at our current candidates. No one appears to like either one of them. Their approval ratings are at record lows. It’s not about who you like more, it’s about who you hate less. Sure, we can blame the media, the system, and the candidates themselves, but let’s be honest – Donald and Hillary are there because we put them there. The electorate has tolerated the intolerable. We’ve treated this entire process like the final episode of American Idol. What did we expect?

Did he say that this is election was settled by stupid people because stupid people watch American Idol? No, I inferred it because his main argument about voting is literacy, and reality television is the typical punching bag of people arguing that the American people are becoming overall dumber a la Idiocracy. But, Mike didn’t say anyone was stupid.

Did he say people should read certain books to be intellectually ready to choose to vote? Yes, he did:

Spend a few hours every week studying American history, human nature, and economic theory. Start with “Economics in One Lesson.” Then try Keynes. Then Hayek. Then Marx. Then Hegel. Develop a worldview that you can articulate as well as defend. Test your theory with people who disagree with you. Debate. Argue. Adjust your philosophy as necessary. Then, when the next election comes around, cast a vote for the candidate whose worldview seems most in line with your own.

Did he say that these were just examples of the kind of reading that can inform a populace prior to an election, and that there are other types of reading that prepare a person to cast a vote? No, he didn’t.

He also didn’t recommend reading news sources, candidate’s web sites, or government pages explaining referendums on ballots and how that kind of reading might be more important right before an election than Marx or Hegel until his later response. But, you know what? I didn’t either.

And it was pretty clear that we both meant to say it, even though neither of us did. And that’s where I was wrong and why I owed Mike an apology: I choose to describe his omission as malice and yet did not hold myself accountable for the same thingI accused him of a darker meaning behind his words that, on rereading both his original piece and his rebuttal, wasn’t there.

For example: did Mike say he wanted to reinstate constitutionally banned literacy tests? No, he absolutely didn’t. He only hopes, like most of us (including me), that people do read and take their right to vote seriously when they exercise it.

I made the leap to the slippery slope argument I often hear behind other people’s “we shouldn’t let stupid people vote, breed, etc.” arguments — an argument that I read in many comments that claim to agree with Mike. In almost every case “stupid” equals “person I disagree with politically,” “libtard” and “fascist” alike.

To those commenters: I suggest that you also reread Mike’s posts and pretty much everything else he’s written. If Mike is only hoping people choose wisely for themselves whether or not to vote, and you as a commenter agree with this, then it seems antithetical to then argue for measures that take that choice away.

You know, like what I originally accused him of. Which is why we’re all here today. And also why I’m responding on my own web site and not on SeriouslyGuys, a comedy blog: because this is a serious issue that deserves open words not designed around a punchline. (Also because there are two other writers on SeriouslyGuys whose work is worth reading without being interrupted by my mistakes.)

Fundamentally, I agree with Mike that it is always better if more people read, and that the benefits of reading extend beyond learning to voting, discourse, and politics. I mean, what writer wouldn’t encourage people to read?

I disagree with Mike, however, that one may only suggest reading and then consider voting — that voting is so serious that it’s better to let people decide maybe, eventually, should they decide to read books about economics. And I also disagree with the idea that everyone else, especially actors like Leo and, yes, Mike, should stay out of it.

I’ll break my disagreement up into two pieces.

1. Voting is serious, but not as dangerous as using a gun for politics.

Voting is serious and important, but exercising your Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth Amendment rights is not analogous to exercising your Second Amendment rights — handing anyone a ballot is not handing them an AR-15. And that’s precisely what the Founders intended when they established voting as the means of selecting most offices of leadership.

After just fighting a war to win legislative representation, they knew that ballots are infinitely better than bullets. They’re safer, nobody except maybe Edgar Allen Poe dies, and because the losing side was not shot, they can work on their arguments and try again next year.

And we know that early Americans thought this way because, when Thomas Jefferson (yes, I know who he is) won the 1800 presidential election, his defeat of the incumbent Federalist Party and establishment of a government controlled by the Democratic-Republican Party was hailed as the “Revolution of 1800.” Why hailed? Because nobody had to die for it to happen.

So, voting isn’t analogous to our 2nd Amendment right. It’s analogous to our First Amendment rights. And while we all wish more people would read before exercising those rights, I don’t face a moral conundrum over whether it’s safe or polite to encourage people to speak, write, worship, or associate as they choose. I feel safe about recommending voting to anyone for the same reason. Especially to people I disagree with.

So, yes, I believe that accidentally encouraging racists and homophobes, religious zealots, tax-cheats, wife-beaters, bullies, KKK enthusiasts, NAMBLA sympathizers, and those who call for “more dead cops” is a perfectly acceptable risk to making a blanket encouragement to vote. Because if all of those people outnumber decent Americans who stayed home on election day, then Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the least of our problems.

