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Breaking Madden Roster Cuts: Yellin' at Maya Angelou

Did you tell a story awkward enough to land yourself a roster spot in this week's Breaking Madden? Well goodness, I certainly hope not. Here are the 19 Twitter players who find themselves in Week 12 of this nightmare.

For the second straight week, this will be a crowdsourced Breaking Madden: y'all call the play and tell me which buttons to push and when. I still don't know how this is gonna turn out:

Music: "Go Deep" by Janet Jackson"

Among other things, I gave y'all the option to keep Matt Stafford standing in the pocket for as long as 10 seconds before throwing the ball. If he wants a chance at staying on his feet for that long, he's going to need some help, and that's where this week's Twitter players come in: six enormous, 400-pound Detroit blockers, and 11 five-foot-tall, completely helpless New England pass rushers.

This is how I found them.

See, Madden's physics tend to have some trouble when it comes to making giant people interact with tiny people. It's gonna get awkward. I should have said "10 seconds," but at the outset, I really thought it might be possible to keep Stafford in the pocket for half a minute on a reliable basis. That isn't the case, so I set the max value to 10 seconds so as not to scuttle the whole dang thing before it gets going.

Please meet:




Left tackle:

Though our friend Leonard doesn't mention it, it's implied via the prompt he's answering that this happened within a 30-second span. That's really funny, and if both happened simultaneously, it is the funniest event in the history of our planet.

I've written about this before, but I was homeschooled for a few years, so my mom was my teacher. My favorite moment of the entire experience: I went to a museum on a field trip with some other homeschooled kid. A few public school classes were there, too. It was a weekday morning, so it was natural for the public-school teachers to assume that I was part of their school's group.

So I'm just wandering around the museum and taking stuff in at my own pace, which, essentially, is what homeschooling was for me. A teacher (or chaperone, or whoever) is herding her students to another room. When I don't follow them, she turns and snaps her fingers at me. "Get moving!" she barks at me.

I'm indignant. In a moment that is wildly over-representative of exactly how cool I was at age 12, I stare at her for a moment, and I say, "no," and then I turn and walk away. Anyone who's ever been a kid ought to fully understand how incredible that felt.

Left guard:

Oh no. Forgot for a second that it was an intimate moment. Being seated in the middle of any conversation is the worst sociospatial arrangement I can imagine. A few months ago, I was on a flight from Atlanta to Las Vegas, seated in Seat E between two old guys who were friends. I offered to switch seats so they could sit together, but neither of them wanted to sit in a middle seat.

So that was nearly four hours of conversations about guns and aircraft design and all the wrong kinds of politics. Sometimes they'd try to loop me into the conversation without any real indicator that they were opening up the line. And then they started talking about Ferguson, saying the kinds of things that ought to get a dude smacked, but there was no way I was going to say a word about it, sandwiched between them and 20,000 feet over Mississippi.

w e l c o m e t o h e l l l l l l


Suggestion to everyone who owns a car: next time you walk out, take a moment and just sit in your own back seat. I know it's dumb. Listen, I know. But the fight you're putting up against this idea ought to indicate to you that there's an explorable issue here. For real, how long have you been driving this car? Two years? Five? And I can guarantee with virtual certainty that you've never sat in the back seat. Sex, maybe, but you've never just sat there. That seems like a shame. Just give it a try.

haha i'm just kiddin', that shit's stupid

Right guard:



This is in a different category entirely, but at a driving safety class, I once saw a guy try to take a creep shot of a woman. Well, I didn't actually see it happen, but it was pretty clear to me and to everyone else in the room. It made both the bright, shadow-casting flash and the unnecessarily loud shutter noise, both of which he evidently forgot to disable. He sputtered out a couple words of what was probably going to be something like, "heh! was just playin' around with m'phone," and maybe someone would believe him if he didn't go beet-red in the face, stand up, and leave. Humiliation is amazing when it's deserved.

Right guard:

First, I am honored that you would even want to! Second, I don't really tell a lot of people who I am either. I really love my job and feel very luck to have it, and also, I don't really know how to talk about it with people who aren't plugged into Sports Internet to begin with. I mean, just to run through a few options of self-identification:

"I'm a writer." A hundred million people are writers.
"I'm a sportswriter." Now I'm expected to be an authority on sports, or at least a sport, which I'm so not. Not only that, I sometimes am so otherwise occupied that I might miss the one thing literally everyone in the sports world is talking about on a given day. Someone could easily, and understandably, walk away with the impression that I completely lied about what I do.
"I produce a mixed-media web series called Breaking Madden. Basically, I use th--" GOD SHUT UP.
"I'm a web designer." This is great, but completely untrue.
"I work on computers." Yep, this one.


