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Breaking Madden Roster Cuts, Week 8: A Big Gulp full o' poop

In total, 12 of you will be featured in this week's Breaking Madden. If you're one of them, I'm sorry. Let's talk about the worst days at work we've ever had.

This week's Breaking Madden is gonna be one big ol' bear of a time.

Sunday night, Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre's career record for passing touchdowns. He now has 510. In this episode, Brett Favre's mission is to surpass that number, and he only has one game in which to do it.

Five hundred and eleven (511) touchdowns, in one 60-minute game, with all NFL rules in place. No cheats or glitch exploitations or funny stuff like that. In other words, this will be a realistic simulation of a game that could be reproduced in real life. After performing a couple short trial runs and working out the math, I sincerely believe this to be possible, at least mathematically.

I'll explain the dark science behind this on Thursday, when Breaking Madden drops. But as you can probably imagine, this game will take millions of billions of thousands of years. When you score a touchdown, you have to drag your extra-point unit on the field, kick it through, kick off to the other team, change possession ... that takes some time. In a normal NFL game, you might expect to do that, what, eight times?

The idea of going through that over 500 times, frankly, is filling me with real dread. Ahead of me is a journey of agonizingly rote repetition that might take 12 consecutive hours of playing. Maybe 15. Shit, 18? I really do not know. But I will do it, because it is my job. I haven't worked a 16-hour shift in years. This might be the single worst shift of employment I have ever had.

If I must go down this road, I will do so in the company of those who might understand me.

As always, thanks to everyone for all the responses. My own mentions have turned into one of the most fascinating reads I experience on a week-over-week basis. It's something. Cutting the field down to a dozen wasn't easy.


Four giant Green Bay receivers. Eight tiny, helpless Denver defenders (four cornerbacks and four safeties). Here they are.

This is intensely sad in so many dang ways. When you're turning 21, you're probably still used to a life in which every one of your birthdays is special, and on these days, you are special. And on this birthday, or some other birthday in your twenties, it really sinks in that when you're a grown-up, you are no longer special by simple virtue of existing.

If Bill had just moved, he may not have yet had any friends in this new city. That means that maybe, when he worked a double on his birthday, nobody even tried to talk him out of it.

But what's really killing me about this is Bill coming home to a dark apartment (my guess is that there was some kind of foul-up with the change in occupant). Like a 21-year-old dude is gonna be like, "welp, time to dig out my emergency candles!" You just lie your sorry ass down and look at the dead of night and either sleep or do nothing. Of all the non-serious gut punches your morale could take, this is right down there.

This happened to me multiple times in my twenties because I either couldn't or didn't pay the power company. The folks they send to shut off the box are masters of their craft. Like, they probably all belong to an ancient guild and meet at an inn every fortnight to share secrets of their discipline and drink mead and wear animal hats and shit.

When they come for you, they're in an unmarked vehicle, and they will seriously sit there for minutes while they case the joint and make sure you won't be around to confront them. I've seen them do it. And if you do happen to get home from work at the right time and catch them at random, they'll slyly move to a neighboring building and fake like they're poopin' in someone else's soup, not yours. You nod, they nod, you walk upstairs, and sucker, you're in the year 1700. Churn you some butter, son.

Now this is one of those times when individual notes of our world's minutiae are played together to strum a chord of sorrow. It's festive and well-meant cheer in bed with existential sadness. It's the crying clown, it's the grape stomp lady on the ground as the local news continues to play the canned bouncy carnival music, it's the wailing little boy with the skinned-up knee and the "Mr. Tough Guy" sweater, it's the person who got dumped at a Halloween party, crying into the ShamWow that was crucial to the ShamWow Guy costume. NEXT SLIDE.

At last count, there were 23 instances of "poop" in my mentions. You will bear the cross for them all.

Actually, you know what, you get in there, too. In fairness to your boss, there isn't a much more appropriate place to take a dump than the dump, but I'm wondering how you collected these facts, and how that conversation went, exactly.

"Hey, let me in."
"Okay, whatev--"
" ... "
"I really don't need to kn--"

This is accidental genius. You could have skated by on sympathy for such a long time. "Cut me a break, okay? I BURIED MY POP LAST WEEKEND."

I try to steadfastly adhere to my "all the folks at the airlines do a great job" belief system, because in my experience this is nearly always true. One regrettable exception is the way Delta books connecting flights that go through Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. I've lost checked baggage three times over the last couple of years, and only got my person to the second plane via riding a train and sprinting through concourses.

Seriously, nothing but respect to the people whose job it is to actually get bags from Concourse A to Concourse F within 25 minutes. By virtue of Hartsfield's enormous sprawl, and also by virtue of riding the underground train that deprives one of visual spatial reasoning, I would submit that the size of the airport is impossible for anyone to truly quantify. Concourse F might be in Arkansas.

Some men, merely by their wordless doings, write epics in the souls of those they encounter.

oh god

Oh damn, dude. When I think of what it must take to get fired from a government job, I just look to one of my favorite historical Onion articles of all time. From "Russians Continuing To Kill Rasputin":

In later years, Rasputin was set on fire, dissolved in acid, boiled alive, flensed, fed molten lead, ground beneath the wheels of a freight train, thrown from the top of St Basil's Cathedral, impaled on sharpened stakes, buried under 10 tons of hot gravel, struck at high speeds by an automobile, strapped to the mouth of a great cannon which was then fired several times, bolted to the keel of an icebreaking ship which was repeatedly run aground, drawn and quartered, crucified, run through with a cavalry spear from bowel to gullet, vivisected, and eviscerated. Furthermore, throughout the process, he was continually re-poisoned, re-stabbed and re-shot.


I'll be honest: I don't have any sort of well-formed opinion on Noted Author Nicholas Sparks. Or at least, I didn't until this tweet.

I've got a Thing when it comes to writers giving unsolicited writing advice. It's one thing, of course, if someone is actually asking you for advice, or if you are that person's editor or professional colleague or some kind of deal like that. But writing, especially creative writing, is a hopelessly individualized experience, and the tools you've got will ultimately inform your process, and nobody knows your toolbox like you do. The one who tries to marm the way you go about it is the ding-dong at the bar who yells "SHOOT IT!" every three minutes at the hockey game.

And actually, I know I'm becoming the monster I despise here and whatnot, but I'd be cool with it if writers never talked about writing ever again, at least not in public. Plumbers aren't out there building plumbing about what it's like to be plumbing.

Well, naturally, you made the cut. We gotta look out for each other.

During Black Friday 2004, I worked at a Radio Shack in a near-dead mall. Business had been so slow, it's almost like the company had refused to close it as a point of pride. We normally had only three or four employees, since that's really all it took to operate the store, but in preparation for Black Friday, the company tripled our staff. So it's five in the morning, and 12 of us are standing there when we open the doors.

Thing is, this is the year Radio Shack decides, "nahhhh, we're not gonna run a newspaper insert," despite the fact that this is the most crucial driver of business for any big retailer in 2004. I have no idea what their logic was behind this.

So we open the doors. Nobody walks in. An hour passes. One old man has walked in to buy some batteries. I think we saw our second customer at the three-hour mark. Nobody made any commission at all. The only way Radio Shack could get a dozen people into that store is to hire them to stand around in it. An unanticipated logistical downside of hiring such a large staff to such a small store: the manager had trouble finding a spot to be alone to cry.

Actually, that shift is worse than this one. Forget what I said.