As for worrying about accidentally telling uninformed people to pull the lever …

2. People don’t read (or vote) without an interest.

Again, while I want everyone to read and vote, I don’t think political interest happens in that order. Or at least people don’t read books on economics before they decide whether or not to vote.

Instead, I find it easier to believe that deciding to vote first is more likely to send people to Amazon. Without that interest in selecting a leader, nobody need ever read a book on economics, history, politics, or biographies of our leaders. And I find, anecdotally anyway, that most people without that interest won’t, even if they are more than intelligent enough to do so.

And that’s why I disagree with Mike’s “read first, then decide” approach. It can potentially discourage people from taking the first step to read the kind of books that shape a more informed citizenry (“Why read Kynes if I know I’m not voting?”), even though that is not Mike’s intent. In a perfect world, people would seek those works out without prompting. But, it’s not a perfect world; it’s a democracy.

As Mike pointed out in his response, Trump won his primary with a 62 percent higher voting turnout, while Clinton won hers with a 21 percent lower turnout. While Mike thinks this mean turnout doesn’t matter when unlikeable candidates win, he’s still missing the larger picture. In total, 61 million votes were cast in the 2016 primary for somebody. That’s out of at least 219 million eligible voters, of which some 146 million are registered. Trump might have won with higher numbers of voters than last year, but who cares when apparently 73 percent of people who could vote didn’t.

I’m pretty sure 73 percent of voters aren’t in NAMBLA or unread, so I ‘m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and tell them they should probably vote. They should read, too, of course. But, considering that 86 percent of American adults can read, encouraging them shouldn’t be too hard.

So long as we let people slide when they self-select political illiteracy and uninvolvement, our elections will continue to be decided by only half the eligible population voting. And, in my admittedly rosy view of the American people, I believe that our country makes its worst decisions when the votes of a few hyper-interested cranks aren’t drowned out by the overwhelming majority of common sense.

But, that’s a pretty minor disagreement that I blew way out of proportion. I threw nuance and civility out of the window to make deep-cutting accusations and jokes: that’s on me, not only because Mike didn’t deserve those accusations, but I failed my own argument, too. Mike has never in thought or deed demonstrated that he’s an elitist or supports disenfranchisement or oligarchy. Just as I have never advocated not reading.

I’m glad that Mike Rowe both rebutted my ill-conceived piece and accepted my sincerely offered apology on Wednesday. This experience will shape how I write both comedy and commentary on the future. And, hopefully, we can all look at it as an opportunity to let communication and kindness trump anger and points-scoring in future elections. Which I hope everyone will vote in.

And finally, why write this now after saying I had dropped it? Because Mike asked me some questions, and it would be rude not to respond to him. As for my response to other commentors, that was a freebie.

Your name is Richard: A thought experiment

Let’s say that, like me, your name is Richard.

There are several nicknames that float around for Richard: Rich, Rick, Ricky, Richie, multiple variations on those based on vowel preferences, Ditch (if you saw Terminal Velocity), and, finally, Dick.

Maybe I’m wrong here, but it’s generally an acceptable practice to designate your own nickname in new introductions. You know, unless you choose something ambitious and most-likely unachievable like “Snake” or “The Viceroy.”

So, you introduce yourself as Rick. Or Rich. Or maybe you’re eight-years-old or a very well-paid Dominican baseball player, so you call yourself Ricky.

The other person responds, “Pleased to meet you, Dick.”

“Please, call me [Rick/Rich/Ricky],” you respond politely. Maybe they misheard you.

“Yeah, sure. Look, Dick, I nee …” he continues, nonplussed.

“No, not Dick. Rrrrick.”

(Or "Di-tch," you courageous Charlie Sheen fan, you.)
(Or “Di-tch,” you courageous Charlie Sheen fan, you.)

“Uh-huh. So as I was saying, Dick …” he resumes, annoyed that you interrupted him while speaking.

“Look, you’re not listening to me. I said my name is Rick. Not Dick. Don’t call me Dick.”

“Woah, calm down now,” he says, raising his hands. “There’s no need to get offended. My great-grandfather was a Dick. That makes me a-sixteenth Dick. I’m just trying to honor you.”

“I don’t care if you’re a full-blooded Dick. I don’t like to be called Dick because I can never tell if someone’s calling me Dick or a dick.”

“Well, that’s your problem, Dick,” he says, getting angry. “I know lots of Richards who call themselves Dick. In fact, 90 percent of the Richards I asked said they were unoffended by the term ‘dick.'”

“Good for them. I, however, don’t want to be called Dick.”

“Do you even know the history behind ‘Dick?'” he says, turning red. “Well, I do. The first person to use the term was a Richard to introduce himself. It wasn’t even a slur back then.”