Defensive end:

Atlanta sporting complexes have very little in the way of amenities, as it turns out. Just earlier today, we learned that there is only one washer and one dryer in the entire Georgia Dome. Before they tore it down, in fact, The Omni was just a really big-ass grain silo. No doors in or out. Had to climb up to the top and jump in and just stay there forever. Go Hawks.

Defensive end:

Ah duuuuuuude. I am so really, genuinely sorry. You're in, just in case it matters a thousandth of a percent right now.

Defensive end:

I see nothing fit to add to this. It's the story of the week so far.

Defensive tackle: [DELETED]

Once again, as is y'alls' right, someone tweeted me a story, I put them in the game, and they deleted the tweet before I could share it. I loved it. In fact, Spencer found it on his own and gchatted it to me. That's how funny it was. And yet, a day later, I don't remember anything about it.


This actually reads like a really badass story more than it does an awkward story, so lemme supplement it with what might be the most awkward show I've ever been to. It was an Alexi Murdoch show I got dragged to like five years ago. He did a really quiet solo acoustic set, which always seems like a bad idea for any opening act in a standing-room venue. Unsurprisingly, the room was full of people talking and noise from the bar and whatnot, and his Super Quiet Intimate Music was partially drowned out by it.

A couple times, he muttered something about needing everybody to be quiet. After four songs, he stopped and said something like, "listen, if you're not here for the music, I don't know what you're here for." (The main act. The answer is the main act.) A song or two later, he indignantly announces that he's playing one more song and he's out of there. Nobody cares about this or the song that follows, and then he leaves.

Part of me actually feels bad for him, and part of me thinks acoustic sets should be forbidden by law. I don't know why I would ever bother to go to any concert that isn't louder than hell.

Defensive tackle:

This leads perfectly into my favorite unconfirmed Rickey Henderson anecdote, which is that he'd strip naked, look at himself in a mirror, and repeat, "Rickey's the best!" over and over. Rickey is a man of such faultless grace that it is never he who is awkward. The rest of the world must work itself into awkward contortions to exist around him.

Defensive tackle:

YEP.  This is the "saying 'you too' to the server" of international relations. I have been in a French-speaking grocery store and said "danke" upon receiving my bags. I have done this MULTIPLE TIMES, because I a blockhead. You can grow up and wear cardigans and read blogs about how to blanche a tomato and listen to all the dang Serials you want, but you are an American, and some of that America just won't ever wash off.


I've been in charge of other people, but I've never been in a situation in which I directly hired or fired people. Maybe that day will come at some point, but until then, I have trouble understanding why I wouldn't hire basically anyone who wanted a job. They really want the job, for money, and it would be nice. Plus, everybody's basically the same and jobs aren't hard. Oh God, never put me in charge of hiring anybody.



hey did uh

did you push between the buttons too


Yeah, see, once again ... just as I should never be entrusted with hiring anyone, I should never be asked to fire anyone. I just wouldn't do it. Everyone in my entire office would be Milton, just sorta "fired" in technicality only, but still sitting in the office and taking a paycheck. Meanwhile, I'd just keep hiring more people, because again, it's important for folks to have jobs, for money. So the building would get more and more crowded with people I'd hired and people I wouldn't fire, until we'd all get stuck and the fire department would have to help us get out.

But then we'd have to just go back inside the building for work the next day. So basically, the fire department would have to help us in and out every day. You think I haven't thought this through, but I have.


So a couple months ago, my state ID expired. Since I'm moving out of state shortly anyway, I figured I just wouldn't bother getting a new one, and use my U.S. passport card for all identification purposes in the short term.

This, turns out, is of considerable consequence whenever I'm ID'd at bars. I doubt anybody actually uses their passport card as their primary means of identification. I'm seeing this Venn diagram with a circle for "people with a passport" and a circle for "people who don't have their shit together enough to get a proper ID," and I see myself right in that little sliver. So the dude working the door at a bar probably never has a passport ID handed to him.

A couple times, I've showed up at a bar with a few friends. They show him their IDs -- "thanks ... thank you ... thanks ..." and then I show him mine, and he looks up at me, and he's like, "Hey, man. Thank you. Have a good time tonight."

I just put this together the other day: they think it's a military ID. They think I served. Until I get a proper state ID, I think I need to go around town with a sash that reads, "I HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR YOU."