“I don’t call myself Dick. And it’s a slur right now, especially the way you keep saying it.”

“OK, fine, Richard, since you want to get all politically correct about it,” he says, rolling his eyes. “So, anyway, I need your approval to continue calling a sports team in your honor the Washington Dickskins. Do I have it?”

"And if you don't play ball, I'm moving the Dickskins to Maryland!"
“And if you don’t play ball, I’m moving the Dickskins to Maryland!”

Your Talk Like A Pirate Day Reminder

Do ye have th’ guts to raise ye colors in th’ workplace?
Do ye have th’ guts to raise ye colors in th’ workplace?

If it’s still Wednesday and you’re reading this, then tomorrow (Thursday) is Talk Like A Pirate Day. If it’s Thursday morning, then it’s not too late to pretend you swallowed a bug or had a stroke and start celebrating post-haste.

The Guys have a long history with TLAPD. In fact, one of us may secretly even be a ghost pirate! (It’s Chugs. The ghost pirate guy is Chugs.)

It’s because of this intimacy with what may very well be our favorite holiday — yes, even more so than Slutoween — that gives us pause this year. What if TLAPD happens, and nobody talks like a pirate?

“I worked from home yesterday so some contractorrrs could overhaul m’bunghole.”
“I worked from home yesterday so some contractorrrs could overhaul m’bunghole.”

Consider the scenario: you walk into work, make a beeline for the coffee pot and see that guy from Contracts who told you his name once, like, a year ago, but you forgot it. Do you say to him in Buccanese, “If ye took the last cup o’ bilge, ye better be makin’ another pot?” Or do you wait for him to growl first?

But, what if he’s waiting for your cue? And what if you both decide — because you both failed — that TLAPD just isn’t a thing anymore, even though you really wanted to?

And what if everyone does that tomorrow? All it takes is just one missed chance in the morning for everyone in your social and professional circles to decide, “You know what? I’ll just talk like an ordinary jerk off today instead of having a good time.”

It’s not enough to “talk” like a pirate online. That’s just typing. I’m typing right now. (Well, I was.) It’s not that big a deal. And it’s not Talk Like A Pirate Day if you don’t talk.

Crossbones Pete says, “Don’t be fergettin’ th’ reason fer the season, mateys! Talk like a pirate!“
Crossbones Pete says, “Don’t be fergettin’ th’ reason fer the season, mateys! Talk like a pirate!

That’s why it’s up to you (yes, you, the one reading this) to make it not weird. Take the first step. Be a communicator. I’m not advocating jumping out from behind stationary objects to yell “YARRRRRGH!” in people’s faces, but if that’s how your Jolly Roger hangs, then so be it.

And if you’re not sure how to do it, then don’t worry: we wrote the How To.

Do it in the name of pirates who didn’t just rob people, but also explored, really got out there, met new people and then robbed them. Be a hero like Francis Drake who, sure, only circumnavigated the world to elude the Spanish Armada while hitting up all their colonies, but still circumnavigated the whole freaking world.

Make tomorrow the one day it sounds kind of cool to say, “Carrrpe diem.”
Make tomorrow the one day it sounds kind of cool to say, “Carrrpe diem.”

Who knows? Maybe it’ll get you some booty. Or, better yet, some sweet ass loot that people had lying around, waiting for some stranger to call them “matey.”

Ye’ll be right glad ye did, m’hearties!


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys.

Is the pope ironically Catholic?

The other cardinals elected Pope Lando because someone must have told them all about his little maneuver at the battle of Taanab. Also: because he came with his own gold cape.
The other cardinals elected Pope Lando because someone must have told them all about his little maneuver at the battle of Taanab. Also: because he came with his own gold cape.

People just can’t get enough of the new pope. Not since Pope Benedict the XVI retired and the Vatican rebooted the papacy with Francis, the first originally named pope since — I shit you not — Pope Lando in 913 A.D. (John Paul I doesn’t count because his name was just combined his two direct predecessors.’)

But they didn’t just give him a fancy unnumbered title and lens flare. With each news story, Francis acts a little more how each of us, Catholic and non, would like to see a pope act, which is usually not like any pope we’ve known in our lifetimes.

In fact, he’s so un-pope-like that … well, what if he’s being pope ironically? I’m not confident enough in my afterlife to outright call the holy see a hipster, but here’s evidence that, were it anyone else, would cause even the juicer at Whole Foods to throw their douche flag. (It’s dry quinoa wrapped in a keffiyeh, bound with old timey packaging twine.)

Judge for yourself … y’know, unless ye be judged first or whatever.

And he only wears those because you can’t go to church in Crocs.
And he only wears those because you can’t go to church in Crocs.

Going back to the beginning, the first headlines were about how he refuses to wear the designer red shoes that traditionally come with his office. Instead, he wears simple black dress shoes — basically the kind you look for at Payless before that big court date or second wedding.

When it comes to humility, this guy has it all the way down to his sole, amiright? (I have just been told that I am right, but also an ass.)

Or … did he spend hours picking out the exact shoes that say, “I’m the kind of guy who looks like he doesn’t care about what he wears on his feet?”

And then there’s his car.

First, he refused to ride around in the bulletproof Popemobile while visiting Brazil. Is it that he doesn’t believe in putting up barriers between people and their spiritual leaders … or, did he worry that looking at Rio through bulletproof glass wouldn’t be “authentic” enough?

Fortunately, this glass isn't bulletproof. Yet.
Fortunately, this glass isn’t bulletproof. Yet.
It's fuel-efficient, American and vintage.
It’s fuel-efficient, American and vintage.

Then, back in July, he gave priests grief for driving “latest model cars.” Could it be that he wants priests to adopt a more humble lifestyle …

Or, is he just jelly because he drives a 1983 Chevy Renault? Either way, he comes up smelling like roses, except when he smells like gasoline, but who knows if that’s from working on his car or dabbing some behind his ears so that he smells like a tinkerer?

He’s also big into the internet, granting some of his more participatory followers shorter times in purgatory, making retweeting the official new “Hail Mary.”

He’s also really big into some liberal issues. Well, big for a Catholic leader, anyway. And he’s not just liberal, he’s indifferent. Gay? Pfft, not for him to judge. Atheist? Meh, you’ll probably still get into heaven, but you’ll have to stand in line behind the Protestants. He cares and yet doesn’t at the same time!

But there are two liberal issues that he’s willing to dispense with irony for: poor people and being anti-war. Coupled with his modest apartment in Vatican City, and it’s clear that Pope Frank’s Occupying Apostolic Palace.

He even does the Occupiers' weird sign language up and down voting.
He even does the Occupiers’ weird sign language up and down voting.

OK, so maybe I’m grasping at straws here. After all, hipsters pretty much subverted genuineness by putting a silly fedora on it and making it walk backwards because that’s the opposite of what people expect.

But, there’s still one more piece of evidence.

Recently, people reported receiving phone calls from the pope in response to letters they wrote.

In one case, he called a divorced woman whose married boyfriend got her pregnant and tried to pressure her into an abortion. (The boyfriend, not the pope, obvs.) When she said she was worried about “running afoul of the Church,” Pope Francis said he would personally baptize her child when he or she is born.

In another, he called an Argentinian woman who had been raped by police, asking her to try to have faith in the justice system.

He even called a guy whose brother had been killed in a gas station robbery, just to tell him that his letter had made him cry.

That’s right: the pope uses his phone for talking. Isn’t that so retro?!

If the nerd frame glasses fit ...
If the nerd frame glasses fit …

Talk to your parents about drugs

“Why don’t I get the check, and then we can inject heroin into one of my testicles. Ladies’ choice.”
“Why don’t I get the check, and then we can inject heroin into one of my testicles. Ladies’ choice.”

Parents. According to conventional wisdom, they know best. But, as you move out — be it for school, work or marriage — ask yourself this: do you know where they are and what they’re doing right now?

Maybe they’re knitting. Or gardening. Or doing it to DVDs full of people with pubic hair. Or — as it’s turning out to be the case — marijuana.

And if you think it’s not your parents, think again. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), illicit drug use among 50- to 64-year-olds has doubled since 2002.

So, what are you going to do to make sure your parents don’t turn on, tune in and drop out … again?

Learn the signs

The first step to pointing out others’ problems is knowing that they have one and then admitting it to them. People aged 50 and above won’t make this easy for you.

Called the Baby Boomers, this set of precocious young elderly people have devised their own lingo for the drugs we take for granted today. They might use strange terms like “grass,” “weed” or “doobies.” Or even refer to it in archaic measurements like “dimes” from a time when people used solid metal coins for currency.

Is this photo from 1973 or 2013? Thanks to Instagram, who knows?
Is this photo from 1973 or 2013? Thanks to Instagram, who knows?

If you think monitoring them online will help you keep tabs on their activities, forget about it. While Boomers may set up Facebook or Twitter accounts, many of them eat meals — or mushroomswithout posting a single picture online. No, not even on Snapchat.

Instead, you’ll have to watch what they do in a space called “offline.” Keep a watch for strange smells emanating from the garage and Frank Zappa music. Or long, aimless car trips when they “just need to drive.” And if they mention that they’re thinking about trying a “B&B,” that is code for “blunts and Beelzebub,” which is when they smoke marijuana and worship lesser Satanic demons.

What to do

“I’m not mad, mom and dad. Just … disappointed.”
“I’m not mad, mom and dad. Just … disappointed.”

The important thing is to remain calm. Loud emotional outbursts — like sob-yelling, “Hypocrites!” — is exactly the kind of thing that triggers the giggles if they’ve just “baked.”

Wait until your parents have suitably mellowed out, and then calmly explain that you know what they’ve been doing and that, when you were your age, you tried marijuana and other drugs, too.

While you can’t outright forbid your parents from taking drugs, you can make sure they know how to do them safely. Ask to meet their dealer, or if medical marijuana is legal in your state, take them to a medical dispensary so that they can learn the safest ways to obtain and use it.

And then, once that’s over, go visit your grandparents and talk to them about chlamydia.

And maybe their pill addiction, too.
And maybe their pill addiction, too.

This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys.

Just three more weeks of this nonsense

Unless the race of handsome aliens finally rescues Tom Brady from this world, this is the only chance you’ll get to see Tebow hold the football sideways like he did in those plays about gangs during Youth Group.
Unless the race of handsome aliens finally rescues Tom Brady from this world, this is the only chance you’ll get to see Tebow hold the football sideways like he did in those plays about gangs during Youth Group.

Last week heralded the return of football. Unfortunately, it’s preseason, which looks a lot like college ball: a parade of players in the final stage of their tryouts, while guaranteed performers are kept on the back burner to prevent injuries. (Or, as Dan Snyder calls them: “unapproved Paid Time Off.”)

Preseason football is the handjob you endure for now because you know there will be sex in a couple of weeks. You just have to put your time in first, get to really know your team, first string and last. And then, POW! Bangin’ all the way until February, when you f**k things up by dropping the ball on Valentine’s. (And after that division championship she got you for Steak and a Blowjob Day? For shame.)

My wife’s lackluster handjob was Tim Tebow because she’s one of those people who thinks the city of Boston walks on water.

Technicalities.
Technicalities.

But, that’s not to say you can’t enjoy preseason football. It is, after all, not college football, which sucks, no matter what people from Alabama try to tell you.*

For example: last week, I had to endure three quarters of Rex Grossman, a player that even the Bears got tired of. And that was a team that, before Grossman, hadn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1985 and hasn’t been back since.

To be honest, I couldn’t pick Sexy Rexy out of a lineup with his helmet off, so here’s Rex Manning.
To be honest, I couldn’t pick Sexy Rexy out of a lineup with his helmet off, so here’s Rex Manning.

However, what happened that fourth quarter — just when I was about to cue up Star Trek — made it all worthwhile: watching Pat White, the fourth stringer, earn Grossman’s third string spot the way Brian Griese had taken it from Sexy Rexy in 2007 and Kyle Orton after him.

Also, watching fans take a preseason win as a sign of this being “their year.” The 2008 Detroit Lions, who won all four of their preseason games before embarking on what would be the first imperfect NFL season since Baltimore’s first football team, would laugh at your hubris if it didn’t bring back so many sad, painful memories.

So, while, yes, preseason football is mostly a fight between second and third stringers, at least you know that your team will be alright should the bus accident from Beetlejuice happen. (Something similar happened to Lynyrd Skynyrd, which means that fans don’t ever have to put up with hearing “one from our new album.”)

“What do you mean ‘Kirk Cousins is starting tonight?’”
“What do you mean ‘Kirk Cousins is starting tonight?’”

Or, at the very least, a glorious start to what could very well turn out to be a mediocre year.


*Yes, yes: some college players transition naturally into the pros their rookie year. Strangely enough, though, the top 3 rookie performers last year — Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and RG III — were not from the SEC, indicating that even college football rankings (just like your degree) don’t matter in the real world. (The 4th, Casey Hayward, came from Vanderbilt. Let me reiterate: Vanderbilt.)


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys.

The pee is for pliability

The difference between low-brow and high-brow is based on who's lobby it's being displayed in.
The difference between low-brow and high-brow is based on who’s lobby it’s being displayed in.

As SeriouslyGuys reported earlier today, you can grow teeth from your urine. OK, so technically, they’re grown from the stem cells found in your urine. But, still. If every debate about stem cells has proven anything, it’s that we’re a lot more concerned with where stem cells come from (looking your way, readers who exist solely because of botched abortions) than what they can actually do.

But, an article from National Geographic lists four other uses for that liquid gold we mistakenly flush or deposit on bar exteriors, including as fuel, medication, compost and a source of potable water. So, that’s one way to use what PBR made in your car and three other ways to get into your mouth, directly or indirectly.

But, those are just the uses that science has approved. Here’s what those researchers missed, just like the guy who managed to whiz all over the toilet seat.

Marking your stuff

If you’re a pet owner — and, no, fish don’t count because that’s just an underwater ant farm — then you’ve already witnessed the precedent for marking things that don’t really belong to you.

Dogs do it to trees on public ground because they don’t understand how taxes and our park system work. Cats do it to everything you own because they’re all secretly reincarnated ex-wives. Jack Nicholson did it once in a movie because he was becoming a werewolf, but that was probably ad-libbed because he really wanted James Spader’s shoes.

“Thanks anyway for the Italian loafers, James, but I threw them away because they smelled like piss.”
“Thanks anyway for the Italian loafers, James, but I threw them away because they smelled like piss.”

So, if you’re tired of being pissed on, trying pissing everyone else off … by pissing on their stuff. I just took back two comforters, a hat and — just to really prove who’s boss — a litter box from my cats.

Winning an Oscar

It’s basically assumed that if you’re a male actor and cry convincingly on-screen, then you’re practically guaranteed an Oscar nomination. And if Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t cry that year, then there’s a solid chance you’ll win. (And Peter O’Toole will go back home winless, yet again.)

But, what if there’s a sneakier way to win with another liquid? Despite their best efforts, Day-Lewis and Nicholson can’t win every year. That’s the niche Tom Hanks carved out for himself like peeing the icicles off an outhouse seat, garnering five nominations for either best lead or supporting actor (and winning twice), several of which were for movies where he peed on-screen. (Seriously, Jack O’Brien broke this down already on Cracked.)

Fan Theory: Tom Hanks stored up his own pee for days during shooting just so his World’s Longest Piss performance would be more convincing.
Fan Theory: Tom Hanks stored up his own pee for days during shooting just so his World’s Longest Piss performance would be more convincing.

He won Best Actor in Forrest Gump, a film where he tells JFK that he has to pee after drinking too many Dr. Peppers, followed by a less necessary shot where he’s looking at pictures in the Oval Office bathroom while peeing.

Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two. It also featured Hanks as Mission Commander Jim Lovell peeing into a tube and then venting that pee into space.

Hanks was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Saving Private Ryan, which included telling his platoon about a kid back home that “used to piss V’s on everyone’s jackets.”

And in The Green Mile, Hanks plays a character who spends half the movie grimacing while attempting to pee through the galaxy’s biggest field of kidney stones outside of the asteroid belt between Hoth and the Anoat system. Don’t worry, it ends with him finally being able to do it and his look of orgasmic relief. (Oh. Um, spoiler alert.) The entire movie, peeing and all, was nominated for four Oscars, but the 15 total minutes of peeing time was a bridge too far for Academy members, actually winning none.

Secret revenge

For some reason, people are convinced that urine can cure athlete’s foot, jellyfish stings, acne and a stale sex life. Of course it can’t. But, chances are pretty good that, if somebody you know believes in the healing powers of pee-pee, then their stupidity has probably offended you in other ways as well.

So, if they happen to stumble into foot fungus or tangle with a Portuguese man o’ war and demand your hot, steamy genital juice, let them have it. It’s not every day you get revenge and the victim thanks you for it. That’s some Salieri s**t right there.

S**tting is how Salieri prefers to avenge affronts to his life’s work, but peeing works for minor slights.
S**tting is how Salieri prefers to avenge affronts to his life’s work, but peeing works for minor slights.

(If you think that’s low-brow, you should read some of Mozart’s personal letters. Let’s just agree that all geniuses truck in poop jokes.)

And if the person you’re looking to secretly chastise hasn’t run either afoul of cnidocysts or enough to get athlete’s foot, then may I suggest serving them a Boilertaker.

Unless you angle the glass right, you’ll make a lot more foam than you want.
Unless you angle the glass right, you’ll make a lot more foam than you want.

The Boilertaker

A cocktail based on what the boilermaker took after Happy Hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1.5 ounces of whiskey poured in a shot glass
  • A tall pint glass full of your urine

Serve the two glasses to your guest, instructing them to drop the shot into what they believe is beer — but is actually Fosters — and then chug the whole thing. You will do the same, only with actual beer. Or wait. Was that the Fosters? S**t.


This post originally appeared on SeriouslyGuys.

And you thought the Internet was no good

Just like with the printing press and television, we knew that the Internet was going to change the way the world works. And by change, we meant destroy the very fabric of society, leaving those unfortunate souls who remain shambling around alone into signposts, staring into their pamphlet/portable TV/iPhone.

Good grief, I can barely drink and drive in a straight line as it is.
Good grief, I can barely drink and drive in a straight line as it is.

And, for the most, part, yeah, that’s the way things turned out. In fact, I’m writing this very post while I’m driving. (Calm down, I’m dictating it to my secretary. I can’t write, steer and hold this wine glass. That would be irresponsible — everyone knows how easily Chateau Lafite bruises.)

But, here’s the thing: while, yes, the Internet is a distraction at best and providing a platform to the worst people at worst, it’s also changed some of the old ways we do things for the better.

So, let’s ignore that I am, in fact, one of those worst people from the previous sentence and give thanks for what the Information Superhighway (remember that shit?) has done for us lately.

Settled bets/shut up assholes

Some of you readers may not be old enough to have gone to a bar without the Internet in your pocket. If this was the case, then might I suggest queuing up Cheers on your Netflix account? I’ll wait.

OK, so you know how everyone rolls their eyes whenever John Ratzenberger opens his mouth the way we do when John Ratzenberger opens his mouth on Fox News?

“And you know what really grinds my gears? That nobody cared that my rutabagas looked like Richard Nixon.”
“And you know what really grinds my gears? That nobody cared that my rutabagas looked like Richard Nixon.”

That was every bar. In fact, the producers of Cheers weren’t even going to cast Ratzenberger until he suggested that the show was missing a know-it-all jackass.

The reason why he was able to turn what was probably a decent enough audition (he’s not a bad person or unfunny actor, just, c’mon, he’s not gonna beat out George Wendt for Norm) is because that guy exists, often in multiples, in every bar. And until you could pull out a newspaper, dictionary, IMDB page or Wikipedia or Snopes entry from your pocket, they could steamroll you into agreeing to disagree because they sounded authoritative enough.

That’s not to say that you’re going to convince a drunk, terminally- and chronically-factually deficient person that they were wrong. Just that you can have the satisfaction of saying, “Shut the hell up, Kevin,” and not wondering if you maybe fell asleep in civics class when they covered Reagan’s stated tax policies and what he really did.

Simplified giving away private information that no one cares about

“And, although this was the first year in a very long time that none of us won the Super Bowl, we were in several commercials that Tivo viewers forgot to fast-forward through.”
“And, although this was the first year in a very long time that none of us won the Super Bowl, we were in several commercials that Tivo viewers forgot to fast-forward through.”

Chances are that, if you still receive a Christmas letter, it’s from someone old enough to have considered switching to fax in the ’80s and then deciding that the grainy photo results meant that no technology could ever replace the U.S. Postal Service.

Thanks to the Internet — Facebook, in particular — you may still get the Christmas letter, but it’s already old news. You’ve already cried into a homemade mojito that you’re still childless and a career barista whereas the Komeski’s kid has a doctorate, twins and negotiates mergers in Japan — all in one year after graduating from Harvard. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit and the usual holiday depression around Christmas.

And now that we know that the government is already collecting and storing that info for you, whether it’s your tweets in the Library of Congress or your Tumblr posts expressing terrorist sympathies in the Utah Data Center, your trivial personal bullshit is already being examined by top men (top. men.) and being disseminated to people who actually give a shit.

Shortened your time in purgatory

When the Catholic Church isn’t inventing new ways to keep poor people up to their eyes in babies — and then molesting them when they get a little older — it’s also cranking out favors for the few people who lack the intellectual curiosity to ask why men who vowed never to marry are worried about gay people ruining it.

They did it for Irish Americans, allowing them to eat corned beef if St. Patrick’s Day occurs on a Friday during Lent. Or the Spanish on any Friday. And now they’re granting indulgences to Internet Catholics for following the pope on Twitter.

So, if you’re Bill Donohue, and your choices are to either leave your chat forum argument over Piss Christ or go to mass, now you can do both. This is the Internet that Jesus wanted. And it raises Pope Frank’s Klout score, making him more influential than McBournie, which is the ultimate Catholic good work.

“For forwarding that cute email about David not being stoned off his ass, you win one free sherbert in the kingdom of our lord.”
“For forwarding that cute email about David not being stoned off his ass, you win one free sherbert in the kingdom of our lord.”

And you thought the Internet was no good. For shame.

A Dr. Snee Special Report: Cleansing Diets

Dietitians have worked out the slowest, sexiest ways to get you out of your pants.
Dietitians have worked out the slowest, sexiest ways to get you out of your pants. And then there’s juice fasting.

As part of a special summer series, I’m putting my stethoscope to this season’s popular diets. While they’re not all terrible, they are all products of our own conflicted, misinformed era. To put this report in its proper historical context for future scientists and world leaders reading this blog:

  • In the U.S.’s 10 fattest states, nearly a full third of the population is obese. Even in our thinnest state, Colorado, nearly one-fifth are obese, so Donner parties will either have to make do with less or import midnight snacks.
  • On the other hand, even the average male model is expected to have a body fat percentage of six or less. (And that’s the gender with less body issues.)

So, we’re a little crazed when it comes to weight loss because (a) on average, we’re failing at it, and (b) according to our current aesthetic standards, nearly everybody has to drop a few pounds before being eligible for gene-swapping.

And that — along with an interest in science, but not in reading in-depth about it — has led to some … questionable diet choices becoming very popular, even among those who don’t need to lose much weight.

This week’s trendy diet is cleansing or, as it’s known in other circles, juice fasting.

What is cleansing?

Cleansing is a means to “detoxify” or remove toxins (that have yet to be defined by any licensed medical group) from the body. Typically, this involves ingesting very little food, and what food that is ingested is for its fiber content or diuretic properties. The purpose of this is, in layman’s terms, to piss, s**t and vomit until your insides are as pristine as tropical island after a tsunami.

The most common (and easiest to market) way to “detox” — because most dieters don’t have enough energy to get off the toilet, much less say an entire made-up word — is through juice fasting.

I sad juice fasting. Calm down, chief.
I sad juice fasting. Calm down, chief.

Some cleansers (the people, not the human douche they’re consuming) believe that you can speed up the detoxification process by going up the other end with colonics and by removing metal fillings and using magnetic pads to leach out any possible heavy metal toxins.

The idea is that, when it’s all over, you are spiritually and physically cleaned out and ready to be healthy. Also, you’ve jump-started your way to a set of rocking abs by trying not to secrete liquid s**t in your work cubicle.

Why cleansing is bulls**t

If you read all the above without noticing any of the reasons why cleansing is bulls**t, then may I interest you in one of my patented Dr. Snee Juicers? It’s no coincidence that, when somebody says they’re on a juice cleanse right now, everyone in earshot automatically thinks either (a) “You’re so hot,” or (b) “You are so stupid.”

Look, nobody is disputing that you shouldn’t eat poison or heavy metal. And yes, pooping is very healthy. But, so is not pooping sometimes, too. And the bulls**t behind cleansing is an intentional hodgepodge of pseudo-science and pseudo-religion.

And believe you me, I know a thing or two about fake doctors.
And believe you me, I know a thing or two about fake doctors.

Cleansing is presented as a scientific means to flush the lifetime of garbage you’ve eaten out your assh*le like President Roslin solving Galactica’s Cylon problem. The cholesterol from every Happy Meal you ate isn’t in your large intestine, waiting for a long enough broom from either end to sweep out. It’s in your arteries. And if it were that simple to remove, then cardiologists could just tickle you until you peed.

Even if this idea were sound, it won’t work because juice fasting doesn’t even “clean” you out. It actually constipates you because fruit juice doesn’t contain fiber. Most of the juice cleanses sold on the market contain psyllium husks, which are nearly undetectable when drinking them, but greatly expand in your body, dredging your loose insides out like a vending machine dinosaur.

“I am never going to let you forget this any time you step on a Lego!”
“I am never going to let you forget this any time you step on a Lego!”

But, cleansing is also presented as the modern-day fast one begins before going on a life-altering spiritual journey, like visiting a sweat lodge to go on a vision quest, fasting for Ramadan or drinking a lot of wine in a hot tub. It’s no coincidence that, when starving and dehydrated, you sound an awful lot like Joseph Smith planning a road trip to Utah.

This creates a weird sort of bonding between fellow sufferers, which is why everyone who cleanses wants to share their experience with you. Much of this is because New Age practitioners love to adopt “Eastern” religious ceremonies and tools, but can only understand them from the viewpoint of Western mysticism. So, pain becomes some sort of achievement, like crucifixion and the way mothers get smug about child-birth.

The Verdict

Maybe we should congratulate people who stop cleansing the way we celebrate when people recover from bulimia.
Maybe we should congratulate people who stop cleansing the way we celebrate when people recover from bulimia.

Cleansing is bulimia sans fingers. For weight loss, yes, it works. Unfortunately, you’ve just experienced famine, which triggers your body to hoard everything you eat now.

But, we don’t chose diets based merely on weight loss. We chose them out of convenience, like not having to eat vegetables, or because we think our choices are more grounded in evolutionary science or moral. Or that, as juicing and fasting advocates claim, you can cure chronic pain, cancer, depression, arthritis, severe infections that resisted antibiotics and autoimmune diseases, so it’s a twofer.

Diets that come in a box usually have the bigger list of promises. Because why plan out a balanced diet of many foods for every nutrient your body needs when there’s a multivitamin you can take in the morning? And if they don’t work, that’s OK, because none of the other diets you’ve been on worked either.

But, to be fair, cleansing isn’t the absolute dumbest diet/life-changing experience you can try. So long as you haven’t intentionally eaten tapeworm eggs, you still haven’t hit rock bottom. (Yes, that’s really a thing, and no, you actually gain weight from a tapeworm.)


Rick Snee is not, in any way, a licensed medical professional or an actor that plays one on television. His only qualifications are high school and college biology (101 and 102), reading Men’s Health (2001-2003), and a systematic exposure to almost all health hazards (1981-present), but no medical training whatsoever. He’s just really opinionated, which is good enough for blogging. To submit yer own questions to Dr. Snee, Guynecologist, post comments below or email the good doctor.